Having just written a paper on conflict between Kurds and Iraqis I took the opportunity at lunch one day to ask our primary University of Duhok contact some questions and I felt like some of his responses were definitely worth noting:
How do people in Kurdistan feel about the UN:
The UN is not popular here, do not ask. When Kurdistan wanted to build a power plant the UN said we will only support it if Baghdad agrees and Baghdad would never agree.
How do you feel about Paul Bremer:
Paul Bremer was not good for the whole of Iraq.
How do you feel about Ryan Crocker:
Ryan Crocker is a good man and I know him, he is a friend.
Do you think there will be a drive for Kurdish independence?
Without the Kurdish portion of Turkey there will not be. But Turkey will not give away the Kurdish portion. This portion would give us water and access to the sea. Water, access to the sea, and the oil already in Kurdistan would make us the strongest country in the Middle East, why would Iraq or Iran or Turkey want this?
Is there a difference in sentiment between age groups regarding an independent Kurdistan?
It is a dream for everyone.
On relations between Kurdistan and Iraq:
Right now things are good because Iraq is weak, but we do not trust them. There have been times in the past where relations were good but when Iraq was strong again, they would come back and break our trust. Kurdistan has had its trust broken too many times to continue trusting Iraq; its like we are brothers and we will always be brothers but even a brother can lose trust in members of his own family.