The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) faces an existential crisis. Iraq’s swift reclamation of disputed territories in Kirkuk, Nineveh and Diyala provinces this week has seen the KRG lose nearly half of its oil production and revenues. Its leaders have lost most of their political capital.

Iraq’s offensive this week exposed the divisions at the heart of the KRG. As recriminations follow, these divisions could widen further. Iraqi Kurdistan’s two dominant political parties – the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) – have traded accusations in recent days. Each party has its own military force, and is therefore vulnerable to criticism over the ease with which Iraqi troops advanced. Meanwhile the PUK itself is looking especially splintered following this month’s death of founder Jalal Talabani. (CONTINUED - 1548 WORDS)