Monday, February 14, 2005

So the Kurds, who won 59% of the vote in oil-rich Kirkuk (even though they represent about a third of the population there, and even though many of the Kurds who voted in Kirkuk don't actually live there), were celebrating last night, according to Reuters:

U.S. soldiers and Iraqi policemen initially tried to dampen the party by confiscating flags and posters and banning celebratory gunfire, but were overwhelmed and had to give up.

"There was so much going on we just couldn't stop them," Smith said. "We just changed plan and decided to keep an eye on them instead to make sure they weren't causing trouble."

AFP notes that others in the region had a reaction that vaguely resembled "celebratory gunfire":

Insurgents blew up an oil pipeline in the northern oil fields of Iraq....

The oil field attack occurred at the North Oil Company's Al-Dibbis oil field near Kirkuk, said Maj Gen Anwar Mohammad Amin....

Hmm, let's see: The Kurds will probably control Kirkuk's oil. The Shiites and Kurds will control Iraq. The insurgents are mostly Sunnis. Could be a problem.

Oh, and the Turkmen in Kirkuk have ties to Turkey, which really doesn't like it when Kurds are feeling their oats.

Gosh, do you think this U.S. officer, quoted by Reuters, might be on to something?

"I think there'll be some ethnic violence here, I really do," said U.S. Captain Mitch Smith, a company commander in the heart of Kirkuk, the most ethnically diverse city in Iraq.

"Before the elections there were concerted attacks on coalition forces and Iraqi security forces but I think the focus may have shifted now," he told Reuters on Monday.

"Rather than targeting us, I expect we might see the various groups in the city fighting among themselves."

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