This is to my mind a major story, not getting enough coverage (p.A12): Turks warn against Kirkuk referendum.
From the story:
Under Iraq's constitution, the oil-rich city will be able to decide whether to join the Kurdish-dominated Kurdistan region. Turkey, plagued by terrorist attacks by Kurdish separatist rebels, is concerned that control of the city by the semiautonomous Kurdistan would give the region the economic clout to break free from Iraq.
Violence has "surged" in Mosul (Arab/Kurd) in recent weeks since the announcement of Bush's new strategy. Bush needs to get over to Ankara like yesterday. Turkey is a major American ally and Kurdistan already is and will be even stronger as Iraq continues its decline. A new flash point in the until now relatively peaceful North. The Kurds want Kirkuk. Saddam had Arabized the town. Since day one of Saddam's fall the Kurds have been cleansing the town and moving their own in. The Turkomen and Arabs are likely now less than half of the population and the Kurds are well mobilized politically.