The Iraqi government escalated on Monday against the Kurdistan Region and placed more sanctions in retaliation to the Sept. 25 referendum on independence by officially asking Turkey and Iran to stop all their commercial dealings with Irbil, especially those related to the Region’s oil.
The council’s position, however, came contrary to the positions expressed by some Iraqi officials such as parliament speaker Salim al-Jabouri and both vice presidents Osama al-Nujaifi and Ayad Alawi who had showed softer stances regarding the Kurdistan Region referendum after their visit to Erbil last Sunday.
“My visit was intended to find opportunities for finding a solution to the crisis and initiating dialogue between the concerned parties,” al-Jabouri said at a session of parliament attended by Kurdish lawmakers.
However, chaired by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the Ministerial Council for National Security held a meeting on Monday and renewed its attachment to the unconstitutionality of the Kurdish referendum.
The government’s council said it would continue to implement the punitive measures previously adopted against the Kurdistan region in addition to taking new measures with the aim of reinstalling power in the Region and the disputed areas.
The council would also work on making the federal government control the Kurdistan-based mobile phone companies and to transfer their headquarters to Baghdad.
“The Ministerial Council for National Security issued a decision that all mobile phone networks must be under the federal control and should be moved to Baghdad,” the council said in a statement on Monday.
The council would also follow-up on launching a lawsuit to prosecute state employees in the Kurdistan Region who voted in the Sep. 25 referendum.
It also reviewed special investigation reports of suspected Kurdish officials involved in transferring and depositing oil exports funds in their bank accounts.
Al-Abadi also reiterated his request that Turkey and Iran suspend all commercial transactions with the Kurdistan Region, especially those related to the export of oil.”
Meanwhile, in another sign of tension between Baghdad and Irbil, Rudaw website reported on Monday that al-Abadi did not attend a memorial service for Jalal Talabani, the Kurdish leader who was president of Iraq and secretary general of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), organized by the Iraqi presidency at Rashid Hotel in Baghdad on Monday.
It said Talabani’s son Bafel and several other family members were in Baghdad to attend the service, in addition to Iraqi President Fuad Masum and Vice President Nouri al-Maliki and all political figures, Arab and foreign ambassadors.