Najmaldin Karim, the influential governor of Iraq’s northern province of Kirkuk, called for the oil rich province to be granted autonomous status during an interview with Kurdish news outlet Rudaw on 13 June. But despite the rhetoric, such an outcome appears as distant as ever. The vision of the governor, himself a Kurd, faces opposition not just within Baghdad, but also from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

The governor called for Kirkuk province to be granted autonomy from...