Tod Robberson, Dallas Morning News:
There is much more. Will the NY Times ever do this story?
It's almost as if someone forgot to tell the Kurdish inhabitants of northern Iraq that there's a war going on.
A boomtown atmosphere seems to prevail across the region. Streets are clogged with major construction projects, including shopping malls, hotels, office complexes and highway interchanges. Commercial activity is brisk, and jobs are so plentiful that Arabs and Iranians, who normally shun the region known as Kurdistan, are migrating here in search of work.
In a land with an extreme shortage of success stories, Kurdistan stands out as Iraq's model of prosperity and security. Car bombs are a rarity. Fear seems nonexistent. What many Iraqis want to know is: If it could happen here, why not the rest of the country?
"Where I come from, there's no security anywhere. When you go to work in the morning, you never know if you'll come home alive in the evening," said Mahmoud Saeed, a migrant Iraqi Arab construction worker from Mosul. "If Mosul had security like this," he added with a chuckle as he considered the possibilities, "our economy would be huge."
The reasons for their economic success are more complex than the sole issue of security, according to various observers. Much of it has to do with Kurdish cultural unity, their common goal of achieving independence and a singular drive to show the world that Kurds can prosper with or without the rest of Iraq.
Additionally, Kurds share common bonds with both the Arab Shiite and Sunni Muslim communities who are behind most of Iraq's violence.
Like the Shiites, who dominate most of southern Iraq, the Kurds suffered heavy oppression under the regime of former dictator Saddam Hussein, an Arab Sunni. Shiite and Kurdish leaders joined forces during negotiations this year to write a new constitution, winning the right for their regions to become self-governing federal states.
But because the Kurds are mainly Sunni Muslim, they share a religious bond with the Arab Sunnis who dominate central Iraq and provide most of the insurgents fighting U.S.-led international forces. The Arab Sunnis continue to court Kurdish political support to help block Shiite domination of the national legislature.
The result, analysts explain, is that Kurdistan has been spared from the kinds of attacks witnessed daily around the rest of the country.