Friday, April 27, 2007

Analysis: The temperature rises in Kirkuk

Aftermath of a car bombing in Kirkuk.

KIRKUK, Iraq - The latest wave of deadly attacks to hit the oil-rich, ethnically combustible city of Kirkuk appears to be a prelude of worse to come, with a referendum looming to decide its status by the end of the year. Concern that the north is poised to become a new front in the Iraq conflict is saddled by the possibility that neighboring Turkey will also join the fight.

The fate of Kirkuk, which sits atop one of the world's biggest oilfields, is set to be resolved in a local referendum as laid out in the Iraqi constitution. After a forced "Arabization" campaign under Saddam Hussein that brought tens of thousands of Shi'ite Arabs to displace the Kurdish population, an estimated 350,000 Kurds have moved back since April 2003 and are now said to hold a majority that would carry the vote.

Read the rest at Asia Times