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xix Introduction Aiding Quasi-States Since the 1990 Persian Gulf War, the political economy of Iraq has been marked by a breakdown of state authority, criminality, and socioeconomic deterioration . War entrepreneurs circumvented the internationally imposed sanctions regime (UNSCR 687) by instrumentalizing humanitarian aid and creating new forms of wealth, inequalities, and patronage (Barnett, Eggleston, and Webber 2003; Looney 2003a, 2; Graham-Brown 2002, 277–78; Griffiths 1999, 68; Pugh 2002; Jean 1996, 579–89). Predation continued after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the Ba’athist government in 2003, further reducing the possibilities of a transition to sustainable peace. Yet, despite the rent-seeking behavior pervasive in postwar Iraq, transition patterns have varied across the country. Whereas the southern and central governorates have become mired in civil war and economic stagnation, the Kurdish north, historically one of Iraq’s most unstable and underdeveloped areas, has experienced relative stability and certain levels of development. What explains the transition path in Iraqi Kurdistan, what is the nature of the transformations, and how has it influenced the relationship between the Kurdistan Region1 and the central government? 1. The Kurdistan Region includes those territories administered by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the governorates of Suleymaniya, Dohuk, and Arbil. Discussions between the KRG and the Iraqi central government continue to decide jurisdiction of disputed territories inside the present-day governorates of Kirkuk, Ninevah (Mosul), Diyala, and Wasit (Kut). They are “disputed” because they have been subjected to changes in internal boundaries, administrative units, resources, and demographics as part of the central government’s larger Arabization program. xx | Introduction This book examines the extent to which externally driven aid has had an impact on the Kurdistan Region and the influence of these transformations on Kurdish-state relations. It aims to show that while structural legacies and ethnic traditions have historically defined the relationship between the Kurds and the central government, external aid has created new dependencies and interdependencies , and avenues for conflict and cooperation. A key variable is the nature of aid, which can change over time and have different consequences on local development and political processes (Anderson 1999, 34). Aid programs can favor some groups over others, create new linkages within and between regions, and enforce rivalries where they may not have arisen. In post–Gulf War Iraqi Kurdistan, for instance, the external aid program has shifted from short-term relief to development to reconstruction within a neoliberal framework. While advancing Kurdish autonomy, it has encouraged the creation of entrepreneurial classes and a more diversified workforce, and has enhanced trade between the Kurdistan Region, regional states, and foreign governments (Looney 2003a). Greater complexity in the political economy is expected to support economic growth, interdependence, and opportunities for compromise, alongside challenges of Kurdish ethnonationalism. Asymmetrical growth can also influence center-periphery relations by strengthening the Kurdistan Region’s political power in relation to the state and increasing leverage on the central government to accommodate Kurdish demands (Bookman 1991). Indeed, the argument of aid influencing post-conflict development is not a new one. Whether emphasizing aid policies, program implementation, the distributional impacts of aid, or the economics of peacemaking, most studies reveal that post-conflict states cannot commence recovery processes without long-term international aid and donor support (Knack 2004, 251–52; Brynen 2000, 19; Anderson 1999, 34–44; Gounder 2002; Deely 2005, 123). Still, the effect of particular types of foreign aid regimes across space and time is unclear. Relief aid based on direct handouts may alleviate immediate needs and help stabilize post-conflict disasters; however, it can negatively affect development by giving aid recipients no stake in planning or implementation. Generous foreign assistance can reduce the need for governments to tax their citizens, which can decrease government accountability and the rule of law while encouraging the politics of dependency (Jones 2005, 107; Knack 2004, 253; Billet 1993, 98; Rondinelli 1987, 3). In contrast, assistance grounded in capacity building—development aimed at strengthening Introduction | xxi the infrastructure beyond earlier conditions—can establish institutions, develop social capital, spur economic growth, and support linkages between foreign governments and nonstate actors (Brynen 2000, 19, 28–29; Anderson 1999, 34–44; Gounder 2002; Hout 2004, 595; MacLean 2004; Ball 1996; Collier et al. 2003; Blomberg and Hess 2002; Peck 1998, 45). Even then, the nature of external aid is tied to broader international politics and the strategic interests of donor agencies, which can have different effects on development policy, programs, and outcomes (Macrae 2001, 7; Zaborowski 2005, 23; Hout...


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