Masoud al-Barzani, the president of the
autonomous Kurdistan region
Iraqi Kurdistan has been hailed as a beacon of democracy in an otherwise uncertain Iraq which is caught in an unending cycle of violence and bloodshed. Washington says the relatively peaceful region in northern Iraq is a model for success that Baghdad should emulate.

However, beneath the remarkable economic progress led by an apparently democratically-elected government, political observers are concerned over the growing culture of corruption, nepotism, and abuse of power by the leadership.

The Kurdistan regional government (KRG) claims its economy is booming and the Kurds are getting richer, but are they enjoying real economic growth or simply riding on oil cash exacted from Baghdad's budget? 

The KRG's relationship with Baghdad has been strained over disputes of oil and revenue sharing laws. Is the KRG using these disputes to strive for autonomy rather than a unified central government with Baghdad?

Our guests this week are Dr Fereydun Hilmi, a Kurdish affairs expert, and Dr Foud Hussein, the chief of staff for Masoud al-Barzani, the KRG president.

Watch part one of this episode of Inside Iraq on YouTube

Watch part two of this episode of Inside Iraq on YouTube

This episode of Inside Iraq aired on Friday, January 11, 2008

To contact us click on 'Send your feedback' at the top of the page

Watch Al Jazeera English programmes on YouTube

Join our debates on the Your Views page

Source: Al Jazeera