Turkey: Iraq's Kurds Will Pay 'price' for Independence Vote

Turkey: Iraq's Kurds Will Pay 'price' for Independence Vote

"That is the only body that can remove him".

The Iraqi parliament has voted to sack the governor of Kirkuk province amid rising tension ahead of a planned referendum on Kurdish independence.

Slated for September 25, the non-binding referendum will see residents of northern Iraq's Kurdish region vote on whether or not to declare formal independence from Baghdad.

The Arab-led central government in Baghdad strongly opposes efforts by the autonomous Kurdistan Region to secede. A majority voted to remove the governor, MP Husham al-Suhail told Reuters.

McGurk did not provide details of the "alternative plan" but he said he presented it to KRG leaders.

Both the Catalans and Iraq's Kurds have tried to negotiate for more autonomy from their capitals but been rebuffed time and again.

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Erbil - US special envoy to the coalition against ISIS Brett McGurk said on Thursday he was optimistic about the possibility that the Iraqi Kurdish leadership would accept a plan to delay the independence referendum.

He noted that the United States has proposed an "alternative path" to the Kurdistan Region's upcoming independence referendum.

Iraqi lawmakers worry that the referendum will consolidate Kurdish control over several disputed areas, including Kirkuk.

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]".

Critics of the vote include the United States, the European Union and even some members of Iraq's 5.5 million-strong Kurdish minority.

Although American forces were already using the base as an attacking point against Daesh positions, they were ultimately going to use it as a command center to coordinate air and ground operations with the Iraqi armed forces and the Peshmerga in the final battle to free the town of Hawijah, Kalali said.