Srinagar: More than 92% of voters in Iraqi Kurdistan have opted for independence, according to election monitors, in an overwhelming endorsement of a proposed split from Baghdad that has sparked increasing threats of air and land blockades that could be imposed as early as Friday, theguardian reported on Thursday.
The result came after Iraq’s parliament authorised the prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, to send troops into areas disputed between Arabs and Kurds that were contentiously included in the ballot.
Baghdad has threatened to close Kurdish airspace at 6pm (1500 GMT) on Friday and Turkey says it is considering whether to shut its frontier with Kurdistan and impose a trade ban.
But in an attempt to calm ever more heated rhetoric, Abadi appeared to rule out the use of military force, saying on Wednesday: “We don’t want a fight between Iraqi citizens.”
Masoud Barzani, the de facto president of the region’s Kurds, had hoped to use strong support for the poll as political leverage that could eventually help negotiate independence from Iraq. His moves have been met with increasing hostility, raising the prospect of isolation and blockade.
Some Iraqi leaders have warned of military action, particularly over the fate of Kirkuk, and the national parliament approved the use of force as part of a 13-point resolution condemning the referendum.