On September 27, Egypt, UAE, Jordan, Turkey, Iran and Lebanon main airways announced that they will suspend all of their flights to Erbil Airport in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.
The step came after the Iraqi Civil Aviation Committee requested all countries and airway to suspend their flights to any airport in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.
Flights from the six countries to the Kurdistan Region are expected to fully stop within 2-4 days. The decision will for sure have a major impact on the economy of the Kurdistan Region especially that most flights to Erbil are from these six countries.
It’s also expected that many other countries will suspend their flights in the coming days, if the Kurdistan Region crisis is not solved. The Iraqi Federal Government could try to impose a No-Fly zone over the Kurdistan Region, and order the Iraqi Air Force to forbid any flight from landing in Erbil Airport if the crisis goes on.
Earlier, the Kurdish Region Government (KRG) rejected the order from the Iraqi Federal Government to hand over all international airports to it. The KRG even described the Iraqi Federal Government order as “illegal”.
Civilians can still travel from and to the Kurdistan Region as all roads to the region are still open. Moreover, Iran and Turkey border crossings with the Kurdistan Region are still open for civilians.
However, it is believed that Iraq Federal Government, Turkey and Iran might step up their measures against the KRG, and fully close the borders with it if the KRG pushes its Kurdistan Region independence project. Such development will mean that the Kurdistan Region will be under a siege from all sides.
On September 27, Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Major general Mohammad Bagheri told reporters after a meeting with his Iraqi counterpart General Othman al-Ghanmi in the Iraqi capital Baghdad that Iran will never recognize an independent Kurdish state in Iraq.
Maj. Gen. Bagheri also said that “Iran is ready to support the control of the Iraqi government on the joint border between the two countries”.
Maj. Gen. Bagheri statements from Baghdad confirms that the Iraqi Federal Government and other regional powers like Iran and Turkey are more than willing to work together to kill the Kurdistan Region independence project.