News / Middle East

Iraq's Kurdish Region Sees Economic Boom

Iraq's Kurdish Region Sees Economic Boomi
|| 0:00:00
X
Henry Ridgwell
November 13, 2012 3:40 PM
The autonomous region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq is witnessing an economic boom, drawing back many exiled Kurds who had fled oppression and now dream of helping to create an independent homeland. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.

Iraq's Kurdish Region Sees Economic Boom

Henry Ridgwell
The autonomous region of Kurdistan in northern Iraq is witnessing an economic boom, drawing back many exiled Kurds who had fled oppression and now dream of helping to create an independent homeland. 
 
In Erbil’s ancient bazaar, in a city inhabited for 8,000 years, many Kurds now feel more hopeful than ever for the future of their people amid economic gains.
 
Maam Khalil, who has been making tea in the heart of Erbil’s bazaar since 1948, has witnessed seven decades of the Kurdish struggle.
 
"God willing, we will be independent. There are many Kurds, 40 million of us, and God willing we will make our own government and have our own state."
 
Khalil's tea shop has hundreds of photos on the walls that show famous visitors - movie stars, politicians, Kurdish heroes.
 
They tell a history of failed Kurdish alliances in Iraq, of uprisings brutally suppressed, of chemical warfare under Saddam Hussein. 
 
In all, an estimated 182,000 Kurds were killed.  Finally, after the U.S.-led intervention that ousted Hussein in 2003, Khalil said Kurds are free.
 
No breakaway
 
Still, the Kurdistan Regional Government - KRG - does not have plans to break away from Iraq, said Hemin Hawrami of the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party.
 
“If Kurds will be regarded as true partners within this democratic constitutional federal Iraq, the Kurdistan region will be part of this Iraq," he said.  "But definitely Kurdistan is not going to be part of any dictatorial Iraq that is not ruled by democracy.”
 
The KRG estimates GDP growth of more than nine percent this year.
 
It has signed exploration deals with foreign oil giants like ExxonMobil, while building a new million-barrel-per-day pipeline to export the oil via Turkey - angering the Iraqi federal government in Baghdad. 
 
“This is our constitutional right and we want to practice our right, we haven’t asked for anything else," Hawrami said. "When we are administrating our own oil sector, the revenue is not only for us, the revenue is for all Iraqis.”
 
Young return
 
As Kurds are increasingly taking an assertive line, their history of oppression is giving way to the optimism of youth. 
 
Fifty-nine percent of the population is under age 25.
 
Among them is Sazan Mandalawi.  After living overseas, Mandalawi returned to Erbil this year.  She works at a youth program and writes a popular blog. 
 
"There’s this feeling that we need to permanently return," she said. "We have no reason to be living abroad. We escaped because we were scared of our lives.  Now back home it’s safe, we should go back.”
 

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid