Russia, the only major power that has not called on Iraq’s Kurds to cancel a referendum on independence next week, has swiftly become the top funder of Kurdish oil and gas deals, with as much as $4 billion pledged in less than a year, industry sources say. Washington, European countries, Turkey and Iran have all lined up to oppose a move by Iraq’s Kurds to hold a Sept. 25 independence referendum, which the Kurds consider the culmination of decades of struggle for a state of their own, but Iraq calls a violation of its constitution. This week, the White House issued a statement calling the planned vote “provocative and destabilizing”, noting that it will take place not only within the autonomous Kurdish region itself but on territory that is disputed. But Moscow has issued no such call to cancel the vote. Instead, with the planned referendum […]