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Kurdish security forces deploy outside of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, 290 kilometres north of Baghdad. The forces on Thursday took control of Kirkuk, a town which is an oil pipeline hub and sits astride the Kirkuk oil field.
Kurdish security forces deploy outside of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, 290 kilometres north of Baghdad. The forces on Thursday took control of Kirkuk, a town which is an oil pipeline hub and sits astride the Kirkuk oil field.
(Emad Matti/AP)

Iraq insurgency could redraw region’s oil map

The speed at which an army of thugs and brigands has taken over the cities of northern Iraq is astonishing. For many Iraqis, the future looks like a terrifying downward spiral into a world of random violence, feudal justice and persecution. For the rest of the world, the sweeping victory of an Al-Qaeda splinter group over government forces armed to the teeth with American weaponry, not only raises questions about Iraq’s future as a major oil producer but asks us to reassess what role the Arab states can claim as reliable energy suppliers.