Object Name: Iraq
Caption: Kirkuk 2008, Us army gards of Howard Keegan, team leader of the Kirkuk Provincial Reconstruction Team are outside to secure the store while he is inside, His goal is to support the fragile democracy, in the meantime the whole street is changed into a secure zone to prove to civilians that the city is a save place, as well as helicopters in the sky that block GSM signals against remote bombs.
The battle against terrorism is left to the Iraqi's.
Oil has a firm grip over Kirkuk. Saddam imported thousands of Arabs from the South to control the oil reserves. They took over the houses of Kurds and Turkmen who were forced to flee. But the Arabs are now leaving (some 11.000 Arabs left Kirkuk in 2008). The Kurds conquered the city side by side with the Americans in 2003 and now form the majority. They want Kirkuk to be part of their own autonomous region of Kurdistan, as it once was. But the central government in Baghdad is not letting Kirkuk go. Kirkuk became a disputed area and will not vote in the coming elections at the end of January.
Yet, in spite of the political hassle, the Kirkukis still get along. They have intermarried and live in the same streets. But violence has increased since the fall of Saddam.
Credit: eddy van wessel