Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Arab candidates withdraw in Kirkuk

Al-Jazeera has reported that the Arab candidates of the Arab Unifying Front coalition have withdrawn their names from the local election in Kirkuk. They had already refused to participate in the national election.

At issue was the decision by the Iraq Independent Electional Commission to permit the Kurds who had been expelled by Saddam Hussein to vote in the Kirkuk election.

This is all a piece with the low-level civil war that is already in progress. Kirkuk is at the heart of the Iraqi oil region and is considered a prize by both the Sunni Arabs and the Kurds.

The effort to restore the Kurds to Kirkuk makes me wonder if the Bush administration is taking civil war as an inevitable outcome and hoping to install a U.S.-friendly regime at the heart of the oil fields before all hell breaks loose. After all, we know from the Palestinian experience that repatriation of displaced persons is not a priority for this government.

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