Nineveh may soon Request Autonomy

By Bassem Francis for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Nineveh Governor Athil al-Nujaifi (pictured) warned about the repercussions of the clashes between the army and the security services on the one hand and the Iraqi Sunnis in the province of Nineveh on the other, saying that the Syrian crisis has increased sectarian tension in Iraq. According to Nujaifi, that supports the idea of establishing autonomous regions, especially in Nineveh province.

Nineveh officials are worried that the crisis in Anbar province would bring Nineveh back to the atmosphere experienced by Mosul last spring, following the outbreak of the clashes between armed groups and security forces after the army stormed the sit-in in Hawija, Kirkuk.

In a discussion with Al-Hayat, Nujaifi said: “The province is worried about the recent events in Anbar. Any conflict between the security forces and the Sunnis will be quickly reflected on the people in Nineveh. These events have made the people of Nineveh province despair that the conditions of the Sunnis in general, and the people of Nineveh province in particular, will be reformed any time soon. … Therefore, our only option to restore hope to the people of the province is to come out with a new project that has specific features.

We have all agreed to request either the establishment of an [autonomous] Nineveh province or to demand the internationalization of the situation of the Sunnis in Iraq because of the injustice they are suffering.”

Nujaifi said: “[Iraqi Prime Minister] Nouri al-Maliki wants to risk the security of Iraqi society for electoral purposes. He always uses the [recess periods] to make his moves. Every year during the Christmas period he provokes a major crisis, taking advantage of the world being on holiday. … In today’s case, his aim is the election. [He wants] to achieve a victory over his Shiite rivals and at the same time to push the Shiite extremism project a step forward.”

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