Iraq’s regional decentralisation debate is heating up, by Michael Knight
The decentralisation of security, spending and administrative power is regularly cited as a means of reducing tension in a post-Islamic State Iraq. The logic is commendable: If Sunnis and Kurds are freer to manage their own affairs, then they will have more stake in cooperation with Baghdad, and there will be less room for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) to operate along the tense, dividing lines between central Iraq and the northern and western peripheries.
Easy to say, harder to do. In decentralisation, the devil is in the detail. How much input should Baghdad versus local actors have in the recruitment of local security forces? Which spending should ministries versus provincial councils control? How much money will be sent to the local level? And who controls the oil?