Iraq’s Kurds vote in independence referendum

Iraqi Kurds began voting in a historic independence referendum on Monday. Iraq’s central government, along with regional and world powers, opposed the vote, which is expected to end in an overwhelming “yes” vote for independence for Iraq’s Kurdish region, although the Kurdish Regional Government’s allies and enemies alike have said they would not recognize the results. The U.S., an ally that helped Kurds secure a self-ruled enclave in northern Iraq in 1991, said the timing of the referendum could disrupt the coalition fighting against the Islamic State just when victory is within reach. Iran and Turkey fear the vote could stoke similar separatist desires among their Kurdish populations.

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