Hezbollah leader: Kurdish vote will sow division in region

Washington, Sep. 30 (IANS): The US announced on Friday that it did not recognize the outcome of the referendum on independence held by the Iraqi Kurdistan region on Monday, a vote that Baghdad and Washington opposed.

"A joint military exercise between Iran's armed forces and units from the Iraqi army will be held in the coming days along the shared border", he said.

Iraq's central government is making preparations for its military to seize control of worldwide borders along the northern Kurdish region in an attempt to isolate the Kurds from other countries.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent troops and tanks to the border with the KRG earlier this week, where they have been joined for joint exercises with Iraqi soldiers.

Prior to the vote, we worked with both the KRG and the central government in Baghdad to pursue a more productive framework and to promote stability and prosperity for the people?of the Kurdistan region.

The issue of borders and territorial control would be a major source of contention if Iraqi Kurdistan made a decision to move forward with independence.

The above-mentioned referendum in northern Iraq had faced sharp opposition from most regional and worldwide actors, fuelling concerns that the poll would further destabilise the Middle East.

Turkey has also condemned the vote, saying it was "unacceptable", and has made threats to stop the supply of oil to the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

Disputed areas between the Kurdish capital Erbil and Baghdad, mainly the oil-rich Kirkuk province, have turned into powder kegs that could go off any moment.

State carrier Qatar Airways was just the latest airline to announce all flights to and from the Kurdish region would be cancelled starting tomorrow.

Iraq's Defence Ministry said on Friday it plans to take control of the borders of the autonomous Kurdistan region in coordination with Iran and Turkey.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi wants the referendum, in which 92% of voters backed secession, to be annulled.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday rejected claims from Turkey that Mossad intervened in the 25 September Kurdish referendum vote.

  • Joey Payne