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Kurdish Peshmerga Seizes Kirkuk


Sep 21, 2013
New Zealand
"Capturing the city and its huge oil reserves, just outside the area controlled by the Kurdish regional government (KRG), is a huge achievement. Yet victory looks far from glorious or orderly.

At the K1 army base in the heart of Kirkuk, now abandoned by Iraqi government troops, a dozen policemen still loyal to the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, looked on in despair on Thursday as looters carted away goods, furniture and guns in the boots and on the roofs of their cars. "The Kurds say Kirkuk is the Jerusalem of Kurdistan, and yet they come and loot this base," complained Mahmoud, a 30-year-old policeman. "For the last two days our job has been to watch these thieves taking away everything here."

Iraqi Kurds enjoy a large degree of autonomy and self-government in the north-east but have long coveted Kirkuk, a city with huge oil reserves, which they regard as their historical capital.

On Thursday Kurdish officials said they had stepped in to protect the city after government troops fled before advancing rebels from the Sunni jihadi group Isis ( Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant).

Locals alleged that weaponry inside the K1 base had been seized by Kurdish peshmerga forces belonging to both the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the two main political forces in the KRG. But in the confusion of Iraq's deepening crisis it is hard to be quite certain.

In the area around the base, burnt and damaged military vehicles have been left by the side of the roads. Large numbers of peshmerga troops can be seen in the back of armoured personnel carriers, being moved around the city. Roadblocks have sprung up across the western part

Kurdish peshmerga seize a chaotic victory in Kirkuk | World news | The Guardian

just another side of the equation that makes the geo-political ramifications more complex I guess.

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