Global News Journal

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Why is Kirkuk such an obstacle for Iraq?


kirkuk.jpgIraq’s leaders have overcome many hurdles in their struggle to rebuild their country after the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003.  But agreeing on the fate of the “ethnic tinderbox” of oil-producing Kirkuk is a particularly testing one.

Why has Kirkuk proven to be such an obstacle? For many, settling its fate seems to be an easy task.

The dispute largely revolves around Kurdish demands to incorporate the city into their autonomous northern Iraq region.  Arabs and Turkmens want the city to remain under the control of the Iraqi government as it has always been.

For an outsider the dispute might seem to be an administrative question of who will manage the city but Kirkuk’s fate has taken on national and regional dimensions since U.S.-led forces toppled Saddam. It has fuelled the ethnic conflict between Arabs
and Kurds and drawn in regional powers, especially neighbouring Turkey.