The Kurdish Elections

With elections in Kurdistan on the horizon, I think this is an interesting note.

This article is from 2008, but still relevant.
"Iraq has changed, but Iraqi Kurdistan has not. After Saddam's fall, many
Iraqi Kurds expected that their region would liberalize and democratize. Rather
than reform, however, regional politics have ossified. Barzani retains
dictatorial control over the Duhok and Erbil governorates, and Talabani likewise
dominates Sulaymaniyah. While it is inaccurate to describe the Kurdish
leadership—at least the PUK half—as tribal, both parties rely on family members
for control. Barzani appointed his nephew prime minister and assigned his
thirty-five-year-old son to run the local intelligence service. Other relatives
control the regional telephone company, newspapers, and media.

Talabani's wife, Hero Khan, likewise, runs the local satellite station.
One son manages the PUK's intelligence operation, while the other represents the
KRG in Washington. When it came time to divvy up ministerial portfolios in
Baghdad, both Kurdish leaders turned to their families: Barzani gave his uncle
the Foreign Ministry portfolio, while Talabani gave one brother-in-law the
Ministry of Water Resources and his wife's brother-in-law the ambassadorship to
China. To Talabani's credit, both men are professionally qualified."

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