Kurdistan Independence Vote Exposes New Mideast Flashpoint
It’s not “if,” but “when.” That’s how experts see Iraqi Kurdistan’s overwhelming vote for independence on Monday. Kurds have enjoyed autonomy since 1991, and when ISIS conquered large parts of Iraq and government troops fled in 2014, Kurdish peshmerga forces seized the city of Kirkuk along with 40 percent of Iraq’s oil supplies. So it’s clear why officials in Baghdad suspended international flights Friday and are poised to send troops to Kirkuk. Meanwhile Turkey, vehemently opposed to a Kurdish state, may seal the landlocked territory’s only functioning oil export route.