The KRG has a very nice website that establishes its autonomy pretty clearly. (That ain't an Iraqi flag waving on the front page.) Reading through the site a bit reminded me that the Kurds have had autonomy since the establishment of the no-fly zone in 1991. The Kurds held their first regional elections in 1992 and have successfully transferred power between competing factions several times, the most recent being the transfer from the PUK led government to the current KDP led government in May of this year. While Barzani seems to be the name of choice for Kurdish leaders over the last century although there have been men from other families who have led.
The fact that the Kurds have been policing themselves for fourteen year has certainly proven efficacious in minimizing the number of terrorist incidents in the north. The prompt application of the 7.62 solution to unknown Arabs seems to work wonders.
The KRG Parliament is studying a draft oil revenue act, beating Baghdad to the punch quite handily. It will be interesting to watch the Kurds press implementation of the act while Baghdad dithers. Should the KRG Parliament pass the act and begin signing exploration deals without central government permission it may prove to be the point at which autonomy becomes independence.
Prime Minister Barzani has been very clear about welcoming Americans to establish permant bases in Kurdistan. Should Maliki continue as a totally inept sockpuppet for Sadr we might consider inking a side deal with Barzani - and issue a welcome to the family of fully independent nations at the same time.