I recently heard Kevin McKiernan discuss his journalistic coverage of the Kurds and Kurdistan. Mr. McKiernan has covered the Kurds for many years, has conducted extensive research into Kurdish issues and is a preeminent authority on the Kurds.
Among the interesting points that Mr. McKiernan made are the following:
- The Kurds are striving for their independence and autonomy. As such, the Kurdish Parliament has passed legislation that states that Iraqi forces wishing to enter the Kurdish providence must seek permission from Kurdish authorities. Tourists arriving in Kurdistan have their passports stamped "Kurdish Iraq", not merely "Iraq". Only Kurdish flags fly in Kurdistan, not Iraqi flags.
- The Kurdish economy is extremely strong. There is almost no unemployment. Many (skilled) laborers arrive in Kurdistan from all over Iraq, Turkey, and even Jordan in search of job opportunities. World-class resorts and a 27-story building are being built in Kurdistan.
- There are - or are expected to soon be - flights from many European cities directly to Kurdistan. This will eliminate the need for transferring in Baghdad.
- The Kurdish government is very progressive: there are four women cabinet ministers and the government is very sensitive to environmental concerns.
- The Kurdish diaspora is very large in Australia, Europe, particularly in Germany and the Scandinavian countries. In the US, the largest concentrations of Kurds are found in Nashville, TN; Fargo, ND; and, San Diego.