Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Escalating Conflict in Mosul, Iraq

Escalating Conflict in Mosul, Iraq (NSI News Source Info) October 29, 2008: The central government in Baghdad perceives the semiautonomous Kurdish region in the north of Mosul and the Kurds' larger ambitions to expand areas under their control as a central obstacle to its power. The American military is increasingly concerned that Mosul, a northern city in Iraq where insurgents remain strong, could degenerate into a larger battleground. Left, an American soldier near an Iraqi Amy base in western Mosul.
Iraqi soldiers in western Mosul. Tension has risen to the point that last week American commanders held a series of emergency meetings with the Iraqi government and Kurdish officials, seeking to head off violence essentially between factions of the Iraqi government.
A Iraqi Army captain interrogated an Arab whose father is being held as a suspected insurgent. The Americans are hoping to refocus the central government and the Kurds on fighting the insurgency rather than each other.
Iraqi soldiers at a checkpoint in Mosul after a mortar landed nearby. The Kurds are resisting, underscoring yet again the depth of ethnic and sectarian divisions here and the difficulty of creating a united Iraq even when overall violence is down.
Worry is so high that the American military has already settled on a policy that may set a precedent, as the United States slowly withdraws to allow Iraqis to settle their own problems. Left, an Iraqi soldier prayed at an Iraqi Amy base in western Mosul.
The competing agendas of the Kurds and central government have nearly provoked violence before, but each side eventually grasped the risks. That may be the case now. But the tensions underscore that achieving basic security is only the first step toward deeper progress in Iraq -- and that much remains, bitterly, unresolved.

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