Sirri Sureyya Onder is neither a Kurd nor a politician. Yet, when the popular filmmaker and writer was approached by Turkey’s Kurdish party to run for an Istanbul parliamentary seat in Sunday’s elections, he felt he could not refuse.
Bombings in Iraq on Wednesday killed at least 19 people and wounded 58, mainly around Nineveh province, where political tensions have recently flared between Arabs and Kurds.
In an elaborately choreographed ceremony broadcast live on television, the leaders of Iraqi Kurdistan began pumping oil from Kurdish-controlled oil fields in northern Iraq through a pipeline to neighboring Turkey. It is the first time Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region has officially exported oil out of the country
Even as Iraq’s Sunni-Shi’ite divide appears to be tenuously mending, another seam in the country’s patchwork multiethnic and sectarian society is on the verge of unraveling. Territorial disputes between Arabs and Kurds in the provinces of Nineveh, Kirkuk and Diyala now pose a serious risk of violence. In recent months, long-standing hostility between the two communities has escalated, whipped up by resurgent Arab secular nationalism
Now that President Obama has set the timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, the debate has begun over its possible consequences.