Focusing on the dynamics of the process of settling the status of Kirkuk, principally within the framework of the current Iraqi constitution of 2005 and the 2009 proposals of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq, this article and takes into consideration the broader local, national, regional and international context in which such a settlement has to be achieved.

Based on personal interactions with key interlocutors from all of Kirkuk’s communities and key Iraqi and external players and analysts, the article examines the three (im-) balances of grievances, demands and power in and around Kirkuk that are essential for understanding the dynamic underlying any efforts to resolve the dispute in and over the province.

The article concludes by outlining an interim settlement for Kirkuk with two key elements: an enhanced self-governing status of Kirkuk in Iraq with power-sharing arrangements among its three main communities and a postponement of any final status arrangements for a period of five to ten years.