ERBIL (HRNW) – The marriage of convenience between Iraqi Kurdistan s political dynasties is on the rocks.
While the dominant Barzani and Talabani clans have long been at loggerheads over power and resources in a region rich in oil and gas, power-sharing governments have largely kept a lid on mistrust since the two sides fought a civil war in the 1990s.
But the lingering acrimony has spilled into the open with a vengeance since a rare assassination in the city of Erbil, and the fallout is putting the uneasy alliance through one of its stiffest tests since the war, diplomats and analysts say.
On Oct. 7, shortly after Hawker Abdullah Rasoul set off in an SUV from his home on a leafy street in Erbil, a bomb ripped through the car, killing him and wounding four family members.
Rasoul was an intelligence officer, and a defector.
After nearly two decades with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), a party dominated by the Talabani family, he moved to Erbil this year and switched sides, three security sources and a Kurdish source told Reuters.
When he was killed, Rasoul, 41, was helping the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the party ruled by the Barzani family that he had been keeping tabs on for years, the sources said.