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Iraqi Kurdish referendum will go ahead on time

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Significance

The Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) plans to hold the poll in all Kurdish-controlled areas of the country, including territories disputed with Baghdad. Although the vote is described as “binding” future Kurdish governments to pursue secession, in reality it has no direct administrative consequences.

Impacts

  • Fighting could flare at the boundaries between areas controlled by the Kurdish Peshmerga and Shia militias.
  • Iran and Turkey may temporarily close borders and delay investments to signal discomfort with the referendum.
  • Any US attempt to block the referendum would likely fail, but might reduce Washington’s influence in the KRI.
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