The Good News From Iraq
I’m not trying to give credence to the Far Right’s favorite mantra, but there actually IS some good news from Iraq. No, our soldiers aren’t being greeted as liberators, and the insurgency isn’t on its last legs.
The Kurds of Northern Iraq are doing better than ever. Their economy is one of the strongest in the Middle East. The Iraqi Kurds are pushing development and Westernization, and they’re attracting investors from all over the Middle East, Europe and the United States.
The Kurdistan Development Corporation intends to “raise awareness of the Kurdistan region among the grassroots of America, to make people aware that the Kurdistan region exists — some people still mix us up with Kyrgyzstan and Kazahkstan — and that the region is peaceful and stable, and we are rebuilding.”
One spokesperson says Americans “haven’t heard the story, the heroic story, of Iraqi Kurdistan. It’s a virtual oasis in the middle of an area with pretty nasty neighbors.”
Another Kurdish group has a website which invites tourists and investors to “a place where the universities, markets, cafes and fair grounds buzz with progress and prosperity.”
Along with modernizing, they’re also hoping to bring more tourists to their museums, mosques and 12th century architecture.
The region has its problems. The government is a police state and is totally corrupt (this is the Middle East after all). An American Middle East scholar said that investing in Kurdistan is “sort of like investing in Chicago in the 1930s. It’s not a capitalist paradise yet.”
It isn’t perfect but it’s one of the few bright spots in the Middle East.