Maliki: will not tolerate “another Israel” with Kurdistan referendum

Nouri al-Maliki. File photo.

Baghdad ( Iraqi Vice President Nouri al-Maliki has said he will not allow the establishment of “another Israel” north of the country through a referendum on Kurdistan Region’s independence from Iraq.

Following a meeting with U.S. ambassador to Baghdad, Douglas A. Silliman, Maliki said in a statement that the referendum, slated for September 25th has to be “cancelled or postponed for being unconstitutional,” adding that the controversial vote does not serve Iraqis’ or Kurds’ interests.

“We will not allow the establishment of another Israel in northern Iraq,” he said in the statement. He was presumably alluding to Tel Aviv’s open, official support for the anticipated poll.

“I tell you of the threat that surpasses terrorism which is the Zionist enemy and we should all stand on one front against this threat and Israeli political, cultural, economic and media plots,” al-Maliki, a close Iran ally, said in remarks in Tehran early July quoted by Rudaw network.

Kurdistan Region slated a vote on independence from the central government in Baghdad for September 25th, and has, since then, defied calls from Baghdad to postpone the measure. Baghdad’s government has warned against the move repeatedly, with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi warning of an army intervention if a “yes” vote results in violence.

Maliki has been a vocal opponent to the referendum.

Kurdistan gained autonomous governance based on the 2005 constitution, but is still considered a part of Iraq. The region was created in 1970 based on an agreement with the Iraqi government, ending years of conflicts.

Last week, the Iraqi parliament voted against Kurdish secession plans.



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