Iraqi Supreme Court Suspends Kurdish Vote

Turkey Iraq Iran's united front on Kurdish referendum

No one doubts the Kurds are playing with fire but statements this week from Kurdish leaders suggest they will be highly cautious on how they proceed after the vote, including avoiding a formal declaration of independence. Erdogan did not spell out what sanctions Turkey might be considering, but truck drivers waiting at Habur on Wednesday said they feared for their livelihoods if cross-border trade, crucial to the local economy, dries up.

The state leader also added that Turkey will adopt all necessary measures in terms of countering by similar "Kurdish" action in Turkey.

In addition, the neighboring countries of Turkey, Iran and Syria see that such a step would threaten their territorial integrity, as larger populations of Kurds live in those countries.

Turkey held military drills on the Iraqi border on Monday.

Iraq's Kurds have defied the Baghdad government by independently selling oil from disputed Kirkuk Province via Turkey.

Instead, Nauert urged Kurdish leaders to "accept the alternative" of engaging in negotiations with Baghdad, which would be facilitated by the USA, the United Nations (UN) and other partners.

Despite that certain major regional powers announced postponing the referendum, Vahram Petrosyan said Iraqi Kurdistan has no plans to delay it for even 5 minutes.

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The ministers called the planned vote "unconstitutional", saying it ran the risk of provoking new conflicts in the region, and would "not be beneficial" for the Kurds of Iraq.

"If a Kirkuk citizen is exposed to danger, it's our legitimate duty to impose security", he said.

Analysts, however, told AFP that this would not be enough at this stage to convince Barzani to hold off on an independence vote in which he has invested much of his domestic political capital.

Iran-backed Iraqi Shia militias have threatened to dislodged the peshmerga from Kirkuk should the Kurds proceed with the vote.

The military strength of the Kurds will be another factor shaping the response to the vote by Iran - and Baghdad's. But it has also worked to build support for independence from think tanks and scholars who might be willing to vouch for the referendum's fairness, and use it to win bipartisan support in Washington for Kurdish independence, according to people familiar with the outreach.

Former deputy military chief of staff Yair Golan said he liked the "idea of independent Kurdistan".

However, he conceded the government does not have reliable figures for shipments from the country's Kurdish region, which reportedly accounts for around a 10th of the nation's total production.

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