(TFC) – In response to more than 90% of Iraqi Kurds voting in favor of independence through peaceful means, the Iraqi government has issued the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) an ultimatum: hand over control over your airports and control of your borders. The Iraqi government is threatening an air embargo if the Kurds don’t comply with the demand. The move shows exactly how weak Baghdad is. Knowing it can’t force the Kurds to comply militarily on the ground, it’s only option is to threaten civilian air traffic.
The Kurds have until 6:00 pm local time on Friday to comply. They are unlikely to do so.
The Iraqi government has ruled out negotiations. “The referendum will have a negative impact on all of Iraq and the KRG. We will never compromise the unity and sovereignty of Iraq. We will not have any negotiations with regards to the outcome of the referendum,” said Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
The Iraqi Prime Minister’s stance may start a civil war in the country, a war he can’t possibly hope to win without US troops fighting the war for him. Given the US State Department’s opposition to democracy in the country, that may be a possibility.
The Fifth Column spoke with a Kurdish adviser who stated:
Baghdad is hoping for the US to come fight the war for them. US soldiers back in Iraq. We’ve always had a good relationship with US soldiers and have always fought side by side, but the American people should not doubt our resolve.
Turkey, surprisingly, has toned down its rhetoric and stated it would not participate in any embargo. The economic minister said:
“During the crisis with Russia in 2015, the first thing they did was [restrict] trade. They tried to teach a lesson to Turkey through trade. This was very wrong. I wouldn’t find it right to repeat this mistake in the same way [against the KRG].”
Erdogan, Turkey’s President, has engaged in tough talk about the Kurds, and just yesterday said they should give up their bid for freedom, but it appears to just be bravado for his own citizens, although the Turkish government does have a real concern about Kurdish rebels in their own country being emboldened by the Iraqi Kurds.
Canada has indicated it will respect the results of the election. Russia has stated it respects the rights of the Kurds, but encourages Iraqi unity. Syria has indicated it will now consider giving Kurds in Syria autonomy within Syria’s borders. The United States said it was “deeply disappointed” by the Kurds engaging in democracy at all, and repeatedly pressured the Kurds to put off the referendum and stay under Baghdad’s thumb.