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Kurdistan

Baghad accuses Kurds of ‘declaration of war’

BAGHDAD: Baghdad said on Sunday that foreign Kurdish forces were present in the province of Kirkuk in what amounted to a "declaration of war", dramatically raising the stakes in its dispute with Iraq's Kurds. Kurdish officials denied Baghdad's claim that forces from Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) were among its peshmerga fighters in an armed standoff with Iraqi troops in the oil-rich province. But the National Security Council headed by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said PKK fighters were among…

Kurds, Iraqi forces in standoff in oil-rich Kirkuk

MARYAM BEIK: Thousands of Iraqi troops were locked in an armed standoff with Kurdish forces in the disputed oil-rich province of Kirkuk as Washington scrambled to avert fighting between its allies in the war against the Islamic State group. The Kurds said Saturday that Baghdad had set a deadline for their forces to surrender positions they took during the fightback against the militants over the past three years. The deadline, originally set for 2:00 am Sunday (2300 GMT Saturday), was extended by 24 hours during a…

Iran puts economic squeeze on Iraqi Kurds

TEHRAN: International pressure mounted on Iraqi Kurdistan Saturday after its controversial independence "yes" vote, with neighbouring Iran announcing joint border drills with Iraq and banning fuel trade with the autonomous region. A day after a cut in foreign air links with the region, Iran's state broadcaster said all transport companies and drivers have been ordered to stop carrying fuel products between Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan "until further notice". Diesel is one of Iran's main exports to the Kurdish region,…

Erdogan sees Israel’s hand in Iraqi Kurdistan vote

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Israel's Mossad intelligence agency played a role in Iraqi Kurdistan's independence vote, proved by the waving of Israeli flags during celebrations of the overwhelming "yes' vote. Ankara fiercely opposed the referendum and has threatened sanctions against the region, reflecting its worries about its own sizeable Kurdish minority. During a televised speech, Erdogan claimed that Turkey had been saddened to see some Iraqi Kurds acclaiming the…

Iran slaps fuel trade embargo on Iraqi Kurdistan

TEHRAN: Iran has embargoed exports and imports of fuel products to and from Iraqi Kurdistan in response to the region's controversial independence referendum, Iranian media reported on Saturday. All transport companies and drivers are ordered to stop carrying fuel products between Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan "until further notice" or face "consequences", the state broadcaster's website reported citing a transport ministry directive. Iraqi Kurds overwhelmingly voted for independence in Monday's non-binding referendum,…

International air ban over Iraqi Kurdistan comes into effect

ERBIL: A ban on international flights to Iraqi Kurdistan, imposed by Iraq’s central government in retaliation for the region’s vote for independence, went into effect at 6:00 pm (1500 GMT) on Friday, Iraqi state TV said. Baghdad had given the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) until 6:00 p.m. to hand over control of its international airports in Erbil and Sulaimaniya to avoid the ban. The KRG said it would not comply. The last international flight from Erbil, the seat of the KRG, took off at about 5:00 pm (1400 GMT),…

Historic independence referendum for Kurdistan underway in Iraq

ARBIL: Iraqi Kurds are to vote in an independence referendum on Monday in defiance of Baghdad which has warned of "measures" to defend Iraq's unity and threatened to deprive their region of lifeline oil revenues. The non-binding vote on the Kurds  long-cherished dream of independence, initiated by veteran leader Massud Barzani, has angered not only the federal government but also neighbouring Turkey and Iran, concerned it could stoke separatist aspirations among their own sizeable Kurdish minorities. A total of 12,072…

Iran launches war games near Iraqi Kurdistan border, Turkey hits militant positions

DUBAI/ISTANBUL: Iranian forces have launched war games in an area near the border with Iraq’s Kurdistan region, Iran’s state media reported on Sunday, a day before a Kurdish independence referendum in the region. Turkey also said on Sunday its aircraft launched airstrikes against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets in northern Iraq’s Gara region on Saturday after spotting militants preparing to attack Turkish military outposts on the border. Iraq’s powerful neighbors, Iran and Turkey, strongly oppose the Kurdish vote…

Kurdish government meets Baghdad officials on eve of independence vote

ERBIL, IRAQ: A delegation from the Kurdistan Regional Government held talks with the Iraqi government in Baghdad on Saturday, two days before a planned referendum on secession from Iraq. “The delegation will discuss the referendum but the referendum is still happening,” said Hoshiyar Zebari, a top adviser to Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani. “We said we would talk to Baghdad before, during and after the referendum.” The KRG has said the vote is intended to give its autonomous territory a legitimate mandate to achieve…