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How Iran is winning game of chess in Kirkuk

Iran’s game in Kirkuk is a microcosm of how its shrewd, long-term investment in Iraq is paying dividends.
Kurdish Peshmarga forces are seen near Altun Kupri, between Kirkuk and Erbil, Iraq October 20, 2017. REUTERS/Azad Lashkari     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC18B4882C00

CHAMCHAMAL, Iraq — For now, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has pushed the separatist Kurds back and extended the power of the federal government once again to the areas considered disputed under the Iraqi Constitution. The Kurds are beaten. But the key question is how long this equilibrium will last.

The Kurds in Kirkuk and other disputed areas are disillusioned with the Kurdish parties, including the leadership of both the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). No Kurdish leader has come forward to apologize to their constituents for what went wrong, let alone attempt to explain what really happened on Oct. 15-16, when thousands of peshmerga retreated and left the people of Kirkuk to their own devices.

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