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103 5 Dependent Quasi-State Emergent cleavages in Kurdish society may have shaken the traditional political establishment in the north; however, they have occurred while the rest of Iraq has stagnated economically and as important political issues remain unresolved between Arbil and Baghdad. With ongoing security problems in key Iraqi cities, and uninterrupted external patronage and international support to the Kurdistan Region, the KRG has continued to differentiate itself from other parts of the country. The Kurdistan Region has become “the Other Iraq.” Even then, the processes that have helped create the Kurdish quasi-state have impeded its self-sustainability and independence. Aid conditionalities continue to assure the territorial integrity of Iraq and not the self-sufficiency of the Kurdistan Region. The federalist structure also has altered distribution modalities and established new administrative and financial linkages with Baghdad. This quasi-state condition of dependency and its related economic benefits, alongside ongoing domestic structural constraints, has created important incentives and demands for the Kurdistan Region to remain part of the Iraqi state. Sustaining the Quasi-State Like its emergent phase, the Kurdish quasi-state in post-Saddam Iraq has been sustained by external patronage, international support, and a weak central government . In addition to new rights and revenues provided to the KRG in the 2005 constitution, the aid program failed to establish an effective system of direction and coordination between the regions. Various organizations and offices assumed responsibility for the eighteen governorates in Iraq; however, they were unable to provide concerted action or mediate conflicts between regions and institutions (Herring and Rangwala 2006, 102–3). The U.S. government’s emphasis on ethnic 104 | The Kurdish Quasi-State and religious group quotas reinforced existing differences while creating new political and social dichotomies. Instead of moving away from communal interests toward a common purpose, or developing a sense of trust through shared cultural mechanisms, communities became increasingly focused on narrow group interests as a means of securing aid revenues from Baghdad (Reilly and Phillpot 2002, 917; Fukayama 1995, 10). For the Kurds, it meant having a “unified Kurdish voice” in Baghdad to lobby for Kurdish nationalist interests. Consequently, institutional ties between regions remained virtually nonexistent . Even when two of four of the ministers of industry in Baghdad were Kurds (Mohammed Towfiq and Fawzi Hawrimi), or Iraqi ministries had Kurdish deputy ministers, there was no real cooperation between the KRG and the Iraqi central government.1 No joint committees or collaboration were systematically maintained between other ministries and sectors, such as health and education, resulting in the emergence of different systems in Arbil and Baghdad. Despite U.S. government–sponsored events and specific meetings between Kurdish and Iraqi officials, line ministries in Arbil and Baghdad continued to have no significant contact with one another. Exclusionary conditions of membership in some Kurdish associations also have limited sociocultural linkages between the Kurdistan Region and the rest of Iraq. The union confederations of free trade in Kurdistan, for instance, oppose any formal ties with trade organizations in the rest of Iraq because of their Ba’athist heritage and administrative, financial, and organizational differences. The Kurdish Paralympics Committee, established in August 2005, has no relationship with the Iraqi Paralympics Committee. The Kurdistan Author’s Union, created in the 1960s and once linked to the Iraqi’s Author Association, narrowed its membership policies to exclude authors who have published anything against Kurdish nationalist interests. By 1996 the union refused 550 applications and had a membership of about 250 individuals (Awla 2003, 227–29). Security issues have continued to impede potential cross-regional ties. The KRG’s overriding concern for preventing the instability in southern and central Iraq from penetrating the Kurdistan Region has demanded a strict security environment, to include checks of non-Kurdish communities that have created 1. Taha Ismail Mohammed interview. Dependent Quasi-State | 105 or helped intensify sentiments of distrust between Kurds and Arabs. Since the bombing of the al-Askari Mosque in Samarra in 2006, about thirty-eight thousand families have migrated to Suleymaniya province and fifteen thousand moved to Arbil, six hundred of which relocated to the Christian quarter of Ainkawa (USAID/IRAQ 2008, 27; Davis 2005).2 Alongside enhanced security measures , internal migrations have added new pressures on local administrations to provide social services that identify communities by ethnicity and language. Arab migrants have not necessarily integrated into Kurdish schools, but rather, they have become part of various Arabic-language institutions established by the KRG for IDPs. Arabic-speaking professors that joined...


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