As US troops prepared to launch the invasion of Iraq, confident of being greeted as liberators and heroes, there was one thing that foreign policy analysts at least were uncertain about - what would happen in Kurdistan?

After years of being terrorised by Saddam Hussain and desperate to maintain a separate ethnic identity, the Kurds, some said, would take the opportunity to finally break free from Baghdad.

Seven years later, Kurdistan is looking like a somewhat unlikely success story - stable, prosperous and violence free.

But beneath the apparent calm, the same tensions still simmer - Kurdistan's legal status remains undetermined, the ethnic Kurds are still demanding a homeland and critics say the regional government is illegally helping itself to the nation's oil.

Joining Teymoor Nabili on this episode of Inside Iraq are: Kamil Mahdi, an Iraqi political and economic analyst; Mohammad Ihsan, the Kurdistan Regional Government representative in Baghdad; and Abdul Hadi al-Hassani, a member of the Iraqi parliament.

This episode of Inside Iraq aired from Friday, August 13, 2010.

Source: Al Jazeera