Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Political Science


Anna O. Pechenkina


Jeannie Johnson

Third Advisor:

Nicole Allen


In the mid-1990s the two Kurdish parties in Iraq—the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)—signed two power-sharing agreements, which had dramatically different results. The 1992 50-50 Agreement ended in conflict while the 1998 Washington Agreement ended in long-lasting peace.

I examine both the agreements and their surrounding context to identify what explains the success or failure of these two agreements in establishing long-lasting and cooperative peace. I find that the presence or absence of peace is due to both the language of the agreements and the context in which they were created. I demonstrate this through an examination of the two learning periods the Iraqi Kurds experienced, one through fighting from 1994-1997 and the second through a peacetime separation into two governorates from 1998-2006.

One of the most important conclusions is that the endemic Koya/Shaqlawa peace process between the two Iraqi Kurdish parties prior to the 1998 Washington Agreement resulted in a more ambiguous agreement in 1998 which laid the ground work for greater cooperation over the next decade culminating in the 2006 Kurdistan Regional Government Unification Agreement.