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Ethnic Showdown Photograph by Ed Kashi
In the city of Kirkuk, one of the most hotly contested places in Iraq, members of a Kurdish security force patrol an otherwise deserted street. "The place is hell on Earth," says National Geographic writer Frank Viviano. "Suicide bombers, drive-by shootings, targeted assassinations, you name it." Kirkuk has been Kurdish for thousands of years, according to the Kurds' tradition, though it now lies just outside their de facto territory. Saddam Hussein evicted Kurds from the city and repopulated it with Arabs. But now the Kurds want Kirkuk back—and are returning by the thousands. There's more than ethnic pride and history at stake here: Kirkuk sits on one of Iraq's largest oil reserves.
Camera: Canon EOS-1D Mark II Film Type: Digital Lens: 23mm Speed and F-Stop: 1/250 @ f/13
Weather Conditions: Clear Time of Day: Afternoon Lighting Techniques: Natural light