Friday, Mar. 19, 2010

May 2009
Ethnic Promise and Peril

"We are seeing eventually and finally, but very gradually, common sense prevailing."

—Kurdistan U.S. representative Qubad Talabany on the Iraqi-Kurd oil deal at the 2nd Iraq Oil and Gas Summit in Houston May 13.

"We do not trust these people, we know their intentions."Khasro Goran, the Nineveh leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, on increased sectarian violence in northern Iraq.

On May 10, the Iraqis and Kurds strike a deal allowing the Kurdistan Regional Government to control oil exports for the first time. The agreement, which permits Kurds to sell about 100,000 barrels of oil per day beginning in June, is hailed as an indication of improving relations between the historically distrustful communities. Meanwhile, clashes between Kurds and Sunni Arabs in Iraq's Nineveh province worsen throughout May, as Kurds continue to boycott Arab authority in the region. After a January provincial election broke the Kurds' almost five-year reign in Nineveh and Arab Atheel al-Nujaifi was chosen to be governor in April, Kurds have threatened increased conflict unless their leaders are given deputy governor and provincial council chairman positions. Nujaifi, who has connections to members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, rejects compromise unless Kurds withdraw from disputed territories, which Kurdish leaders refuse to do.