SULAIMANIYAH/ERBIL, Iraqi Kurdistan — With its aura of relative calm and Western-friendly vibes, Iraqi Kurdistan was for decades hailed as the other Iraq. Today, Iraqi Kurdistan is under assault. Since early this year, Iran has carried out a series of cross-border missile and drone attacks against the Kurdish region, targeting its capital, Erbil, and more recently Iranian-Kurdish militias, which Tehran blames for the mass protests that have rocked the country since the Sept. 16 death in police custody of Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini. Dozens of people including women and children have died in the strikes, which prompted at least one international carrier to temporarily halt service to Erbil. Iran is now threatening a ground invasion should the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) continue to ignore its demands to disarm and intern those groups, something Iraqi Kurdish officials say is impossible for them to do.
Faced with such adversity, Kurdish leaders ought to be closing ranks. Instead, they are at each other’s throats, spinning a web of intrigue that would make Machiavelli blush.