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"The Shattering of Mosul"
Insurgency Thrives, Intimidates in Iraq's Relatively Stable North
04/13/2007 3:50 PM ET
"The history of Mosul over the last four years since the fall of Saddam Hussein has some lessons for resolving the conflict in Iraq in the long term," Patrick Cockburn writes in Counterpunch. Having toured Iraq's second-largest city and capital of the northern Nineveh province, Cockburn argues that a relatively calm security situation belies lethal tensions between Sunnis and Kurds. Those tensions will only get worse in the run-up to a referendum on joining the Kurdistan Regional Government, which Mosul's Sunni majority fiercely opposes. Kurdish deputy governor Khasro Goran tells Cockburn that Neveneh will most likely "split into two, one Kurdish...and the other Arab."

Cockburn, the author of The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq, writes, "Aside from wholly Kurdish units the Iraqi government's own security forces are thoroughly infiltrated" with insurgents.

This is as true in Mosul as it is in Baghdad. Insurgents have infiltrated Mosul's U.S.-trained police force and operate a "shadow" government that engages in assassination and intimidation tactics, which have already led 70,000 Kurds to flee the city. Writing that it is "allegiance not training, equipment and numbers that determines the effectiveness of the Iraqi security forces," Cockburn aims to dispel the notion that sectarian politics are any sunnier outside of Baghdad.

Read "The Shattering of Mosul" here.

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