Kurds’ independence vote vexes Iraq
BAGHDAD — Iraq is prepared to intervene militarily if the Kurdish region’s planned independence referendum results in violence, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told The Associated Press in an exclusive 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, ” al-Abadi said.
The leaders of Iraq’s Kurdish region have said they hope the referendum will push Baghdad to come to the negotiating table and create a path for independence. However, al-Abadi said such negotiations would likely be complicated by the referendum vote.