Kurds Reclaim Kirkuk and Dreams After Saddam

Kirkuk residents expect peace and prosperity, and want to share in the wealth created by the Iraqi oil industry — of which their city is a major hub.

"This is what George Bush promised us, to bring Iraq into a very good position," one local, Abdel Rahman, explains. "We trust his word."

The next step is to make their dreams come true.

In the middle of the Kirkuk oil fields lies Baba Gurgur, a legendary pit of fire fueled by natural gas that seeps up from the soil. Break the surface, and the ground literally ignites.

Many locals believe these flames have been burning since life itself began; some say the site is the same "burning fiery furnace" mentioned in the Bible's Book of Daniel. Local custom is to come here, dig into and ignite the soil, and make a wish.

All across Kirkuk, people are waiting to see if their wish for prosperity — a freedom that coalition forces have made possible — will finally catch fire.

For now, some notice that a citadel high in the Kirkuk hills — where the prophet Daniel is thought to be buried, and which, until a month ago, was an Iraqi military base — has been made into a public park.

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