Meanwhile the Arab politicians in Kirkuk’s provincial government don’t like the idea of an independent Kirkuk at all.
“The history of Kirkuk is indelibly linked to the Iraqi state. Any kind of independence would be a red line,” says Mohammed Khader, an Arab politician in the provincial government. “Kirkuk is a miniature version of Iraq and this microcosm, where all the Iraqi ethnicities live together, should not be vandalized. Anyone who tries to harm this miniature is committing political suicide,” he insists.
“The IS group is slowly being pushed out of Kirkuk’s surrounds but the Iraqi government is not fulfilling its obligations here either,” says Omar Zankana, a lecturer in political science at the University of Kirkuk. “That is why the different political parties here are trying to make decisions about the future of the province.”
However, he argues, none of the groups can make the decision alone – they don’t have the numbers. “Two of the groups should make a decision together and if they are united it will be easier for them to hold a referendum on the future of the city and province,” he concludes.