QARAQOSH, Iraq — Louis Khno is a city councilman whose city is beyond his control. In his barricaded streets are militiamen — in baseball caps and jeans, wielding Kalashnikov rifles, with the safeties switched off. They answer to someone else. Leaders of his police force give their loyalty to their ethnic brethren — be they Kurd or Arab. Clergy in the town pledge themselves to the former. Khno and his colleagues to the latter.
“We’re far from the conflict, but now we’ve become the heart of the conflict between Kurds and Arabs,” Khno said. “We’re now stuck in between them.”
Khno called the town “the line of engagement,” one stop along an amorphous frontier in northern Iraq shaped by contested history, geography and authority. Dividing the Kurdish autonomous region from the rest of the country, that frontier represents the most combustible fault line in Iraq today, where Arab and Kurd forces may have come to blows last month along hills of harvested wheat. Kurdish officials suggest that another confrontation is inevitable, with halfhearted negotiations already stalled, and U.S. officials acknowledge that only their intervention has prevented bloodshed.
July 27, 2009. Read the full article >From The 2010 Pulitzer Prize Winners for International Reporting