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Are Kurds seeing calm before the storm? - by Seth J Frantzman

When protesters stormed Iraq's parliament on September 30, a Kurdish news team from Rudaw found themselves reporting live in the midst of the chaos.

A Kurdish Peshmerga soldier outside the parliament told them that protesters "had kissed [him] and given [him] flowers. It's very peaceful." It was a momentary gesture in a region that has become increasingly fractured along sectarian lines.

Kurds have been seeking greater independence and autonomy throughout the region in the last hundred years in the wake of what many complain were European-imposed colonial borders that ignored their rights.

Since the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group in 2014, the Kurdish regions in Syria and Iraq have found their areas largely cut off from the central government.

This has brought widespread hopes for a Kurdish referendum on independence in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq, and a federal structure in Syria that would preserve the Kurds' hard-fought rights.

Read more: nAre Kurds seeing calm before the storm? - Al Jazeera English

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