Iraq MPs sack Kirkuk governor over Kurd independence vote

Katrina Barker
September 15, 2017

Kurds are due to hold a non-binding referendum on 25 September on whether or not to declare formal independence from Baghdad. The delegation is concerned that the timing of the vote could disrupt the coalition's drive against Islamic State.

"I will stay in office", he told Reuters.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday backed the Kurds' aspirations for a state of their own, without specifically referring to northern Iraq.

At the same time, the fragile relationship between Israel and Turkey could be strained over Israel's support for Kurdish independence.

Since the KRG announced its plan to hold the referendum, most Western powers, including the United States and European Union, have voiced concerns that the poll could ignite a new round of conflict between Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan, threatening regional stability and distracting from the fight against terrorism.

Ankara has in recent years forged strong ties with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq but is extremely wary of any move towards independence by the region.

"He (Kareem) is an elected governor of the council of Kirkuk", said Hoshyar Zebari, a close adviser to President Barzani.

Kirkuk - a province contested by Baghdad and autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan and home to diverse communities, including Arabs and Turkmen - decided at the end of August to take part in the controversial referendum.

Karim said the US Envoy encouraged him to keep calm after the today's vote to remove him.

"The escalating tactics this week by the Iraqis are causing a large public backlash, and will strengthen the Kurdish referendum enormously", Zebari said. He explained that the law for the Iraqi provincial election passed in 2008 stipulated that Kirkuk, unlike the rest of the Iraqi provinces, would not come under the authority of the office of the Iraqi Prime Minister.

Suhail gave no details about what Kareem was accused of and Kareem himself said he had not been informed.

"We remain in our place, we are doing our work, and we are doing preparation for the referendum." the defiant governor said.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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