The uneasy relationship between Iraqi Kurdistan’s two major political parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) is growing increasingly fractious. The two parties have long governed their respective geographical regional powerbases as fiefdoms, but until relatively recently had adopted a unified stance in Baghdad.

That is no longer the case, especially since the 2017 death of PUK founder and long-time leader Jalal Talabani. With the KDP and PUK backing different factions in last year’s lengthy government formation process, the fissures between the two deepened further (MEES, 17 June 2022). That melodrama has had a huge impact on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) given that the semi-autonomous region’s independent oil sector has effectively been used as a political chess piece by factions in Baghdad, with Iraq’s Supreme Court ruling it unconstitutional (MEES, 18 February 2022). (CONTINUED - 1132 WORDS)