Fuad Masum, the new president of Iraq and a veteran Kurdish politician, speaks during a press conference in Baghdad on July 24, 2014, after he was elected by an overwhelming majority in the Parliament. AFP PHOTO / ALI AL-SAADI
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Quiet and bookish, Iraq's President-elect Fouad Masoum is different from jocular incumbent Jalal Talabani, but sharp political skills forged in the long battle for Kurdish self-determination are common to both.Masoum, an ethnic Kurd, fought a rebel war alongside childhood friend Talabani for a separate Kurdish homeland, and in 1992 became the first prime minister of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.Eventually the KDP would split, after Masoum's friend Talabani fell out with Barzani – the start of a long and deadly internecine feud among Iraqi Kurds.Talabani went on to form the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, and in 1976 Masoum joined him as a founding member.
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