More than four thousand U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion. Of those deaths, not a single soldier has died in the northern part of Iraq known as Kurdistan. The Kurdish region of Iraq has known relative peace and stability since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. That wasn't the case before the war.
Quil Lawrence is The World's Middle East correspondent. He's also the author of a new book, 'Invisible Nation: How the Kurds' Quest for Statehood is Shaping Iraq and the Middle East'.
From the publisher:
The dramatic story of the Kurds and their quest to create a nationâ€”essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how the turmoil in Iraq will play out.
Kurdistan is an invisible nation, and the Kurds the largest ethnic group on Earth without a homeland, comprising some 25 million moderate Sunni Muslims living in the area around the borders of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Through a history dating back to biblical times, they have endured persecution and betrayal, surviving only through stubborn compromise with greater powers. Yet, like the Basques in Spain and the Chechens in Chechnya, they have yearned for official statehoodâ€”and in the denouement of the conflict in Iraq, they could take a giant step toward that goal. But will they?
As Quil Lawrence relates in his fascinating and timely study of the Kurds, while their ambition and determination grow apace, their future will be largely dependent on whether America values a budding democracy in the region, or decides to yet again sacrifice the Kurds in the name of political expediency. In any event, the Kurdish north may well prove to be the defining battleground in Iraq. At this extraordinary moment in the saga of Kurdistan, informed by his deep knowledge of the people and region, Lawrence's intimate and unflinching portrait of the Kurds and their heretofore quixotic questâ€”their deep history mingling with the controversy and complex realities of the presentâ€”offers a vital and original lens through which to contemplate the future of Iraq and the surrounding Middle East.