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Background

Kurdistan borders Turkey, Iran and Syria. The regional capital is Erbil or in Kurdish, Hawler. The region is officially governed by the Kurdistan Regional Government.

The establishment of the Kurdistan region dates back to 1970. In March 1970 an autonomy agreement was signed with Baghdad that declared autonomy for the region, after years of heavy fighting. The Iran-Iraq war during the 1980s and the Anfal genocide campaign of the Iraqi army devastated the population and nature of Iraqi Kurdistan. 

Following the 1991 uprising of the Kurdish people against Saddam Hussein, many Kurds were forced to flee the country to become refugees in bordering regions of Iran and Turkey A northern no-fly zone following the First Gulf War in 1991 to facilitate the return of Kurdish refugees was established. As Kurds continued to fight government troops, Iraqi forces finally left Kurdistan in October 1991 leaving the region to function de facto independently; however, neither of the two major Kurdish parties had at any time declared independence and Iraqi Kurdistan continues to view itself as an integral part of a united Iraq but one in which it administers its own affairs. The 2003 invasion of Iraq by joint coalition and Kurdish forces and the subsequent political changes in post-Saddam Iraq led to the ratification of the new Iraqi constitution in 2005. 

The new Iraqi constitution stipulates that Iraqi Kurdistan is a federal entity recognized by Iraq, and gives Kurdish joint official language status in all of Iraq, and sole official language status in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Iraqi Kurdistan is a parliamentary democracy with a national assembly that consists of 111 seats. The current president is H.E. Massoud Barzani, who was initially elected during the Iraqi Kurdistan elections in 2005, and re-elected during the 2009 Iraqi Kurdistan elections. The three governorates of Duhuk, Erbil and As Sulaymaniah accumulate a territory of around 40,000 square kilometers and have a population of around 5 million. Disputes remain between the central Iraqi government and the Kurdish government about predominantly Kurdish territories outside the current borders of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Iraqi Kurdistan region consists of these Governorates:

1. Erbil Governorate
Bordered with plains and hills on the east side, Erbil city (population: 1,431,580/ area: 14471 km².) is the capital of the Kurdistan Region. In this city many races live such as Kurds (93%), the main one, Turkmen, Chaldean, Assyrian and Syrian. The weather is hot and dry in the summer and raining and cold in the winter with a very attractive spring season. Erbil is still the oldest inhabited city; therefore, the center is considered historical.

Agriculture and animal breeding are the main economic activities in the governorate along with different factories, industries and crafts. Due to stable security, tourism activities are increased and developed tremendously.

Erbil Citadel 
Erbil governorate is famous for its archeological citadel whose date goes back to more than (6000) years.B.C. For its oldness and importance, UNESCO has put this citadel as one of the world's 100 edifices.

2. Sulaymaniah Governorate 
Sulaymaniah city (population: 1613397 & area: 13368 km²) was established in the latest 18th Century. The governorate area is above 890m sea level.

Sulaymaniah is considered as a mountainous area with the weather being cold and snowfall in the winter and nice in the summer. Known as "Zamo"in the Akad era, the Shahrazoor Plain is considered as the most fertile plains in the governorate.
Agriculture and animal breeding are considered as main economic activities in the governorate along with wide commercial, tourism and cultural activities.

Sulaymaniah is proud of producing numerous great Kurdish poets, authors and writers like: Naly, Pyramerd and Bekas. There, two grate dams, Dukan and Darbandikhan, were constructed which are considered as wonderful and attractive tourist landmarks in the region.

3. Dohuk Governorate 
Dohuk city (population: 912522), was established in1887during Ottoman Caliphate. It is 583m above sea level. There, different races live: Kurds (%90, 7) , Chaldean and Assyrians .The city is surrounded by mountains from all sides. There is a dam in the north of the city which is used for agriculture and tourism purposes and, at the same time, is the main source of drinking water. 

There are numerous tourism places in the Governorate like Zaweta, SwartuKa, Sarsang, Solav and others. There are also several historical places which go back to the Assyrian era like: Shndukha and AnishKy.

For more facts and figures on the Kurdistan region:

Kurdistan Fact Sheet

 

Kurdistan's Economy