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Iraqi gov't announces new measures against Kurdistan region

The Iraqi government on Monday announced new punitive measures against the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan over last month's controversial referendum on independence of the Kurdish region.

A statement by Prime Minister Hader al-Abadi's office said that a government committee for national security headed by Abadi adopted measures with the aim of imposing restrictions on the Kurdish region.

One of the measures by the committee, named Ministerial Council for National Security, would seek to impose control of the federal government over Kurdistan-based mobile phone companies and to transfer their headquarters to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

"The Ministerial Council for National Security issued a decision that all mobile phone networks must be under the federal control and should be moved to Baghdad," the statement said without saying whether the companies' licenses would be withdrawn if they didn't comply.

The measures reiterated Baghdad's call on neighboring Iran and Turkey to halt all trade operations at the border crossings, especially oil exports, with Kurdistan and to exclusively deal with the Iraqi federal government, according to the statement.

Previously, Iraq adopted a number of punitive measures that included suspension of international flights to the Kurdish region and blocked all the border crossings which are outside the control of the federal authorities, and call on the neighboring countries (Turkey and Iran) to help the Iraq in implementing its measures.

On Sept. 27, the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called on the Kurdish regional government to cancel the results of the controversial independence referendum.

"We want Kurdistan region to cancel the outcomes of the referendum if they want to start talks with Baghdad, which must be under the roof of the constitution," Abadi told the lawmakers when attended a parliament session to discuss the crisis with the Kurds.

The independence of Kurdistan is opposed not only by the Iraqi central government, but also by most other countries, because it would threaten the integrity of Iraq and undermine the fight against Islamic State (IS) militants.

Iraq's neighboring countries, especially Turkey, Iran and Syria, fear the Iraqi Kurdish independence move would threaten their territorial integrity, as large population of Kurds live in those countries.

The U.S. has repeatedly warned the Kurds to postpone the referendum, saying such move could derail or confuse the war against IS.

[Source: Xinhua, Baghdad, 09Oct17]

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small logoThis document has been published on 10Oct17 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.