[JURIST] The Iraqi parliament Saturday ordered an investigation into the delay of a referendum on the future of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk [Global Security Backgrounder] after Kurdish leaders accused the Arab-dominated Iraqi central government [official website, in Arabic] of blocking the vote, which could result in the city joining the Kurdish-controlled semiautonomous region [official website] in the north of the country, or even declaring its independence. The Iraqi Constitution [text] requires a referendum on Kirkuk's status before the end of the year. The city is highly coveted because of its vast oil wealth. Kurds claim a strong cultural connection with the location, while Arabs and Turkomen in the city are generally united in favor of Baghdad retaining control.
Two years ago leaders of the Kurdish Alliance accused [JURIST report] then-Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari of "violating the laws" by breaking promises allowing Kurdish resettlement around Kirkuk. Many Arabs were brought into the city during the Saddam Hussein era, and many Kurds were driven out. AP has more.