25 Sept 2017 – Kurds Head to Polls for Independence Referendum: Today, Kurds in Iraq began casting their votes for a referendum on independence. Qubad Talabani, deputy prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) called it “the beginning of a struggle today in which we hope after a talking process with Iraq, with our neighbors, friends and rivals, to be able to reach our nation’s objectives, be able to fulfill the dream that grew with us since childhood.” He added, “Today marks the first phase in a long-term process […] It is not that we are declaring independence tomorrow.”

The Iraqi government responded by asking for the KRG to hand over control of numerous points of entry to the country, including airports; one lawmaker also threatened to deploy troops. Iran closed its border crossings with the Kurdish region of Iraq, reportedly at the request of the Iraqi government, and Turkey is threatening to cut off oil exports in response to the referendum.