For the past 11 years, Iraqi Kurds have enjoyed semi-autonomy, a sort of de facto independence. Since 1996, a percentage of the revenue from the UN oil for food program has been earmarked for the Kurds.The newly unified National Assembly began meeting last autumn. Iraqi Kurds have used this period of calm and relative affluence to rebuild their region and construct a democratic, pluralistic Kurdish society.
Beautiful, new ministry buildings are being constructed. Infrastructure is being rebuilt. Everywhere one looks homes, schools and hospitals are under construction. A plethora of newspapers, magazines and journals are being published and satellite television stations are broadcasting Kurdish programming for the newly established Kurdish television channels.

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