Resolving Kirkuk

Resolving Kirkuk: Lessons Learned from Settlements of Earlier Ethno-Territorial Conflicts

Larry Hanauer
Laurel E. Miller
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 88
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  • Book Info
    Resolving Kirkuk
    Book Description:

    Past efforts to resolve ethno-territorial conflicts in Brčko, Mostar, Northern Ireland, and Jerusalem provide insights that could facilitate a negotiated settlement regarding the disputed Iraqi city of Kirkuk. The case studies show that Arabs, Kurds, and Turkomen must emphasize governance over symbols of sovereignty, develop adaptable power-sharing mechanisms, marginalize spoilers, empower local leaders, and create multi-ethnic security forces.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-7968-8
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Summary
    (pp. vii-xvi)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  6. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    Tensions among Arabs, Kurds, and Turkomen in northern Iraq have the potential to escalate into intercommunal violence that draws Iraq back into civil war, leads the Kurdistan Region to secede, and topples Iraq’s nascent political structures. Of all the issues that could spark violence between these groups, none is more explosive than the political and legal status of the city of Kirkuk.

    Kirkuk is a microcosm of the most significant unresolved issues in post-Saddam Iraq: territorial disputes, division of oil and gas resources, and the power of the regions vis-à-vis Baghdad.¹ Until political, legal, and constitutional disputes regarding these issues...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Kirkuk
    (pp. 7-14)

    Kirkuk—like Jerusalem—was once a relative backwater of the Ottoman Empire, with a small, ethnically mixed population. The discovery of oil in the early 20th century, however, attracted large numbers of Arab and Kurdish settlers who established ethnically homogeneous neighborhoods in the city.¹ Over the following decades, as Iraq’s rulers changed, ethnic affiliation became a source of conflict.² Turkomen’s status declined with the end of Ottoman sovereignty over the area and the influx of Arab and Kurdish economic migrants, and hundreds of Turkomen were massacred in July 1959 by pro-communist Kurds.³ Kurds and Turkomen suffered discrimination, expulsion, and even...

  8. CHAPTER THREE Approaches to Resolving Ethno-Territorial Disputes
    (pp. 15-24)

    A large body of academic and policy literature lays out a variety of approaches that have been used to resolve past ethno-territorial disputes. These include the creation of political power-sharing mechanisms, the granting of territorial and cultural autonomy, and protection of minority group interests.

    In ethnic and sectarian conflicts, territory is often closely linked to group identity; enormous symbolic importance is attached to the locations where the group’s history transpired, where its holy sites may be located, and where the group at one point exercised power and dominated the culture (or, alternatively, where it suffered at the hands of another...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR Case Studies
    (pp. 25-44)

    The 1995 Dayton Peace Accords that ended the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina formally divided the country into two subnational entities—the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska—separated by a so-called inter-entity boundary line (IEBL). The Accords called for a binding arbitration process to resolve the IEBL’s placement in the strategically crucial Brčko municipality in northeastern Bosnia.² In deciding the boundary line, a three-person arbitration tribunal would determine whether the municipality would be part of the Federation or the Republika Srpska.

    The map drawn at Dayton left the Brčko area as the only connection between the...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE Lessons for Kirkuk and How They Can Be Applied
    (pp. 45-58)

    The academic literature and foregoing case studies shed light on a number of substantive issues that are integral to the Kirkuk stalemate. They also offer insights into negotiation processes that could help Kirkukis and Iraqi leaders overcome procedural obstacles to a negotiated settlement.

    The case studies suggest the value of finding solutions that minimize the importance of territorial control and formal sovereignty. Territory has enormous emotional and religious importance in Jerusalem, and the status of disputed territory was central to Irish Republican nationalism and to both sides in the Brčko dispute. The Brčko settlement resolved the zero-sum contest over territory...

  11. CHAPTER SIX Can Outside Actors Facilitate a Solution for Kirkuk?
    (pp. 59-62)

    Arab and Kurdish leaders appear to be at a stalemate over Kirkuk. Although they continue to rehash arguments over constitutional provisions that have proven ineffective in resolving the city’s status, Iraqi and Kurdish security forces deployed outside the city eye each other warily, and extremists have taken advantage of the security vacuum to launch a wave of violent attacks. In such an environment, just the existence of negotiations could have a potentially calming effect on Arab-Kurdish tensions.¹ Not only could they provide a vehicle for airing ongoing disputes, but representatives of all sides—particularly officials in government and the security...

  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 63-70)