Iraq to Make New Provinces for Turkomen, Christians

Maliki Also Plans to Split Anbar in Half

The Maliki government has surprised many with a decision to create three new provinces nationwide, including two that center around Turkomen and Christian strongholds on the Kurdistan border.

Tuz Khormato Province will be split roughly in thirds ethnically between Kurds, Arabs and Turkomen, giving the Turkomen a serious chance at political influence in the area. Ninevah Plain Province will include a large Christian population, and roughly mirrors Christian hopes for an autonomous region.

This isn’t just Maliki being conciliatory to minorities, but is also an attempt to set up a buffer between Iraqi Kurdistan and other provinces, and set up independent provinces outside of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s purview but in territory they had sought to annex.

The third decision is perhaps the oddest, carving a new Sunni majority province out of the already Sunni majority Anbar Province. The Fallujah Province will center around al-Qaea-occupied Fallujah, an odd decision since Fallujah was itself just on the outskirts of Anbar provincial capital of Ramadi.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.