During the long twentieth century, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria often described their Kurdish minorities' demands for recognition as a malignant tumor requiring immediate excision.1 These states' repressive policies produced a series of failed uprisings, betrayals, and broken promises generating a widely quoted expression: “Kurds have no friends but the mountains.”

After surviving a century of subjugation, Kurds are enjoying a political and cultural resurgence due in part to dramatic changes taking place in their host countries. The Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) gained official recognition in the 2005 constitution and became the first recognized Kurdish political entity in modern history. The KRI is often referred to as “the other Iraq” to highlight the relative peace and prosperity it enjoys and the Kurds's hopes for building democracy in a region dominated by authoritarian governments and Islamist non-state actors. The Syrian civil war has brought the previously overlooked Kurdish population...

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