BAGHDAD – In the latest chapter of the ever-rising tensions between Arab and Kurdish parties in Ninewa province, Kurdish leaders have sought to strengthen one district’s Kurdish identity with a controversial and likely provocative move.
A stalemate began in April, when the Kurdish-led Brotherhood List began their boycott of Ninewa’s provincial council, after the majority Sunni Arab-led Al-Hadba List give all key provincial positions to its own members, leaving Kurdish politicians completely out of the mix. Since then mayors of more than one district within Ninewa with high Kurdish populations have threatened to secede to nearby provinces administered by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
On Saturday, Brotherhood List leader and former Ninewa Deputy Governor Khasro Ghoran held a meeting with the teaching staff of schools in Ba'shiqah, one of the increasingly-disputed districts. In the meeting, Ghoran laid out rules that teachers were to abandon lessons in the Arabic language, and to conduct lessons in Kurdish only. “We must be separate from the Mosul in this way and have our own education. He also talked at length about “differences” between the Brotherhood List, and Al-Hadba. Much of the attending educators appeared less enthusiastic about the announcement than Ghoran.
Later that day, Mosul Radio, an Al-Hadba official stated that “Such remarks are aggressive and speak to the sectarian hearts of people and spread animosity between them.”
Members of Iraqslogger’s network of Iraqi staff contributed to this report, but choose to remain anonymous, for security reasons.