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The Kurds in Post-Saddam Iraq

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Congressional rept.

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The Kurdish-inhabited region of northern Iraq has been relatively peaceful and prosperous since the fall of Saddam Hussein. However, the Iraqi Kurds political autonomy, and territorial and economic demands, have caused friction with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and other Arab leaders of Iraq, and with Christian and other minorities in the north. As the United States transitions to a support role in Iraq, these tensions are assessed by U.S. commanders as having the potential to erode the security gains that have taken place in Iraq since 2007. Some U.S. officials want to establish clear policies and provisions to contain these frictions in advance of the expected completion of the U.S. military departure from Iraq at the end of 2011. Turkey and Iran were skeptical about Kurdish autonomy in Iraq but have reconciled themselves to this reality and have emerged as major investors in the Kurdish region of Iraq. The major territorial, financial, and political issues between the Kurds and the central government do not appear close to resolution. Tensions increased after Kurdish representation in two key mixed provinces was reduced by the January 31, 2009, provincial elections. The disputes nearly erupted into all-out violence between Kurdish militias and central government forces in mid- 2009, and the Kurds continue not to recognize the authority of the Sunni Arab governor of Nineveh Province in Kurdish-inhabited areas of the province. The low-level clashes in 2009 caused the U.S. military to propose new U.S. deployments designed to build confidence between Kurdish and government forces joint U.S.-Iraqi-Kurdish militia patrols began in January 2010. The Kurds also perceive that their role as kingmakers in Iraqs central government - their ability to throw their parliamentary votes toward one side or another - was reduced by the March 7, 2010 elections which saw the seats held by the major Kurdish factions lowered from previous levels.

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  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law

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