Earlier this week, Kurds in Iraq voted in a non-binding referendum to move toward establishing an independent Kurdish state with the idea of merging Kurdish regions spread over many countries, presumably based on the “Kurdistan” region in Iraq where the group operates autonomously. However, the Kurds aren’t exactly being supported in their independence effort, as other powers in the region fear breakaways from their own repressed ethnic groups and, especially, because the Kurds in Iraq have vast oil reserves that Baghdad is not exactly jumping to give up.
Further raining on the Kurds’ parade, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced Friday that the U.S. didn’t recognize the results of the referendum and officially stood by a united Iraqi government.
“The United States does not recognize the Kurdistan Regional Government’s unilateral referendum held on Monday. The vote and the results lack legitimacy and we continue to support a united, federal, democratic, and prosperous Iraq,” Tillerson said.
“We urge calm and an end to vocal recriminations and threats of reciprocal actions,” he added.
In response to the referendum, Turkey is considering ceasing oil purchases from the Kurdish Regional Government and impose economic sanctions on the Kurdish region of Iraq.