Document Type : Research Paper
Professor; Political Sciences, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
PhD Graduate ; Political Science, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
The city of Kirkuk, located in Kurdistan of Iraq as a geopolitical region of the Middle East, has been one of the main causes of the emergence of crises and challenges among the Kurdistan, Iraq over the last 100 years. Given the importance of this geographical location, it can be characterized by its oil-richness, ethnic-religious diversity, territorial claims and a historical ethnic group that kept alive the possibility of the emergence and tension of the region. This situation has turned Kirkuk from an issue into a national and international crisis. In this study, while briefly describing the geographical, historical, political and economic characteristics of Kirkuk and its emergence of the crisis and ethnic-geopolitical conflicts over it, it is to analyze the crisis experienced during the period of the federal system of Iraq and also describing of the possible path to geopolitical developments in the region. The study is to analyze the impact of the Kirkuk crisis on developments in Iraq and the region and the future scenarios. Hence, it appears that the crisis in Kirkuk has affected the developments in Iraq and the region, and now faces the Iraqi federal system with deeper gaps than those in the past. This actual crisis, with the impact of regional developments, has the potential of geopolitical changes. This situation has made the Iraqi government's relations with the Kurdistan region vulnerable and fragile and has left Kirkuk's future ambiguous, with multiple scenarios for the future of Kirkuk. The findings have provided several possibilities for resolving the challenge, but the groups do not agree on most of the scenarios, and the possibility that crisis will become more critical and at the worst case the federal system might collapse and possibly it could be beginning of new era of geopolitical situation. The paper has been drafted in four parts: the first part is the synthesis of geopolitical theory and conflict, the second part is the general characteristics of Kirkuk, the third part is the cycle of crisis in the new developments and the role played by actors involved, and finally, the fourth part is the leading possibilities and the solution to the dispute.