This paper addresses the dilemma faced by the Kurds in Iraq: press for independence or sustain autonomy. In the wake of World War I, betrayed by the colonial rulers, the Kurds lost their prospect for independence. The disintegration of the Ottoman Empire was a precursor to a more rigorous Kurdish quest for statehood. Saddam Hussein’s atrocities against the Kurds amounted to the de facto state of Kurdistan in northern Iraq. Despite considerable progress, polarized debates over the reconstruction of Iraq post 2003 have generated concerns over the probable emergence of an independent Kurdistan. Nevertheless, the Kurdish leaders have insisted upon autonomy within a federal Iraq and have rejected partition as a solution to Iraq’s ethno-sectarian conflict. They believe autonomy serves their nationalist aspirations further in preserving regional self-governance.
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