Kurdish Leader In Iraq Steps Down As Independence Movement Stalls

Baghdad urges Peshmerga to withdraw to pre-2003 borders

Baghdad urges Peshmerga to withdraw to pre-2003 borders

"President Barzani is a historic figure and courageous leader of his people", she said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi ordered his forces to recapture all territory held by the Kurds outside the borders of their autonomous region, and most of it was seized this month within a matter of days.

Kurdish media have since accused the Hashed, an alliance composed mainly of Shiite militias, of carrying out a campaign of retribution against Kurdish civilians.

On Sunday, weeks after it was clear that he had lost the bet, Barzani stepped down as president of the Kurdish semiautonomous region of Iraq, leaving the Kurds with no credible successor even as bickering parliamentary factions struggled to apportion his powers.

"There was no benefit from it at all (the referendum)". Abdullah Hassan, an Irbil resident said inside the bazar that rings the city's ancient citadel. The United States had urged the Kurds not to hold the referendum, anxious it would precipitate a backlash. It was so he could stay in power.

Driver Killed After 12-Year-Old Leaps From Virginia Interstate Overpass
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Barzani's government held an independence referendum in late September, prompting a military response from Baghdad.

Masoud Barzani took over leadership of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in 1979 after the death of their father, Mulla Mustafa Barzani, an iconic guerrilla commander and the party's founder.

He added that Iraq and the Kurdistan Region have been "staunch allies of the United Kingdom in recent years as we have jointly fought the scourge of the Islamic State (IS) in the region".

Iraq's entire land border with Turkey is located inside the Kurdish autonomous region, and has been controlled by the Kurds since before the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Kurdish leaders said they began the unilateral exports because Maliki had long sent the region a smaller fraction of the country's total oil profits than they were entitled to.

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