Mosul has been the most prominent flashpoint of Arab-Kurd tension since the drafting of the constitution, but hopes for reconciliation are diminished now more than ever. In the country’s most recent elections, the predominantly Sunni Arab, pro-Ba’athist al-Hadba list came into power.
A largely pro-Arab agenda in this highly divided municipality presents a major gap in government credibility. Al-Hadba, after its election, ignored the large number of votes for Kurdish leaders and did not incorporate any opposition leaders into the Mosul government. In doing so, the party has alienated majority Kurdish districts in Mosul.
The Kurdistan Regional Government has gotten involved, as Mosul and other parts of Nineveh province are disputed Kurdish territories, encouraging negotiations with American supervision. Despite the negotiations, Kurdish districts still strongly distrust al-Hadba and have threatened to form their own separate municipal administration, according to the Kurdish Globe newspaper (http://www.kurdishglobe.net/displayArticle.jsp?id=429F8E61C3B94F846286953586CD236F).
It is not surprising that the Kurdish districts are considering secession. They perceive their security threatened by a Sunni Arab group bent on controlling Mosul. Such a view has been reinforced by recent attacks on Kurds in other parts of Nineveh, including Sinjar, home to a large Kurdish-speaking Yazidi population.
Power-sharing is quite absent in Mosul, and if al-Hadba does not soon make compromises and place some power into the hands of Kurds, it will further entrench divides. What are currently spontaneous ethnic rifts could turn swiftly into entrenched formal statutory boundaries in municipal government.