A Vote of Contention in Iraqi Kurdistan

Sep 26, 2017 | 21:14 GMT

The flag of the Kurdistan Regional Government hangs in a street in Arbil just a few days before the independence referendum.

As soon as the first results of the recent independence referendum trickled in from Iraqi Kurdistan's provinces, the call for full autonomy came in loud and clear.

(CHRIS MCGRATH/Getty Images)

For the past few decades, Iraq's Kurds have maintained a fragile but steady state within a state. Iraqi Kurdistan's relative security and stability -- ensured as they are by the region's own military forces and government institutions -- stood in stark contrast to the rest of Iraq after the U.S. invasion in 2003. The semi-autonomous territory, moreover, has slowly but surely managed to build partnerships with a diverse array of international investors to help protect its latitude to self-govern. But all the while, Iraqi Kurdistan has been, and is, legally a part of Iraq and still nominally subject to the country's federal government in Baghdad. Voters in the region set out to change that on Monday, when the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) went ahead with a contentious referendum on the region's independence. As soon as the first results trickled in from the 27 districts of Iraqi Kurdistan's six provinces -- three...

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