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Introduction
Click on the links to read about key people and groups in Iraq
Islamic: Secular: Kurds and others: Governing council:
Overview
Daawa
Sciri
Sadr Group
Iraqi Islamic Party
Kurdish Islamic Union
Sistani & other leaders
Overview
Adnan Pachachi
Ahmed Chalabi (INC)
Iyad Alawi (INA)
Communist Party
Naseer al-Chaderchi
Royalists
Baathists
Overview
Massoud Barzani
Jalal Talabani
Assyrians
Turkmen
Tribal leaders
Marsh Arabs
Overview
Council members
OVERVIEW: KURDS AND OTHERS

Non-Arab communities, mainly Kurds, Turkmen and Assyrians make up somewhere between 20% and 25% of Iraq's population. They tend to live in the north of the country. Many of these communities suffered great oppression under Saddam Hussein.

The Kurds are the largest non-Arab community in Iraq by far. The two main Kurdish factions in northern Iraq have a firm base among their own people but would be unlikely contenders for national power.

In an Iraq with a devolved Kurdish region, they would be expected to lead some kind of power-sharing government despite years of often violent rivalry.

Kurds have experienced something of a golden age since the 1991 war in Iraq, protected from Saddam Hussein by a US and UK no-fly zone. What they want now is a real share in central government, along with a form of federal democracy which would protect much of the autonomy they currently have.

During the war in Iraq, Kurdish fighters largely worked under or alongside US forces. Kurdish fighters did go into Kirkuk and Mosul - two strategic northern cities - ahead of US troops. This risked drawing Turkey into the fighting.

Ankara fears Kurdish independence in Iraq might stir up Kurdish nationalism in Turkey.

The much smaller Assyrian and Turkmen communities of Iraq are organising themselves politically in the post-Saddam era.

Kurds want a form of federal democracy which will protect much of their autonomy

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