What is at stake in Iraqi Kurdish vote for independence?

Michael Knights writes: On 25 September, the residents of Kurdish-controlled areas inside Iraq will have the opportunity to vote in a referendum on their preference for the future of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), a semi-autonomous region within Iraq’s current borders.

The referendum ballot asks: “Do you want the Kurdistan region and the Kurdistani areas outside the region’s administration to become an independent state?”

Being that the majority of voters in the balloted areas are ethnic Kurds with a strong history of seeking self-determination, the result will almost certainly be a Yes.

However, no matter what the residents of Kurdish-controlled areas decide, the referendum has no immediate administrative effects.
There is no mechanism for a part of Iraq to secede from the country, so the referendum will not trigger a “Kexit” the same way that the recent UK referendum on whether to stay in or leave the European Union triggered “Brexit”.

One may well ask, why then are they holding a vote and why now? [Continue reading…]

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