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The Åland Islands Peace Institute

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Working paper Jungbluth 2015 pictureSILKE JUNGBLUTH

Iraqi Kurdistan is the only Kurdish region with an autonomous status and comparatively extensive cultural rights and recognition. Silke Jungbluth has during the summer at the Peace Institute written the working paper that concerns the history of Iraqi Kurdistan up until the IS invasion and the changing realties this implies. The author describes the possibilities for a future Kurdish state, while also discussing extended autonomy as an alternative to full independence for the Kurds in Iraq. The last update of the working paper was made mid-August 2015.

“The current situation in Iraq and Syria has given room to a lot of speculation about the future of both countries. The emergence of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) group and its rapid spread throughout the region since 2014 has laid bare power vacuums and deeply running divisions along sectarian, ethnic and political lines. The ongoing violent clashes between insurgent groups, militias and the Iraqi military seem to promise that a restructuring of the region in one way or the other is inevitable. While the IS is relentlessly pursuing its undertaking of establishing a de facto caliphate state, another group of actors has been taking advantage of its crucial role in the fight against the militant Islamist group: the Kurds. Over the last couple of months, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of the Kurdistan region in Northern Iraq has effectively expanded its control over parts of the country that are contested between the KRG and the central government in Baghdad, and there seems to be little reason to believe that they intend to give them up again after a potential victory against IS.”

Download pdf here.

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