Nicole F. Watts

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A child with a Kurdish flag is carried during the Sept. 25 referendum on regional independence in Halabja, Iraq. (Nicole Watts)

The day before a referendum on independence, all was business as usual in the city of Sulaimani, the second-largest city in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. While many other Kurdish cities were awash in flags and banners, Sulaimani’s streets looked bare by comparison. But the muted atmosphere did not represent its population’s attitudes on Kurdish statehood. Like most of the Kurds in Iraq, the 1.3 million citizens of Sulaimani province historically support the idea of independence.

Rather, the atmosphere reflected the deep concerns over how the referendum was called and its implications for the distribution of power under the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).…  Seguir leyendo »