High-ranking sources in Kurdistan (Erbil) said that the Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani “expected the sanctions already announced by Baghdad and expects many more sanctions to come in the future”. Nevertheless, “the referendum was an essential step to undertake,” otherwise Barzani would no longer be considered the Kurdish leader.
“We are not afraid of Turkish sanctions because Ankara would lose more than it will gain if the common borders are closed. The Turkish representative promised us (months before the referendum) that harsh political measures will be adopted against Kurdistan but that no economic sanctions would be seriously considered. After all it is up to Turkey to stop sending its oil tankers to recover our oil production at a cheap price if Erdogan considers it a practical move within his own economy,” said the source.
The Erbil leadership knows that the Kurds lived through hunger and genocide throughout the years, sometimes living in the mountains for decades. Therefore, although any threat to their existence won’t be taken lightly, it cannot affect the process of independence that has been put on their desired track. The Kurdish leaders will agree to allow Baghdad to control airports (Erbil and Suleymaniyeh) as requested by Prime Minister Haidar Abadi, and would like to reestablish good neighbor relationships with all surrounding countries, particularly since the declaration of independence may require two or three years to put into concrete effect.