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Kurdish Independence Could Spark Civil War

Iraqi Vice President Ayad Allawi fears a civil war within his country if issues regarding the Kurdish independence referendum remain unresolved, according to a new report from AP.

Kurdish officials and Baghdad must solve their issues regarding the disputed territory in peace, especially those related to the Kirkuk oilfield.

Allawi has served as a former prime minister of Iraq, and maintains that any attempts by the Iraqi military to enter Kirkuk could “damage all possibilities for unifying Iraq.”

At the end of September, Kurdistan voted almost unanimously to separate from Iraq and become an independent state. Iraq, Iran, and Turkey are taking a unified stance against Kurdistan’s oil sector after the referendum, according to an earlier report.

Turkey’s Ceyhan port provides an outlet for the Kurdish Kirkuk oil to meet international markets without interference from Baghdad. Erdogan, Tehran, and other members of the international community had censured Erbil for proceeding with the independence referendum as Iraq recovers from a three-year war against the Islamic State (ISIS). The Turkish leader had previously threatened to cut Kirkuk off from Ceyhan, but did not provide details on how such a measure would be carried out.

A day before an historic vote for independent Kurdistan, the central government of Iraq issued a statement calling on “neighboring countries and countries of the world” to stop buying crude oil directly from the KRG and only deal with Baghdad. The United States, the United Kingdom, and their western allies have all warned against a separation from Iraq as the region heals from a three-year war against the Islamic State. 

Kurdistan produces around 600,000 bpd of crude oil, or about 15 percent of Iraq’s total oil output. After the votes were counted, the KRG said that the ‘Yes’ to independence option won at the polls, with 92.73 percent of voters opting to grant Erbil its own regime.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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