Iraqi Kurdistan / by Michelle Ryan

Iraqi Kurdistan continued to push for statehood as well as economic independence from Baghdad by rejecting the 2017 federal budget and refusing to cooperate with a new Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreement. Foreign governments such as Germany and Russia showed continued support for Kurdish forces but remained quiet on stances of Kurdish statehood. Kurdistan Regional Government President Barzani visited Washington to assess the incoming Presidential administration’s stance on US and Kurdish relations. United States (US) Defense Secretary Ash Carter made a visit to Baghdad to assess the Mosul Offensive. PKK forces in Sinjar finally agreed to leave after requests by both the US government and KRG. Iraqi troops resumed fighting in the Mosul-offensive after a two-week lull. Commanders were optimistic Mosul can be taken within the next few months. The Kurdish region received extensive foreign aid to help IDPs as well as address issues of clean water and waterborne disease. ExxonMobil cut its Kurdistan portfolio by half. Iraq continued to work to address the protection of journalists in the country as well as the prevention of false reporting on the Mosul offensive. 

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