Wikipedia refers to the Iraq war as follows: "The Iraq War, or the War in Iraq (also referred to as the Occupation of Iraq, the Second Gulf War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom by the United States military), was a conflict that occurred in Iraq from March 20, 2003 to December 15, 2011, though sectarian violence continues since and has caused hundreds of fatalities." Well said. Again, call this campaign anything you want, but realize this was and is part of the global War on Terror. If you believe this invasion was disastrously stupid, then please tell me how you think the last 10 years of fighting terrorism would have been better with Saddam Hussein still in power in Iraq. What follows below is discussion around how to monitor the developments in Iraq as they fight to establish a country that is friendly with itself and its neighbors.

The Referendum Vote That Could Fracture Iraq

from TIME Magazine,

Iraq’s northern Kurdish region is set to hold a vote on independence on Sept. 25, giving hope to nearly 30 million Kurds in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey who aspire to self-determination. But the central government opposes the referendum, putting it on a collision course with an ever more powerful separatist movement:

The vote represents a challenge to Baghdad by Iraqi Kurdistan’s regional government over control of areas claimed by both sides. At the center of the dispute is Kirkuk, home to a million Arabs, Kurds and Turkomans, and the heart of Iraq’s oil wealth. Kurdish authorities took control of the city after Iraqi troops fled advancing ISIS forces in 2014. SPILLOVER THREAT Major powers in the region also oppose the referendum. Neighboring states like Turkey and Iran worry that the vote could galvanize Kurdish separatists within their own borders. A yes vote might provide a model for other Kurds seeking autonomy across the region–such as in Syria, where U.S.-backed Kurdish militias already enjoy de facto control over much of the country. TROUBLE BREWING The U.S. is also against holding the independence vote. Officials are concerned the referendum will tear apart key allies in the coalition fighting ISIS, just as the militant group is on the brink of defeat as a conventional army. The Kurdish public is widely expected to vote for independence, but there is no chance Baghdad will recognize the outcome, potentially propelling Iraq toward another round of civil strife.

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