After the U.S. invasion in 2003, Kurds who had been expelled by Hussein and replaced by Arab families returned by the thousands, hoping to reclaim their lost homes. Disputes over land rights are common, and many are still homeless. Soldiers from all three ethnic groups help keep the peace — and sometimes end up in tense standoffs themselves.
Over it all hangs the central question: Should Kirkuk remain part of Iraq proper or be governed by the semiautonomous region of Kurdistan to its north? Plans for a census to determine who lives in Kirkuk and a referendum to decide its governance, promised by the Iraqi constitution, have stalled.
See previous posts:
Support the Kurds
Tensions stoked between Iraqi Kurds and Sunnis
A Turning Point?