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Iraqi Kurdistan's wrong turn

Burdened by political and economic crises at home, the autonomous region faces difficult talks with a newly confident federal government in Baghdad

In the September referendum, Iraqi Kurds enthusiastically seized the rope that was supposed to haul them up into a new era of independence. But the rope turned out to be slippery. Within days of the overwhelming vote in favour of statehood the Iraqi Kurdish region was floundering—the long-held aspiration of independence snuffed out in a trice, the political leadership in Erbil humiliated. How did the mighty fall? For more than a decade the Kurdish Region of Iraq (KRI) exuded self-confidence, promoting an image of stability and efficiency that Kurds successfully contrasted with the flimsy security and administrative shambles in many of the parts of Iraq governed by the federal authorities in

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