Strip of Iraq ‘on the Verge of Exploding’

U.S. and other Western officials, fearing that the issue could imperil the security gains made over the past year, tried to persuade both sides to back a U.N. process to present reports on Kirkuk and other contested areas as part of a strategy to “defuse and deflect the referendum,” said Stefan de Mistura, head of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Iraq. Kirkuk, which the Kurds refer to as “Our Jerusalem” because of their emotional and historical attachment to the city, presents a particular difficulty because it lies atop an estimated 7 percent of the world’s oil reserves. >>>>>

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