Kurdish President Masoud Barzani waves at a rally for the Kurdish independence in Erbil on September 22, 2017 where an estimated 40,000 people expressed their support for leaving Iraq. Photo: Jamal Yad
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has not ruled out Iraqi courts issuing an arrest warrant for Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani for holding the referendum despite the opposition of the federal government.
Iraq’s National Security Council, under the authority of Abadi, stated on Monday it had put together 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 through the office of the public prosecutor.
Asked whether Baghdad will now issue an arrest warrant for Barzani, who called for the vote, Abadi said “some names were mentioned within that frame… we are awaiting legal procedures in this regard.”
He warned that some Kurdish officials could face problems travelling through Iraqi airports. Under a flight ban imposed by Baghdad in response to the referendum, on domestic flights are permitted to fly in and out of the Kurdistan Region. Abadi said that every Kurdish citizen is welcome to use Iraq’s airports.
Falah Mustafa, the head of Kurdistan’s foreign relations, had earlier said they are not committed to decisions of the Iraqi judiciary because they do not think it is an independent institution.