17 October 2017
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  • » 09/28/2017, 12.45


    In encircled Kurdistan, celebrations with Vatican, Japanese and Turkish flags (Video)

    Pierre Balanian

    After Iran, tomorrow Turkey will also suspend flights to and from Erbil and Suleymaniyeh. The few available places reach dizzying figures. Kurdish borders controlled by the Iraqi army and Iranian and Turkish soldiers. Syria promises autonomy to the Syrian Kurds.

    Duhok (AsiaNews) Following the referendum on independence, Iraqi Kuridistan faces the growing threat of international isolation. Erbil authorities have just published official primary results: 92.73% of the voters said "yes" to the autonomous state, confirming forecast polls. While the Kurdish population celebrates the vote and President Massud Barzani relaunches dialogue with Baghdad, Turkish jets yesterday a "target" located in Iraqi Kurdistan, killing 13 alleged PAK members (The Kurdish Party of Workers, terrorist "according to Ankara). A first military retaliation, coupled with Erdogan's threats of economic suffocation.

    Below is the report by our AsiaNews correspondent.

    In the face of the increasingly pressing threats of an economic strangulation in Iraqi Kurdistan, hundreds of people took to the streets last night in Duhok to shout in Davud! Davlet! (State! State!) ". A bitter and insinuating criticism for Massoud Barzani, who has been a president of the Autonomous Region for 26 years without the mandate of the last two years, has meant that he did not want to declare independence despite the overwhelming victory of the Referendum on 25 September. As the winds of war blow from all sides, the Kurds challenge this fear with nationalist songs and fireworks. In addition to the Israeli flag now symbolized by foreign support to Kurdistan's independence, the yellow and white flag of the Holy See appeared for the first time. Along with it, other flags of sympathetic supporters for the Kurds including Japan and even a Turkish flag! Turkey is the first among the countries that have decided to punish Kurdistan for a referendum that Turkish President Erdogan has classified as "betrayal".

    As time goes by, Kurdistan's sky gets darker and threatens to become a No-Fly-Zone for a second time but this time at will of the central government of Baghdad. The Iraqi parliament has legislated that, as the constitution says, all land and air borders must return to being under the control of the Customs of the United Iraqi government. Kurdistan has been given a three-day ultimatum to deliver the airports of Erbil and Suleymanieh, subject to the closure of all aerial activity. The ultimatum expires tomorrow at 6pm. Finding seats on flights ahead of the deadline has become difficult as the price of the vacant seats has soared dramatically.

    Iran was among the first to bow to Baghdad. Even before the expiry of the ultimatum, Tehran stopped flights to and from Erbil and Suleymaniyeh. Yesterday afternoon, troops from the Iraqi and Iranian armies trained along the northwestern borders allowing Iraqi soldiers to remain in the Iranian part and take control of all entry and exit from Kurdistan. Tehran yesterday announced that it recognized only the Iraqi government as "the only border control authority" between Kurdistan and Iran. The same, without announcing it, as Turkey leaving the Iraqi soldiers who participated in the 26th joint exercises on the Iraqi Turkish border at the northern border. Ankara also announced that it will interrupt flights to and from Erbil and Suleymanieh starting at 6 pm tomorrow.

    Now the intention of encircling Kurdistan at least economically for now and isolating it from the rest of the world is clear to everyone.

    A week ago, Kurdistan was in a strong position to deal with Baghdad. After supporting the referendum, it is now in a weak position and, too late, is seeking to take timid steps back by allowing the presence of government observers at Erbil and Suleymaniyeh airports, while refusing to deliver them.

    Turkey is threatening to close the oil pipeline through which Kurdistan exports its crude oil, almost to realize Erdogan's promise of "starving the Kurds". These "Turkish threats" have pushed Syria to exploit an unprecedented opportunity. Yesterday, Damascus announced that it was ready to recognize the autonomy of the Syrian Kurds when the war against Daesh ended. For observers, this move seems to be an invitation to Erbil to export at least the gas destined for Russians through the only remaining outlet, from Syria to the Mediterranean.

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    See also

    30/09/2017 11:07:00 IRAQ
    Flights suspended in Kurdistan. Possible UN mediation

    To punish Kurdistan for daring to hold a referendum on independence, all flights to and from Erbil and Suleymaniyeh were canceled yesterday. Iran, Turkey, Qatar, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt adhere to the embargo. To go abroad, there are only overcrowded local flights to Baghdad. Oil trade to Turkey does not stop. Growing Kurdish rage against Iraqi Arabs.

    02/10/2017 12:25:00 IRAQ
    Kerbala, Iraqi Shiites celebrate Ashura in anti-Kurdish key

    The celebrations took place yesterday in the holy city, to remember the killing of Mohammed's grandson. Over 25,000 agents assigned to the security of the faithful. Participants chanted slogans and songs against the Kurdish leader Barzani and the "separatist conspiracy in northern Iraq".

    27/09/2017 15:03:00 IRAQ
    Kurdish referendum: High Christian turnout for free and fair poll. Fears for Turkish response

    High turnout among population, even Christian, and without any force or pressure to vote. AsiaNews source: a vote that calls for a redrawing of regional power balance, after Saddam, extremist violence and Isis. The "courageous dialogue" demanded by the Chaldean patriarch for a political solution. Fears over Erdogan’s “grave” threats.

    21/09/2017 17:11:00 IRAQ
    Kurdistan referendum sparks fear in Christians, Yazides and Turkmen

    Five meters high and two wide the statue was in the center of the city. Since 2003, 90% of Christians have left the city, 300 families remain. The Chaldean Archbishop offers a monument dedicated to all religions.The campaign for the independence of Kurdistan is mounting to push the population to vote "yes" in the referendum. But several Christians are concerned about the tensions with Baghdad and the rise of Kurdish Islamic parties. Yazid and Turkmen threatened. The US proposal to postone the referendum and open three years of negotiations in view of Kurdistan's independence. At least 50,000 troops packed at the border.

    27/09/2017 10:32:00 IRAQ - IRAN - TURKEY
    Barzani: overwhelming victory of "yes" to referendum. Ankara and Tehran against Erbil

    Turnout of 78% out of a total of 5.3 million registered voters. Polls indicate 90% in favor but the official results are still awaited. Baghdad takes control of Kurdistan airports. Erdogan threatens to starve the Kurds and fuels fears of "ethnic conflict." Iran fears "political chaos" and the Kurdish-Israeli alliance. 

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