Middle East Defiant, Kurds vote in northern Iraq, seeking path to independence

The nonbinding referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, whose Peshmerga fighters have been stout allies in the fight against ISIS, nevertheless elicited warnings from Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and the US.

Bram Janssen/AP

In Erbil, capital of northern Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region, the longstanding dream of statehood has been sold as a done deal. Streets have been lined with billboards in favor of Kurdish independence, and hawkers old and young have been making a killing selling the sun-emblazoned tricolor flag of Kurdistan.