Members of the Kurdish peshmerga forces gather in the town of Sinjar, Iraq November 13, 2015. REUTERS/Ari Jalal
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Last year's sweeping offensive by Daesh (ISIS) militants through northern Iraq thrust one community in particular to the fore – the Kurds.Eighteen months later, the governor of Irbil, capital of Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government, admits that some peshmerga are fighting Daesh without being paid on time.The Iraqi Kurdish enclave will need at least $1.4 billion to stabilize the economy after growth slowed from 8 percent in 2013 to 3 percent last year, and poverty doubled, according to the World Bank.Healing a widening rift between the two dominant forces in Iraqi Kurdish politics may be harder.In the most recent parliamentary elections, the PUK fell to third position after being overtaken by the Gorran (Change) Party, which won votes from Kurds upset over alleged graft.Iraqi Kurdish leaders consolidated their power following the first Gulf War as the U.S.-led coalition created a partial no-fly zone in northern Iraq to protect the region from Saddam Hussein's regime.Subsequent elections saw the KDP and PUK equally balanced in the new Kurdish government.
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