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The birth of Kurdistan?

The north of Iraq is everything the rest of the country is not: safe, prosperous and tolerant—and it could be independent within a decade

By Martin Fletcher   209

Erbil, Kurdistan’s capital—“a brash, sprawling metropolis that aspires to be a ‘second Dubai’” © Jane Sweeney

On the eve of Newroz, the Kurdish New Year, in March, a fireworks display crackled over the city of Sulaimaniya in northern Iraq. Tens of thousands of Kurds had packed into Salim Street, the city’s broad central boulevard, to celebrate the festival. Kurdish musicians performed on stages. Men wearing traditional baggy-trousered Kurdish costumes, and women in sequinned dresses, danced and promenaded. Parents bought kebabs, spiced broad beans and roasted sunflower seeds for themselves,…

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