Despite ongoing instability and underdevelopment in post-Saddam Iraq,
some parts of the country have realized relative security and growth.
The Kurdish north, once an isolated outpost for the Iraqi army and local
militia, has become an internationally recognized autonomous region. In
The Kurdish Quasi-State, Natali explains the nature of this transformation
and how it has influenced the relationship between the Kurdistan region
and Iraq’s central government.
This much-needed scholarship focuses on foreign aid as helping to
create and sustain the Kurdish quasi-state. It argues that the generous
nature of external assistance to the Kurdistan region over time has given
it new forms of legitimacy and leverage in the country. Since 2003 the
Kurdistan region has gained representation in the central government and
developed commercial, investment, and political ties with regional states
and foreign governments.
Drawing on extensive field research, Natali explores how this transition
has had positive and unintended consequences on Kurdish—state
relations. Greater complexity in the regional political economy has
demanded new forms of compromise with the central government. The
Kurdistan region may have become a distinct political entity that challenges
Baghdad; however, the benefits of aid and logic of quasi-statehood
ensure that it will remain part of Iraq.
Acutely familiar with the nuances of Kurdish politics, society, and
culture, Natali has produced a timely and immensely important book for
policy makers, scholars, and practitioners interested in the region.
View other books in the series Modern Intellectual and Political History of
the Middle East
Denise Natali is the Academic Dean of Students and Research Centers
Director at the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani. Over the past
eighteen years she has conducted independent field research in the Kurdish
regions of Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and Syria and is the author of numerous
publications on Kurdish nationalism, politics, and identity, including The
Kurds and the State: Evolving National Identity in Iraq, Turkey, and Iran,
published by Syracuse University Press. She also specializes in postconflict
relief and reconstruction, having worked for INGOs and the U.S.
Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance in Peshawar, Pakistan, and post–
Gulf War Iraqi Kurdistan, respectively.
6 x 9, 186 pages, 12 black-and-white illustrations, 12 tables and charts, glossary, notes, bibliography, index