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Massoud Barzani vows to fight corruption with same dedication as KRG has fought IS

Speaking exclusively to Al-Monitor, Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani discussed his meetings with the judiciary to launch a corruption investigation, starting with his own family and the KDP.
Iraqi Kurdish Regional President Massoud Barzani speaks during a news conference in the town of Sinjar, Iraq November 13, 2015.  REUTERS/Ari Jalal FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE. - RTS6UOG

ERBIL, Iraq — These are critical times in the quasi-independent Kurdish entity in Iraq better known as the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, or simply Iraqi Kurdistan. Buoyed by a burgeoning energy sector, its leaders loved to boast that Kurdistan was going to be the “new Dubai.” Today its economy is collapsing, and so are its spirits.

Decades of mismanagement, internal feuding and graft have caught up with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Relations with the central government in Baghdad are at an all-time low. Since February 2014, Baghdad has refused to pay the Kurds’ share of the national budget. The Kurds subsequently moved to sell their oil independently. The onslaught of Islamic State (IS) forces in 2014 coupled with a sharp drop in oil prices proved a tipping point. Ordinary citizens have taken to the streets in protest.

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