Friday, March 27, 2009

Kurdish feudal fiefdom

"Talabani created the PUK in 1975 as a leftist challenger to the "feudalist, tribalist, bourgeois, rightist and capitulationist" KDP of the Barzani family. Thousands on both sides are said to have died before the two parties signed a formal ceasefire in 1998 and carved up the region. They gave up their ideological differences long ago, and neither hides its desire for a piece of any action in sight—starting with the region's share of the national budget, which totaled about $6 billion last year. Kurdish officials say each of the two parties takes as much as $35 million per month off the top, although party leaders deny any knowledge of such sums."