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Wednesday, April 13, 2005



via raimondo, knight-ridder reports that the northern iraqi city of kirkuk is a flashpoint of ethnic tension. powerful members of sistani's shia clan in baghdad are confronting kurdish intentions for the city as too much against national integrity and harmony, even as the kurds feel they're getting shafted by an arab central government (despite holding the iraqi presidency). the word "irreconcilable" seems to be used with fair frequency.

meanwhile, local government is breaking down into despotism and armed conflict, not only in kurdish regions but in najaf and elsewhere. these local councils were supposed to be the repository of power in a federal conception of government. now the open struggle for power is on, often characterized by a machiavellian lawlessness that almost had to prevail given the circumstances by which they were created.

civil war has been the spectre looming over this entire affair from the start. many lamented american action as a potential precursor to the destabilization of iraq and perhaps the region from the start, and were flogged for their pessimism -- or dismissed (by the more carefully informed neoconservatives) as simply restating the desired anarchic goal. news from kirkuk over coming weeks may say much about whether or not that horrible seed springs to fruition.

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