Kurdish Party Threatens to Set Up Rival Provincial Govt

Tensions Grow with Ruling Arab-Nationalist Bloc

With the growing split between Kurds and Arabs in Iraq’s restive north, the top Kurdish political party in the Nineveh Province, which includes the key northern city of Mosul, has threatened to establish a parallel provincial government to rival the existing administration of the Hadba coalition.

Kurdish parties had control of the province until the January elections, in which the Arab Nationalist Hadba coalition ran on a campaign of minimizing the influence of the Kurdish blocs, The Hadba’s forces have clashed with the paramilitary forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

The KRG has also been trying to exert influence of its own in Nineveh, including an attempt to annex parts of the province directly into its region. The claims have sparked protests among the region’s Arab and Turkmen leaders.

The split and the prospect of dueling governments in Nineveh is likely to be a new faultline in the already tense relationship between the KRG and the national government. KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani has cautioned that the tensions between the two could eventually lead to open military conflict, and control over oil-rich Mosul could provide the perfect justification for such a clash.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.