The Future of Kurdistan in Iraq

In This Review

The Future of Kurdistan in Iraq

Edited by Brendan O'Leary, John McGarry, and Khaled Salih
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005
384 pp. $45.00
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The twelve different chapters of this book provide thorough coverage of the Kurdish factor in Iraqi history, politics, and state building. Intended to offer "both analysis and prescription," the book "is not neutral." Iraqi Kurdistan as a political entity is considered "a desirable given." Different chapters treat such topics as comparative federalism (Canada, for instance, as a more compelling example for Iraq than the United States), human rights, Turkey and the Kurds; plus, there is detailed treatment of the U.S. occupation, which is given poor marks. This adds up to a strong pitch for a viable Kurdistan within an Iraqi federal state -- or even an independent Kurdistan if the several contending forces in Iraq will not accept federalism. Much has happened since mid-2004, when this book went to press, but how the Iraqi state should be put together, or even whether Iraq can or should be a single state, is not yet settled. The analysis and prescription presented here remain relevant.