April 2, 2003 |
Beyond the deserted Iraqi army bunkers and mud-splattered pictures of Saddam Hussein, past bullet casings and the cracked gas mask of a retreating soldier, the green hills turn arid, and an oil well burns in distant Kirkuk. The well flickers like a torch in the haze, and Bahez Abdulbaqi wants to go toward it. But he can't -- not yet. He and tens of thousands of other Kurds exiled from Kirkuk by the Iraqi regime over the last decade want to reclaim what was taken.
April 11, 2003 |
From the hills, pickup trucks loaded with men and Kalashnikov rifles sped down the mine-speckled highway, dropping onto the flatlands, zooming past oil slicks and curls of barbed wire and screeching into this city, where gunfire echoed overhead and the dream of tens of thousands of Kurds stood shining in dusty heat. "Kirkuk is liberated." "Kirkuk is liberated." The battle was barely finished, but the trucks kept coming.
February 1, 2007 |
American officials, regional leaders and residents are increasingly worried that this northern oil-rich city could develop into a third front in the country's civil war just as additional U.S. troops arrive in Baghdad and Al Anbar province as reinforcements for battles there. Al Qaeda-linked fighters recently have surfaced here, launching a wave of lethal attacks, U.S. and Iraqi officials say.
March 26, 2009 |
The general with the easy smile has been here before. A little over a decade ago, Saddam Hussein dispatched him to this province where the oil wells belch orange flames day and night. Now another Iraqi Arab leader has sent him north, in a battle of wills over Kirkuk that has awakened the past and raised fear of new fighting in the territory that the Kurds consider their Jerusalem.
May 12, 2006 |
Surrounded by half-built housing developments, crowded tenements and congested roads, the tiny storefront office of Zakariya Real Estate is booming with business. Maps of subdivisions hang like gridded wallpaper. Shelves display tile samples and colorful pictures of modular homes, priced to fit a range of budgets. "Seventy percent of our clients are Kurds who were displaced by Saddam Hussein," proprietor Zakariya Tahir Ali said in a recent interview. "Now they are coming back."
August 4, 2008 |
The struggle for the oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk sabotaged another effort by Iraq's parliament to approve a law Sunday allowing crucial local elections this year, a stalemate that also raised questions about whether major Shiite and Sunni parties were deliberately stalling on sending people to the polls. Despite a meeting of senior Iraqi leaders and U.S. and U.N. officials seeking a compromise on Kirkuk, members of parliament failed even to muster a quorum for Sunday's emergency session.