The phone rang, and it was answered by a Kurdish security commander, Hallo Najat, sitting in his office in this deeply divided city. On the line, he said, was a United Nations official wanting to know whether it was true that the Kurdish militia, the pesh merga, had left its bases in northern Iraq and was occupying Kirkuk.
No, Mr. Najat told the caller. But after hanging up, he wryly revealed the deeper truth about Kirkuk, combustible for its mix of ethnicities floating together on a sea of oil: the Kurds already control it.
Kirkuk has also initiated a number of oil deals which haven't gone through the regular (if one can actually call them that) Iraqi governmental channels, which is making Baghdad very uneasy. And note the connections of those people with whom those deals may be consummated.
For example, as reported in Mother Jones: (http://www.motherjones.com/washington_dispatch/2008/07/kurdish-oil-hun...):
"A Bush/Cheney fundraising Pioneer, a member of Bush's President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, and the president of the Dallas-based Hunt Oil company, Ray Hunt is the kind of Texas oilman with easy insider access to the Bush White House. Perhaps not coincidentally, he also heads the first American oil firm to have received an oil exploration contract with the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government, announced last September. As such, he has come to epitomize one of the more glaring contradictions about the Bush administration's policy toward Iraq and its oil wealth. Namely: If the Bush administration, as it proclaims, supports passage of an Iraqi oil law that would share the country's wealth across ethnic and regional divides, why do Bush-linked companies keep getting Kurdish-area oil concessions that bypass the Iraqi national government?"