The Kurds have retained a strong sense of ethnic and cultural identity for over two thousand years.
Since the breakup of the Ottoman Empire in (1918) the majority of the Kurds have been split between Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria. The Kurdish people have long been recognised internationally as having a distinct identity with a common heritage and aspirations to political and territorial independence.
The Kurds are the largest among the many nations disappointed by the post World War One territorial realignments in Europe and the Middle East. Historically, the Kurds enjoyed a considerable degree of semi -autonomy under the various regional powers seeking to exercise territorial authority over the lands inhabited by Kurdish tribes. The state of Iraq emerged from the Ottoman provinces of Mesopotamia occupied by the British. From the earliest days of the Iraqi state Kurdish claims to autonomy were perceived as deeply threatening and any attempts by the Kurds to secure political, economic and social development viewed with the greatest suspicion.
Over the years Iraqi Kurds have continued their struggle for recognition for autonomy and basic rights and freedoms. The Kurds for their freedom have been in long conflict with Iraqi governments. The dream of autonomy becomes true in 1991 with the help of international involvement.
The establishment of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) was declared on July 1992, Kurdistan Region of Iraq has become a centre of attention after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Amongst the international community Kurdistan Region has been recognised as the other Iraq, region of stability, joyful, investment and prosperity. The coalition protection in 1991 gave hope to Kurds in Iraq to live in peace and harmony in a semi-autonomous region. Kurds in Iraq played an important role during the invasion of Iraq in 2003; they joined the US forces and fought against Saddam’s regime.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is recognised as the official government of the territories that were administered by that government on 19 March 2003 in the governance of Dohuk, Arbil, Sulaimaniya, and Kirkuk. Kurdistan’s institutions exercise legislative and executive authority in many areas, including allocation of the regional budget, policing and security, education and health policies, natural resources management and infrastructure development. According to Kurdistan Regional Government website, there are 38 foreign representations in the Kurdistan region and 14 KRG offices abroad.
The Kurdistan Region of Iraq borders Syria to the west, Iran to the east, and Turkey to the north. The KRG area covers an area of 36,000 square km, with a population of 4 million. The capital city of Kurdistan Region is Erbil (also known as Hawler).
The single largest resource in the region is oil and from 2003 the economic situation in the KRG area has improved markedly; the salaries have risen and employment opportunities in the private sector have been enhanced. Thanks to investments by the KRG in the local development, and the international companies, attracted by the liberalised policies, the relative stability and the security offered in the KRG area.