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>> A referendum on independence has dealt a major blow to the Kurds. It has increased divisions between them and created hostilities with foreign powers in the region and Baghdad. I'm Michael Georgy, Reuters Middle East Special Correspondent in Sulaymaniyah, one of the main cities in Northern Iraq, where the Kurds had hoped to carve out their own independent state.
Since 2003, the Kurds have been trying to carve out an autonomous region in Northern Iraq. They succeeded to some degree. They had their own oil policy for a while. They had their own security forces. They were told by Western powers, by Baghdad, and their rival, PUK, that this would be a reckless move that would increase tensions and it would hurt the Kurds.
They went ahead and held it anyway, and as a result, it's been a disaster for the Kurds. They no longer control Kirkuk, an oil city, which they see as the heart of their homeland, a sacred city to them. They no longer control airports. There's been an international ban on flights.
They no longer control their borders. So right now there's a mood of pessimism, even in the urban area where Barzani enjoys most of his support. At the moment, Iran has been spreading its influence. This has given Iran a chance to maneuver even more. There's talk that Iran played a major role in the takeover of Kirkuk, but that hasn't been confirmed.
So the question is now, what lays ahead for the Kurds. They are, I would say, very demoralized at the moment. Their divisions may increase. There's a large chance that a civil war could erupt if they decide to fight back and the real tragedy right now is that all of those parties collaborated to defeat Islamic State in Mosul, which was a bloody destructive fight.
But they united, they cooperated. And just few months later there's a new crisis in Iraq, but that's been happening for many years.