Iraqi Kurds vote for independence. Barzani: Our borders lie where our tanks stop

The 5.2 million eligible voters of the semiautonomous Kurdish Republic of Iraq  avow their desire on Monday, Sept. 25 to establish the first independent Kurdish state in history. An estimated 15-20 percent of the Iraqi population, the Kurds of Iraq won their autonomy in 1991. This was the halfway mark to their final goal which, too, was denied their brothers in Syria, Turkey or Iran.

“Yes” voters are expected to pack polling booths in Dahuk, Irbil and Sulaimaniya the three official provinces of KRG, plus “areas outside its administration,” such as Kirkuk, Makhmour, Khanaqin and Sinjar, where the Kurdish Peshmerga established control after expelling the Islamic State invaders.

Most world powers, including the UN Security Council, warned KRG President Masoud Barzani to back off the referendum because of its potentially destabilizing impact on the region and as a distraction from the main war on ISIS.

Iraq, Turkey and Iran threatened “counter-measures,” fearing the impact on their own Kurdish minorities.  Doubling down on their threats, their armies staged military exercises around the borders of the Kurdish Republic on various pretexts.
Barzani’s reply: “Our borders lie where our tanks stop.”  Furthermore, Kurdish leaders explained the referendum was not Kexit on the model of Brexit. It had no built-in declaration of secession from Iraq. “On the road to independence, the referendum is only one step,” said Hoshyar Zebari, former Iraqi foreign minister.

Neither Turkey, Iran or Iraq, while making threatening motions, are unlikely to take on the fierce Kurdish Peshmerga in a full-fledged war, especially when it has the backing of the US, Russia, Germany and up to a point, Israel.

With this card in hand, Iraq’s Kurdish leaders are in no hurry. They find that their people’s commitment to the independence, even though it is unconsummated, arms them with an ace in the hole for the lengthy negotiations ahead with the Baghdad government on separation – and possibly on rights for their fellow communities as well, with Ankara, Tehran and Syria.

These negotiations are likely to wind back and forth and erupt into violent outbreaks, with the potential for inflaming the national ambitions of the Kurdish communities outside Iraq. Turkey has the largest Kurdish minority – 15 million; Iran around 6 million; and Syria 2 million – together with Iraq a total of 35 million, who dwell in regions fragmented among the four neighboring countries. The Kurdish national struggle carries the potential of being caught up in a bloody conflict with Sunni Arab or Shiite Iranian opponents, with unpredictable consequences.
The most immediate prospect now is an Iraqi-Kurdish confrontation, triggered not just by the Kurds’ national referendum, but by the battle for control of Iraq’s northern oilfields, centering on Kirkuk.

The Kurds cherish Kirkuk as their Jerusalem, whereas for Baghdad, it represents one-quarter of the oil produced in the northern region.

Russia is the only world power which has not publicly condemned the Kurds for their referendum  – for the very good reason that the Russian energy giant, Rosneft, last week announced a pledge estimated at $4 billion for the development of Kurdish oil and gas fields for domestic consumption and eventual export.

Barzani not only has his tanks on the ready, but also a timely big-power insurance guarantee  Moscow is hardly likely to let the Iraqi army attack Kirkuk, after successfully planting there Russia’s first strategic foothold in Iraq, since the Americans toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.

And so the Kurds can continue to safely pump around 600,000 barrels of oil a day under their tricolor red, white and green flag, set with a blazing sun.

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18 thoughts on “Iraqi Kurds vote for independence. Barzani: Our borders lie where our tanks stop

  • Sep 24, 2017 @ 21:23 at 21:23
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    The Kurd would have been consumed by ISIS if it was not for the help they received from Iran and others, Barazani only represent a section of Kurdish people and not everyone is with him. Kurd can not just take the best part of Iraq and try to separate. Israel is the only country who support Kurd to have a barrier against Iran but they should realise Barazani has been in bed with many including Saddam Hussein. It is not a plus for the Kurd to have the support of Israel because Israel does not really care about the Kurdish people. They supported Al-Nusra in Syria not because they like them. They want to be the top dog in the region but is not going to happen. They may be able to bomb unarmed Palestinian or Syrian forces which are in a bad situation right now but they will think twice if they know it may backfire otherwise they would have attacked Iran several times.

    May be in future the Kurdish people will be able to achieve autonomy in a federal state where they live but not with Israel’s blessing!

    • Sep 25, 2017 @ 13:55 at 13:55
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      The Kurds and Israel have many common enemies and the relationship will only improve over time. Israel has not attacked Iran in the past because of US Politicians. Israel has the power to make Iran cease to exist, Iran does not have that same capability.

    • Sep 25, 2017 @ 14:57 at 14:57
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      Let them all be confounded and turned back that hate Zion.
      – Psalms 129:5

    • Sep 25, 2017 @ 17:33 at 17:33
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      Typical mindset.

    • Sep 26, 2017 @ 7:32 at 7:32
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      So,
      Propaganda? Check.
      Anti-Semite? Check.

      Shotguns anyone that doesnt hate jews like you do? Check.

      But hi, thanks for the nonsensical input. Nothing like a paid troll to muddy the waters.

      As to the Kurds, theres always been an a hole in the background telling them to wait, its not the right time, etc, etc, etc

      Guess what, it’ll never be.
      Time to grab destiny by the balls and go for broke.
      Ignore the biggots that would lie for tiny gains. Ignore the a holes who will never have your interests at heart.
      Don’t let anyone tell you no, and just do it.
      Times a wasting.

    • Sep 27, 2017 @ 18:48 at 18:48
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      You show your hate you primitive fool. go to the turks see what they do to you .Israel respects the Kurds. We have much in common. Wise up

  • Sep 24, 2017 @ 22:12 at 22:12
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    I wish our Kurdish friends much luck and happiness and hopefully a peaceful future as an independent State! Israel is with you.

  • Sep 25, 2017 @ 1:55 at 1:55
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    Its about time.

  • Sep 25, 2017 @ 9:30 at 9:30
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    its about time the kurds 25 million people should have thier own state in middle of the rough middle east.
    they defeated isis, that should give them the prize.
    as for israel, united states, and the sunni contries stand behind the kurds because they would be the only obstcale left for iran of making the regime from syria to iran.

  • Sep 25, 2017 @ 13:43 at 13:43
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    It was the Kurdish people that helped Jews escape to Israel.
    the Kurds were promised many years ago a hom,eland, and just like the Jews were denied one. It was only in 1948, that the Jewish people gained theie homeland of Israel. The Kurds are still waiting. Insofar as the other countries where the Kurds live, we do not owe them anything at all, including Turkeye.

  • Sep 25, 2017 @ 17:39 at 17:39
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    ISRAEL — 1948

    KURDISTAN — 2017

    A similar geopolitical situation.

    All power to the independent and democratic Kurdish State.

  • Sep 25, 2017 @ 17:40 at 17:40
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    So if I understand you correctly, unlike Israel, and despite their threats, Iran and Iraq truly do care for the Kurds and you would accept their blessing?

  • Sep 25, 2017 @ 17:45 at 17:45
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    Good for them!
    Hope they realize they can not trust anybody but themselves.

    I wanted to make the suggestion that you gradually expand your services in the likes of Stratfor, but with a focus on the Middle East, and partner with other media corporations and blogs.

  • Sep 26, 2017 @ 7:19 at 7:19
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    Conservative, Christians, in America are with Israel and the soon to be Nation for Kurds.

  • Sep 26, 2017 @ 22:26 at 22:26
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    three cheers for the Kurds! Let us hope they can create a national homeland without having to fight against the Turks, who are a genocidal people. I don’t know if Israel can help free Kurdistan but i wish it could help. Kurdistan would be a better ally than Turkey

  • Sep 28, 2017 @ 0:12 at 0:12
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    Shalom Shabbat….5778….Svobodný Stát Kurdistán…

  • Sep 28, 2017 @ 2:08 at 2:08
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    If Kosovo is free to become a country then the Kurds should have their own country. I do not get it. The Muslims always say that they should stick together as Muslims and not attack eachother and now they threaten eachother back and forth. I heard Islam is a peaceful religion.

  • Sep 28, 2017 @ 5:19 at 5:19
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    The terrible image of thousands of innocent men, women, and children strewn about the ground dead, having choked to death from Mustard Gas & other poisons which Saddam Hussein ordered to be dropped on the Kurdish people is forever burnt into my memory as a major horror and crime against humanity. Yes, the Kurdish people deserve to have their own country and if those boundaries are determined by where their tanks stop, that’s fine with me! They have fought bravely, both the Kurdish men and women, against ISIS. The only reason why Iran is against the Kurdish people having their own country is because Rhouani has all ideas of creating his crescent-shaped invasion of Iran through Iraq, Lebanon, & to the Mediterranean Sea in order to destroy Israel.

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