Iraqi Government Seeks To Control Kurdistan Mobile Communications Network

Iraqi Government Seeks To Control Kurdistan Mobile Communications Network

 The Iraqi National Security Council passed, on Monday (October 9), a resolution to put the mobile communications network in the Kurdistan region under Baghdad control.

This is yet another measure meant as retaliation against the independence referendum held by the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq on September 25.

According to a statement from the Iraqi PM office, the Iraqi government will continue implementing measures taken against the independence referendum “to restore the federal authority in the region and the disputed areas.”

Baghdad also renewed a request urging Iran and Turkey to close their border crossings with the Kurdistan Region.

“Baghdad wants Turkey and Iran to stop all commercial transactions, especially over the export and import of oil with the Kurdistan region,” the office of PM Haidar al-Abadi said.

An international ban on air travel to the Kurdistan Region went into effect on September 29 in retaliation against a vote for independence.  All foreign airlines suspended flights to and from Erbil and Sulaimani, obeying a notice from the government in Baghdad, which controls Iraqi air space. Domestic flights are still allowed, so travelers are expected to travel to Kurdistan mostly via Baghdad's airport, which will likely come under strain from the extra traffic.

The Iranian government also shut the country’s airspace towards the Kurdistan Region one day ahead of the Kurdish referendum at the request of the Iraqi government, in response to the referendum.

Turkey, who has already threatened economic sanctions and a military response to any security challenges posed by the referendum result in neighboring northern Iraq, has also maintained a drumbeat of opposition to the Kurdish vote.

Kurds overwhelmingly backed independence in a referendum on Monday (September 25), defying neighboring countries who fear the vote could lead to renewed conflict in the region.