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What Next for PUK, Iraqi Kurdistan?

Iraqi Kurdish leaders are holding intensive meetings to address Iraqi Kurdish politics in the absence of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, writes Abdel Hamid Zebari.
A Kurdish Peshmerga soldier holds a Kurdistan flag during a deployment in the area near the northern Iraqi border with Syria, which lies in an area disputed by Baghdad and the Kurdish region of Ninawa province, August 6, 2012. Picture taken August 6, 2012.   REUTERS/Azad Lashkari (IRAQ - Tags: CONFLICT POLITICS MILITARY)

As soon as Hiro Ibrahim, the wife of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, returned to the city of Sulaymaniyah last week, leaders of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), headed by president of the Kurdistan Region Massoud Barzani, began holding frequent meetings with her. The official objective of these visits was to discuss the Kurdish-Iraqi situation, while its implicit purpose was to maintain the strategic alliance between the two parties and preserve the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) after Talabani’s departure so as not to upset the balance of power in the region.

Hiro Ibrahim, a prominent PUK leader, had accompanied her husband to Germany, where he was urgently transferred at the end of December for medical treatment. She returned last week to the city of Sulaymaniyah, north of Baghdad, and took part in a series of meetings between the two main parties in the region, the PUK and KDP, with the participation of Barzani.

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