On Sunday, the Iraqi Federal government asked the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to hand over international border crossings and its airports, according to an official statement of Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
The Iraqi Federal Government also asked foreign countries to stop oil trading with the KRG and to deal with it in matter regarding airports and borders.
Earlier on Sunday, Abadi said in a live speech to the Iraqi people that the Iraqi Federal Government will take “necessary measures” to protect the Iraqi unity.
“To take a unilateral decision affecting the unity of Iraq and its security, and the security of the region, with a referendum on separation is unconstitutional and against civil peace. We will take the necessary measures to preserve the unity of the country,” Abadi said.
Abadi also stressed that the upcoming Kurdistan Region independence referendum on September 25 is “unconstitutional”, and that the Iraqi Federal Government “will not recognize its outcome”. Moreover, Abadi said that Iraq refuses any state that is built on racist or sectarian bases with its borders.
“We will never forsake our Kurdish citizens, their security and welfare. We reject the sectarian, racist state,” Abadi said.
Abadi also stated that the oil in the Kurdistan Region belongs to all Iraqi people and not just individuals or political parties. Furthermore, Abadi criticized the Kurdistan Region for a lack of integrity regarding the oil income.
“Kirkuk’s oil does not belong to individuals or parties, why has the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) not paid people’s salaries … Over 900,000 barrels of oil are sold everyday by the KRG, the Kurdish people must ask where this money is going if not to them,” Said Abadi.
Meanwhile, Kurdistan Region president Masoud Barzani said at a press conference that the “partnership with Iraq is over”. Yet again Barzani confirmed that the Kurdistan Region independence referendum will be held as planned.
Barzani said again that the Kurdistan Region will agree to a post-referendum negotiation with the Iraqi Federal Governed. Barzani attacked the Iraqi government in the same time and said that “it was Baghdad that had declined to accept us [Iraqi Kurds]”.
Barzani statement are very far from the political reality as both the Iraqi Federal Government and the US refused a post-referendum negotiation so far.
In a related development, Iran announced that it halted flights to and from the KRG-held regions in northern Iraq on Sunday in what appears to be a first reaction to the retaliation to the upcoming Kurdistan Region independence referendum.
Turkey, Iraq and Syria will likely take simllier measures in case the KRG declared the independence of the Kurdistan Region in the aftermath of the Kurdistan Region independence referendum. In such case, the Kurdistan Region will likely be put under a large-scale siege.