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The Explosion of the Kurdish Crisis

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After decades of slow-motion shifts towards Kurdish autonomy/independence/unification, the conflict in this region has shifted into high gear. The Iraqi army has invaded/retaken Kirkuk, which had first been captured by ISIS, then liberated by the Kurdish Peshmerga forces. The inhabitants of the region are almost 50% Kurdish. 
The possibility of this had been hanging over the head of the Kurdish forces for weeks. The underlying cause for the invasion is the existence of  vast reserves of oil in the region. The spark that set of the explosion was a decision by the Kurdistan Regional Government in Northern Iraq (since 1970 officially an autonomous but not independent region in with its capital at Erbil/Hawler). On September 26 the government in Erbil held a referendum which showed that the vast majority of Kurds in Iraq prefer an independent state for their region.

Then all hell broke loose. The Iraqi army attacked the Pershmerga in Kirkuk with overwhelming force. Iran supported its long-t…