The Referendum Backlash Begins
On the main page, I sum up the pitfalls of the Kurdish referendum:
If the referendum triggers new armed conflicts in Iraq, the people living in Kurdistan will be the main losers. A region that is already wracked by war and instability may have to endure another multi-sided conflict for years to come.
Unfortunately, the news over the weekend and today suggests that hostile reactions are going to be every bit as dangerous as I have feared they could be. Turkish military intervention looms:
BREAKING: Turkey's Erdogan denounces Iraqi Kurds' vote, says Turkish army is at Iraqi border, ready to take "necessary steps."
— The Associated Press (@AP) September 25, 2017
The Iraqi government announced Iran’s full support for its position:
PM Al-Abadi receives call from President @HassanRouhani offering Iran’s full support to Iraqi government in maintaining unity of Iraq
— Haider Al-Abadi (@HaiderAlAbadi) September 24, 2017
None of this should come as a shock, since all of these governments have been warning very loudly and publicly that this is how they planned to react if the vote went ahead. These responses to a referendum may seem excessive and even absurd, but it tells us how intensely hostile all of these governments are to the mere idea of a Kurdish state. If they are already prepared to go this far to protest a vote, how much worse would their reaction to the creation of a new state be?