20080211 a refinery near the oilrich city of kirkuk 18
A refinery near the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, the capital of Kurdish-run northern Iraq. - 

TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is releasing a handbook today to encourage foreign investment -- not investment in the U.S., but in Iraqi Kurdistan. Jeremy Hobson reports.


Jeremy Hobson: Since 2006, Iraqi Kurdistan has been trying to differentiate itself from the violence we all associate with Iraq, to attract foreign investors.

Qubad Talabani is the Kurdistan Regional Government's rep in the U.S., and the son of Iraq's president. He doesn't see any downside to bringing all the dollars to Kurdistan.

Qubad Talabani: It's the stable part of the country, where people's investments can be secured, where there is rule of law. If and when the rest of the country stabilizes, then these companies can branch out into other parts of the country.

Keith Crane of the RAND Corporation is skeptical of that argument.

Keith Crane: Kurdistan is a good example of what could happen in Iraq, but I don't see it as the locomotive pulling the Iraqi economy along.

A bigger worry, some argue, is that more investment in Kurdistan could mean a greater desire by the oil-rich region to further loosen ties with Baghdad.

In Washington, I'm Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

Follow Jeremy Hobson at @jeremyhobson