Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Kurds want Kirkuk in Kurdistan

This was the headline of a Reuters UK news article from July 31, 2008 describing a call by Kurdish members of a provincial council meeting for the city of Kirkuk and its surrounding oil-rich Tamim Province to become part of the Kurdistan region in northern Iraq. The meeting was boycotted by Arab and Turkmen council members.

Kurds regard Kirkuk, which lies just outside the largely autonomous region of Kurdistan, as their ancient capital.

"We completely reject Kirkuk becoming a part of Kurdistan and consider this the beginning of a crisis and strife in the city. It could lead to civil war in Kirkuk," said Mohammed al-Jubouri, an Arab member of the provincial council, as reported by Reuters.

As a requirement prescribed in the Iraqi Constitution, a referendum deciding the alignment of the province was to be voted on by the residents by December 31, 2007, but the Iraqi Parliament has delayed that vote indefinitely.

A nytimes.com article from December 9, 2007 reports that Kirkuk adjoins some of Iraq's most lucrative oil reserves. As reported in that article, the International Crisis Group, a nonprofit organization that seeks to prevent or resolve deadly conflicts, warned that “the Kirkuk question could... trigger total deadlock, breakdown and violent conflict."

In such violent conflict between Iraq and the Kurds of the north, Jeremiah wrote: "Consecrate these nations against (Babylon), the kings of the Medes, their governors and all their lieutenant governors, and every land of their dominion... for the destroyers will come to (Babylon) from the north" (Jeremiah 51:28, 48).

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