Iraq’s prime minister Haider Al-Abadi has been “given mandate” to deploy troops in the disputed oil region of Kirkuk.
The Iraqi parliament unanimously adopted a resolution which demands that the countrys Prime Minister re-deploy forces in all areas disputed with Kurdistan including Kirkuk.
It follows a Kurdistan independence referendum in which the majority of Kurds voted “yes,” according to Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani. The vote has been deemed illegal and “unconstitutional” by Baghdad.
Kurds voted in large numbers in northern Iraq on Monday, ignoring pressure not only from Baghdad, but warnings from Turkey and Iran and others that the vote may ignite yet more regional conflict.
“We are not ready to discuss or have a dialogue about the results of the referendum because it is unconstitutional,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a speech broadcast on state TV on Monday night.
Baghdad and Ankara joined together in a show of force on Tuesday, with their militaries holding joint military exercises in southeast Turkey, near the border with Iraq’s Kurdistan Region.
Barzani has stressed that the referendum result is not binding, but is instead aimed at promoting negotiations with Baghdad and neighboring countries over a peaceful succession of the region from Iraq.
Around 3.45 million ballots were cast in the referendum, with 91.83 percent of those who took part opting in favor of independence, local television reported on Tuesday.
Turkey, Iran, and Syria are opposed to the succession of Kurdistan, over concerns that it may spur separatist sentiment in their own Kurdish populated areas.