Hawija offensive hamstrung by Baghdad-Erbil mistrust

Long-standing disputes over Kirkuk and its oil threaten to turn allies against each other as they prepare to chase IS from one of its last strongholds in Iraq.
Hawija offensive hamstrung by Baghdad-Erbil mistrust
Peshmerga deploy on the outskirts of Kirkuk on June 11, 2014. (AKO RASHEED/Reuters)

KIRKUK - Political tensions arising from Kurdistan's upcoming independence referendum are complicating an impending offensive to dislodge the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) militant group from one of its last strongholds in Iraq.

Kurdish leaders have grown alarmed in recent weeks as federal Iraqi troops have deployed for an attack on Hawija, which is west of Kirkuk - and near large oil fields at the heart of long-standing disagreements over how to draw Kurdistan's southern border.

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