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Facts Matter

The stops and starts for Kurdish independence

Protestors stand outside the Irbil International Airport to oppose the flight ban issued by the Iraq federal government. Photo: Bram Janssen / AP

After Iraqi Kurds held an independence referendum last month, the government in Baghdad — which deemed the vote unconstitutional — sent in troops. It wasn't the first time Kurds have pushed toward independence, only to be beaten.

Why it matters: It's likely not the last time, either. The complicated history behind the regional struggle spans across decades and borders, and Kurdish support for independence are coming to a head, not just in Iraq, but in neighboring countries as well.