Tuesday, 26 September, 2017

Iraq removes Kirkuk governor from office

Iraq Takes Similar Approach to Separatist Challenge as Spain Israel Supports an Independent State of the Kurds
Andrew Cummings | 15 September, 2017, 00:48

Haider al-Abadi, Iraq's prime minister, requested the removal of Karim as leader of the oil-rich province, said Hussein al-Maliki, Member of Parliament.

Kareem, a Kurd, has made several controversial decisions in Kirkuk, including raising the Kurdish flag in Kirkuk city and supporting the independence referendum of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.

In a recent visit to Turkey, Major General Baqeri said Tehran and Ankara share a common view on the Iraqi Kurds' decision to hold an independence referendum.

The referendum has been opposed by Baghdad because it would threaten the integrity of Iraq and would distract the ongoing fight against the Islamic State by the Iraqi forces.

The non-binding poll set for September 25 faces strong opposition from Turkey as well as from Iran, which fear it will stoke separatist aspirations among their own sizable Kurdish minorities.

He said he has the full backing of his Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, his party's office in the province, and all Kurdish parties.

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The move came after Iraq's parliament voted to remove the governor of Kirkuk, a staunch supporter of Kurdish independence.

The PKK initially aimed to carve out an independent Kurdish state in the southeast although its declared ambitions are now more focused on autonomy and rights.

"He is an elected governor of the council of Kirkuk", said Hoshyar Zebari, a close adviser to Kurdish President Massoud Barzani.

"The escalating tactics this week by the Iraqis are causing a large public backlash, and will strengthen the Kurdish referendum enormously", Zebari said.

Kurdish MPs in Iraq's parliament boycotted Thursday's vote, which produced a majority for the governor's removal, lawmaker Husham al-Suhail told Reuters.

"This referendum is ill-timed and ill-advised, it is not something we can support", he said, regarding the US' backing for the Sep.

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