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New PKK election strategy highlights intra-Kurdish tensions

The Kurdish separatist group is making an unprecedented foray into Iraqi politics, using upcoming national elections to challenge Iraqi Kurdistan's ruling party.
PKK fighters in the Qandil Mountains of northern Iraq. For decades, the PKK has been in armed conflict with the Turkish government over Kurdish rights and identity in Turkey. (DANIEL SMITH/Iraq Oil Report)

ERBIL/SULAIMANIYA - The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a Kurdish separatist group and U.S.-designated terrorist organization, is making an unprecedented effort to influence and participate in Iraq's national elections this Sunday.

The campaign could negatively impact the electoral performance of Iraqi Kurdistan's ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) by depriving it of seats in Ninewa province, and appears to be raising tensions that have already led to deadly skirmishes, including in areas near oil infrastructure.

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