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Fuel for the fire in Iraq

The Iraqi Kurds' quest for independence, to be tested in a forthcoming referendum, will force politicians to face up to the issue of disputed oilfields

The fate of the mighty Kirkuk oilfield has become the elephant in the room in Iraqi political discourse. "No one's discussing it," a retired oil-sector executive says, "because no one can see an easy solution." The future of Kirkuk's oil is inextricably woven into the fate of the city itself and who should control it. The two sides contesting it speak with passion that brooks no discussion. On the question of Kirkuk oil, the current state of affairs amounts to an uneasy truce—with an unspoken agreement to limit discussion of such an emotive issue. It's complicated, too. The Peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) took control of Kirkuk in mid-2014 to protect it from ad

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