According to Nujaifi, there has been a systematic plan by the government in Baghdad to divide and cut off Nineveh in order to fuel sectarianism in the province. Photo: AP
ERBIL Kurdistan Region – Nineveh Governor Atheel Nujafi accuses Iraq’s Shiite-led government in Baghdad of planning to turn Tal Afar and the Nineveh Plain into provinces in order to facilitate a shorter route for Iranian aid to the Syrian regime.
"Reviewing the maps show that the two provinces proposed are located on the shortest route between Iran and Syria in Mosul," Nujafi said in a statement seen by Rudaw.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s government has been accused by the West of allowing Iranian lethal and non-lethal aid to pass through Iraqi land and air routes en route to Assad’s regime, which Tehran backs.
According to Nujaifi, there has been a systematic plan by the government in Baghdad to divide and cut off Nineveh in order to fuel sectarianism in the province.
Last week, Iraq's Council of Ministers decided to turn Tuz Khurmatu in Saladin province and Talafar in Nineveh into provinces and recommended a study to turn the Nineveh Plain and Fallujah into additional Iraqi provinces.
The decision raised the ire of Iraqi Kurds, because Tuz Khurmatu and Tal Afar are both within the so-called “disputed territories” claimed by both the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the north and the Arab government in Baghdad.
"The bombings and targeting of innocent people in the Nineveh Plain led to the formation of regiments from the same sect and calls to bring in troops from outside the province to protect one of the components of the region, and then the official call for the establishment of the two provinces," said the governor.
Nujaifi blamed internal struggles for causing the situation, without specifying whether he meant internal frictions within the components of the province or within the Sunnis in Iraq.
The Nineveh Provincial Council and the governor have threatened to turn Nineveh into an autonomous region similar to the KRG, should Baghdad go ahead with plans to divide the area into additional provinces.