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Kirkuk in Transition

Éditeur : Washington Institute for Near East Policy Date & Lieu : 2010, Washinton
Préface : Pages : 70
Traduction : ISBN :
Langue : AnglaisFormat : 216x280 mm
Code FIKP : 3515Thème : Politique

Table des Matières Introduction Identité PDF
Kirkuk in Transition

Kirkuk in Transition
Confidence Building in Northern Iraq

The research and production of this Policy Focus would not have been possible without the foresight, wisdom, and commitment of a number of people and institutions. First and most important, I would like to thank The Washington Institute’s trustees for their unstinting commitment to high-quality analysis in support of U.S. policymaking. Both they and the Board of Directors continue to make a real difference by nurturing the ideas and specialized information that policymakers need to make fully informed decisions. I would like to extend special thanks to Chairman Emeritus Fred S. Lafer for his longstanding support of my research on conflicts in Iraq, Yemen, and the wider Persian Gulf.

This kind of study depends greatly on institutional support, which The Washington Institute’s research and administrative staff provided in abundance. Many thanks are due to Executive Director Robert Satloff and Deputy Director for Research Patrick Clawson for encouraging our work on this project. I would also like to thank Michael Eisenstadt, permanent head of the Military and Security Studies Program, for his guidance. Other Institute fellows were generous in their support as well, notably Soner Cagaptay, David Pollock, J. Scott Carpenter, John Hannah, and Nazar Janabi. And special thanks are due to research associate Ahmed Ali, my good friend and colleague, for the invaluable research he contributed on Kirkuk city’s ethnic fabric and planned municipal development. Ahmed is an example to all analysts—thoughtful, honest, and eager to learn.

The Institute’s editorial staff deserves a big thankyou for the effort it put into editing and producing this study. Working under severe time and resource constraints, they efficiently shepherded it to completion and were great fun to work with, as always. Special thanks go out to Alicia Gansz, Mary Kalbach Horan, and George Lopez. Thanks are also due to Alex Tait and Vickie Taylor of International Mapping Associates for their rapid and high-quality work on the detailed maps of Kirkuk.

Finally, I would like to thank the many experts who provided vital information, opinions, and reviews. Although most of them cannot be named due to their roles in the U.S. government, Iraqi military, or Kurdish political community, three individuals merit special mention. Qubad Talabani, the Kurdistan Regional Government representative to the United States, deserves thanks for his gracious support of the project. Brig. Gen. David Paschal, who commanded U.S. forces in Kirkuk during a critical period in 2007–2008, provided crucial support as well. And Ambassador Thomas Krajeski, former U.S. special representative to northern Iraq, offered a valuable insider’s perspective regarding the challenges of developing U.S. policy on an issue like Kirkuk. I would also like to thank the staff of the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) for their outstanding input.

Michael Knights
April 2010

Northern Iraq’ s Kirkuk province has a long history of multiethnic conflict and economic migration. For decades, successive Arab-led governments in Baghdad sought to control the area’s oil wealth and downplay its identity as a center of Turkmen and Kurdish culture. From the 1960s until the Baath regime’s fall, the government resorted to ever more extreme methods of violence and ethnic displacement (Arabization).

Following the 2003 coalition invasion, however, Kurdish political parties became ascendant in Kirkuk, exploiting Sunni Arab and Turkmen boycotts to take control of key government departments and local councils. Despite this leadership change, mechanisms intended to reverse Arabization among the general population have proven too bureaucratically complex to produce results within a reasonable timeframe. Similarly, attempts to negotiate new power-sharing frameworks have been disrupted by broader federal-Kurdish politics, effectively minimizing input by local stakeholders.

Strategic Importance
The Kirkuk and Dibis districts are the most strategically critical areas within Kirkuk province. Some portions of these districts have emotional significance, such as the rural zones where the Baath regime carried out the Anfal campaigns against Kurdish civilians. Other areas have intrinsic strategic significance, such as militarily valuable terrain, water sources, and key road systems (e.g., around Altun Kupri). The Kurdish parties do not appear to seek direct control over Kirkuk’s oil and gas reserves, however. Instead, their ability to block access to these facilities has become a bargaining
chip, helping them gain concessions from Baghdad and deter military action against the Kurds.

As for urban Kirkuk, the city remains a sensitive area due to its concentration of local government organs, housing, and employment. Kurdish resistance to a federal military presence there is based on concerns that Baghdad would seize control of these resources...

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