Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum, 2017

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Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum
Do you want the Kurdistan Region and the Kurdistani areas outside the administration of the Region to become an independent state?
Iraqi Kurdistan in Iraq (de-facto and disputed hatched).svg
Location of Kurdistan in Iraq
  Official claimed borders of Iraqi Kurdistan
  Official borders of Iraqi Kurdistan pre-2014

     Undisputed territory of Iraqi Kurdistan      Disputed territory within its official borders which is controlled by Iraqi Kurdistan      Territory outside of its official borders which is controlled by Iraqi Kurdistan      Other territory claimed by Iraqi Kurdistan

     Rest of Iraq
Location  Kurdistan Region, Iraq
Date 25 September 2017 (2017-09-25)
Results
Votes  %
Yes 2,861,471 92.73%
No 224,464 7.27%
Valid votes 3,085,935 92.51%
Invalid or blank votes 249,990 7.49%
Total votes 3,335,925 100.00%
Registered voters/turnout 4,581,255 72.82%
Preliminary official results[1]

An independence referendum for Iraqi Kurdistan was held on 25 September 2017, with preliminary results showing approximately 93 percent of votes cast in favour of independence. Despite reporting that the independence referendum would be non-binding, the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) characterised it as binding,[2][3][4] although they claimed that a positive result would trigger the start of state building and negotiations with Iraq rather than an immediate declaration of independence.[5] The referendum's legality was rejected by the federal government of Iraq.

It was originally planned to be held in 2014 amidst controversy and dispute between the regional and federal governments.[6] Calls for Kurdish independence had been going on for years, with an unofficial 2005 referendum resulting in 98% voting in favor of independence,[7] these longstanding calls gained impetus following the Northern Iraq offensive by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant during the Iraqi Civil War in which Baghdad-controlled forces abandoned some areas, which were then taken by the Peshmerga and controlled de facto by the Kurds.

The referendum was announced and delayed on several occasions[8][9] as Kurdish forces co-operated with the Iraqi central government for the liberation of Mosul,[10] but by April 2017, it was being seen as happening some time in 2017.[11] On 7 June 2017, Kurdish President Masoud Barzani held a meeting with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and other ruling parties, where the independence referendum was confirmed to be held on 25 September 2017.[12]

Background[edit]

The Kurdistan Regional Government had criticised Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, claiming that his rule was divisive,[13] after the central government began withholding funding to the Kurdistan Regional Government in January 2014, the KRG attempted to export oil via the northern pipeline into Turkey in May,[14][15] but the Iraqi government lobbied international governments to block the export and sale of this oil.[16]

The flag of Kurdistan flies over the disputed city of Kirkuk after it was abandoned by Iraqi forces in June 2014 as the ISIL militant group approached.

As jihadis affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took control of much of western and northern Iraq in June 2014, the Iraqi military in those areas largely disintegrated and abandoned their positions.[15] The Peshmerga stepped into this vacuum, taking control of the city of Kirkuk[15] and other northern areas long claimed by the Kurdistan Regional Government but until then outside its formal control. In these disputed areas, Kurdish forces under the regional government spearheaded a “concerted campaign” to displace Arab communities in northern Iraq, actions that could amount to war crimes, according to a report by Amnesty International.[17][18]

A-Maliki's government was widely blamed for the failure of the security forces and for Sunni Arab dissatisfaction with the central government, and international and domestic calls for a new prime minister became widespread.[13][19] On 1 July, Kurdish president Masoud Barzani announced his intention to call a referendum on independence sometime in 2014 on the grounds that the country had been "effectively partitioned" already.[6]

In September 2014, after Maliki was replaced as prime minister by Haider al-Abadi, Kurdish leaders agreed to postpone the referendum while they focused on the fight against ISIL.[8]

On 3 February 2016, Rudaw.net reported that Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani told KRG legislators that the referendum would be held sometime before the 2016 American presidential election in early November.[9] On 23 March, Barzani said, in an interview with Al-Monitor media website, that the referendum would take place before October 2016.[20] However, in late October, Iraqi Kurdistan Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani confirmed that the referendum would not be held until after Mosul had been liberated.[10]

In August 2016, Haider Al-Abadi said that he saw self-determination as an "undisputed right".[21]

News reports from December 2016 said Iraqi Kurdistan’s Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani had suggested the region could push for independence from Baghdad once the ongoing battle to liberate Mosul from ISIL was complete.[22]

In early April 2017, as the liberation of Mosul was progressing, the ruling political parties of Iraqi Kurdistan, the KDP and PUK, announced their goal of holding an independence referendum in 2017.[11]

On 7 June 2017, Kurdish President Masoud Barzani announced that the referendum would take place on 25 September 2017.[23] Barzani's assistant Hemin Hawrami said the referendum will also take place in Kirkuk, Makhmour, Sinjar and Khanaqin regions. All of these areas are disputed and are claimed by the central government. Senior Kurdish official Hoshyar Zebari said a "Yes" vote in the referendum wouldn't mean an automatic declaration of independence, but will "strengthen the Kurds' hand" in talks on self-determination with the central government.[24]

On three separate occasions, Assyrians from Alqosh protested against the removal of their mayor by the KDP-dominated Nineveh Provincial Council, the residents of Alqosh rejected the idea of their town being a "disputed area" and demanded the immediate reinstatement of their former mayor. The removal, which occurred two months before the referendum, caused protests because the mayor was replaced by a KDP member from Alqosh.[25][26][27]

On 14 August, a delegation from the KRG met with Prime Minister Abadi and Vice-President Maliki in Baghdad to discuss the upcoming referendum and affairs between the KRG and Iraq. Romeo Hakkari, the Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac representative of the delegation and head of the Bet-Nahrain Democratic Party said that in addition to the meeting with Iraqi officials, they would meet with foreign missions in Baghdad.[28][29][30]

The KRG said referendum planning and implementation of the vote was up to the local councils of the disputed regions,[31] the Shingal District Council expressed its support on 30 July for the KRG's efforts to include the Shingal area in the referendum.[32] The Mayoral Council of Khanaqin on 16 August discussed the issue and decided to hold the referendum in their region,[33] the Bashiqa Town Council voted the next day and decided to take part in the referendum.[34]

After a rare high-level meeting between the Iranian military chief of staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara on 16 August, a joint statement "voiced strong opposition" to the referendum.[35]

The local council of Mandali, whose population includes both Arabs and Kurds, had voted in favour of including the town in the referendum on 17 August. Arab residents however protested against the decision on 10 September.[36] A day later, the city council withdrew the decision of participation in the referendum while Mandali's mayor, Hoshiya Ismail, was dismissed from his position.[37]

On 29 August, the Kirkuk Provincial Council voted on the issue of holding the referendum in Kirkuk. Of the 41 council members, 24 attended with 23 voting in favor of holding the referendum while one abstained, the remaining 17 members, all of whom were Turkmen and Arabs, boycotted the vote.[31] On 14 September, the Iraqi parliament voted to dismiss Najmiddin Karim as the Governor of Kirkuk, a decision requested by al-Abadi after Kirkuk's provincial assembly voted to take part in the referendum.[38] Karim said he will not follow the dismissal order and will stay in office,[39] the provincial council meanwhile condemned the decision of the parliament with council head Ribwar al-Talabani claiming only the council had the power to remove him.[40]

Campaigning for the referendum officially began on 5 September, the region's electoral commission said campaigning would last for 18 days with the Iraqi Kurdish diaspora being able to vote on 23 September, two days ahead of the main poll.[41]

The Iraqi parliament rejected the referendum on 12 September,[42] the Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament approved a plan to hold the referendum on 15 September. 68 out of 111 lawmakers attended the session with Gorran boycotting it.[43] Iraq's Supreme Court on 18 September ordered the suspension of the referendum to examine its constitutionality.[44] Barzani however vowed to go ahead with the referendum.[45]

Media coverage[edit]

It has been reported that pro-AKP news outlets in Turkey including Yeni Akit, Aksam, Internet Haber[46] and Yeni Safak[47] have been circulating a fake news story[47][48] about “Zionist support” for an “insidious Kurdish plan” by Barzani and Kurdish Jews to settle 200,000 Jews in the region should Kurdistan become independent.[46] The report has been disputed, including by Kurdish analysts, as baseless[48] and fake news,[47] and has been described as part of a media offensive by Turkey against Israel,[46] while Kurdish analyst Diliman Abdulkader considers the reports an attempt to “destroy Kurdish credibility in the region by the association them with Israel and playing on local prejudices against people of Jewish faith”.[48]

Turkey decided to remove broadcaster Rudaw Media Network (Rudaw), which is affiliated to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, from its satellite broadcasting on the same day voting took place on the independence referendum in the KRG.[49]

Polling[edit]

One poll, held between 25 and 27 August, which covered the provinces of Arbil, Sulaymaniyah, Duhok, Halabja and Kirkuk, as well as the cities of Khanagin, Jalawla and Mandali within Diyala, showed intention to vote yes at 52.9%, intention to vote no at 25.6%, 3.6% not voting and the remainder of 17.9% being undecided with most of these indicating that they intended to vote yes but were also carefully watching the situation in case it deteriorated.[50]

Ballot[edit]

The ballot was available in Kurdish, Arabic, Turkish and Assyrian.[51]

Ballot question
English Do you want the Kurdistan Region and the Kurdistani areas outside the region's administration to become an independent state?
Kurdish ئایا دەتەوێ هەرێمی كوردستان و ناوچە کوردستانییەکانی دەرەوەی هەرێم ببێتە دەوڵەتێکی سەربەخۆ؟
Aya detewê herêmî Kurdistan u nawçe Kurdistaniyekanî derewey herêm bibête dewlletêkî serbexo?
Arabic هل تريد أن يصبح اقليم كوردستان و المناطق الكوردستانية خارج الاقليم دولة مستقلة؟
Hal turīd an yaṣbaḥ iqlīm kūrdistān wal-manāṭaq al-kūrdistānīyah khārij al-iqlīm dawlah mustaqillah?
Turkish Kürdistan Bölgesi ve bölge idaresinin dışında kalan Kürdistanlı yörelerin bağımsız devlet olmasını istiyor musunuz?
Assyrian ܐܵܪܵܐ ܒܥܹܐ ܐܵܢܬ ܕܐܸܩܠܹܝܡܵܐ ܕܟܘܼܪܕܸܣܬܵܢ ܘܦܸܢ̈ܝܵܬ݂ܵܐ ܟܘܼܪ̈ܕܸܣܬܵܢܵܝܹܐ ܠܒܼܲܕܲܪ ܡܕܲܒܪܵܢܘܼܬ݂ܵܐ ܕܐܸܩܠܹܝܡܵܐ ܕܦܲܝܫܝܼ ܐܲܬ݂ܪܵܐ ܫܲܠܝܼܛ ܒܝܵܬܼܵܐ؟
Ārā bʿē ānt d'eqlēymā d'kūrdestān w'penyāṯā kūrdestānāyē l'ḇadar mdabrānūṯā d'eqlēymē d'payši aṯrē šaliṭ b'yāṯā?

Party stance[edit]

Parties represented in Kurdistan Region Parliament
Choice Party Seats Leader Political position Ref.
YesY Yes KDP Kurdistan Democratic Party 38 Masoud Barzani Big tent [52]
PUK Patriotic Union of Kurdistan 18 Jalal Talabani Big tent [53]
KIU Kurdistan Islamic Union 10 Salaheddine Bahaaeddin Right-wing [54]
KSDP Kurdistan Socialist Democratic Party 1 Mohammed Haji Mahmoud Centre-left [55]
KCP Communist Party of Kurdistan – Iraq 1 Kamal Shakir Far-left [56]
KTP Kurdistan Toilers' Party 1 Balen Mahmoud Left-wing [57]
KIM Kurdistan Islamic Movement 1 Erfan Ali Abdulaziz Big tent [57]
TDL Turkmen Development List 2 Mohammad Sadaddin Moderate Islamic [58]
CSAPC Chaldean Syriac Assyrian Popular Council 2 Sarkis Aghajan Minority-rights [59]
ETL Erbil Turkmen List 1 Minority-rights [57]
KIG Kurdistan Islamic Group 6 Ali Bapir Big tent [60]
Gorran Gorran Movement 24 Omar Said Ali Centre-left [61]
N No ITF Iraqi Turkmen Front
(Would support referendum if conditions were met)[62]
1 Erşad Salihi Minority-rights [63]
ADM Assyrian Democratic Movement
(Against referendum being held in the Nineveh Plains)[64]
2 Younadam Kanna Minority-rights [65]

Official reactions to the referendum[edit]

UN member states[edit]

Iraq and regional countries[edit]

  •  Iraq: Saad al-Hadithi, a spokesman for the Iraqi Prime Minister, said, "Any decision concerning the future of Iraq must take into account the constitutional provisions, it is an Iraqi decision and not one party alone. All Iraqis must have a say in defining the future of their homeland. No single party can determine the future of Iraq in isolation from the others."[66]
  •  Iran: In June 2017, the Iranian government said that the unilateral referendum was inconsistent with the Iraqi constitution and that "the Islamic Republic of Iran’s principled and clear stance is supporting Iraq’s territorial integrity and coherence".[67] The Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei then said, "Iran opposes holding talks of a referendum to partition Iraq and considers those who fuel the idea as opponents of Iraq's independence."[68] Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to Ali Khamenei on international affairs, said "President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Massoud Barzani is a middleman for Zionists, who seeks to implement their plans for the division of Muslim states."[69] In early October 2017, during Turkey′s president visit to Tehran, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called Iraqi Kurds′ ″secession vote an act of betrayal toward the entire region and a threat to its future″ and urged Iran, Turkey, and Iraq to act decisively to prevent Iraqi Kurdistan′s independence.[70] Khamenei also accused the United States of ″seeking to create a new Israel in the region″ by supporting the independence vote in Iraq.[70]
  •  Israel: Prior to the referendum, Israel′s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel "supports the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to achieve their own state.”[71] Israel, who had maintained military, intelligence and business ties with the Kurds since the 1960s, thus became the first state to endorse an independent Kurdistan,[72][73] after the referendum was held, Netanyahu was reported to have forbidden Israeli government officials from commenting on the matter due to its sensitivity, or/and possible change of stance.[74][75] On 30 September 2017, Turkey′s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the Kurdish leadership in northern Iraq had "a history with Mossad, they are hand-in-hand together″;[76] he later reiterated this claim while meeting Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in Tehran.[77][78]
  •  Jordan: Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said the referendum was an internal Iraqi affair.[79]
  •  Saudi Arabia: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said through the Saudi Press Agency, "[Saudi Arabia] looks to the wisdom of President Barzani in not holding the referendum."[80]
  •  Syria: Adviser to the Council of Ministers Said Azzouz said any unilateral action is rejected and that Syria cannot accept the division of Iraq, and that independence needed legal provisions from the Iraqi constitution.[81]
  •  Turkey: In June 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey said that the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government's decision to hold an independence referendum was a "grave mistake".[82] Also in June, president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the referendum wouldn't serve anyone's interests, calling it a threat to the territorial integrity of Iraq and expressed regret over it,[83] on 14 September, the Foreign Ministry of Turkey warned Iraqi Kurdistan that it would "pay dearly" if the referendum was not abandoned.[84] On 26 September, Erdoğan called the referendum decision "treachery" and said economic and military measures could be used against the Iraqi Kurds.[85][86] Turkey halted the flights of the Turkish airline companies to northern Iraq from the evening of 29 September 2017, until further notice at the request of Baghdad, following the referendum.[87]

Other states[edit]

  •  Armenia: Armenian Foreign Affairs Ministry Eduard Nalbandyan said it hopes for a pacific settlement of the situation in connection with the Iraqi Kurdistan referendum on independence. He also states that Armenia expects the Iraqi authorities and the regional authorities of Iraqi Kurdistan to be able to avoid tension, and find the avenues for resolving the matters.[88]
  •  Australia: A spokeswoman for the foreign affairs department said in a statement, "Holding a referendum at this time risks causing further instability in Iraq that would weaken both the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan regional government".[89]
  •  Belgium: In an interview with NRT News after meeting Deputy Prime Minister of KRG Qubad Talabani, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium Jan Jambon said all nations have the right to self-determination.[90] Belgian ambassador to Iraq Hendrik Van de Velde said Belgium did not have an official stance on this issue.[91]
  •  Bulgaria: Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said Bulgaria had listened to President Barzani when he visited the country in May 2017, but had no official stance on this issue.[92]
  •  Canada: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remained neutral about the referendum process and did not get involved, citing the Quebec sovereignty issue. Trudeau said he is sensitive to other countries getting involved in another country's internal decisions and that he will respect the process established by the Kurds.[93]
  •  China: Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang expressed support to Iraq's territorial integrity but asked for an open dialogue in a daily news briefing.[94]
  •  France: President Emmanuel Macron said, "If this referendum is held, I hope it leads to the proper representation of Kurds in government and within the framework of the [Iraqi] Constitution."[95] After the referendum, Macron offered to help ease tensions between the Iraqi and Kurdistani governments.[96]
  •  Germany: Germany warned against Erbil making a unilateral decision in a "one sided" referendum.[97]
  •  Greece: Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said Iraq's unity should be desired by the people themselves and that the Kurdish referendum is a right under the Iraqi constitution.[98] During a meeting discussing the upcoming referendum, Greek Ambassador to Iraq Dionyssios Kyvetos announced that Greece was upgrading its diplomatic representation in Erbil to a consulate.[99]
  •  Ireland: Dublin South-West Teachta Dála and Sinn Féin Foreign Affairs spokesman Seán Crowe issued a statement saying “The people of Iraqi Kurdistan have the right to self-determination and the right to democratically decide their own future." He said the referendum "should lead to future discussions with Baghdad." Crowe criticized Iraq for suspending flights to and from Erbil and also criticized Iraq and its neighbors for threatening blockades against Kurdistan.[100]
  •  Italy: The Kurdistan Region's representative to Italy Rezan Qader said Italian officials expressed their support for the Kurdish referendum in a meeting.[101][better source needed]
  •  Netherlands: Dutch Consul General to Kurdistan Region Janet Alberda said the referendum would be more accepted, if it was coordinated with Baghdad.[102]
  •  Poland: Deputy Marshal of the Sejm Stanisław Tyszka said Poland would approve the referendum.[103] Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said he "perfectly understand the ambitions of Kurds", but urged Kurdish officials to cooperate with others.[104]
  •  Russia: Russian President Vladimir Putin commented on the issue by stating that Russia understands the sensitivity around the Kurdish cause and that their position is that the referendum should be within international law.[105]
  •  Spain: The Spanish Foreign Ministry released a statement saying "This referendum is illegal in accordance with the Iraqi constitution of 2005, which received broad support from the population. Now all the people of Iraq must join forces to defeat ISIL once and for all, to build the country for the benefit of the entire population".[106]
  •  Sweden: Both governmental parties; the Social Democratic Party and the Green Party have expressed their support for the referendum. Opposition parties Sweden Democrats and the Left Party have also uttered their support.[107]
  •  United Kingdom: On behalf of the British government, British consul to Kurdistan Region Frank Baker said the United Kingdom recognises "the inalienable right of everybody around the world to be free and to decide on their own governments", but that it's not the right time for this. He said a referendum should be held with Iraqi consent.[108] Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson echoed the position, stating that "a referendum at this time will distract from the more urgent priorities of defeating Daesh, stabilising liberated areas and addressing the long-term political issues that led to Daesh’s rise".[109]
  •  United States: US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said: "We support a unified, stable and a federal Iraq. We appreciate and understand the legitimate aspirations of the people of the Iraqi Kurdistan." Nauert warned that the referendum could distract from the final defeat of ISIL. "We have expressed our concerns to the authorities in the Kurdistan Region, but holding a referendum even a non-binding resolution at this time would distract from urgent priorities and that be the defeat of ISIS, the stabilization, the return of displaced people, managing of the region's economic crisis, and resolving the region's internal political disputes," she said.[110] Negative reaction from the U.S. State Department is likely due to the United States' military alliance with Turkey. United States Senator and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (DNY) on September 27 became the first senator to call for US support for Kurdish independence following the results of the referendum, releasing a resolution calling for the US government to change its policy to "support a political process that addresses the aspirations of the Kurds for an independent state", reasoning that the KRG had been "our most supportive partners on the ground in the fight against terrorism", and said that "neighboring countries... led by despots, who oppose a Kurdish state because it threaten's their self-interests, need to respect the need for the Kurds – and the Iraqis – to determine their own future". He called upon Iraq to "engage in a dialogue and peacefully determine the best way to accommodate the well-deserved and legitimate aspirations of the Iraqi Kurds",[111] on September 30, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated, "The United States does not recognize the ... unilateral referendum. ... The vote and the results lack legitimacy, and we continue to support a united, federal, democratic and prosperous Iraq".[112]

Other political entities[edit]

Regional actors[edit]

Results[edit]

Totals[edit]

Choice Votes  %
Referendum passed Yes 2,861,471 92.73
No 224,464 7.27
Valid votes 3,085,935 93.35
Invalid or blank votes 219,990 6.65
Total votes 3,305,925 100.00
Registered voters and turnout 4,581,255 72.16
Source: KHEC


92.73% 7.27%
Yes No

Aftermath[edit]

Following the referendum, wild celebrations erupted in Iranian Kurdistan and two days of pro-independence demonstrations, which included the singing of the anthem of the Republic of Mahabad, occurred in the Kurdish cities of Baneh, Sanandaj and Mahabad, leading to mass arrests.[129]

The Kurdistan Regional Government started making plans for state building and future negotiations with Iraq before a declaration of independence for the Republic of Kurdistan would be issued. Barzani created a new “political leadership” body to prepare for independence; however, three Kurdish parties, including the PUK, have refused to join it.[130]

The Iraqi government threatened to send troops to Kirkuk, a city with rich oil deposits. Troops also blocked routes between Mosul and Dahuk on the day prior to the referendum.[112]

Four days after the referendum, the Iraqi government stopped most international flights into the two international airports of Irbil and Sulaimaniya. Humanitarian, military and diplomatic flights were not included in the ban,[131] this action followed Iraq's demand that the Kurdistan Regional Government hand over control of the airports.[5]

Five days after the referendum, the Iraqi and Iranian governments announced that the Iraqi and Iranian armies would hold joint border drills at crossings on Iran's border with the autonomous Iraqi Kurdish region.[132] Iranian tanks were deployed near the border with Iraqi Kurdistan, but the move has been seen as mere posturing.[130] Iran also closed its common border with Iraqi Kurdistan.[133]

Kurdish businesses across Iraq suffered retaliatory attacks.[133]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1] Rudaw.net
  2. ^ "Masoud Barzani: Why It's Time For Kurdish Independence". Foreign Policy. 15 June 2017. 
  3. ^ "Senior Kurdish Official Says Kurdistan Independence Referendum Going Ahead Despite Opposition". ARA News. 26 July 2017. 
  4. ^ "Turkey warns Iraqi Kurdish referendum will ‘have a cost’". english.alarabiya.net. Retrieved 14 September 2017. 
  5. ^ a b David Zucchino (26 September 2017). "Iraq Orders Kurdistan to Surrender Its Airports". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 September 2017. 
  6. ^ a b "Iraq Kurdistan independence referendum planned". BBC News. 1 July 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 
  7. ^ Kurdistan Referendum Movement – International Committee (8 February 2005). "98 percent of the people of South Kurdistan vote for independence". KurdMedia. 
  8. ^ a b "Kurds agree to postpone independence referendum". theStar.com. 5 September 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "Iraqi Kurdish Leader Calls For Nonbinding Vote On Independence". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 3 February 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2016. 
  10. ^ a b http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/e4536e45-41b2-49f7-8cba-bb569cb4a6d3/pm-barzani--mosul-could-be-liberated-within-three-months
  11. ^ a b "Kurdistan will hold independence referendum in 2017, senior official". Rudaw. 2 April 2017. Retrieved 2 April 2017. 
  12. ^ "UPDATES: Kurdistan Region to hold independence referendum on Sept 25". Rudaw. 7 June 2017. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  13. ^ a b "Iraq crisis: Incumbent PM Maliki left out as country moves on". BBC News. 12 August 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 
  14. ^ Eli Lake (15 June 2014). "‘Practically Speaking, Iraq Has Broken Apart’". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 
  15. ^ a b c "Iraqi Kurdistan profile: Timeline". BBC News. 12 August 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 
  16. ^ Keith Wallis (31 July 2014). "Kurdish oil cargo unloaded at sea, destination a mystery". Reuters. Retrieved 12 December 2016. 
  17. ^ Morris, Loveday (19 January 2016). "Report: Kurds displacing Arabs in Iraq in what could be ‘war crimes’". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 14 September 2017. 
  18. ^ "Peshmerga forces from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Kurdish militias in northern Iraq have bulldozed, blown up and burned down thousands of homes in an apparent effort to uproot Arab communities in revenge for their perceived support for the so-called Islamic State (IS), said Amnesty International in a new report published today.". Amnesty International USA. Retrieved 14 September 2017. 
  19. ^ "Iraqi media broadly welcome new premier". BBC News. 12 August 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 
  20. ^ "Barzani: Kurdistan will hold referendum before October". Kurdistan24. 23 March 2016. 
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  22. ^ "Iraqi Kurdistan renews call for post-IS independence". alaraby.co.uk. The New Arab. 12 December 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2016. 
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  25. ^ "Iraqi Christians fear Kurdish agenda behind removal of mayor – World Watch Monitor". 28 July 2017. Retrieved 24 September 2017. 
  26. ^ "Iraqi Kurdistan govt removes Alqosh mayor, Assyrians protest". 22 July 2017. Retrieved 24 September 2017. 
  27. ^ "UNPO: Assyria: Crowds Gather to Protest Mayor’s Unfounded Expulsion". unpo.org. Retrieved 24 September 2017. 
  28. ^ http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/140820171
  29. ^ http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/8b994770-4c71-4834-939c-9af3c2b93ca2
  30. ^ "You are being redirected...". www.nrttv.com. Retrieved 24 September 2017. 
  31. ^ a b Jalabi, Raya (29 August 2017). "Iraq's Kirkuk province to vote in Kurdish independence referendum". Reuters. Retrieved 3 September 2017. 
  32. ^ "Shingal District Council support Kurdistan’s independence referendum". Kurdistan24. 30 July 2017. Retrieved 6 September 2017. 
  33. ^ "Khanaqin Mayoral Council Calls for Including the City in Independence Vote". Basnews. 16 August 2017. Retrieved 6 September 2017. 
  34. ^ "Yezidi town of Bashiqa votes: second to join Kurdistan independence referendum". Rudaw. 17 August 2017. Retrieved 6 September 2017. 
  35. ^ "Turkey, Iran Voice Opposition To Kurdish Independence Vote In Rare Visit". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 17 August 2017. Retrieved 21 August 2017. 
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  39. ^ Raya Jalabi; Ulf Laessing (14 September 2017). "Western powers press Iraq Kurd leaders to shelve 'very risky' independence vote". Reuters. Retrieved 15 September 2017. 
  40. ^ Mahmoud Barakat; Hussein al-Amir (19 September 2017). "Kirkuk council blasts parliament bid to remove governor". Anadolu Agency. Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
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Further reading[edit]