The Kurdish provinces of Iraq are a world apart from the country inhabited by their fellow citizens. Basic services like electricity and fuel are good and increasingly available to all Kurds. Booming foreign investment has created a business culture complete with plans for a golf course as part of a gated-community outside the capital city of Erbil. There have been no U.S. combat fatalities in the autonomous Kurdish region since the fall of Saddam Hussein, in 2003. But there's one thing the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) can no longer lord over the struggling central government in Baghdad: democracy.
"The KRG has a democracy gap with Baghdad," says Quil Lawrence, author of Invisible Nation: How the Kurds' Quest for Statehood Is Shaping Iraq and the Middle East. "After years of counting on American support because of its pro-Western, secular and, most importantly, pro-democratic image, the Kurdish parliament looks like a rubber stamp s