As votes continue to be tallied from the Iraqi Kurdish referendum election held on Monday, major powers in the region and around the world brace for the almost certain reality of a “yes” vote for Kurdistan independence.

The Iraqi government has firmly said they will not negotiate with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) over talks over secession, while Turkey has threatened sanctions and flirted with the idea of using military force, staging tanks in a show of force along Turkey’s border with Kurdistan. Neighboring Iran, with its own sizable Kurdish population, has halted flights to Kurdistan and threatened sanctions as well.

Even the United States, loathe to destabilize an already fragmented region, is siding with Turkey and Iran on the subject, firmly objecting to an independent Kurdistan in Iraq. For now, at least.

The United States may soon find itself in an uncomfortable position with regard to the Kurds. After all, siding with the regimes in Iran and Turkey against the concept of self-determination for a group of persecuted people does not fit well with America’s traditional talking points about democracy around the world.