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The Future of the Iraqi Kurds

Auteurs : | | |
Éditeur : Washington Institute for Near East Policy Date & Lieu : 2008, Washington
Préface : Pages : 48
Traduction : ISBN :
Langue : AnglaisFormat : 216x280 mm
Thème : Politique

Table des Matières Introduction Identité PDF
The Future of the Iraqi Kurds

The Future of the Iraqi Kurds

In February 2008, a four-member Washington Institute delegation visited the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq on a fact-finding mission. The trip proved helpful in analyzing the KRG’s political and economic situation, both domestically and internationally. Following the trip, the delegation identified seven benchmarks for U.S. policymakers and other actors looking to assess the KRG’s prospects:
economic development
political freedom
relations with the United States
relations with the rest of Iraq
relations with Turkey, Syria, and Iran

This Policy Focus includes detailed reports on each of these benchmarks. In chapter 1, Institute visiting fellow David Pollock reports on political freedoms, corruption, and economic development in the KRG. In chapter 2, senior fellow Soner Cagaptay reports on the KRG’s ties to the United States, the rest of Iraq, and Iraq’s neighbors. In the next two chapters, visiting Lafer international fellow Michael Knights analyzes the security benchmark, while Schusterman Young scholar Audrey Flake writes on the oil issue, providing a fuller view of the KRG’s Iraqi and U.S. ties.

Taken together, these trip reports highlight the important implications that the KRG’s internal and external situation hold for U.S. policy. The authors present new findings on a variety of issues, such as the KRG’s financial dependence on Baghdad—a factor that puts the lie to talk of Iraqi Kurdish independence. The report also sheds light on the KRG’s “love-hate relationship” with Iran as well as its policy of eschewing military action against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). On the latter point, the authors show how the presence of PKK bases inside the KRG and their use as launch points for terrorist attacks into Turkey continue to haunt Turkish-KRG and Turkish-Iraqi relations alike. Last but not least, this Policy Focus presents important findings on the KRG’s internal political stability and economic situation, debunking assumptions that its markets are booming or that it enjoys billions of dollars in Turkish investment.

The Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq: An Inside Story

A trip to the KRG—composed of the Irbil, Dahuk, and Sulaymaniya provinces in northern Iraq, with a mostly Kurdish population of approximately 4 million—is a study in political relativism. Compared to the rest of Iraq, or indeed, to some other countries in the area, this autonomous region is more stable, more prosperous, and more secure. At the same time, the KRG is not free of factionalism, repression, corruption, or economic deficiencies; like the rest of Iraq, it is still a work in progress. As the KRG’s prime minister, Nechirvan Barzani, put it in a recent interview, “Our political system, our judicial system, our physical infrastructure and our educational system are in great need of modernization, but we will persevere with the help of our friends and by the fruits of our labor.”

U.S. vice president Dick Cheney accentuated the positive side of this picture on a visit to the regional capital of Irbil in March 2008, the highest-level such U.S. visit ever, praising

"the special friendship between the United States and the people of Iraqi Kurdistan. The results have been quite remarkable for all to see, in terms of the development and prosperity of this part of Iraq. The transformation that has occurred in less than two decades [since the 1991 establishment of the U.S. protective “no-fly zone” over northern Iraq] sets an extraordinary example, I believe, for the rest of Iraq and for what is possible, with patience and resolve, when the United States and the people of Iraq join together in a common effort and strategic partnership"...

David Pollock

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