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Guest Analyst

Gary Kasparov On Putin

Last month Fareed asked our panelists: Should the U.S. and other countries send representatives to the G-8 counter-summit? Now Gary Kasparov gives PostGlobal a wrap up of the Other Conference. Read him here:

Just to clarify, the Other Russia conference was not an alternative to the G8 summit. It was a pan-Russian conference with some foreign guests invited to witness the reality of Russia today instead of the "for export" version presented by the Putin regime.

It was absolutely a success. We brought together representatives of every part of the Russian political spectrum to speak, if not with one voice, in a chorus calling for democracy and free and fair elections. The Other Russia conference also showed the international community that there is more to Russia than the Putin administration and that this regime should not be considered an honest partner. And it demonstrated to the Putin regime that we will organize and fight for basic rights despite systematic repression from the Kremlin.

We greatly appreciated the appearance at the Other Russia conference of state officials from the UK, the USA, and other G-8 member nations. It was a promising display of solidarity that should send a message to Mr. Putin that the world is watching and that he doesn't have complete impunity to turn Russia into a totalitarian state.

In Russia we will continue to organize and to strengthen our coalition. The regions must stay connected to share information, to document and bring attention to the crimes and wrongdoings of the Putin administration. We are seeing a situation similar to that in Chile in 1988-89, when Pinochet attempted to use a referendum to
extend his stay in power. We need to form a left-to-right coalition to oppose Putin's construction of a one-party dictatorship. The Russian people must be kept informed about the real state of our nation and provided with the opportunity to speak. If, as Russian Duma Speaker Sergei Gryzlov once said, "Parliament isn't a place for discussion," then we must seek other ways to debate with power.

As for the international community, we are more interested in getting the Western powers to stop doing: Stop treating Putin like an equal member of the club of civilized nations. Stop providing him with democratic credentials. Stop the double standard of democracy being important in Iraq and Afghanistan but not Russia. The West's hypocrisy is doing a great deal of damage to its own standing and in countries like Russia where we need positive examples. Stop allowing Putin's oligarch cronies and proxies to sell the looted assets of the Russian nation on the Western markets. This flow of money in and out of the West is where Putin and his crowd are vulnerable to outside pressure.

Other links:
Financial Times Op-Ed
New York Times Op-Ed
Conference Letter to Heads of State
Conference Participant Statements
Conference Closing Statement

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Comments (7)

Anonymous:

Comparing Kurdistan with the rest of Iraq from Women Rights point of views.

Sara Kurdistani

Thousands of women throughout Kurdistan live in conditions of abject deprivation of, and attacks against, their fundamental human rights for no other reason than that they are women. Abuses against our women are relentless, systematic, and widely tolerated, if not explicitly condoned. Today, violence and discrimination against women are global social epidemics. Men use domestic violence to diminish women's autonomy and sense of self-worth. In some rural and backward areas in Kurdistan, It is a common practice that some men beat up their women in the home at astounding rates, restricts women's participation in public life, force women to marry and spend life with men they do not desire. Women are unable to depend on the regional government to protect them from physical violence in the home. Some husbands and other male family members obstruct or dictate women's not to have access to health care. Women's ability to enter and remain in the work force is obstructed by private employers who use women's reproductive status to exclude them from work and by discriminatory employment laws or discriminatory enforcement of the law. The figure of destitute and underprivileged women in Kurdistan is mind-boggling. No crucial measures have been initiated to address their concerns. The ration of unemployment and illiteracy is amazingly soaring. They cope with the lake of specialized skills to qualify for job opportunities. It is the responsibility of the regional government to further promote education, provide health care, employment, set up schooling centers and raise the level of public awareness among women.

Article 1 of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women states:

"Freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field." Any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on the basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental."

We denounce as human rights violations those practices and policies that suppress and subordinate women. We refuse specific legal, cultural, or religious practices by which women are systematically discriminated against, excluded from political participation and public life, segregated in their daily lives, beaten in their homes, denied equal divorce or inheritance rights, killed for having sex, forced to marry, assaulted for not conforming to gender norms, and sold into forced labor. Arguments that sustain and excuse these human rights abuses - those of cultural norms, "appropriate" rights for women, or western imperialism - barely disguise their true meaning: That woman's lives matter less than men's. Cultural relativism, which argues that there are no universal human rights and that rights are culture-specific and culturally determined, is still a formidable and corrosive challenge to women's rights to equality and dignity in all facets of their lives.

We should fight against Kurdish women dehumanization and marginalization. We have to further promote women's equal rights and human dignity. The realization of women's rights is a global struggle based on universal human rights and the rule of law. It requires all of us to unite in solidarity to end traditions, practices, and laws that harm women. It is a fight for freedom to be fully and completely human and equal without apology or permission. Ultimately, the struggle for women's human rights must be about making women's lives matter everywhere all the time. In practice, this means taking action to stop discrimination and violence against women.

Baqi Barzani:

The Threat of an Overpowering Islamic Fundamentalist regime in Iraq

Baqi Barzani

Islam (a religion) is not the challenge, but Islamism (a totalitarian ideology) is. Islamism is not so much a distortion of Islam, but a radically new interpretation. It politicizes the religion, turning it into a blueprint for institutionalizing a coerced utopia. In many ways, the programs assimilate to those of fascism and Marxism/Leninism. Conservative, militant Islamists view democracy as a morally bankrupt ideological construct because any kind of legislation goes against the heart of what they perceive as fundamentalist Islam, given by Allah and the Koran, that the laws are laid in the Koran rather than being able to be constructed by human agency. A number of lately unchained clerics in Iraq advocate a theocracy modeled on neighboring Iran, which Bush included as a member of the "axis of evil" with Saddam Hussein's Iraq. In reality, U.S. fears of Iran were so great during the 1980s that the Reagan administration supported Hussein as a counterweight. As the insurgency persists in Iraq, the risk is that the country becomes a regional training ground for terrorists - as Afghanistan was in the 1990s - creating newly radicalized and experienced jihadis who return home to cause trouble in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, and elsewhere.

Critics have long contended that the resistance to U.S. occupation is indigenous-- and to some degree it is-- but in effect it is being driven mostly by foreign jihadists. Evidence has come to light validating the involvement of foreign fighters in various suicide bombings in Iraq. A large number of foreign fighters captured in the northeast region of Iraq being in U.S.-led coalition's custody, come from countries like Syria, Saudi, Yemen, Egypt, Palestine. .The invasion of Iraq by these holy warriors will undercut any legitimacy the Iraqi resistance may have. As we have seen in many countries the advent of foreign fighters into a conflict often devalues underlying-- and often legitimate-- political grievances. Also, these jihadists have no compunction in killing innocent people because the end justifies the means. These foreigners are the ones kidnapping Westerners, committing suicide attacks that kill hundreds of innocent citizens and shore up the disarray. It is patent that the pathway into Iraq for many foreign fighters is through Syria. The regime of President Bashar Assad eases foreign fighters' activities by letting them enter Syria, giving them required papers and, at times, arming before permitting them to cross into Iraq. Damascus also allows the fighters to re-enter Syria to rest and reorganize.

Saudi is the greatest manufacturer and exporter of Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism in the form of Wahhabism (radical, anti-West Islamic teachings) and propagation and enormous financial support for terrorist organizations operating in Iraq.Wahhabism leads, as we have seen, to the birth of extremist, closed, and fanatical streams, that accuse others of heresy, abolish them, and destroy them. Saudi Arabia is an autocracy of the worst kind. In that country, the exercise of tyranny is applied for the perpetuation of a family rule, and for the enforcement of religious observance. The legitimacy of the former rests on the enforcement of the latter

Some of these fanatics dream of implementing a strict version of Islamic fundamentalist codes similar to the one in Afghanistan under the Taliban rule. A religious tyranny of the worst kind in the history. Even now, when Afghanistan has a new democratic constitution, the remnants of that religious tyranny are quite active, looking for opportunities to dismantle the fledgling democratic order and reestablish their version of Islamic government.

Some Shiite clerics wish to pursue the standard of the so-called revolutionary-thesis that aspired to be exported to neighboring countries; it is now reduced to a phenomenon that is focused on self-destruction. The Islamic hardliners who refuse to budge in the wake of growing demands from their young citizens for democratic reforms. Iran's mullahs are bent on preventing a stable and democratic Iraq from taking shape. In the aftermath of the war in Iraq, Tehran has dispatched thousands of its well-trained agents to that country to undermine the efforts of the coalition forces to restore calm and security in Iraq.

Similarity, Iran considers an escalation of the Jihad for the freedom of Iraq a key to the assertion of its own strategic importance, mostly under the auspices of its own Islamic block. Indeed, Iran sees Iraq, because it is the land of the Ayatollah Khomeni's roots, as sacred ground and is using that fact to instill ideological zeal in the various nationals who make up Tehran's terrorist infrastructure. Not out of the blue, having taken the proverbial tiger by the tail and invested such prestige in the "Islamization" of Iraq, Tehran now finds itself committed to fighting for it. Beyond Syria and Egypt, the radical Islamic movements, as well as several Saudi, Gulf Arab, and other supporters of Islamist causes, put Iraq high on their list of jihads to be fought.

CONCLUSION

Iraqi Muslims generally express a loathing for Wahhabis, Salafis, or Saudi-inspired ultra fundamentalists under any other name. If Iraqis succeed in rebuilding their state and society and creating representative institutions, I really believe Iraq will serve as an example for other authoritarian Arab states and enlightened liberal Islamists. Iraqi people offered immense sacrifices to liberate Iraq from the hands of tyrants and dictators. Foreign terrorists and the enemies of Iraq try to sow the seeds of hatred, spite and enmity among Iraqi citizens. To achieve their political objectives, they misinterpret and misuse the religion. The foundations of fundamentalism and terrorism must be uprooted in order to restore stability, peace and fraternity and replace that with love, affection and understanding. A prosperous and strong Iraq can be constructed on the pillars of human rights, democracy andfreedom

Baqi Barzani:

If not split, Iraq will become another Afghanista.

Baqi Barzani

Dictatorship has vanished, a representative self-government formed, democratization course enforced, economic sanction lifted, international humanitarian relief and reconstruction efforts are underway but still we are far away from our main goal. It has been more than 2 years but the US has failed to thwart the long-term insurgency and establish peace and stability. Despite spending its most budgets on military and intelligence operations, reorganizing, and training Iraqi forces to tackle with terrorism and secure their sovereignty and liberty, innocent civilians are killed and terrorized on the streets every day. Suicide bombing, sabotage and terrorism redirected by influential regional powers are to blame for these atrocities. The basis for the escalating number of attacks on U.S troops is not likely to have anything to do with the former regime loyalists. An end to the occupation should have been immediate had the U.S been acting in the interests of Iraqi's and not their own agenda. Anger, frustration, and hostility amongst the Iraqi population directed at the occupying forces climb day by day. Iraqi people now believe that the American-led occupation of their country is doing more harm than good. Opposition and anti-Americanism sentiment has intensified more than ever.

Although Saddam resorted to force and terror to overcome the issue of order and stability but Iraq was a stable society. Whatever violence did arise was premeditated violence planned by the state. Under absolute power, It could be switched on or off upon demand from Saddam, its dictator. The then dilemmas he coped with were more the external pressure and economic sanctions. The dynamics that led to the retreats of Iraq were mostly the imposing wars and fragile economy. Even during the war with Iran, subjection to UN economic sanctions, and invasion of Kuwait, Iraq had not experienced such instability.

Iraq is being transformed to what Afghanistan was in the 1980s. Militants are turning the resistance into an international jihadist movement. Foreign fighters coming from different parts of the world are merging as cells or complete units with Iraqis. If the occupation persists long, Iraq would be a productive ground for international Islamic fundamentalism similar to the case of soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Keeping in mind that these terrorists are bred, financed and sponsored by radical Arab states, any Islamic Arab nation is not an easy front to win for US.

Dana Aso:

Status quos in Iraq

Dana Aso

Courtiers which peak the current terrorism agenda are countries with global political-military involvement. Terrorism and humanitarian upheavals share the same roots in the form of poverty, underdevelopment, social exploitation, identity- based conflict, structural violence, and even globalization itself. Today Iraq has become one of those countries. Iraqi-terrorist nexus is more disconcerting and tangible in the wake of the war than it was before the war. Even though I though the U.S. would be able to rebuild the Iraqi infrastructure fairly quickly, thus achieving enough Iraqi backing for the next chapter of instituting at least a nominally independent Iraqi regime. But the drive, from the U.S. viewpoint, is now all in the wrong course.

Saddam's intrusion in Israeli-Palestinian issue obliquely by offering rewards to families of Palestinian suicide bombers, developing weapons of mass destruction and giving refugee to al Qaida-linked outfits and terrorists having been operating in the northern Kurdish territory were some of the causes the U.S. invaded Iraq. There are people up to now that still believe the war in Iraq was but for oil, defacto colonialism, and global hegemony.

Virtually all the violence in Iraq is coming from the twenty percent of the population that are Sunni Arabs. The fact that radical Islamist and Arab nationalist terrorists (or freedom fighters, depending on your perspective I guess) are streaming (perhaps not actually streaming) into Iraq to look for mostly but not solely American targets is supposed to be a big break in the Holy War on Americans. Thousands of violent Sunnis have been in prison and questioned and it is pretty patent from those interviews that the fighting in Iraq comes from several sources. There are surely multiple groups operating against U.S. forces in Iraq and warns there could be more. So far we can be fairly certain there are bits and pieces of the old Saddamite Baath party, who may or may not be cooperating with present admin; there are also many Sunni Arabs operating on their own to counter those foreigners who would allow the majority Shia and Kurds to rule the nation. And then there were the foreign fighters, who saw Saddam as a great Arab hero and the Sunni Arab cause worthy of support.

The greater part Shiites have remained moderately soft and some have even combined forces with U.S. military. They believe that if a democracy ever is established, they will rule Iraq by sheer power of numbers (Shiites are nearly 60 percent of Iraqi population) when the Yankees leave. But if attacks from Sunni elements prolong, the Shiites will have a reason not to let the Sunnis be viewed as the only Iraqi forces pestering the Americans and eventually, perhaps, being largely in charge for hounding he Americans out.

Other cause of credible hostility is made of tension within the various ethnic and religious communities. Because each ethnic and/or religious community is in a majority in its neck of the wood, the multi-ethnic capital, Baghdad, being the exemption, there is little risk of sectarian wars. But intra-community violence cannot be ruled out. After all, the two main Kurdish groups did fight several mini-wars between themselves in the 1990s.

At least other smaller Kurdish groups financed by Iran, could also trigger violence in the Kurdish areas. In Mosul and Kirkuk, the prospect of clash pitting Kurds against Turcomans, and both of them against Yazidis, and Assyro-Chaldaens cannot be ruled out. Even the Shiite community, accounting for 60 percent of the population, is not immune to internecine feuds. The struggle over the control of the key religious centers of Najaf and Karbala is already there.

There are some less violent habits and customs in Iraq which make reconstruction the country and setting up a regime very complex. The principal dilemma is corruption in public and private sectors and the large number of Iraqis who will not take blame for their actions. These self-destructive customs has been around for a long time and result in a general lack of personal responsibility for corrupt acts. For too many Iraqis, the national mantra appears to be "It's not my fault, it's your fault." Iraqis steal public money, fail to carry out public and private duties, and then lie about it, or insist they were forced to do it by "others." Keeping everyone honest is a huge problem. While many Iraqis are reliable and honest, they are often opposed and sabotaged by those who are not. All too often, the honest and responsible Iraqis are outnumbered, or outgunned, by more corrupt and violent Iraqis. The Sunni Arabs have made corruption a government tool, backed up by a readiness to use violence on those who do not want to make a deal.

Kamal Rajab:

INDEPENDENCE IS THE SOLE ULTIMATUM

Kamal Rajab

Some of us might have speculated that the fall of dictatorship would guarantee a declaration to the long-term question of independence for the homeless and drifting Kurdish people but it has further been complicated after the so-called 'constitutional procedures '.

At the inception of the drafting process, we have not been and will not be able to set aside our discrepancies in the nonstop political process with the participating Sunni delegates due to their radical and chauvinist principles. The alleged " constitution " is not only strengthening insurgency, ethnic and sectarian violence but also leading the nation to a civil war. The Iraq's Sunni Arabs elements mostly remnants of Baath regime have strictly balked at the draft constitution, believing it would eventually empower the Kurds in the north to establish their own independent Kurdish state. The Sunnis are waging a campaign of fear to defeat the referendum. This involves tactics such as refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the process in advance, threatening to refuse to negotiate after a Yes, threats of a civil war and fuel insurgency.

We are not bound by any cultural, linguistic or historic relationship to the Shiites nor Sunni Arabs. Being supportive to the cause of the independence is not only our moral right but also burning for our national interest. We have resorted to a number of tactics including: militancy, peace and negotiations as possible ways to achieve independence. After decades of struggle, we stand miles away from independence. We have tried out friends and their pledges; we now know where we stand in the world. We have learnt a lesson, although a bitter one, but we are getting more and more definite about our destination. The Kurdish people have offered huge sacrifices for the sake of independence, but they feel they were betrayed by their `friends'. Kurds now know that they have to fight this fight on their own. The struggle has seen its ups and downs, and all that is a part of the independence struggle, but it is worthy to ensure that the struggle persists. No power on earth can deprive the Kurds from their right of self-determination. They have to clarify without any ambiguities what they mean by 'independence' or 'right of self determination'. Once that is clear in their minds, as it is increasingly becoming clear to them that even their very close friends have their own axe to grind, and then they can only rely on the true nationalist leadership.

The struggle has entered into a new phase, and for this new phase we need to have a new strategy. The strategy we had at the beginning of the present struggle will on longer be relevant to this new phase. We can learn from our mistakes and see what went wrong in the struggle that we are facing the present crises. We understand that we have to fight on all levels and have to adopt strategies so that maximum pressure is exerted on the forces of occupation, but we have to give preference to strategies, which are more acceptable to the international community. By this I mean that we put more emphasis on dialogue.

There is growing tendency in the world to resolve differences through continued negotiations, and the realization that decisions imposed by sheer force of power do not provide lasting peace and stability. Apart from that we must realize that Iraq is not the only country that has control of our motherland. We must adopt appropriate strategies that the areas under Turkey, Iran and Syria are also part of the freedom struggle. We can not be too complacent when it comes to raising the matters within Iraq. We must be bold enough to call a spade a spade. If we do not adopt an appropriate strategy to meet the needs of the freedom struggle, the world community would regard this as a territorial disintegration or a fight against neighboring countries. It is time for the adjacent governments to include the issue of Kurdistan in the top of their agenda whenever dialogue with our president takes place. Our president should take the lead to introduce the charter of independence for Kurdistan in the United Nations upcoming sessions.

There is a need that the referendum shall be supervised by the United Nations in order that the result will be acceptable to all parties. Common sense dictates that the unstable and newly- formed-government cannot be credible to conduct or supervise such political exercise. The UN is the best body to oversee the referendum to ensure that whatever will be the result will be respected by all parties and implemented. If there is a need, the UN can organize its force to disarm.

We appeal to all the Kurdish people to go to the polls on the referendum day and say" Yes" to independence for Kurdistan. Independence is the best practicable, peaceful, equitable, honorable, democratic and permanent solution to our national cause. The right of national self-determination is the fundamental and unconditional right of our nation to determine our own future, free of any outside interference or coercion. This right includes the right of our nation to form our own independent state if we so choose, the right to determine our political status and freely pursue our economic, social and cultural development, the right to protect and preserve our culture and way of life and finally the right to reclaim our lost freedom and independence.

Baqi Barzani:

PARTITIONING IRAQ IS THE BEST WAY OUT
Baqi Barzani
At the crumbling of Ottoman Empire, the Kurds totaling 40 millions, colonized in the territory of southern Turkey, northern Iraq and western Iran were isolated by four national boundaries. An abrupt structure was stage-managed to serve the political intents of the imposing powers lacking the reflections of its citizens. In the Treaty of Sevres, which carved up the Ottoman Empire after World War I, Kurds right for nation-state independence was trampled upon. In contrast to most analysts, the Kurdish aspirations for independence existed prior to the creation of artificial Iraq with its capricious margin sketch. The incessant humiliation, containment and privation only expedited the course of nationalistic reaction. Since last century, a series of partisan revolts had effect in the history of Iraq but all were quelled forcefully due to inattention and absconding of the Allies. From the very groundwork, the various ethnic and religious factions were held together by abysmal force and authoritarian rule. The Kurds are never inclined to bow out their political, cultural and historical demands and steadily discern independence as their legitimate and national right. The Iraqi new constitution endorses the partition of Iraq into three disparate entities, in addition.

It is indisputably and ultimately up to the Iraqi people to freely determine their political destiny through democratic means and intellectual capacity and without any coercion or foreign intervention. If the people of Iraq deem the concept of carving up Iraq along sectarian lines as the best way out, the U.S., Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Iran should not enforce their own agendas.

In consistent to the referendum, 99% of Kurds marked their ballots for independence. If U.S. chants empathy and advocates democracy, then it should act in the common interests of Iraqi people not the adjoining countries. The bordering nations should also value the logic of Iraqi people as regards: sovereignty, independence, fragmentation or national unity of Iraq as well as the relevance of the principles of non-interference in internal affairs. The Kurds have already demonstrated their ability to govern their own affairs and modernized the de facto independent Kurdistan for the last decade into economic affluence and model democratic society. Critics voicing discord to the partitioning of Iraq are not enough cognizant about the extent of bullying, ethnic cleansing, mass murder, devastation and pressure inflicted upon the Kurds in North and Shiites population in South for decades by the repetitive Arab tyrants, totalitarian and one-party regimes.

American costly war is causing more human causalities and followed by strong skepticism inside and outside. If the state of affairs persists, threat of a civil war among Iraq's major religious and ethnic groups - the Sunni the Shiites and the Kurds is inevitable and multi-fold pricey to American government. Partitioning Iraq along ethnic lines to wrap up the long-standing tension between Kurds, Sunni and Shiites is viable and in consistent to the desires of the greater part of Iraqi people.

Ahmad ZAkhoi:

Kurdistan in the post-Saddam era

Ahmad Zakhoi
For myriad decades, Iraq was governed by high profile Bathist forces with strong aristocratic family ties. These forces under the clout of absolutists, like Saddam as the last one, subjected the Iraqi multitude to most inhuman and barbaric practices including systematic bigotry, banishment, exile, execution, and the use of wean of mass destruction. It imposed the war in Iran culminating in more than one million dead, more than 2 millions injured and handicap, and several million of displaced humans. The usurpation of Kuwait left thousand of fatalities and one hundred and fifty thousands dead Iraqis. The crackdown on Kurdish and Shiite upheavals are assessed each in exclusive of two hundred thousand life cost. The material loss from Saddam's fascism and totality is beyond delusions.

In the wake of US dethroning Saddam Hussein regime, Kurdistan has been rapidly democratized, modernized and veered cohesively into a multi-ethnic, multi-religion and multi-sect cloud nine. Bush administration's commitment to a massive reconstruction effort in Kurdistan has crafted substantive after-effects. The pro-democracy campaign in
Kurdistan has shaped a populist boom comparable in magnitude and significance to the one fashioned by the end of the Cold War. Americans and Kurds share a unique bond formulated on their shared values, joint commitment to freedom and democracy,
and mutual interests in triumphing over terrorism and promoting security and stability in Kurdistan.

In the new post-Saddam era, Kurdistan has gained a bursting forth economy and a reconstruction boost in large part due to international assistance. "Primarily, on the whole, that assistance is from the United States in the economic aspect, renewal, and in the security services, including the training of the Kurdish army and police, and the strengthening of Kurdish administration. Most Kurds are beholden to US philanthropist adherence in Kurdistan and deem them as their strategic allies in the region. Pro-Americanism sentiments and representation into political process is surpassingly on the rise and most citizens are getting more adapted to benevolent US takeover.

In Kurdistan, massive increment has become nascent in terms of human rights, political and civil liberties. The ratio of redundancy is shrinking and the KRG authorities have initiated major re-establishment and redevelopment ventures. After lingering browbeating, Iraqis are now enthusiastically embracing the potentials of unskewed media after years of grave censorship. Under the old regime the regional stations minimally relayed programs produced in Baghdad. The system was heavily centralized and tightly illicit. The slump of the old regime triggered a media free-for-all. Iraqis were soon able to opt from more than 200 publications, relative to just a handful during the Saddam era. The citizens of Iraq experienced a modest but potentially significant increase in cultural, civic and political rights.

The newly drafted Constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press, and the self-representative government generally respects these rights in practice; however, there were some limitations. Newspapers and magazines are regularly published, and television channels broadcast, investigative reports and allegations of government wrongdoing, and the press generally promotes human rights and criticizes perceived government lapses.

In the KDP-administered region, human rights records remained slightly fragile.
There is no institutionalized effort to guarantee that journalists can express their voices without fear of victimization or retaliation. The verdict of a prominent KDP-critic Dr. Said Qadir short of any legal averment was an indicative case of constitutional violations and application of abusive policies and practices against journalists. There is definitely freedom of expression but there is just no freedom after expression.

Kurdistan has stood out as a paradise for its exclusivity in prosperity, social equity, economic growth and security and harvested creditable steps forward in the preceding decade.

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.