Professor Liam Anderson
Associate Professor of Political Science - Wright State University  

Professor Anderson will lecture on the subject of "Potential for Power Sharing in Kirkuk"

His lecture will take place on Tuesday, November 11th, 2008, at 12:00PM in the PPEC Conference Room, Suite 130 St. Leonard's Court, 1st Floor (map - 3819-31 Chestnut Street).

MP3 ; Podcast


Resolving the status of Kirkuk is the key issue impeding the process of political reconciliation in Iraq.  Absent a mutually acceptable solution to this problem, Iraq’s political system will remain gridlocked and unable to make progress on other important legislative benchmarks, such as provincial elections, a federal oil and gas law, and the package of constitutional amendments required under the Article 142 process.  Though all relevent parties, whether Kurds, Turkmen, Turks, Arabs, or the international community, insist on the need for compromise, there has been no serious effort to examine what this would actually require in practice.  By definition, a compromise requires all sides to make meaningful concessions.  The standard solution advanced by Kirkuk’s Turkmen and Arab political leaders - that power must be shared equally and Kirkuk must remain outside the Kurdistan Region – does not fit any reasonable definition of compromise because it requires the Kurds to make all the concessions while requiring nothing of them.  Those in the West who support this approach should, perhaps, reconsider because it is simply disingenuous to pretend that this is a compromise.  Real compromise requires a trade-off along two key dimensions - administrative status and political control (power-sharing).  If Kirkuk remains outside the Kurdistan Region, then Arabs and Turkmen cannot reasonably expect to share power; but equally, Kurds cannot expect to monopolize power in a Kirkuk that is part of the Kurdistan Region.  Kirkuk is not an intractable problem.  It only appears to be because all sides preach the need for compromise without being forced to confront the painful, but necessary sacrifices that compromise requires.



Liam Anderson is an associate professor of political science at Wright State University whose areas of expertise include research on weapons of mass destruction, the former Soviet Central Asian republics, Constitutional Design, and foreign policy. He received his M.Phil. from the University of Cambridge and his Ph.D from the University of Georgia.

Selected Publications

  • 2005 (with Gareth Stansfield) The Future of Iraq, Updated Edition: Dictatorship, Democracy, or Division? Palgrave Macmillan
  • 2000 (with Ewan W. Anderson and Ivars Gutmanis) Economic Power in a Changing International System. Continuum International Publishing Group
  • 2000 (with Michael Beck) "U.S. Political Activism in Central Asia: The Case of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan" in Crossroads and Conflict: Security and Foreign Policy in the Caucasus and Central Asia, Gary K. Bertsch, Scott A. Jones, and Cassady B. Craft (eds) Routledge
  • 1997 (with Ewan W. Anderson) Strategic Minerals: Resource Geopolitics and Global Geo-Economics. Wiley

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