The Kurds of Iraq cannot be accused of impatience over exploiting their energy riches. Oil has been underground for millennia and as it bubbled to the surface was used in traditional medical treatments. But those who ruled Iraq neglected it, apart from the Kirkuk region which was forcibly taken from the Kurds...
Soft power can influence others to want the same things as the UK "by building positive international relationships and coalitions which defend our interests and security, uphold our national reputation and promote our trade and prosperity." The report also says it should be carefully combined with hard power, essentially military force, to form "smart power."
The decision by the influential Foreign Affairs Select Committee in the British Parliament to initiate an in-depth and comprehensive inquiry into all aspects of the Kurdistan Region is a triumph for all those who have long argued for the need to increase understanding between the UK and the Kurdistan Region.
The Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has made little effort to mend Kurdish grievances, instead we are his puppets during elections. The more aggression he shows towards Kurdish people, the more support he is likely to receive from voters. We should stop being puppets in his orchestrated show and instead work towards independence.
In their different ways, the Tory trio are seeking to learn the right lessons from Iraq, and deepen the UK's foreign policy debate. Liberal interventionism has been undermined since 2003 but careless insularity, combined with a puerile anti-imperialism, does nothing for current and future victims of tyrants everywhere.
When I began visiting the Kurdistan Region in 2006, one big issue was how best to deal with its awkward neighbour, Turkey. We heard stories of people finding it difficult to cross the border. One trade union delegation, delivering a fire engine to Erbil, was delayed for a day at the border without food or water. It was all pretty petty stuff but more serious dangers simmered. Just five years ago, 100,000 Turkish troops were poised on the border with the Kurdistan Region.
Somewhere near Dohuk and the 4,000 year old town where the three wise men possibly began their journey to Bethlehem is a Christian monastery set high on a mountain with commanding views of tremendous scenery. Sadly, our driver had no idea where it was and I only managed to get directions by e mailing a friend in Hawaii.
Hadija, 12, and her younger siblings are fast becoming part of Syria's lost generation. Hadija has been out of school for over a year and has forgotten how to read. When I asked her if she could read, she said yes. But when she looked at the words on the back of a bottle, she realized she could no longer make out the letters.
Over three hundred people from NHS bodies with their friends came together recently for a glittering charity ball in Newcastle Civic Centre. They had gathered to support and raise funds for Kurdish born orthopaedic surgeon, Professor Deiary Kader who founded the Newcastle-Gateshead Medical Volunteers to bring much needed medical relief to Kurds back in Erbil.