Sunday, April 26, 2009

Two homes of Christians living in Kirkuk were stormed by gunmen today. In one, a woman was killed and another injured.

In other news: In the other one man was shot dead and his brother and father were wounded. In Mosul, three people were killed in drive-by shootings. A policeman was killed by a roadside bomb in the al-Dora section of Baghdad.

About Kirkuk: Kirkuk, 155 miles north of Baghdad, is the capital of Tamim province, which is also know as Kirkuk province. Kirkuk sits atop one of Iraq's key oil producing fields. The Kirkuk fields contain about 13 percent of Iraq's proven reserves. U.S. officials believe the province could contain 4 percent of the world's oil reserves. The city lies just outside the largely autonomous Kurdistan region, which is predominantly Kurdish. Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen make up Kirkuk's three main ethnic groups. The city is also home to Chaldean Catholic Christians and other minorities. Thousands of Arab families moved to Kirkuk in the 1970s and 1980s under former President Saddam Hussein's "Arabisation" policy, which involved the expulsion of thousands of Kurds and Turkmen. Kurds consider Kirkuk their ancient capital and want it to become part of Kurdistan. Kurdish moves to integrate Kirkuk with Kurdistan have caused concerns in neighboring Turkey, which fears Iraq's Kurds will turn Kirkuk into the capital of a new state, possibly fuelling separatism among its own sizable Kurdish population. US, Turkish, Iraqi central government, and KRG officials appear to be working feaverishly in the background to come up with some sort of "deal" over the city. Iraq and Syria plan to help repair the Kirkuk-Banias pipeline. The 1000- mile pipeline, which extends from Iraq's northern oil fields at Kirkuk to Banias where Syria has a refinery, has been closed since the US-led invasion of 2003.

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