Iraq: Force pos­si­ble if Kur­dish vot­ing turns vi­o­lent

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Sunday) - - WORLD - By Su­san­nah George and Qas­sim Abdul-Zahra

BAGH­DAD — Iraq is pre­pared to in­ter­vene mil­i­tar­ily if the Kur­dish re­gion’s planned in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum re­sults in vi­o­lence, Prime Min­is­ter Haider al-Abadi saind in an in­ter­view Satur­day.

If the Iraqi pop­u­la­tion is “threat­ened by the use of force out­side the law, then we will in­ter­vene mil­i­tar­ily,” he said.

Iraq’s Kur­dish re­gion plans to hold the ref­er­en­dum on sup­port for in­de­pen­dence from Iraq on Sept. 25 in three gov­er­norates that make up their au­ton­o­mous re­gion, and in dis­puted ar­eas con­trolled by Kur­dish forces but which are claimed by Bagh­dad.

“If you chal­lenge the con­sti­tu­tion and if you chal­lenge the borders of Iraq and the borders of the re­gion, this is a pub­lic in­vi­ta­tion to the coun­tries in the re­gion to vi­o­late Iraqi borders as well, which is a very dan­ger­ous es­ca­la­tion,” al-Abadi said.

The lead­ers of Iraq’s Kur­dish re­gion have said they hope the ref­er­en­dum will push Bagh­dad to the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble and cre­ate a path for in­de­pen­dence. Al-Abadi, how­ever, said such ne­go­ti­a­tions would be com­pli­cated by the ref­er­en­dum.

“It will make it harder and more dif­fi­cult,” he said, but added, “I will never close the door to ne­go­ti­a­tions. Ne­go­ti­a­tions are al­ways pos­si­ble.”

Iraq’s Kurds have come un­der in­creas­ing pres­sure to call off the vote from re­gional pow­ers and the United States, a key ally.

In a state­ment re­leased late Fri­day night the White House called for the Kur­dish re­gion to aban­don the ref­er­en­dum “and en­ter into se­ri­ous and sus­tained di­a­logue with Bagh­dad.”

Haider al-Abadi

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.