May 21, 2014

WHICH IS WHY KURDISTAN SUCEEDED:

The proud neoliberalisation of Iraqi-Kurdistan (SCHLUWA SAMA, 21 May 2014, Open Democracy)

[I]t seems as if one major issue goes unnoticed: the creeping process of neoliberalisation.

Especially after the US-invasion in 2003, neoliberal transformation took unprecedented forms throughout Iraq. By the time Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority left in 2004, 100 regulations and orders were implemented that paved the way for opening the country to free trade and a large privatization campaign. Soon after the implementation of these policies, violence gained ground in central and southern Iraq.

However, the Kurdish region that had already implemented its governing structure since the establishment of a no-fly zone in 1991 remained relatively safe. Thus, on the look-out for local elites to support their vision of Iraq as a free market economy, the US and its allies saw in the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), or rather in its two ruling parties the KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) and the PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan), strategic partners for the implementation of their projects. Since the 1990s, the KDP and PUK cannot only be considered political parties. They control nearly all economic activity in Kurdistan through their business concerns (e.g. the Nokan Group that belongs to the PUK, and Korek that belongs to KDP).

Kurdistan became the gateway for major foreign companies, among them WesternZagros and ExxonMobil, to the rest of Iraq. To attract foreign direct investment the KRG implemented in July 2006 laws in order "to create a climate for promoting investment in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region". This process was inevitably accompanied by a certain discourse. The KRG started to present itself as a US-friendly region, launching the "the other Iraq" campaign. But these campaigns do not confine themselves to presenting Kurds in the guise of reliable western allies, they also deepen the alienation between Kurds and Arabs within Iraq.


Posted by at May 21, 2014 8:10 PM
  
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