Saturday, September 10, 2005

Iraqis and U.S. Troops Fight to Retake Northern City

......The announcement hinted at possible conflict in Kirkuk, a city whose oil riches and volatile ethnic mix have long made it a tinderbox. Kurds have insisted on Kurdish control of Kirkuk, but the city's other ethnic groups have grown increasingly resentful.
"What is written in the constitution is reassuring for the Kurds and marginalizing for Arabs and Turkmen, and it is the beginning of a bloody conflict," said Sheik Abdul Rahman Manshid al-Asi, the leader of the Obeid tribe. "Arabs and Turkmen have the power to deploy themselves and defend Kirkuk, and work for Iraq's unity, even if we had to use force of arms."
The leader of the Turkmen Front, Saad Edeen Arkij, said Turkmen groups were planning to start forming armed militias to defend their rights against the Kurds.
Militias are banned under Iraq's new laws, but the Kurds have been allowed to keep the pesh merga, their militia.