NYT: 'After more than two months of daily protests, the demonstrations were quashed last month when the regional government ordered the security forces to occupy the central square. The security forces opened fire and detained protesters, actions that registered sharp rebukes from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
The crackdown has presented an unexpected challenge to American diplomats who have relied on the region to be a stable counterpoint to the continued violence and political dysfunction that roils the rest of Iraq.
“Kurdistan is the only place in Iraq that the United States can be proud of,” said Airy Hirseen, a leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, which governs the region along with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.
Mr. Hirseen said that he had been in contact with American officials during the protests, and that they did not press the authorities to end their aggressive response.'