Iraq MPs vote to sack Kirkuk governor over Kurdish referendum

Former Kirkuk governor Najim al Din Karim

Almost 200,000 Israeli Jews today are believed to have Kurdish origins, with half of them living in Jerusalem.

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, during a visit to Iraq last month, encouraged the regional government and Baghdad to use dialogue to resolve their issues, and he asked all sides to "keep the focus on maintaining the momentum against [IS]".

Kurdistan Region's High Committee of Referendum announced earlier that the poll will be held on Sept 25.

The Government of Baghdad and the states in the region don't agree with the independence of the Kurds in Iraq, with hundreds of thousands of ethnic Kurds living in Iran, Turkey or Syria, a possible independence of this impressive community will do nothing but encourage other ethnic groups to do the same.

These Israeli expressions of support have apparently raised hopes among Kurds.

Iraq's Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani (L) receives Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul Gheit on September 9, 2017, in Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq.

Israel supports the creation of a Kurdish state.

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"We don't say that Kirkuk only belongs to Kurds", he said.

Iraqi lawmakers today voted to remove Kirkuk Governor Najmiddin Karim from his post following a request by Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi.

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.

Although Israel has official relations with just three Middle Eastern countries - Turkey, Jordan and Egypt - it has long had warm relations with Iraq's Kurds, who are Sunni Muslim, making the official endorsement ahead of the September 25 vote gives the measure added weight.

With the exception of Israel, nearly all Western countries friendly to the Iraqi Kurds have publicly opposed the Kurdish referendum.

Immigrants from Iraq and Kurdistan exit their plane on arrival in Israel, having flown via Tehran, late spring, 1951.

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