Kurdish referendum unites Turkey, Iran in preparing for war in Iraq


ERDOGAN ROUHANITraditional Middle East rivals Iran and Turkey have found themselves united of late by their mutual opposition to Kurdish independence in Iraq and common interest in ending the six-year war in Syria, among other leading issues in the region.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke Sunday by phone, expressing major concerns a day before voting opened in the northern Kurdish autonomous region of neighboring Iraq. Monday’s referendum, in which the region’s residents are largely expected to ask for full independence from Baghdad, has been met with widespread criticism from Iraq’s central government, as well as from Iran and Turkey, which have battled insurgencies from their own local Kurdish populations and have taken countermeasures to quell potential instability the vote could bring.

“The two leaders noted that not canceling the referendum will bring with it chaos to the region and they also stressed the great importance which they attach to Iraq’s territorial integrity,” Erdogan’s office said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Turkey had already begun conducting military exercises near its border with Iraq’s majority-Kurd north and even said it launched an airstrike Saturday against militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), who were preparing for an attack on Turkish troops from northern Iraq, Reuters reported. Erdogan threatened Monday to cut oil trade and send Turkish troops to invade the would-be Kurdish state, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported. As polls closed, Turkey and Iraq conducted “large-scale” joint military drills as a show of force, according to the Associated Press.

Shortly after, local media reported that Iran, too, may join the bilateral exercises. Iran launched its own military maneuvers Sunday to mark the 1980 invasion of Iran by the late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the subsequent eight-year war, according to Press TV, the English-language affiliate of the semi-official Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting outlet. The maneuvers have reportedly featured multiple airstrikes along Iraq’s border with Iran.

Iran also closed its border with Iraq’s Kurdish region Sunday and halted all flights there. While the intensity of Iran’s domestic Kurdish insurgency has never reached the level of Turkey’s, Iran also supports majority-Shiite Muslim Iraqi militias known collectively as the Popular Mobilization Forces, or Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi, whose influence and movement would likely be restricted as the result of an independent Kurdish state.

These fighters proved an effective force against the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) after the jihadists took over about half the country in 2014, and they even fought alongside Kurdish forces also battling ISIS. The militias are deeply opposed, however, to an Iraq divided between Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi—an ally of both the U.S. and Iran—in Baghdad and Kurdish Regional Government President Masoud Barzani in Erbil, whose only steady international support has come from Israel, further offending local actors.

These Iran-backed militias retain a presence in disputed areas such as Kirkuk, whose inclusion in Monday’s referendum has made the move even more controversial. As tensions brewed in the days leading up to the referendum, Qais al-Khazali, head of the Popular Mobilization Forces unit Asaib Ahl al-Haq, spoke out against the possibility of a Kurdish state.

“The enemies of Imam Hussein raised the flag of the homosexuals in Erbil at the wishes of the Israelis,” Khazali said Saturday, referencing the seventh-century Islamic figure highly revered by Shiite Muslims for his refusal to pledge allegiance to the Umayyad caliphate, which he considered unjust and illegitimate.

“We will be victorious over anyone who wants to hurt or divide Iraq,” he added, in a speech excerpt provided to Newsweek by Ahmad Majidyar, director of the Middle East Institute’s IranObserved Project.

Iran and Turkey have also increasingly coordinated across the border in Syria, where they back opposing sides in a conflict that’s killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions. Iran, along with Russia, is a supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey backs rebels trying to overthrow him since 2011. Opposition forces, with help from the U.S. and Gulf Arab states as well, made major gains early on in the war, but Assad and his allies have since regained much of what was lost.

A series of Syrian government victories and a rise in jihadist influence among rebel groups alienated international backers from the Syrian opposition and, as the Syrian military took Aleppo late last year, Turkey was forced to come to the table and make a deal with Russia and Iran. These negotiations, based in Astana, have since produced a framework for four de-escalation zones designed to provide refuge for civilians.

As Erdogan wrapped up a trip to Moscow to discuss Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced Monday that Turkey, Iran and Russia would work together to create a new de-escalation zone near the northern city of Afrin, which is under the control of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, a mostly Kurdish alliance of Arabs and ethnic minorities planning their own push for greater autonomy. U.S. support for Kurds, especially in Syria, has angered Turkey, a NATO partner.

“We are now taking joint moves with Iran and Russia to establish a de-escalation zone in the area of the Syrian city of Afrin in the north of the country,” Yildirim said, according to the state-run Tass Russian News Agency.


A map shows areas of control in Syria between August 30, 2017 and September 14, 2017. The Syrian military, backed by Russia and Iran, has retaken large swaths of territory once held by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) and other insurgents, some of which received Turkish support. INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF WAR/REUTERS

Iran and Turkey have united against a third foe, Saudi Arabia. Persian Gulf rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia have been engaged in a proxy war throughout the region for decades. Saudi Arabia cut off relations with Iran completely early last year after Iranian demonstrators outraged by Riyadh’s execution of an influential Shiite Muslim cleric stormed the Saudi Arabian embassy in Iran. It was when Saudi Arabia severed ties with neighboring Qatar earlier this year, however, that Turkey stepped in.

Shortly after President Donald Trump returned from an anti-Iran rally in the oil-rich kingdom, Saudi Arabia and allies Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates announced in June a total boycott of Qatar over alleged ties to both Shiite Muslim groups tied to Iran and ultraconservative Sunni Muslim groups. Qatar denied the charges, leading Turkey and Iran to defy the Saudi-led blockade to deliver aid. Turkey also held military exercises on its only foreign military base, located in Qatar.




34 responses to “Kurdish referendum unites Turkey, Iran in preparing for war in Iraq”

  1. If Kurds need help fighting the invading/terrorist Iranians and Turks, I hope the US and Europe and maybe Israel give them a hand with air power and weapon supplies. Other than that Turk/Iran can mind their own boarders.
    After all, Assad and Iran could never defeat ISIS or rebels without Russian help, Kurds deserve the same consideration to hold out against Islamic extremists also.

    1. The Kurds need no help in fighting the Turkish invaders, it is the responsibility of Bagdad when Turkey enter the Iraqi territory.
      Otherwise, when the Kurds have achieved self-esteem status, then the rules are different.
      I’m convinced that the Kurds will be supported by more states than anyone thought it would be possible.

      In Iraq, minorities pin hopes on a future Kurdish state – Iraqi minorities have been voting for an independent Kurdish state in a bid for stability and peace.
      A Kurdish passport and nationality could improve their situation, they believe.

      1. If Kurds remain secular in their rule and don’t mix Islamic laws with politics like some other neighboring countries, they will do fine.

    2. You hope? Kurdistan is a British project to the core. Not any different than the take over of South Sudan to point missiles at Egypt. This is to point them at Iran.

      Despite the manure spread all over the mainstream media, the Kurds in Iraq are not all on the same boat. The Barzani and Talabani clans are Western-backed totalitarian despots. Let’s not forget what they did to that Yazidi Kurds (who were later saved by the PKK).

      The ethnic cleaning of the land (non-Kurds) began by Barzani right after Desert Storm and accelerated in 2003. Hence the phenomenal increase of votes during tot three votes (1994, 2014 and his week).

      As far as weapons go, the Pentagon approved the purchase of $500M worth of Soviet weapons. Two first hundred trucks reached Syria via Iraq-Kurdistan while ISIS stood by and watched.

  2. It’s what the Kurds have below the sand they walk on that is important to Iran, Turkey and Iraq.

    1. Oh yes, that too. I am sure Iran will make good use of its AQ connections to destabilize Kurdistan.

      1. Would love to see the Kurds independent, but the resistance to that is immense and the timing awful. All three countries have Kurd populations and all three will defy their independence.

        1. Hind Abyad @AbyadHind goes again, this time with a new hate object, the Kurds!

          “There was no Kurdistan before 6,500 years Assyria in Mesopotamia ???? ”

          “Levant is descendants of Arameans. In Maaloula Christian village in Syria, the only place where they speak Aramean,???? the language of Christ.”

          “It’s too stupid for propaganda you crazy anti-Christ caveman. Assyrians are from Mesopotamia where Christianity was born 200 yrs before Rome” said the ‘Christian’….

          Souls sisters are on the rampage….
          Hind Abyad Retweeted
          Partisangirl ???????? @Partisangirl
          “My Facebook Was Deleted After I Exposed Voting Fraud in #KurdistanReferendum”

          1. Hind Abyad Avatar

            Hind Abyad Retweeted
            Partisangirl ???????? @Partisangirl
            “My Facebook Was Deleted After I Exposed Voting Fraud in #KurdistanReferendum”

          2. Hind Abyad Avatar
            Hind Abyad

            Syrian Girl did expose voting fraud in Kurdistan you parasite.

    2. Hind Abyad Avatar
      Hind Abyad

      To Israel

      1. Rudy1947 Avatar

        Is oil specifically attributable to only Israel? Does not the countries I have mentioned have definitive interests in that oil?

  3. Unity is strength. Time to crush the pesky Kurds.

  4. Funny to see Turkey so butt-hurt now when it was part of the 2014 meeting in Jordan with the UK, US, IsraHell, Gulf, Qatar and the Iraqi Kurds to plant Daesh’s invasion of Iraq.

    Goes to show, once again, that there are no friends in geopolitics; only interests.

  5. Funny to see Turkey butt-hurt now when it took part of the 2014 meeting in Jordan with the UK, US, IsraHell, Gulf, Qatar, Barzani’s son and Kerkar (an Islamist flown on a NATO airplane from Norway) to plan Daesh’s invasion of Iraq.

    Goes to show, once again, that there are no friends in geopolitics; only interests.

  6. Russian President Vladimir Putin is traveling to Turkey for talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Turkey’s decision to purchase a Russian-made missile defense system.

    Erdogan announced earlier this month that Turkey had signed accords for the purchase of Russia’s S-400 missiles and may have also paid a deposit.

    Some of Turkey’s NATO allies have expressed concern over Turkey’s decision to purchase Russian technology that is not compatible with systems in the alliance.

  7. As a result of the Kurdish referendum, Turkey stops training of the Peschmerga fighters.

    The NATO partner Turkey is training the Kurdish militiamen.
    But in the fight against the IS-terror militia Peschmerga fighters play an important role.

    The Peschmerga fighters proved to be an effective force against the Islamic State militant group (ISIS).

  8. With such old data – July 15, 2015 12:00 AM EDT, Abyad tries to make today’s Tweet as fresh news https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bbe5b5d42754ecbc60c62e2f0a0160d5694b61b882b1952b636fdd831148defd.jpg

    1. Hind Abyad Avatar

      I can put any date i want you coward parasite.

      “Syria: Kurdish Forces Violating Child Soldier Ban
      Despite Promises, Children Still Fight
      UPDATE: The YPG sent Human Rights Watch this response on July 22, 2015, pledging to “follow up” cases referenced in this report.”

      (Like Israel, they don’t follow international law.)


    2. Hind Abyad Avatar
      Hind Abyad

      Tweets à propos de Niemals@WeltAufgrund:disqus
      Hmm, un fil d’actualités vide. C’est bizarre.

  9. Niemals Avatar

    Iran ‘recruiting’ Afghan children to fight in Syria – HRW

    International, non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a report on Sunday saying Afghan children as young as 14 have fought in the Fatemiyoun division of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The division is made up of Afghan volunteers supported by Iran, fighting with government forces in Syria.
    The HRW research was based on photographs of tombstones in Iranian cemeteries where combatants killed in Syria had been buried. One of the eight graves showed a 14-year-old buried in the martyr’s section of Tehran’s Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery.

    https://twitter.com/jimmurphySF/status/914509896674152449 Rights group Human Rights Watch has accused Iran of recruiting Afghan immigrant children to fight in Syria. Under international law, recruitment of children under age 15 is a war crime.
    (dpa, Human Rights Watch)

  10. Danny Farah Avatar
    Danny Farah

    Not that I care too much for the Kurds autonomy but how Ironic from Turkey and Iran who are advocating a country for the Palestinians and accusing Israel of harassing them. Yet both countries harass the Kurds and don’t want to give them any freedom in a statehood. so why the double standard? why can’t the kurds have their own land? no one wants them. then just let them have their own country and deal with them like a sovereign nations.
    After all the Kurds have suffered a lot from ISIS and Al Qaeda and Iraqis, Syrians, Iranians and everyone else for that matter. So when ISIS didn’t bother turkey and the latter opened the roads for them to even attack the Kurds and facilitated every possible way for them to infiltrate Iraq and Syria. Now Iran and Iraq are friends again? what do March 8th followers have anything to say about it? Lots of B.S. in the middle east not just the west i guess.

    1. Hind Abyad Avatar
      Hind Abyad

      Maybe you should learn about the systematic genocide of Christians in Syria

    2. Niemals Avatar

      It is irrational that Turkey and Iran, advocating a country for the Palestinians, but refuse to accept a country for the Kurds. It is nothing else than double standard.

      The Kurds can not have their own country due to the huge economic losses that Turkey and Iran end up in if they allow Kurdistan to be independent.

      How long Iran and Iraq will remain friends?

      In recent decades, we have seen how Muslim countries formed alliances and then become rivals.
      In January Pakistan’s retired army chief has agreed to become the first commander of the “Muslim Nato”, a fledgling military alliance of mostly Sunni Islamic states led by Saudi Arabia.

      “Iran not OK with Gen Raheel Sharif heading Islamic military alliance” (hindustantimes.com)

      The Arab Federation of Iraq and Jordan was a short-lived country that was formed in 1958 from the union of Iraq and Jordan. Although the name implies a federal structure, it was de facto a confederation.

      Qatar crisis puts Muslim alliances in the spotlight….
      What would happen if Iran-Syria-Iraq formed a union of Shi’ite states in the Middle-East?

    3. A couple important points before addressing your comment:

      • A Kurdistan was supposed to be carved out of Turkey. See 1920 Treaty of Sèvres.

      • The latest referendum election in the KRG was unconstitutional and a fraud.

      Turkey and Iran don’t want an independent Kurdistan because they know the West will use the Kurds (like they always did) to wage more wars. This time, it will be to retry what failed with Daesh: the full destruction and partition of Syria.

      You claim the Kurds suffer from many but somehow ignore that the Kurds made others suffer as well:

      • They pretty much were the butchering hand in the Armenian Genocide and the mass killing of Greeks and Assyrians.

      • Barzani is a long time Anglo-American collaborator (Cold War era) who was put in power after Desert Storm in 1991 to start the ethnic cleaning of present-day KRG. As a result, millions of indigenous people were forcibly displaced.

      • Barzani took part of the 2014 meeting in Jordan along side the UK, US, IsraHell, Turkey, Gulf and Qatar to plan the Daesh invasion of Mosul.

      • When Daesh enslaved the Yazidis, Barzani did nothing. It was the PKK who saved them.

      The many doubts of your comments are all answered by the following: no friends in geopolitics but interests.

      1. Hind Abyad Avatar
        Hind Abyad

        Daniel Joy knows nothing about history past or contemporary.

  11. Hind Abyad Avatar
    Hind Abyad

    Let’s not forget that the Kurds also allowed themselves to be tools of the Turks and Arabs in helping to carry out both the Armenian Genocide and the Assyrian Genocide.

  12. Hind Abyad Avatar
    Hind Abyad

    “It all started in 1914 when the Ottoman government took control of the railway system to only be used for their military. This stopped the procurement of crops to parts of the Ottoman Empire. The first city to be hit by the grain shortage was Beirut.

    This is referred to the Great Famine of Mount Lebanon. It went from 1915 to 1918.
    The Mount Lebanon famine caused the highest fatality rate by population of the entire World War 1.
    50% of our entire population starved to death in just 3 days. Bodies were piled in the streets.

    Only 2 weeks after the Ottoman Empire joined WW1, there was already a severe shortage of wheat and flour in Beirut.The Beirut municipality did everything it could to try to get a train freight of food from Allepo. But this was impossible without paying large bribes to Ottoman military commanders and railroad authorities. They eventually had to pay those bribes for a short time.

    Wondering where this culture of corruption and bribery started from in Lebanon? This is your answer.Dead Are My People”

  13. Hind Abyad Avatar
    Hind Abyad

    “On May 26, 1916, Gibran Khalil Gibran wrote a letter to Mary Haskell which read: “The famine in Mount Lebanon has been planned and instigated by the Turkish government. Already 80,000 have succumbed to starvation and thousands are dying every single day. The same process happened with the Christian Armenians and applied to the Christians in Mount Lebanon.”

    1. Danny Farah Avatar
      Danny Farah

      Another whore.. where was she when the syrian troops were massacring Christians in lebanon? where was she when Arafat was dividing Lebanon and marching with his thugs in Ashrafieh the same town Hind you claim to be. you are full of shit like this bitch you keep showing.

      1. Niemals Avatar

        She claims to be the ‘real Christian’….

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