Settlement Along the Trigger Line: Approaches to the Allocation and Delimitation of the Border Betwe
The process for resolving the future status of Kirkuk and other disputed territories, as outlined in Articles 58 of the interim constitution and 140 of the permanent constitution, has reached an impasse. Kurdish leaders insist on the full implementation of Article 140, while most Arab and Turkmen leaders consider the process dead and buried; yet the status quo is dangerous for all parties. The Kurds have their military forces deployed along the so-called "trigger line" to protect Kurdish populations situated outside the recognized Kurdistan Region. On several occasions over the last two years, tense stand-offs between Iraqi government forces and Kurdish peshmerga have threatened to escalate into full-blown military confrontations. A flexible approach is needed to provide a stable and durable solution to the problem. Threating the issue as a boundary dispute over the line of separation (for internal administrative purposes) between the Kurdistan Region and the rest of Iraq imparts flexibility. Moreover, unlike the Article 140 process, negotiating a shared boundary is not an ‘all or nothing’ proposition. The Kurdish inhabitants of Kirkuk can be governed and protected by the Kurdistan Regional Government; Kirkuk’s Arabs and Turkmens need not be. By investigating and assessing the core problems concerning the disputed territories in the boundary zone, including administrative changes, boundary adjustments and the process of Arabisation since 1958, the book offers ideas, approaches and procedures that the parties may adopt. Precedents set in other boundary settlements are included and examined in the light of their application to the Kurdish boundary.