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Kurds Vote Overwhelmingly for Independence

Kurds Vote Overwhelmingly for Independence Read Transcript


Well, the Kurdish people took a step towards statehood

Monday by voting for independence.

Official results won't be released

for another day or two, but observers expect

a yes vote of 75% or more.

As Chris Mitchell reports from Erbil.

The question now is what happens next in the Middle East.

[SIRENS AND DRUMS]

CHRIS MITCHELL: After the vote, Kurds took to the streets

to celebrate their claim to a country of their own.

Hours earlier, they took to the polls.

Many came in Kurdish dress and made it a family affair.

These Kurds are exercising their right

to vote for independence for the first time.

For many, it's one more step in a long history

toward a free and independent Kurdistan.

Even though 14-year-old Soma couldn't vote,

she came with her family and expressed the hopes

of the Kurdish people.

If you're a Kurd, this is a special day for you,

because you're going to be free from now on.

I hope everybody votes for that, because it's

really special for me.

This is a people achieving a dream

they've had for 100 years.

CHRIS MITCHELL: Former ambassador Peter Galbraith

compares the Kurds of today to Americans

more than 200 years ago.

PETER GALBRAITH: They're not asking anything

from the Americans except for the Americans

to accept that the Kurds have the same right that Americans

had in 1776, only the Kurdish complaints against Iraq

are much bigger than the American complaints

against George III.

CHRIS MITCHELL: The US opposed the referendum.

Retired general Jay Garner says this State Department position

is based on the one Iraq policy which would keep Kurdistan

under the influence of the Iranian-backed government

in Baghdad.

JAY GARNER: If we cause the Kurds to stay

in the Republic of Iraq, one, we give them to the Iranians;

two, complete the Shia arc that goes from Tehran through Iran,

through Syria, into Lebanon, and wreaks terror on Israel.

CHRIS MITCHELL: Galbraith says this policy

puts the US on the wrong side.

To insist on the unity of Iraq under a government in Baghdad

that is Iran's closest ally in the world that

created a militia which is commanded by General Qasem

Soleimani.

The head of the Iranian Revolutionary

Guards, and which is on Kurdistan's borders,

and instead of siding with the Kurds,

the Trump administration is siding with Iran

and General Qasem Soleimani.

CHRIS MITCHELL: Galbraith and Garner

say the Kurds could stop Iran's reach

and be a haven for Christians.

The place that has been protecting Iraq's Christians,

the Christians of the Middle East, is Kurdistan.

CHRIS MITCHELL: The Kurds face hostile neighbors

opposed to their independence.

But that doesn't stop Kurds like Soma dreaming

of a free Kurdistan.

It would be a really happy place

for Kurd people to be free.

It would be special.

CHRIS MITCHELL: Chris Mitchell, CBN News.

Erbil, Kurdistan.

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