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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > December 2017 > The state of Kurdistan

The state of Kurdistan

An independence referendum had serious repercussions

The view from Erbil: Lizzie Porter

In the lanes of Erbil’s Qaysari bazaar, by the city’s ancient citadel, Ali Karim shares halva, a sesame sweet, as he discusses with his customers the fallout from Iraqi Kurdistan’s independence referendum. “The situation is not good at all. For three months there has been no money. How can we live? The US got rid of Saddam Hussein, but if you look at Baghdad now, we have 20 Saddams.”

The semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq is relatively prosperous and safe. But since the referendum on 25th September, it has been rocked by economic strife and violence. Outraged by the Kurdish authorities’ decision to hold the vote, Iraq retaliated. It closed the Kurdistan region’s two airports to international flights and pushed for control of border crossings with Syria and Turkey. It also began military operations to regain ground held by Kurdish Peshmerga troops since they halted Islamic State (IS) advances in 2014. That territory included the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, which Iraq retook from the Kurds on 16th October.

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In Prospect’s December issue: Adam Posen, Diane Coyle and Nicolas Véron examine the state of Britain’s economy with Brexit looming and suggest that with a large part of the City looking to move and with productivity remaining low the outlook is firmly negative. Posen suggests that the only thing capable of disciplining the Brexit economy is the reality that things are going to be worse. Coyle suggest that although Brexit will hamper Britain’s productivity, the problem is long-term. Véron argues that more than a tenth of the City’s business will disappear due to Brexit—a significant slice that will be difficult to cover off. Elsewhere in the issue: Steve Bloomfield uncovers what is going on at Dfid, the struggling government department that recently lost its Secretary of State. Nick Cohen looks at the rise of the Strong Man is Eastern Europe as Viktor Orbán clamps down on society and Lizzie Porter reports from Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, a region plagued by war and political instability.