Iraqi Kurds slaughter a calf, Iranian Kurdish representatives pessimistic, Israelis cheer


September 25th, 2017 – Fort Russ News –

– Al Mayadeen – –  translated by Samer Hussein

On Monday morning, polling stations have opened in the Kurdistan autonomous province of Iraq where some 5 million voters will be able to cast their votes in referendum on Kurdistan’s secession from Iraq.

Voting is already in the full swing in the provincial capital city of Erbil, as well as in Sulaymaniyah, the second largest city in the province.

In the city of Kirkuk, the most disputed area between the Kurdish separatists and the central government of Baghdad, the increasing number mosque preachers were spotted asking the people to cast their votes and vote in favour of the referendum.

In Khanaqin, one of the disputed areas of Diyala province, located northeast of Baghdad, voters rushed to the polling stations inside a school.

The final results are expected be announced within the next 72 hours.

In front of one of the central polling stations in downtown Erbil, voters slaughtered a calf to express their joy of the occasion.

The referendum is held amid the strong Iraqi, regional and international opposition.

So far, the only country that has officially supported the referendum is Israel.

As of yesterday, Iran has begun amassing its troops on the border with the Iraqi Kurdistan province, in addition to having closed its airspace for Kurdistan. 

Iraqi sources said that large numbers of Kurdish Peshmerga forces were dispatched from Erbil and headed to the city of Kirkuk.

In today’s referendum, the voters are able to answer “yes” or “no” to the question of should the Kurdistan province and the Kurdish-majority regions outside of the administration borders of the province become an independent state?

Meanwhile, The Kurdish deputies in the Iranian Shura Council issued a statement in support of the Iranian position on the issue of referendum on the secession of the Kurdistan province of Iraq, saying that the referendum is in favour of Israel.

The Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi stressed that it is not possible to continue to impose the status quo by force in the Kurdistan province because it will fail.

In his speech, Abadi assured there will be further steps to protect the unity of Iraq, pointing out that the status quo is unacceptable.

For his part,the President of the Kurdistan province of Iraq, Massoud Barzani said that ultimately Iraqi authorities will have to accept the status quo as they did in the past.

Barzani stressed that referendum will be executed in accordance with its full schedule, stressing that, according to past experiences, his regime can no longer tolerate what he described as “a failed partnership with Baghdad.”

“Judging by our past experiences, we can no longer continue our partnership with Baghdad. Our partnership ended due to failure of  Baghdad of not being able to apply the Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution, which was supposed to be implemented by 2007”, Barzani said, adding that his Peshmerga forces never got any financial resources or the weapons from Baghdad.

For his part, the Iraqi President Fuad Masoum, called on political leaders in Erbil and Baghdad to avoid escalation and return to dialogue.

He reiterated the infallibility of the priority of the principles of the Constitution and the support of the International Council, calling on both parties to reconcile and continue to build the country.

In turn, Speaker of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, Salim Al Jubouri, said that the unity of Iraq is the top priority and will never be abandoned.

Jubouri made a final appeal to preserve Iraq’s territorial integrity and the unity of its people. He pointed out that the wrong policies generated a state of congestion and led to the situation the country is in today.

He also stressed that most of the Kurdish deputies vowed to maintain the unity of Iraq.

The head of the Popular Mobilization Units, Iraq’s largest anti-ISIS paramilitary group, Faleh Al Fayadh, said in an interview with Al Iraqiya channel that misjudgment on the issue of the Kurdistan province of Iraq is a historical mistake which will not be forgiven, stressing that those who staged the referendum will bear its negative consequences, adding that while it is possible to make some constitutional reforms, neither of them can be achieved by force.

In the wake of the referendum, the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made two phone calls, the first one to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the second one Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi. Both men agreed with him on preserving the unity of Iraq.

Meanwhile in Israel, dozens of Israeli citizens of Kurdish background gathered outside the building of the General Consulate of the United States in Jerusalem, and expressed their support for the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in Iraq. The demonstrators expressed their support for the referendum on the secession of Kurdistan, saying that the Kurdish people have “suffered enough.”

The US Embassy in Iraq has warned its citizens currently staying in the country of the possible escalation of violence due to referendum taking place.

For its part, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said it will do everything in its power in accordance with the international law, should the referendum succeed, noting that it does not recognize the referendum and will consider its result invalid.

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