The main question this paper seeks to answer is what the legal and political roots of the dispute between Baghdad and Kurds concerning Kirkuk are and what scenarios look more likely in the mid-term future in the region. It is noteworthy that after the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq at the end of 2011 and transferring of responsibilities to the Iraqi forces, a new wave of disputes has evolved among the Iraqi political factions. These disputes along with the new status of Syrian Kurds indicate the appearance of completely new and unprecedented conditions regarding the status of the Kurds. In this relation, the future of Kirkuk and conflict over control of the city represents the most serious controversy among the political actors involved in the governance of Iraq within the past five years. The Kirkuk developments seem to determine the political future of Iraq as well. There are a few scenarios about the future of Kirkuk, the most likely of which includes the establishment of an autonomous Governorate of Kirkuk, considering the political equations and the identity of main actors in the corridors of power in Iraq. The potentials of this scenario in preventing the outbreak of a civil war and the rise of a conflict between the disputing factions will be significant and it will not seriously contradict fundamental Iranian considerations in the region.

Keywords: Kirkuk, Iraqi Constitution, Iraq, Kurd, Turkmen, Arab, Kurdistan Region