Kamal Majid provides an insider's assessment of the history, political dynamics, major players and current social and economic conditions in the Kurdish region of Iraq. The author outlines a state of exception that has had an ambiguous and sometimes turbulent relationship both with the previous Baﺀth regime and the present Baghdad government which ultimately replaced it. The powerful rival groups of Jalāl Ṭalabānī and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Masﺀūd Barazānī and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) vie for power, control of oil resources and pipelines as well as lucrative trans-national smuggling routes at a time when services have deteriorated and material components of infrastructure have been sold off to Iran. The picture of a region run by the Peshmerga militias of the ruling parties and plagued by corruption and influence peddling in a world of shifting alliances between Turkey, occupation forces and Iran is a dim one.

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