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June 4, 2013 2:20 am

Pro-US Iraqi Kurds Reach Deal with PM al-Maliki

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Kurdish-inhabited areas.

Times of Israel – Just six months ago, Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, was buzzing. Walking through the streets of the ancient city, where I was living and working, I could sense the tension that had descended on the Kurds as they geared up for another fight against Baghdad. “We won’t let (Iraqi prime minister Nouri) al-Maliki take Kirkuk from us,” people told me repeatedly.

Kurdish peshmerga forces and Iraqi federal troops had just engaged in a deadly firefight near the northern city of Tikrit. Now both sides streamed tens of thousands of soldiers to the contested city of Kirkuk, where they faced each other in a tense standoff.

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