IRAQ SAYS FORCE OPTION IF KURD VOTE VIOLENT
BAGHDAD» Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-abadi says he’s prepared to intervene militarily if the Kurdish region’s planned independence referendum results in violence.
In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press on Saturday, Al-abadi says if the Iraqi population is “threatened by the use of force outside the law, then we will intervene militarily.”
Al-abadi called the vote “a dangerous escalation” that will invite violations of Iraq’s sovereignty.
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 claimed by Baghdad.
U.s.-backed forces hit by Russian planes. BEIRUT» The U.s.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Syria said Saturday that its partner forces have been attacked by Russian warplanes, escalating tensions on one of the country’s most complex and contested battlefields.
The coalition said in a statement that an early morning airstrike targeted positions used by the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, a Kurdishdominated militia backed by Washington, as well as the international advisers supporting them in a weeks-old offensive to dislodge Islamic State militants from the eastern province of Deir al-zour.
As the Islamic State loses territory across Syria and Iraq, oil-rich Deir al-zour has become a hub for the group’s senior leaders.
It has also emerged as a geopolitical battleground for forces trying to support or thwart Iranian attempts to secure supply routes stretching from Beirut to Tehran.
Catalonian mayors show unity.
More than 700 mayors from Catalonia met Saturday in Barcelona in a show of strength amid pressure from Spain’s central government not to hold an independence referendum for the northeastern region.
Political tensions in Spain are increasing as the proposed voting date of Oct. 1 nears. The Catalan government has been scrambling to push forward the vote, despite the central government’s warnings that local municipalities are not allowed to use public buildings for it and mayors can be legally prosecuted for it.
New elections in Iceland likely Nov. 4.
Iceland’s president on Saturday accepted the resignation of the volcanic island’s prime minister, who says a new election mostly likely will be held on Nov. 4.
Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson lost his ninemonth-old, center-right coalition after one party quit over an attempt by the prime minister’s father to help clear the name of a convicted pedophile.
President Gudni Th. Johannesson met Saturday with Benediktsson and was meeting with other party leaders later.
A small centrist party, Bright Future, quit the ruling coalition Friday after it emerged that Benediktsson’s father had written a letter urging a pardon for Hjalti Sigurjon Hauksson, who was convicted in 2004 of raping his stepdaughter almost every day for 12 years.
British canoeist missing in jungle. PAULO» Brazilian
SAO navy patrol boats and helicopters are searching for a British woman reported missing while canoeing on the Solimoes River in the northern jungle state of Amazonas.
The navy says in a statement that the 43-year-old woman was between the cities of Codajas and Coari when she activated an emergency locator Sept. 13. The navy did not identify the woman.