On September 17, Vice President of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki said in an official statement that Baghdad will not tolerate the creation of “another Israel” in northern Iraq through the upcoming Kurdistan Region independence referendum.
The statement was released after a meeting between al-Maliki and US Ambassador to Iraq Douglas A. Silliman.
“We will not allow the creation of the second Israel in northern Iraq,” the statement quoted Maliki as saying to the US ambassador.
Furthermore, al-Maliki warned that the referendum will have “dangerous consequences for the security, sovereignty and unity of Iraq”. Al-Maliki also said that the Kurdistan Region independence referendum should be “cancelled or postponed for being unconstitutional”.
In the end of his statement al-Maliki called the wise in Kurdistan and Iraq, and the Iraqi Government and Parliament to take immediate measures to “avoid this dangerous development [refereeing to the Kurdistan Region independence referendum] in order to protect the unity, integrity and interests of all Iraqis and the sovereignty of their country”.
Al-Maliki is one of the most influential political leaders of Iraq. Moreover, al-Maliki is considered Iran’s man in Iraq, and he is very close to the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), the largest armed force in the country.
Earlier, Iran announced that it will close the border with Iraqi Kurdistan if it proclaims independence.