The Kurds: Now What?

The votes have been counted and the Kurds overwhelmingly voted to set up a free Kurdistan……about 92% in favor of session.

There is NO one that sees this vote as a positive thing for Iraq or the wider Middle East and that includes the Kurds biggest ally….the United States.

The PM of Iraq, Abadi, has demanded that the results of the vote be nullified……

The results of the Iraqi Kurdistan referendum on secession are in, with over 92% of the voters in favor of seceding from Iraq. Iraq’s Prime Minister Hayder Abadi has threatened military action in retaliation.

In fact, Abadi is now demanding that the Kurds totally cancel the vote, even though it’s already taken place and the results are already in, saying he will “never discuss” the results of the referendum because Iraq’s parliament didn’t give them permission for it.

Iraqi officials seem to be throwing everything at the situation in Kurdistan now and seeing what sticks. Demands for the Kurds to surrender their airports have been spurned, and Kurdish officials had ruled out returning to Baghdad’s rule before Abadi’s latest demands were even made.

The Iraqi Parliament has asked the OM to send in troops and retake the district from the Kurds…

With Iraqi Kurdistan voting for secession, the fate of the Kirkuk Province is very much in doubt. It’s not legally part of the Kurdistan territory, but historically has had a large Kurdish population, and was “annexed” by Iraqi Kurdistan after it was taken early in the ISIS war.

The oil-rich province could be a major bone of contention, with Iraq’s parliament urging Prime Minister Hayder Abadi to send in troops and physically reconquer the province from the Kurds.

They might have help. Kirkuk Province has an ethnic Turkmen minority,  and that has Turkey’s nationalist MHP Party leader Devlet Bahceli vowing that the Kurds will never rule over Kirkuk.

The Turkmen….a relatively unknown ethnic group has stepped out of the shadows and volunteered to fight the Kurds….but for who are their loyalties?  Turkey? Or Iraq?

Thousands of Turkish volunteers are ready to fight in Kirkuk and other Iraqi cities to defend the country’s Turkmen population, the head of Turkey’s nationalist opposition said on Wednesday.

Devlet Bahceli said the minority Turkmen, who have close ethnic ties to Turkey, would not be abandoned in Kirkuk.

The city, home to Kurds, Arabs and Turkmens, has been controlled by Kurdish peshmerga fighters since 2014 and Kurdish authorities included it in this week’s referendum for Kurdish independence in northern Iraq, angering the Baghdad government.

(Reuters)

ISIS is a dying problem…..the Kurds are a problem on the rise…..the violence is far from over.

Today, Friday, will be a telling day in this situation…..

In response to more than 90% of Iraqi Kurds voting in favor of independence through peaceful means, the Iraqi government has issued the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) an ultimatum: hand over control over your airports and control of your borders. The Iraqi government is threatening an air embargo if the Kurds don’t comply with the demand. The move shows exactly how weak Baghdad is. Knowing it can’t force the Kurds to comply militarily on the ground, it’s only option is to threaten civilian air traffic.

The Kurds have until 6:00 pm local time on Friday to comply. They are unlikely to do so.

The Iraqi government has ruled out negotiations. “The referendum will have a negative impact on all of Iraq and the KRG. We will never compromise the unity and sovereignty of Iraq. We will not have any negotiations with regards to the outcome of the referendum,” said Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

The Iraqi Prime Minister’s stance may start a civil war in the country, a war he can’t possibly hope to win without US troops fighting the war for him. Given the US State Department’s opposition to democracy in the country, that may be a possibility.

The next question to ponder is……Is this the end of Iraq?

There are many worthy markers that America’s Iraq Wars have been a terrible, terrible waste, but as history loves a signature event, let it be the 25 September, 2017 Kurdish independence referendum. While the referendum is non-binding and the final vote tally may not be known for several days (though it will certainly be “yes” to independence), the true results of America’s decades of war in Iraq are already clear.

Along with the ongoing decimation of Iraq’s Sunni population, the referendum means that in practice “Iraq” no longer exists. In its place is a Shiite state dominated by Iran, the de facto new nation of Kurdistan, and a shrinking population of Sunnis tottering between annihilation or reservation-like existence, depending on whether the United States uses the last of its influence to sketch out red lines or abandons the people to fate.

The waste comes in that a better version of a de facto tri-state Iraq was available in 2006. Every life lost (out of a million some, including 4,424 Americans), every dollar spent (in the trillions), and every unanticipated outcome suffered (rise of Daesh, conflict in Syria, de-democratization of Turkey) since then has been unnecessary.

Source: Why the Kurdish referendum means the end of Iraq – Middle East Monitor

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3 thoughts on “The Kurds: Now What?

  1. So, Iraq declares war on the Kurds, and the Turks fight both sides? Or the Turkmen want their own republic in Iraq, and Turkey backs their militia? ISIS hate the Sunnis, so might let the Shia continue to eliminate them, keeping a low profile themselves. What constitutes the Iraqi government is still notionally (and militarily) supported by the US, UK, and others. But Turkey is in NATO, so an ally. And we use Turkish airfields…
    That’s a mess that won’t be sorted out any time soon.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. I know…..it makes it even more fascinating for me…Turkey has been a member for 60 yrs and that adds to the fascination….for someone that analyzes the ME it don’t get any better for now…LOL chuq

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