Iraq’s vice president Nuri al-Maliki warned on Sunday that his government won’t tolerate the creation of “a second Israel,” in the form of an independent Kurdish state.
According to AFP, Maliki urged Kurdish leaders to “call off the (September 25) referendum that is contrary to the constitution and does not serve the general interests of the Iraqi people, not even the particular interests of the Kurds.”
“We will not allow the creation of a second Israel in the north of Iraq,” Maliki, a Shiite former prime minister, said at a meeting with US ambassador Douglas Silliman, in a statement released by the vice president’s office.
A country set up on a religious or ethnic base, like the Jewish state established in 1948, would not be acceptable, Maliki said, according to the AFP report.
He warned that an independence vote would have “dangerous consequences for the security, sovereignty and unity of Iraq”, and called for dialogue between Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government.
Israel is the only country to openly back Kurdish aspirations. “Israel supports the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to achieve their own state,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on September 13. Speaking at the ICT’s World Counter-Terrorism summit on September 11, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said, “Israel and countries in the West have a major interest in the establishment of the state of Kurdistan.”
As a result of Israel’s public statements, its stock has risen on the Kurdish street, with blue and white Israeli flags on displays in pro-independence rallies.