Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani said on Tuesday that Kurds had voted “yes” to independence in a referendum held in defiance of the government in Baghdad and which had angered their neighbors and their U.S. allies. The Kurds, who have ruled over an autonomous region within Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, consider Monday’s referendum to be an historic step in a generations-old quest for a state of their own. Iraq considers the vote unconstitutional, especially as it was held not only within the Kurdish region itself but also on disputed territory held by Kurds elsewhere in northern Iraq. The United States, major European countries and neighbors Turkey and Iran strongly opposed the decision to hold the referendum, which they described as destabilizing at a time when all sides are still fighting against Islamic State militants.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Iraq.
Iraq: Thousands of attempts to crash e-voting site for Kurdistan referendum “failed,” developer says | Kurdistan24
The company who developed the website for people in the Diaspora to cast their ballot in the Kurdistan Referendum announced it had successfully stopped thousands of attempts to take down the e-voting site. Speaking to Kurdistan 24, Gohdar Jadir Ibrahim, Director of Awrosoft Company, the website developer responsible for the Kurdistan Referendum e-voting portal, confirmed there were hacking attempts to prevent people of the Kurdistan Region in the Diaspora from voting, but that they had “all failed.” “In three days, we received 815,000 visits.
Kurds packed polling stations across northern Iraq on Monday in a historic referendum on independence despite vigorous opposition from the country’s central government as well as regional and world powers. Church bells tolled, and imams implored Kurds over mosque loudspeakers to vote when polls opened across the Kurdish region — a swath of mountains, oil fields and desert that has been run as a semiautonomous enclave for decades. The poll is expected to produce an overwhelming “yes” result that many Kurds see as the culmination of a century-long and bloody struggle for self-determination. Kurdish authorities said that 3.9 million people were eligible to vote and that final results were expected by Thursday.
Thousands of people in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq have cast votes in a referendum billed as a first step towards independence from Baghdad, defying regional demands that the ballot be abandoned and international fears that the outcome could spark violence. As voting stations closed, more than 80% of registered voters had cast ballots in a poll that many felt went beyond the demands of Iraq’s Kurdish north to buttress the cause of Kurds across the region. Leaders in Erbil had tried to confine aspirations to within the Kurdish regional government’s current boundaries in Iraq. However, Iran, Turkey and Baghdad fear the ballot could provide momentum to restive Kurdish movements and potentially destabilise borders elsewhere in the region. Iraq’s parliament on Monday debated a motion to send troops into disputed areas south of Kirkuk that were contentiously included in the referendum.
People in Iraq’s autonomous region of Kurdistan are voting in an independence referendum, amid rising tensions and international opposition. Polls opened at 05:00 GMT with balloting also taking place in the disputed areas between the northern city of Erbil and the capital Baghdad, as well as the oil-rich province of Kirkuk, which is ethnically mixed. The central government in Baghdad, which strongly opposes the referendum, sought control of the region’s international border posts and airports on Sunday, in anticipation of Monday’s vote. Iraq’s government has also called on foreign countries to stop importing oil from the Kurdish region and to deal with them instead.
Relations between the United States and the Iraqi Kurds, strong allies over decades of intermittent war, are on a collision course that weeks of strenuous U.S. efforts have failed to prevent. On Monday, Iraq’s Kurdistan region plans to hold an independence vote that the Trump administration says has already undermined the fight against the Islamic State, threatens next spring’s hoped-for reelection of the current Iraqi government and may ultimately destroy the self-sufficient Kurdish region itself. The rare U.S. inability to sway the Kurds — despite promises of more aid and the quick convening of U.S.- and U.N.-sponsored negotiations with Baghdad over long-standing Kurdish grievances — is a reminder that American influence over even its closest partners in the Middle East has always been limited.
Paul J. Manafort, the former campaign chairman for President Trump who is at the center of investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, is working for allies of the leader of Iraq’s Kurdish region to help administer and promote a referendum on Kurdish independence from Iraq. The United States opposes the referendum, but Mr. Manafort has carved out a long and lucrative career advising foreign clients whose interests have occasionally diverged from American foreign policy. And he has continued soliciting international business even as his past international work has become a focus of the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into ties between Russia and Mr. Trump and his associates, including possible collusion between them to influence the presidential election. In fact, the work for the Kurdish group appears to have been initiated this summer around the time that federal authorities working for Mr. Mueller raided Mr. Manafort’s home in Virginia and informed him that they planned to indict him.
Iraq’s supreme court has ordered the suspension of next week’s referendum on the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan, as legal and political pressure mounted on the Kurds to call off the vote. “The supreme court has issued the order to suspend organising the referendum set for 25 September … until it examines the complaints it has received over this plebiscite being unconstitutional,” it said. Ayas al-Samouk, a court spokesman, said it had received several complaints, as a parliamentary source said at least eight lawmakers had called on the court to intervene on constitutional grounds.
Top Kurdish leadership have decided to refuse the current US-backed alternative to the referendum as it did not “include the necessary guarantees” that can convince the people of Kurdistan to postpone the vote, a statement from the High Referendum Council that is headed by President Masoud Barzani read Sunday night. While it praised the United States, the United Kingdom and the United Nations to have offered to present the alternative, the meeting said that it did not meet their demands. “The process of the referendum will continue because the suggestions that have been presented until now don’t include the necessary guarantees that could meet the satisfaction and conviction of our people,” the statement read as it explained that the Referendum Council assessed the alternative.
A pair of rusted eyeglasses, a grimy antique watch, torn bank notes and old identification cards. These simple items on display at a museum here in northern Iraq, dug from a mass grave of Kurdish tribesmen massacred by Saddam Hussein’s henchmen, help explain why there is little doubt about how Kurds will vote in a referendum this month on independence from Iraq. “How could the international community expect us to be part of Iraq after these crimes?” said Khalat Barzani, who is in charge of the museum that memorializes the deportation and killings of thousands of Kurds in 1983. Even if the outcome is a forgone conclusion — nearly every Kurd holds dear the dream of statehood — the vote in Iraqi Kurdistan represents a historic moment in the Kurds’ generations-long struggle for political independence.