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What Can The Middle East Learn From Kurdistan?

OPB | Oct. 23, 2013 12:25 p.m.

Flag of the autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq (via William John Gauthier — Creative Commons)

Flag of the autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq (via William John Gauthier — Creative Commons)

Nawzad Othman was born in Kurdistan and moved to the United States in 1957. While he has not lived in the region for many years he still has many personal and business ties there. On Thursday he is speaking at the World Affairs Council of Oregon, describing why he thinks Kurdistan may be a model for stability in the Middle East.

Kurdistan is not a country itself, but a geographical area that includes parts of Turkey, Iraq, Iran an Syria and has a population of 35 million. It has long been considered a place of security and prosperity, but a series of explosions there last month may change that. A recent New York Times article says:

Iraq’s Kurdish leaders have sought to portray their region as a hub for foreign investment and a bastion of stability, but it has become increasingly affected by the war in Syria, where a minority Kurdish population has taken up arms to secure a measure of autonomy. Thousands of Syrian Kurdish refugees have streamed into northern Iraq, and Iraqi Kurdish leaders, especially the regional president, Massoud Barzani, have offered support to Kurdish militiamen within Syria.

Othman will reflect on the latest bombings and share his knowledge of the area.

Have you visited Kurdistan? What was your experience?

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