Kurdistan is also a term used by people of the region, especially Kurdish Turks and Iranis, to describe the portion of the northern Iraq which was under UN protection between the two Gulf Wars and is now overseen by the American occupation force.

During the latter portion of the ten years between the Gulf Wars, the Kurds of northern Iraq enjoyed de facto autonomy. They assembled a government, circulated their own currency and printed their own passports. The government also sought (and in some cases recieved) foreign aid and investment.

Given their high level of autonomy, it is not surprising that the Kurds are not entirely thrilled with the notion of a unified post-Saddam Iraq. Iran and Turkey, on the other hand, see such as imperative for fear that a Kurdish state could re-ignite the Kurdish nationalist violence that both countries recently subdued.

Only time will tell how it is resolved and what fallout that resolution brings.