Rare is the issue that brings Iran, Iraq, Turkey and the U.S. all to the same side, but the question of independence for the Kurdish people seems to have done it.

Today the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq is holding an advisory referendum on whether it should be fully independent. It’s a vote that regional powers vehemently did not want to happen and that the U.S. contested as a distraction.

The Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the world without a home state, with an estimated population between 25 and 35 million spread between Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Armenia. (If the higher-end figure is correct, that’s nearly the population of Canada, according to the World Bank.)


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Featured image courtesy of the U.S. Air Force