Today, the Iraqi Army and the Kurdish peshmerga are facing off across the disputed areas of northern Iraq, while politicians in Baghdad and Irbil are in a heated war of words. The point of contention is the new Tigris Operations Command created by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The recent events are almost an exact replay of 2008 when the central government confronted the Kurdish parties in Diyala province. Both appeared aimed at shoring up the premierís standing with the electorate before provincial elections. Regional President Massoud Barzani also benefited as he rallied the Kurdish parties behind him. On the outside these confrontations looked like they could escalate into open warfare, but they were more political theater than anything else.

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