In terms of the economics of something like this, the province of Ninawa is rich in oil and sulphur and it has 45 percent of the country’s fertile agricultural land. In fact, it’s known as the breadbasket of Iraq. Ninawa also has a lot of important archaeological and religious sites so it has tourism potential as well as being a major location for international transport routes. And the people of Ninawa have the skills that qualify their province as a major commercial centre.
NIQASH: Do you think that if Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki steps down, that all Iraq’s problems will be solved?
Al-Nujaifi: If al-Maliki goes, then there is more potential for political dialogue and political solutions, many of which have gone no further because of the impasse the Prime Minister has basically created and because of every other party’s lack of confidence in him. We are convinced that al-Maliki’s resignation wouldn’t put an end to the country’s problems – but it would allow what is now a bloody and sectarian conflict to become more about political dialogue and political pressure. I believe that is very important.
NIQASH: How do you think this crisis in Mosul will end?
Al-Nujaifi: In order to end this, we need to bring the Sunni forces inside the city together – they’re made up of a number of different resistance organizations. We need to isolate them from the IS group, then we need to give them a role in the city’s political life so that they want to cooperate and to help restore security and stability in Mosul.
We also need to establish a security system in Mosul that is acceptable to the people of the city and that does not make them feel as though they are being targeted by military groups with a sectarian bias – that was something that was happening before the fall of the city.
It’s fair to say we would establish those new security forces using only people from within the Ninawa province. Our problem isn’t getting rid of the IS group. That wouldn’t be a difficult task. Our problem is how to keep the place secure and stable after they are gone.