Baghdad seeks to take control of Kurdistan-based mobile operators

BAGHDAD (dpa)- Baghdad said Monday it will seek to take control of Kurdistan-based mobile networks and move their operations to the Iraqi capital, in the latest move amid a dispute with Kurdistan after an independence referendum held last month.
The announcement comes after Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi held a cabinet meeting with security officials on Monday, according to a statement.

The government “issued a decision that all mobile phone networks must be controlled by the federal government and are moved to Baghdad,” the statement read.
Baghdad did not specify how it will implement the move. There are at least two mobile phone networks based in Kurdistan.
The move is the latest to pressure Kurdistan, amid a dispute between Baghdad and Erbil over the northern region’s independence referendum held on September 25, which was approved with an overwhelming majority of 92 per cent.
Baghdad has imposed a ban on international flights to and from Kurdistan's airports. It said flights would resume if the central government assumes control of Kurdistan's airports.
Iraq has also asked neighbouring Turkey and Iran to close their borders with Iraqi Kurdistan and halt all dealings with the Iraqi Kurdish region, especially regarding oil imports from the northern region.
The US and other countries fear that Kurdistan's vote and its fallout will distract attention from ongoing campaigns against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Tuesday, October 10th 2017

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