Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi heads a meeting of the Iraqi National Security in Baghdad on October 9, 2017. It passed a set of new measures against the Kurdistan Region in response to holding the vote on independence last month. Photo: PM media office
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraq has filed a lawsuit through the office of the public prosecutor to put those officials on trial who arranged the independence referendum on September 25 despite the opposition of the Iraqi government and Iraq’s Supreme Court.
It also said that the Region’s multi-billion telecommunication companies should come under the full authority of the Iraqi government, though it already is.
The office of the Iraqi Prime Minister said in a statement that in addition to previous measures taken against Erbil with regard to “the illegitimate referendum,” the government’s National Security decided in its meeting on Monday to pass through new measures.
Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi headed the meeting.
The statement said that they have followed up on the previous measures against the Kurdistan Region, all of which will continue to be in place including the controversial ban on international flights to and from the Kurdistan Region, in order to impose the authority of the federal government on the Kurdistan Region and the disputed or Kurdistani areas where the vote took place.
Iraq has said that they want the Kurdish government to cancel the outcome of the referendum before any talks take place between the two sides, something strongly rejected by Erbil.
Iraq had said earlier on September 24 that they will put those who conduct the Kurdish vote on trial, but today’s meeting said that they have now a “list of names” of “state employees within the Kurdistan Region” who stand accused of holding the referendum. It said they will take “legal measures” against them.
It is not clear whether the lawsuit includes the names of senior Kurdish officials, including President Masoud Barzani, neither is it clear whether it affects Kurdish employees who directly work for the Kurdish government.
The Kurdish election commission that is independent of the Iraqi election commission organized the vote, based on a decree signed by the Kurdish President and backed by the Kurdish parliament.
The new measures stipulate that the “networks of the communication for mobile phones should be under the authority of the federal authority and have to be transferred to Baghdad.”
Kurdistan’s Transport and Communication Minister Mawlud Bawa Murad told Rudaw on September 29 that the telecommunication industry is under the full authority of the Iraqi government, and his ministry has no authority over the Kurdish-owned companies who operate both in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region including the giant Asiacell and Korek Telecom.
Among other measures, Baghdad said that they will continue to investigate the bank accounts of the Kurdish government and those of its officials abroad, in particular with regard to the revenues from oil exports sold to international markets by the Kurdistan Region. It added they will do this in cooperation with the governments of Turkey and Iran, both of which have already said they will cooperate with Baghdad.
The oil-dependent Kurdistan Region exports its oil, estimated to be 650,000 barrels per day, through the Turkish-controlled Ceyhan pipeline.
Iraq has also demanded Turkey and Iran exclusively engage with Baghdad with regard to business matters, including oil exports.
The Kurdish parliament stated last month that Kurdistan has its own National Security Council and therefore disregards the decisions from the Iraqi one per the Iraqi constitution that gives priority to the laws of the Kurdistan Region.