Tensions rise as Iraq Kurds defy Baghdad in independence vote

Tensions rise as Iraq Kurds defy Baghdad in independence voteIraq’s Kurds defied widespread opposition to vote Monday in a historic independence referendum, sparking fresh tensions with Baghdad and threats from Turkey while Washington warned it would “increase instability”. The vote in the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq and some disputed areas is non-binding and will not lead automatically to independence, but is seen by the Kurds as a major step towards a long-cherished dream of statehood. Turnout was 72 percent, with 3.3 million of the 4.58 million registered voters taking part, election commission spokesman Shirwan Zirar said late Monday.



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