Conferences : World Congress of KURDISH STUDIES : Michael M GUNTER


Section PRESSE
World Congress of

Irbil, 6-9 September 2006

Organized by the Kurdish Institute of Paris in partnership with
Salahadin University (Irbil) and with the support of the
Kurdistan Regional Government and of the
French Ministry for Foreign Affairs

The Changing Dynamics in the
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)
of Iraq

By Michael M. Gunter (*)

Paper prepared for delivery at the Kurdish Studies Conference organized by the Institut Kurde de Paris and Salahaddin University, Irbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, Sept. 6-9, 2006.


1.      Who are the Emerging Leaders?

Identifying emerging leaders can quickly become an exercise either in the obvious or obscure. For years, any such list would simply catalog the Barzanis, Talabanis, and their closest allies. Since the creation of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of Iraq[1] in 1992, however, an emerging civil society has considerably broadened this exercise. Nevertheless, nepotism continues. Thus, any list of the emerging leaders must still start here, while also recognizing that one needs financial resources to become a leader.

Massoud Barzani—the president of the KRG since June 2005 and the sole leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) since his elder half brother Idris Barzani suddenly died in 1987—turned 60 on August 16, 2006. For some time his heir apparent has been his nephew and current prime minister of the supposedly unified KRG, Nechirvan Idris Barzani, born in 1966. Nechirvan Idris Barzani represents an interesting merging of the progressive and conservative factions of the KDP in that his ideas seem modern while his late father Idris Barzani was notably traditional. Much less known is Massoud Barzani’s eldest son Masrour Barzani. Masrour Barzani speaks excellent English, was educated at the American University in Washington, DC, and has already been a member of the KDP Politburo for several years as well as the leader of the KDP’s intelligence branch. In addition, there is an entirely new generation of Idrises, Mustafas, etc., in the Barzani family.

Jalal Talabani—the longtime leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and presently the president of Iraq—was born in 1933 and thus is approaching his mid-70s. Recently, his second son Qubad Jalal Talabany (born in 1977) has emerged as a promising future leader. Qubad was educated in Britain, speaks excellent English with a conspicuous English accent, and is presently the most prominent Iraqi Kurdish representative in Washington, DC.

Norshirwan Mustafa Amin, often mentioned as a possible number two leader of the PUK, is now in his 60s, speaks English well, but is a heavy smoker. The other frequently mentioned number two member of the PUK is Kosrat Rasul, somewhat younger than Norshirwan Mustafa Amin but now partially crippled. Rasul’s successor as the PUK regional prime minister and currently the deputy prime minister of Iraq is the much younger Barham Salih (born 1960). Barham Salih earned a Ph.D. in statistics and computer modeling from the University of Liverpool in Britain and speaks flawless English, but lacks the deep party roots possessed by Norshirwan Mustafa Amin and Kosrat Rasul.

The list of the 111 members of the new Kurdistan Regional Parliament elected on December 15, 2005, and roll of the 32 members of the supposedly unified KRG cabinet announced on May 7, 2006, contain the names of some obvious other current leaders as well as candidates for future leaders. These names, of course, are easily available and thus not necessary to mention specifically.[2] Despite exhortations to enlist women, only two females were appointed to the new KRG cabinet, Ms. Chinar Saad Abdullah as the Minister for Martyrs and Victims of the Anfal, and Ms. Nazanin Mohammad Waso as Minister for Municipalities.

Mahmoud Ali Othman (Osman), a medical doctor by profession and once a top lieutenant of the legendary Mulla Mustafa Barzani (1903-1979), is now almost 70 and has become one of the grand old men of Kurdish politics. He has played a prominent role in the various Iraqi governments since 2003 and will probably continue to offer his services. For the future, however, his son Hiwa, who speaks excellent English and has worked as a journalist, might bear scrutiny.

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman—the daughter of the longtime prominent KDP leader Sami Abdul Rahman assassinated in February 2004—is the KRG representative to Britain, speaks excellent English, and is also a former journalist. Given her pedigree and the perceived need for female leaders, she also bears watching.

Mohammed Ihsan—the former KRG Minister for Human Rights and presently the KRG Minister for Extra-Regional (Iraqi) Affairs—won Massoud Barzani’s gratitude for discovering the bodies of Barzani family members murdered and buried by the Baathist regime in southern Iraq. Ihsan has a doctorate in law from the University of London, speaks excellent English, and just recently turned 40. Fuad Hussein is Massoud Barzani’s chief of staff and has a Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam. Latif Rashid is the competent Minister of Water Resources in the Iraqi government of Nouri al-Maliki and a son-in-law of Jalal Talabani. He has a Ph.D. in engineering from Manchester University in Britain and is now over 60 years old. Khaled Salih, a former academic, has become the advisor to KRG prime minister Nechirvan Idris Barzani and is the KRG’s first official government spokesman. He has a Ph.D. in politics, speaks excellent English, was a consultant for the Iraqi Reconstruction and Development Council, and served in Kurdistan as a constitutional advisor to the KRG. 

Kamran Karadaghi, another former journalist with a wealth of experience and able to speak good English as well as Russian, is presently serving as a close advisor to Iraqi president Jalal Talabani. Mohammed Sadik, is the president of Salahaddin University in the KRG capital of Irbil and thus represents an entirely new potential list of possible leaders from the universities. His tribal connections suggest yet another area from which potential leaders might emerge. Dr. Rebwar Fatah, who writes the much-read web site <> currently lives in Britain and epitomizes possible leaders from the Kurdish diaspora. Dr. Najmaldin O. Karim, the president of the Washington Kurdish Institute in the United States where he is also a prominent neurosurgeon is  particularly well connected to most of the current Kurdish leaders and also has good relations with numerous prominent U.S. politicians and officials. Indeed, several of the current Kurdish leaders long lived in the Kurdish diaspora before recently returning to Iraqi Kurdistan. Barham Salih is a good example. This, of course, is only a very partial listing. Many future leaders are probably almost completely unknown at this time. Finally, the United Nations, United States, and European Union discreetly should play a role in developing future leaders.

2.      The Dynamics between the KRG and the Iraqi Government

At the present time, the Iraqi Kurds not only possess their most powerful regional government since the creation of Iraq following World War I, but also play a very prominent role in the Iraqi government in Baghdad including the posts of president (Jalal Talabani), deputy prime minister (Barham Salih), foreign minister (Hoshyar Zebari), and six other cabinet positions (Fawzi Hariri – Industry, Latif Rashid – Water Resources, Bayan Dazee – Housing and Construction, Narmin Othman – Environment, Assad Kamal Mohammed – Culture, and Ali Mohammed Ahmed – Minister of State). This dual governmental role stands in mark contrast to the situation that existed before the events of 1991 and 2003, when the Kurds were treated as second class citizens and worse. The ultimate question, of course, is for how long this unique Kurdish position of strength will last. Many Arabs still resent the Kurdish claims to autonomy as a challenge to the Arab patrimony and a federal state for the Iraqi Kurds within Iraq as simply a prelude to secession. Indeed, most Kurds would quickly opt for independence when they perceive the time as ripe. When will the Iraqi Arabs get their act together and start trying to reduce the Kurds again? For the Kurds, on the other hand, their current role in Baghdad is a hedge against renewed Arab chauvinism. The current interplay between these two governmental roles for the Kurds is very interesting and instructive. A brief analysis follows.

The long struggle for ultimate power in Iraqi Kurdistan between Massoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani—a contest that led to a bloody civil war between the two as recently as the mid-1990s and even saw Barzani call upon Saddam Hussein for help in 1996—for now has been put on hold by ceding Barzani the presidency of the KRG while Talabani has assumed the largely ceremonial presidency of Iraq. Thus, the Barzani-Talabani rivalry potentially has been grafted partially onto the dynamics for power between the KRG and the Iraqi Government.

The Iraqi Constitution approved by a hotly contested referendum on October 15, 2005, establishes a federal structure for Iraq that grants significant powers to the regions.[3] Indeed, for the first time ever most Kurds now think of their government in Irbil, not the one in Baghdad, when the concept is broached. The actual division of power between the Iraqi government and the KRG, however, remains in potential dispute. These contested powers include the ownership of natural resources and the control of the revenues flowing from them, the role of the KRG army or peshmerga (militia), and the final status of Kirkuk as well as several other disputed territories such as Sinjar and Makhmur, among others. Mosul, Iraq’s third largest city, has a big Kurdish population in its eastern part and is also likely to be contested.

Dr. Ashti A. Hawrami, the KRG Minister for Natural Resources and a well known former international oil executive, addressed the issue of natural resource ownership in a wide-ranging interview in the KRG capital of Irbil on June 14, 2006.[4] He argued strongly that Article 115 of the new Iraqi Constitution “states the supremacy of regional laws over federal laws, and can be invoked if no agreement is reached on the management of oil and gas resources and the distribution of proceeds.” He also argued that Article 112 of the Constitution only permits the Iraqi Government “an administrative role confined to the handling, i.e. exporting and marketing, of the extracted oil and gas from existing producing fields. . . . The elected authorities of the regions and producing governorates are now entitled to administer and supervise the extraction process; in other words local oilfield managers are answerable to the local authorities.”  Hawrami went on to maintain that since the new Constitution was silent on undeveloped fields or any new fields, “the regions and governorates will have all the controls.” Although he stated that the KRG and the government in Baghdad would be able to cooperate, the possibility for conflict over the issue of natural resources is obvious.

Given the security problem to the south, many foreign investors have been attracted to the Kurdistan region. Chief among them have been Turkish firms, which have been heavily involved in such projects as building international airports in Irbil and Sulaymaniya as well as cement plants, among other projects. On the other hand, Turkey fears that a Kurdish federal state in Iraq will entice rebellion among the Kurds living across the border in southeastern Turkey. Thus ironically, while Turkey has presented major political problems to the legitimacy and thus future of the KRG, Turkish businesses have brought much-needed investments and thus implicit legitimacy to the region.

On July 7, 2006, the KRG parliament unanimously approved a new foreign-friendly investment law in hopes of attracting more foreign capital to the region.[5] Before, two different investment laws had been in force allowing foreign companies in the region to hold only minority stakes, a provision that deterred many foreign investors. Under the new legislation, foreign firms will be permitted to hold up to 100 percent of a company. In addition, foreigners will also be allowed to own land, while also enjoying a five-year tax holiday exempting them from import duties, income taxes, and taxes on repatriated profits. Dier Haqi Shaways, the head of the KRG parliament’s economic and financial committee, argued that “this [new] law will offer investors guarantees and facilities with regard to taxation and custom tariffs.” Douglas Layton, the director of the Kurdistan Development Corporation—a joint public-private company that seeks to promote economic investment in the region—agreed.[6] Layton warned, however, that the bureaucracy remained cumbersome, the infrastructure dilapidated, and education unable to prepare graduates to enter the business world. Nevertheless, he argued that all of these problems presented opportunities for foreign investment, rather than deterrents. Hersh al-Tayyar, the chairman of the Iraqi Businessmen’s Union based in Irbil, too has promoted the Kurdistan region as a gateway to the remainder of Iraq. The process, however, may also lead in the opposite direction toward even greater KRG independence.

On June 7, 2006, KRG president Massoud Barzani declared that the Kurds had not sought to use their successful experience in promoting security in their region by trying to nominate a Kurd for the post of interior minister in the new Iraqi government of Nouri al-Maliki: “A Kurdish interior minister . . . will still be accused of being biased to a certain side or of committing crimes against this sect or that party.” Barzani cited how Kurdish soldiers were accused of killing Arabs in Fallujah and concluded that “the past circumstances were not encouraging.”[7] On June 17, 2006, KRG prime minister Nechirvan Barzani pointed to still other problems between his government and Baghdad involving training courses or scholarships abroad offered to Iraq as well as the receipt of medicines. Barzani concluded that “this is occurring because federalism is very new to Iraq, and we need time to develop necessary mechanisms and to learn how to work within a federal system.”[8]  

As sectarian violence increased in Baghdad in July 2006, Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki journeyed to Irbil to plead for several thousand Kurdish peshmergas as a possible way to help the situation. The new Iraqi prime minister was accompanied by one of his two deputy prime ministers, the prominent Kurdish official Barham Salih, and his Minister of Oil, Hussain al-Shahristani. Al-Maliki’s appeal was particularly ironic given his recent promises to curb the militias and the past disdain in which the Arabs held the Kurds. In addition, of course, what had happened to the much-proclaimed new Iraqi forces trained by the United States? For their part, however, the Kurds appeared to be in no hurry to respond to al-Maliki’s appeal. After all why should they become involved in the Arab Shiite-Sunni conflict when they were relatively secure within their own region and even the potential benefactors if Iraq completely collapsed?

KRG prime minister Nechirvan Barzani explained that the Kurds did not consider their peshmerga forces to be militia that must be integrated into the Iraqi national army. He also found constitutional sanction in the new Iraqi Constitution for his view, declaring that “due to past injustices, our people have the right to possess a regular army trained up to the latest military standards.”[9] Barzani did welcome al-Maliki to the Kurdish region and promised that mechanisms would be put in place to strengthen regional-federal relations. He added that a KRG delegation would soon visit Baghdad and a KRG representation office would be established to address budget and other issues.[10] Already Dr. Dindar Zebari holds the position of Kurdistan Regional Coordinator to the United Nations and has called upon the United Nations to appoint a political advisor to the KRG.

As for the future status of Kirkuk, al-Maliki promised that Baghdad would accept the outcome of the referendum to be held before the end of December 2007 under the provisions of Article 140 of the new Iraqi Constitution.[11] Many Kurds remain skeptical of Baghdad’s ultimate intentions because the new Iraqi Constitution does not specifically acknowledge the previous Arabization that had occurred there as a crime. In addition, the Kurds do not like how al-Maliki appointed a member of the Iraqi Turkmen Front as the head of the committee of normalization for Kirkuk.

3.      Trouble in Kurdistan

Despite many rosy depictions and prognostications, all is not well in Iraqi Kurdistan. The riot in Halabja on March 17, 2006 aptly demonstrated this situation.[12] Hundreds of stone-throwing protesters—most of them students from universities in the Kurdistan region home for vacation—beat back government guards, stormed, and then destroyed a museum dedicated to the memory of the chemical attack on Halabja on March 16, 1988. “We’ve had enough of these liars and we don’t want to see them in our town,” cried one protestor. The demonstrators also marched through Halabja chanting “we don’t want any government officials here” and waved banners declaring “you have done nothing for the city” and “all government officials are corrupt.”[13] It was arguably the most serious popular challenge to the KDP-PUK-run KRG in its 15-year history.

Amazingly, the prominent PUK leader Kosrat Rasul suggested that all of the party’s highest-ranking officials, including himself, should resign except Talabani. This would pave the way for new, younger party staff.[14] If the PUK did manage to reform itself by initiating an elected succession as well as achieving greater transparency, the process and result could enable it to give more Kurds a sense of being true stakeholders in the party and help it surpass the more hidebound KDP. For his part, Massoud Barzani recently suggested that both the KDP and PUK “should turn into two civil parties and melt within one government.”[15]

Earlier, human rights advocates expressed concern about flagrant abuses involving two critics of the KRG. Kamal Sayid Qadir, an Austrian national of Kurdish origin, was imprisoned in October 2005 for allegedly defaming KDP political leaders such as Massoud Barzani. High school teacher Hawez Hawezi is also facing prosecution on similar charges for defaming PUK leaders. Amnesty International has called upon the KRG to free the two and amend existing legislation that permitted such abuses.[16] Commenting upon the over-all situation, Time magazine went so far as to characterize the Kurdistan region as “a veritable police state, where the Asyeesh—the military security—has a house in each neighborhood of the major cities, and where the Parastin secret police monitors phone conversations and keeps tabs on who attends Friday prayers.”[17] KRG officials have responded that such security measures are necessary to keep the Kurdistan region free from jihadi and resistance cells plaguing the south from infiltrating the north. Opponents counter that these measures are often used by the ruling parties as a mere excuse to maintain their position in power. KRG president Massoud Barzani recently declared that “civilians have the right to criticize the establishments and institutions of the Kurdistan Regional Government for the current shortcomings but they should also remember that these establishments are there to serve them and it takes time to completely overcome existing problems.”[18]

Huge discrepancies in wealth have developed and a lot of new millionaires are living in Sulaymaniya and Irbil. This economic situation already has led to inevitable problems. Considerable popular dissatisfaction also exists over the KRG’s perceived compromises with the Baghdad government. Ultimate among these grievances, is the deeply felt desire for Kurdish independence. Unofficial referendums in February 2004 and again in January 2005 almost unanimously called for Kurdish independence. The KRG, of course, has opposed independence as premature and therefore dangerous given the virtually universal opposition of the Iraqi Arabs, Turkey, Iran, and the United States. A related problematic element is the question of a pan-Kurdish state that would include portions of Turkey, Iran, and Syria. The lack of such a state, of course, is an historical injustice, but to even hint at such an entity guarantees the strongest reaction from the KRG’s regional neighbors. Any responsible KRG, therefore, would refuse to support any such notion. Nevertheless, the very existence of the KRG inspires dreams of a pan-Kurdish state among many Kurds.

In an effort to maintain their control over events, the KDP and PUK joined most other smaller Kurdish parties to form a single electoral list of candidates for the seats to be chosen both in the Iraqi national and Kurdish regional elections held on January 30, 2005, and December 15, 2005. The two main Kurdish parties argued that such a single list would avoid splintering the potential Kurdish strength when no Arab electoral group offered to support Kurdish demands. What was not as readily admitted, however, was that such a single list would be most likely to guarantee the continuing dominance of the KDP and PUK because those chosen for the two parliaments would be the KDP and PUK candidates placed highest on the single all-Kurdish list.

Although one observer has argued that compared to a non-believer a Kurd is a good Muslim, recent signs indicate a growing popularity for Islamic parties like the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU), which doubled its vote in the Iraqi national elections held on December 15, 2005.[19] Instead of advocating loyalty to Islam over nationalism, Kurdish Islamist parties are attempting to seize the moral high ground by accusing the KDP and PUK of corruption and economic mismanagement. Mohammed Ahmed, a KIU member of the KRG parliament, declared that the “people know that our followers and members are not corrupt.” The KIU is also building a large, hi-tech TV studio to run a 24-hour satellite station that should be operational by the end of 2006. If successful, this Islamist TV station will attempt to compete with stations currently run by the KDP and the PUK.

Other minor secular Kurdish parties also exist such as the Kurdistan Toilers Party now led by Qadir Aziz, the so-called Kurdistan Socialist Democratic Party (KSDP) led by former but now disenchanted KDP warlord Muhammad Haji Mahmud, and the Kurdistan Communist Party led by Kamal Shakir, among others. The communists won 10 percent of the vote in Irbil municipal elections in 2002, while Muhammad Haji Mahmud’s KSDP continues to maintain an armed militia just west of Sulaymaniya as does the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) led by Mustafa Hijri. The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) from Turkey also maintains a troublesome military force within the KRG region near the Iranian border in the Kandil Mountains. A militant PKK offshoot in Iran called the Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK) exists on the KRG-Iran border.

In the spring of 2006 and again in July 2006, Iranian forces bombarded areas of the KRG in an apparent attempt to retaliate against both the KDPI and the PJAK. The PKK’s presence in the Kandil mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan and the reputed welfare of the region’s Turkmen minority give neighboring Turkey a potential excuse to intervene in the region. The Iraqi Turkmen Front established in April 1995 and currently led by Faruq Abdullah consists of some 26 groups, while the Assyrian Democratic Movement is the main Assyrian party. Although the KRG has some token Turkmen and Assyrian representation, potential problems remain over land claims, voting, and parliamentary representation, among others. The so-called Conservative Party of Kurdistan established in 1991 seeks to represent the still potentially influential tribes. In 1996, the KDP killed an influential Surchi tribal chief in a dispute that led to a bitter split between the KDP and the Conservative Party, which since has operated from the PUK region.

In July 2006, Turkey again threatened to send its army into northern Iraq to root out the PKK. Turkey justified such possible action on the grounds of self-defense while also drawing parallels to the concurrent Israeli intervention against Hizbollah in Lebanon, which the United States implicitly supported. The United States and the KRG strongly opposed such Turkish measures, however, on the grounds they potentially could ignite dangerous fighting between all the parties concerned.[20] In an attempt to assuage Turkey, the KRG prime minister Nechirvan Idris Barzani declared—with reference to PKK attacks upon Turkey from bases in the KRG—that the KRG and Baghdad government “will not permit our country to become a base for attaching neighbouring states.”[21]

4.      The Unified KRG

It remains to be seen if the new unified KRG established on May 7, 2006 will prove to be a positive step forward for the Iraqi Kurds or more of the same troubling division between the KDP and the PUK. Previous attempts at achieving a unified government for the KRG have always foundered, even leading to a civil war in the mid-1990s. Indeed, some observers such as Gareth R. V. Stansfield have gone so far as to argue that, given the divisions between the KDP and PUK, the quasi-federal arrangements institutionalized by having two separate regional governments based in Irbil and Sulaymaniya served the Kurds better than a forced unified government.[22]

The new unified KRG contains 13 ministries headed by the KDP and 14 by the PUK. Islamists hold 3 ministries, while Turkmen and Assyrians hold 1 each. The main problem with the new unified KRG is that it is not completely united: four major ministries remain divided between the PUK and the KDP: Interior, Finance, Justice, and Peshmerga (Defense) Affairs. Each portfolio has two ministers. A truly unified or single KRG, of course, would have only one minister for each position.[23] The remains of the two former regional governments in Irbil and Sulaymaniya include a grossly overstaffed civil service, conflicting legislation in personal status laws and foreign investment (the latter seemingly dealt with by the new investment law passed on July 7, 2006), and different cultural practices between civil servants from the two former KRGs.[24] 

In addition, the new cabinet has only two female members, lacks new blood, and contains some ministers accused of corruption. The Kurdish people remain frustrated at the lack of services, transparency, women’s and youth’s rights, institutionalization, and, of course, the continuing corruption. Several ministries should make changes to improve their efficiency. All the security, intelligence, and armed forces should be united under the two ministries of the Interior and Peshmerga Affairs. Furthermore, steps remain to be taken for fashioning these ministries into truly representing Kurdish interests instead of mere KDP and PUK interests. Party members and functions should not be paid for by public funds. What is more, various bodies that still have any judicial function should be placed under one Justice ministry. A single ministry should be designated as the lead one responsible for the coordination between the Kurdistan Parliament and the Kurdistan bloc within the Iraqi Parliament. The present penal code of Saddam Hussein needs to be revised, and of course, Kurdistan needs a formal constitution.

Despite these continuing problems, the dynamics of change in the KRG are encouraging, especially when compared to the rest of Iraq[25] or for that matter much of the Middle East. The KRG has taken enormously positive steps toward Kurdish unity, democratization, and modernization. The ultimate problem, of course, is who will guarantee these accomplishments? The United States already has betrayed the Iraqi Kurds twice in the past (1975 and 1991) and can hardly wait to pull its troops out of Iraq now given the bloody quagmire it has become. Any guarantee by the United Nations would only be as strong as the delicate unity of the Security Council’s five permanent members. As for the neighboring states of Turkey, Iran, and Syria, possibilities are even less promising. Thus, only time will tell whether the achievements of the KRG are permanent or merely a false dawn.


[1] Two useful recent studies of the Kurds are Denise Natali, The Kurds and the State: Evolving National Identity in Iraq, Turkey, and Iran (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2005); and David Romano, The Kurdish Nationalist Movement: Opportunity, Mobilization and Identity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

[2] For a list, see “Ministers of the New Unified Cabinet,” <>, May 7, 2006.

[3] For a recent analysis, see Michael M. Gunter, “The Iraqi Kurds’ Federalism Imperative,” Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies 29 (Winter 2006), pp. 1-10.

[4] The following data and citations are taken from “Iraq: Oil and Gas Rights of Regions and Governorates,” <KurdishMedia>, June 14, 2006.

[5] The following data and citation are taken from “Kurds Approve Foreigner-Friendly Investment Law,” Reuters, June 7, 2006.

[6] The following information is largely based on “Foreign Investors See Northern Iraq as Gateway to Rest of Country,” Voice of America, June 30, 2006. For further background to business opportunities in Iraqi Kurdistan, see Michael M. Gunter, “Kurdistan’s Revival,” Worth (Robb Report), May 2005, pp. 32-34.

[7] Cited in “Interview with Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani,” Asharq Al-Awsat, June 7, 2006.

[8] Cited in Tanya Goudsouzian, “Prime Minister: Kurdistan Open for Business,” Soma, June 8, 2006, as cited in <>, June 17, 2006.

[9] Cited in “Kurds Declare Right to Have Their Own Armed Forces,” Associated Press, July 13, 2006.

[10] “Visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Pledges to Strengthen Regional-Federal Relations,” KRG, July 12, 2006.

[11] “Al Maliki: We Will Respect the Result of Referendum on Kirkuk,” <>, July 13, 2006.

[12] For a report, see Robert F. Worth, “Memorial Gathering in Iraqi Kurdistan Turns to Violence,” New York Times, March 17, 2006.

[13] These citations were garnered from “AFP Account of the Halabja Events,” AFP, March 17, 2006.

[14] “Senior Kurdish Official Proposes Mass Resignations,” IWPR, April 26, 2006.

[15] Cited in “Barzani: Kurds Are Entitled to a State but in Due Time,” The Globe, July 22, 2006.


[16] Amnesty International, “Prosecutions Threaten Freedom of Expression in Kurdistan-Northern Iraq,” March 29, 2006.

[17] Andrew Lee Butters, “Trouble in Kurdistan,” Time, March 21, 2006.

[18] Cited in “Barzani: Kurds Are Entitled.”

[19] The following information and citation were taken from James Brandon, “Pro-US Kurds Eye Nascent Islamic Parties,” Christian Science Monitor, July 6, 2006.

[20] Louis Meixler, “Turkey Prepared to Start 2nd Iraq War with Kurds,” Associated Press, July 19, 2006.

[21] Cited in “Nechirvan Barzani: Iraq Will Not Be Used as a Base for Attacking Neighbouring States,” The Globe, July 22, 2006.

[22] Gareth R. V. Stansfield, “Governing Kurdistan: The Strengths of Division,” in The Future of Kurdistan in Iraq, ed. by Brendan O’Leary, John McGarry, and Khaled Salih (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005), pp. 195-218.

[23] For further analysis, see Rebwar Fatah, “Unification of Administrations: So Close, Yet So Far Away,” <>, June 19, 2006.

[24]Gareth Stansfield, “Can Iraq’s Kurds Transcend Persistent Factionalism?” Daily Star, June 19, 2006. 

[25] Peter W. Galbraith, The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created a War without End (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2006).

(*) Professor at Tennessee Technological University