KRG's Barzani quits after vote backfires

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The day before a Sept. 25 independence referendum, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) published a 30-page report arguing that Iraq is a "voluntary union" in which Kurdistan has "retained its sovereign status".

For many years, he had used cunning and patience to help the Kurds survive long years of brutality under Saddam Hussein.

Which brings us to another problem with the KRG's decision to organize the referendum in disputed territories. Those talks were extended on Sunday.

Iraqi Kurdish political parties opposed to Masoud Barzani, the outgoing Kurdistan region leader, reported attacks on their offices in several cities overnight hours after Barzani announced his resignation.

"This is an assault on freedom of press and expression", replied Erbil-based Kurdistan 24's management in a letter to the International Federation of Journalists.

The most violent clashes happened in the northwestern corner as the Peshmerga fought back offensives toward Fish-Khabur and south of their capital, Erbil, leaving dozens of casualties on both sides.

Some accused Mr Barzani of having led his people to disaster.

Information is emerging, meanwhile, of large-scale ethnic cleansing of Kurds in the area of Tuz Khurmatu near Kirkuk, after the entry of Shi'a militias on October 16.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Saturday he did not threaten to sanction Turkish banks in a recent conversation with a senior government official, quieting rumors that had jarred that country's markets earlier this week.

In a bitter televised address Barzanni later defended the independence vote which had been over whelmingly supported in the region. It is thus understandable that the Turkish and Iranian governments would object to the KRG's independence bid: they fear the emergence, if it succeeds, of similar movements among their own oppressed Kurdish populations.

Iraqi Kurdistan's main opposition party, the Goran Movement, called on Barzani to step down after the loss of Kurdish-controlled territory.

Pictures of US soldiers wearing Kurdish YPG patches, while fighting ISIS. "We have to be ready to conduct that life-saving surgery for whatever comes through the door".

Should such a goal be achieved, it would represent an impressive victory - for Baghdad, certainly, but more profoundly for Tehran and for the methods of the IRGC/Quds Force and its leader, Soleimani.

Previously, a source close to Barzani said "the Talabani clan were behind the offensive on Kirkuk".

The vast majority of patients seen at the Canadian hospital come from other coalition countries, including the U.S., which has up to 5,200 soldiers in Iraq. It would be a bitter travesty to abandon the Kurds to the mercy of the Iraqi or Turkish governments in their time of need.