By Kenneth R. Rosen—The New York Times—October 31, 2017—
A serpentine river gently cuts through a mountain plateau. Shepherds tend their flock while young men hunt wild game, fish along ancient tributaries or kayak over rapids. This pleated landscape of rolling hills and jagged mountains is most verdant in spring, when the junipers are full, the grass a vibrant emerald.
These quiet moments and images are not often associated with Iraq. But the Kurdish region, in the country’s northern reaches, is home to such reprieves. Beyond the oil fields of Taqtaq and Kirkuk, far east of Mosul and many miles north of Baghdad, the semiautonomous region often feels timeless and progressive, restive and at peace.