The US-backed government in Baghdad has approved the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from the Iraqi city of Kirkuk – which is home to Arabs, Kurds and other ethnic groups.
They want to purge the city ahead of a crucial referendum on the future of the oil rich city set for the end of this year. The vote will decide whether Kirkuk remains part of Iraq.
The referendum is part of a plan to carve Iraq into three regions – a Kurdish north, Shia south and Sunni centre.
The Kurdish regional government, which wants control over the oil fields, has marked the city as the battleground for the next bloody chapter in the occupation.
The plan to break with Iraq is threatening to plunge the country into a sectarian and ethnic civil war that could draw Turkey into the war.