Tensions In Iraq May Be Overblown

As U.S. forces begin their pullout from Iraq, tensions between the Kurdish region and Baghdad are rising. A nationwide census, as mandated by the constitution, has been held up again. And the status of Kirkuk, an oil-rich city claimed by both sides, remains unsettled. But there is reason to be skeptical of the rising tensions.

The Kurds may be overstating the threat posed from Baghdad to keep the American presence in the region. Although their peshmerga is strong, there is concern that the U.S. military is the only thing preventing greater hostilities between the Kurds and Iraqi Arabs. That may be overstating things to keep U.S. diplomats in the area to mediate. The Kurds appear to want only peace and prosperity, not full-blown independence, and they reckon the status quo may be better than a future Iraq sans-U.S. forces.


The Maliki government may also be overstating the threat posed from Kurds to whip up Arab and Iraqi nationalism and rally the country around his government. By projecting strength against greater Kurdish autonomy, Maliki can present himself as a tough leader and defender of Iraq, appealing to both Shiite and Sunni alike. This kind of stance also plays well in Tehran, Damascus, and Ankara, as Iraq looks to boost ties with its neighbors, all of which have sizable Kurdish minorities.

Make no mistake, there is real tension between Baghdad and Erbil, but some of it is being manufactured for political reasons and to sway policymakers in Washington.

Big Think Edge
  • The meaning of the word 'confidence' seems obvious. But it's not the same as self-esteem.
  • Confidence isn't just a feeling on your inside. It comes from taking action in the world.
  • Join Big Think Edge today and learn how to achieve more confidence when and where it really matters.

To boost your self-esteem, write about chapters of your life

If you're lacking confidence and feel like you could benefit from an ego boost, try writing your life story.

Personal Growth

In truth, so much of what happens to us in life is random – we are pawns at the mercy of Lady Luck. To take ownership of our experiences and exert a feeling of control over our future, we tell stories about ourselves that weave meaning and continuity into our personal identity.

Keep reading Show less

MIT study: 24-hour fasting regenerates stem cells, doubles metabolism

This gives credence to the 5–2 diet, which has recently gained in popularity thanks to a large celebrity following.

Pexels, user @Deena
popular

Chances are you're probably thinking about food right now in some capacity. Maybe it's close to dinner and you're wondering what you are going to eat. Maybe you had a really good lunch and are fondly reminiscing about your BLT, or whatnot. Or maybe, just maybe, you're thinking about not eating food for a while.

Keep reading Show less

Ashes of cat named Pikachu to be launched into space

A space memorial company plans to launch the ashes of "Pikachu," a well-loved Tabby, into space.

GoFundMe/Steve Munt
Culture & Religion
  • Steve Munt, Pikachu's owner, created a GoFundMe page to raise money for the mission.
  • If all goes according to plan, Pikachu will be the second cat to enter space, the first being a French feline named Felicette.
  • It might seem frivolous, but the cat-lovers commenting on Munt's GoFundMe page would likely disagree.
Keep reading Show less