In a meeting with parliament members Sept. 27, two days after authorities in Erbil held a referendum on Kurdish independence, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he would impose the rule of federal authority by force in the Iraqi Kurdistan region via the constitution and the law. Addressing Kurdish authorities, Abadi said, “You become my partner in governing Iraq; I become your partner in governing Iraqi Kurdistan. The equation should be like that.” Abadi also warned the Kurdistan Regional Government that he would surprise them with a series of measures against the separatist movement within its government. At the same time, he also announced that he would not take any punitive measures against Kurdish citizens, that he would not accept any assault against them and that he wouldn’t accept any violence against citizens — whether or not they were Kurds.
On Sept. 25 — the day of the referendum — Abadi ordered Kurdish authorities to hand over “all border crossings, including airports, to the federal government.” He also asked neighboring states as well as the rest of the world to “deal exclusively with the Iraqi federal government concerning border crossings and oil” in accordance with the Iraqi Constitution, which considers border crossings under the control of the federal government and oil a resource owned by all the Iraqi people.