Are We Overselling Iraqi Kurdistan?
I know, basically, nothing about Iraqi Kurdistan. I honestly doubt that Tom Barnett knows a great deal more.
I do know that the English language Iraqi Kurdish blogosphere is moribund. Its last gasps were complaints about suppression of press freedom in Iraqi Kurdistan. And I also know that there’s a different narrative about what’s going there than the one you’ve probably been hearing. In this contrasting narrative Iraqi Kurdistan is not a burgeoning democracy but a highly traditional, clannish place in which, like in much of the rest of Iraq, tribal interests are highly influential if not dominant, characterizing the two “political parties” in Iraqi Kurdistan as actually tribes, each led by its traditional tribal leader.
I’ve been trying for some time to identify and buttonhole someone who actually has legitimate knowledge and expertise on Iraqi Kurdistan, particularly Kurdish politics, without much luck. Any suggestions?
I’m concerned that a major permanent U. S. military presence in Iraqi Kurdistan would tend to destabilize Turkey, not a particularly positive development. It would, however, put pressure on both Iran and Syria, which IMO would be a positive development.