The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is reviving longstanding efforts to build a railway that would connect neighboring Iran and Turkey through territory it controls. The development follows Ankara and Baghdad’s announcement of a major transit project that would bypass Erbil. Iraqi Kurdish officials seemingly believe that political motivations are behind their exclusion from the massive rail and road endeavor.
Development of the KRG railroad faces formidable challenges. The revival of the project is therefore more of a political statement to remind other powers that Iraqi Kurdistan ought to have a stake in regional endeavors as opposed to a serious alternative to the Iraq-Turkey transit route.
At the same time, recent developments have shown how key the railway project is for Erbil. After the Covid-19 pandemic postponed progress for several years, an agreement to develop rail infrastructure in the region was signed with a German company in Oct. 2022. Moreover, in June, KRG Minister of Housing and Construction Dana Abdul Karem stated that his ministry’s priority is to...
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