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Turkey PM confirms Iraqi gov't in control of main land border

Turkey PM confirms Iraqi gov't in control of main land border

Baghdad has demanded that all border control revert to federal authorities and has banned all worldwide flights to and from the Kurdish region. Barzani had spearheaded the referendum.

Yet it is unclear if Sunday was the final curtain for Barzani, an ardent Kurdish nationalist since the age of 16 who took up the mantle of his father, the Kurdish leader Mustafa Barzani, after his death in 1979. Rabun Maruf, an MP from the opposition Gorran Party, was said to have been physically attacked as he tried to speak to reporters.

The September referendum has left the Iraqi Kurdish region increasingly isolated.

"We lost everything because of Barzani's miscalculation and personal ambitions, so his stepping down is a positive thing for the region". The Kurdish forces lost almost half of the territory that they had controlled during the war against the Islamic State group.

The split between the Kurds and the Iraqi central government is a particular challenge for Washington, which is closely allied to both sides.

Barzani in a televised speech Sunday addressed the Kurdish region, his first appearance since the crisis erupted. Without the oil, an independent Kurdistan would be economically unviable. Iraqi Kurds expanded their territory in 2014 after the federal military collapsed following confrontations with ISIS.

Mr Barzani's grip on KRG politics may not fully disappear with his resignation, as he will remain in politics by leading the high political council, a body set up after the referendum.

"You should therefore meet at your earliest convenience to ensure there is no legal vacuum in the execution of the duties and powers of the president of the region", said Barzani in a letter he submitted to parliament before his address, according to a copy released online. Elections were scheduled for November 1 but were suspended after the loss of Kirkuk.

"Border restrictions between Iran and Iraq's Kurdish region will be lifted in coming days", Iran's Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Baqeri was quoted as saying by semi-official news agency ISNA.