Friday, April 18, 2008

Mosul governor brushes off concerns about Peshmerga involvement in the coming campaign

The governor of Ninawa governate (aka Mosul governate, after its capital), Dureid Kashmula, made remarks in an interview with AlHayat on how things look ahead of the expected military campaign in Mosul (the initiative originally announced by Prime Minister Maliki in January for the eradication of "AlQaeda," then postponed pending the famous battle of Basra). The governor said military preparations are under way, and the offensive will begin shortly.

The first point emphasized in the AlHayat summary of his remarks is that the recent decline in security in Mosul city is because of re-assignments of police and army away from their traditional areas of policing, in preparation for the big push, and this has left the areas they used to patrol vulnerable. A resident said some areas are in government control, others in the control of armed groups, while the Americans limit themselves to secure areas. Another said the government controls the streets in the daytime, and the armed groups have control at night. The governor denied this and said the government is in control at all times.

Another resident said most roads in Mosul are closed ahead of the attack, and this along with endemic violence are making it difficult for people to get to work and so on. The journalist says families have been stockpiling food, in expectation of being shut in during the fighting, and this has led to recent rises in food prices, adding to their problems.

On the campaign itself, the governor said it will include all areas of Ninawa province where there are armed groups. It will be undertaken by the "Iraqi forces, supported by the American forces". The governor "emphasized the [positive] position of the Kurdish parties and the their military affiliate the Peshmerga with respect to the "enforcing the law" initiative [original "surge" scheme], and their desire to see the end of terrorism and the preservation of security in the city. And he said anyone who says differently is just trying to spread fitna and cause anxiety in the city, and he described such people as "fishing in troubled waters".

And then there is this:
Armed social and political groups have accused the Peshmerga of being responsible for bombings throughout the governate, which has been subject to attempts to join parts of it to the Kurdistan Region, and [they allege that] the coming military campaign is part and parcel of these Kurdish aims, but the Kurdistan Regional government has denied these charges in a statement that called them an attempt at disinformation.
Indications of Sunni Arab anxiety about Peshmerga or other sectarian involvement in this have been briefly noted here and, even more important, here, (toward the end of the post) where the Ninawa tribal council is quoted warning that the Iraqi military is penetrated and melded with sectarian people right up to its leadership level, and pleading for an opening to local volunteer recruitment to protect the city.


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