The referendum of the Kurdistan region produced a very interesting formula which is the Turkish-Iranian-Iraqi alliance and coordination at the diplomatic level of “the presidency of three-states” and at the military-security level “through their high-level military visits.” In Iran, Qassem Soleimani and the IRGC were conducting military operations outside Iran Which were monitored through all the media, but this matter was highly changed after the declaration of Massoud Barzani, President of the Kurdistan region of Iraq to hold a referendum on 25th of the last September , we saw the chiefs of staff of the Turkish , Iranian and Iraqi armies held a military meeting to discuss the referendum of Kurdistan noting that after hosting Ankara the Iranian chief of Staff Mohammad Baqari on August 15, the Turkish chief of Staff, Khulosi Akkar, met with Iraqi Chief of Staff Osman al-Ghanmi on the last September 23.
The matter was not limited at this level only but military Turkish Iranian maneuvers were taken place on the borders of KRG , On September 18, the Turkish military said that the armed forces had begun military exercises on the border with Iraq a week before a referendum on the independence of the Kurdistan region. Turkish Prime Minister Ben Ali Yildirm said at that time that the referendum scheduled for 25 September was a matter of national security and warned that Turkey would take the necessary steps towards it. On 24 September, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards carried out ground maneuvers near the border with the Kurdistan region of Iraq and Turkey. Infantry, artillery, rocket units and rapid intervention forces participated in the exercises. Hamza’s headquarter is effectively responsible for securing the north-western border, as well as for military operations against Kurdish militants. The Headquarters has already entered into armed confrontations with Kurdish groups. In this context, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasimi described the referendum as a strategic error that threatens the security and stability of Iraq and leads the region to chaos and division. He said that insisting on holding the referendum contradicts the political process in Iraq and undermines all the efforts exerted to fight terrorism in the region. He added that the referendum threatens the entire political process in a country with an emerging democracy. The Iranian official warned that the secession of Iraqi Kurdistan would be like a disaster in the region. He said that this leads to the division and fragmentation of countries in the Middle East, which puts the fate of the Kurds of Iraq and the rest of the peoples of the region in the heart of a crisis that will harm everyone.
As part of the escalation of political positions against the Kurdistan region of Iraq, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited yesterday and met with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rowhani, during which he also met Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Erdogan said during a press conference with Iranian President Hassan Rowhani, “I think that the fate of the administration of northern Iraq is the isolation, and the determination of Turkey and Iran on their common position in this regard is clear.” He added: “From now and on we will talk with the Iraqi central government, and added that the referendum is definitely illegal “and Ruhani stressed that the two countries will work to confront the disintegration of Iraq and Syria to calm the tension in the region.” We want security and stability in the Middle East. Referendum for the independence of Iraq’s Kurdistan is a separatist plot in which the foreign countries stand behind it and opposed by Ankara and Tehran. “It is clear from these military exercises and military and diplomatic meetings that Iran is using all its capabilities as a state to stand against the results of the referendum. The same applies to Iraq and Turkey.
The timing of a referendum was not welcomed by the superpowers and the big ones in the international group, so they called on the Kurdish leadership to postpone its date and not cancel it until the maturity of the objective circumstances for its conduct , but the Kurdish leadership insisted on conducting it on schedule. This led to several quick results: the referendum showed the KRG with appearance of weakness through the actions taken by neighboring countries noting that the economic growth of the Kurdistan region passes through Iran, Turkey and Iraq, and these countries collectively reject the referendum, the Region has no contact with the outside world except through them. Second: the referendum was embarrassed the great and super powers allied to the Kurdistan region of Iraq, where the Kurdish leaders have been told that this is not the proper time to hold the referendum, the priority now lies in the final elimination of the terrorist organization ISIS . Thirdly, this referendum brings closer to the extent that it harmonized the positions of Turkey, Iran and Iraq that reject the referendum. These countries are “Turkey on the one hand, Iran and Iraq on the other.” As everyone knows, their relations – before the referendum are characterized with tense because as a result of their contradictory political positions on a number of regional issues. The three countries have overcome their differences and focused on the failure of the Iraqi Kurdish endeavor to secede. It is remarkable that no small or large country in the international community can criticize any political realism aimed at preserving the national security of these countries and maintaining the integrity of the territory through their rejection of the Kurdish referendum. The referendum has turned these countries, especially Turkey and Iran, to two enemy states for the Kurdistan region of Iraq after they had good political and economic relations with it.
Fourth: Kurdish parties rejected the referendum process, including the Movement of al-Taghier (CORAN), which issued a statement on October 3 stating that the internal and external conditions are not suitable for holding the referendum. And called for responding to the initiatives of the international community and the United Nations to facilitate dialogue and mediation between Kurdistan and Baghdad. For its part, a member of the Political Bureau of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Hero Ibrahim Ahmed, launched an attack on the President of the Kurdistan region of Iraq Massoud Barzani, refusing to form a political council in Kurdistan to deal with the results of the referendum. Hiro Ibrahim Ahmed, wife of the late Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said that the citizens of Kurdistan pay the price for the challenge of the Kurdish leadership by holding a referendum. She added in a statement that Major countries such as the United States, Britain, Russia, China and neighboring countries have called for the referendum not to be held at the moment and offered solutions to the problem, but the Kurdish leadership challenged the world, and described the formation of a council of political leadership in Iraqi Kurdistan by the Kurdish leadership as a big mistake, and she is not with that leadership in any way. Bottom line is that this referendum contributed to the harmony of the regional players against the aspirations of the Kurdistan region.
Iraqi Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies