Washington, D.C. — After defeating the Islamic State and losing the disputed Iraqi city of Kirkuk, Iraq’s Kurdistan region faces a hard won moment of calm and opportunity, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress.
To seize that moment, the report recommends that Kurdistan Regional Government leaders shift gears after existential struggles to focus in the near term on delivering better governance and economic opportunities for their citizens. That includes working constructively with Iraq’s incoming central government in Baghdad to cooperate on oil exports, revenue sharing, security cooperation, and the management of disputed areas, including Kirkuk.
The United States can play a key role in helping Iraqi Kurds transition from crisis to progress. The U.S. government should use its influence to help Iraqi Kurds seize this moment to take difficult steps now that lay the groundwork for future peace, prosperity, and progress.
“Kurdistan remains the most pro-American part of Iraq, a valued partner, and a key entry point to shape the country’s political and security choices,” said Daniel Benaim, a senior fellow at CAP and author of the report. “America can act now to refocus and reinvigorate its storied ties with Iraqi Kurds or see its influence further erode and the odds of a future crisis implicating U.S. interests grow.”
Read the report: “Kurdistan’s New Moment: After Pushing Back the Islamic State and Losing Kirkuk, What Comes Next for Iraq’s Kurdistan Region” by Daniel Benaim
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