``After a decades-long dispute between Arabs and Kurds over the oil-rich northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, it took just an hour and a half for its fate to be decided. As al-Qaida-inspired militants advanced across northern Iraq and security forces melted away, Kurdish fighters who have long dominated Kirkuk ordered Iraqi troops out and seized full control of the regional oil hub and surrounding areas, according to a mid-ranking Army officer. He said he was told to surrender his weapons and leave his base.''

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