Rioting has struck a town in Iraqi Kurdistan after a mayor appointed by Jalal Talabani’s political party chastised residents for not appreciating development work which seems, according to people there, to be rather non-existent. The episode mirrors one several years ago in Halabja, in which residents upset by poor services destroyed a monument erected in memory of those killed in the town by Saddam Hussein’s regime.
Instability and violence are going to become more likely in Iraqi Kurdistan until the government there makes serious efforts to reduce corruption. Alas, rather than reform, the Kurdish government is becoming more nepotistic. That one of Jalal Talabani’s sons absconded to London, reportedly after an embezzlement scandal, and the other one brags on his blog and Twitter about luxurious new digs for his offices doesn’t sit well with Kurds lacking electricity and clean water. Meanwhile, members of NGOs who specialize in public health and other issues say that the KRG office in Washington does not return phone calls — responsiveness is reserved for those involved in oil dealings with the leadership.