Turkey warns Iraq: Kurdish referendum security threat

Turkey warns Iraq: Kurdish referendum security threat

Turkey warns Iraq: Kurdish referendum security threat

Western officials have once again pressed on Kurdish leaders to cancel the 25 September independence referendum by threatening not to grant global legitimacy to the elections. The Islamic State group, through its Amaq news agency, claimed responsibility.

The Iraqi parliament earlier this week voted against plans by leaders of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq to hold the non-binding September 25 referendum.

Already in financial trouble due to waste and low oil prices, Kurdistan - like the rest of Iraq - relies on Baghdad for its share of the oil budget, giving the central government significant leverage.

Mohammed al-Karboli, another Arab lawmaker, said Karim "threatens the country's unity and civil peace in Kirkuk". The governor has the right to appeal the decision, al-Karboli added.

Several lawmakers from Kurdistan's main political parties expressed support for the referendum as they addressed the parliamentary session on Friday.

"We, from the KDP, believe that except for independence, there is no other way to give the people of Kurdistan a guarantee that genocide will never be repeated", he added.

"If they have a stronger alternative to the referendum, the Kurdish leadership will look at it, but if they want to postpone the vote with no alternatives, we won't", Barzani said on Thursday.

"There's an alternative on the table". The party is for independence at the right time, but says the Kurdistan region should first put its domestic house in order and pass reforms before striving for independence.

The referendum is planned to be held in Kurdistan and disputed areas including the oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

The parliament reconvened on Friday in Erbil, the seat of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq. It has its own parliament and armed forces, flies its own flag, and has been a close US ally against IS and other militant groups.

Under this plan, a well-placed source told AFP, the worldwide community will oversee negotiations on revenue sharing in Iraq's oil budget and payment for Kurdish militia fighters.

"They were very unlikely to accept a deal unless the deal had some kind of iron-clad specificity and global guarantee", said Michael Knights, an Iraq expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. That was followed by two suicide bombers, including one driving an explosives-laden auto, he added.

Turkey and Iran are against the referendum over concerns it could have a knock-on effect on their Kurdish minorities.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said later in a statement it condemned the attack.

The statement warned the independence vote could distract from efforts to defeat the Islamic State terror group (IS).

Shiite Muslim-dominate Thi Qar is located about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad.

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