While the U.S. focuses on Baghdad, a potentially defining crisis is developing in Kurdistan, according to Mark Lattimer, director of Minority Rights Group International. He argues in the Guardian that bloodshed in the only relatively secure region of Iraq is increasing as Kurds forced out of Kirkuk by Saddam tangle with Shi’ites resettled in Kurdistan.
As the country descends into civil war, Lattimer says, "The failure to bring even minimal security to Iraq has rendered the attempts to install democracy next to worthless." But Kurdistan has largely managed its own security, and its stability has allowed democracy to take root. If the situation there deteriorates, hopes of Iraqi unity could go with it.