A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Kurdish Referendum is Tomorrow

The Iraqi Central Government has demanded that the Kurdistan Regional Government turn over border positions to the Central Government; Iran has suspended all flights to the KRG; Turkey is increasing its warnings to the Kurds. But despite last-minute efforts to cancel the Referendum, the Kurds seem determined to go ahead with it. The US and most Western countries have warned of the dangers of holding the Referendum. Every country in the region, except Israel, opposes the Referendum. Only Israel is supportive. (Russia is ambivalent.)

But President Barzani has so far refused every entreaty, and it now seems too late to postpone the Referendum. Whether Iraq's Kurds are engaged in a foolish gamble that could ignite a broader conflict, or are about to strike a blow for independence, depends on which side one asks. If the expulsion of ISIS from Mosul raised hope for stabilizing Iraq, the timing of the Referendum suggests Iraq's agony will be prolonged.

1 comment:

David Mack said...

I attended the reception of KRG diplomatic mission Monday night. It was celebratory for the most part, with emphasis on anticipated large majority of Yes votes. Several of those present admitted to nervousness about the U.S.Government position (Won't they come around, just as they did with Israel? asked one.) Rumors of relatively low turnout in Sulaymaniya and opposition of Arabs and Turkmen in Kirkuk were also downers.