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ICC Note:

With ISIS in retreat in Iraq, officials have turned their sights on how to create stabilization in areas that have deep sectarian problems. The Nineveh province was once home to Iraq’s largest Christian population, most of which fled when ISIS took over. However, now it is being overseen by a mix of Iraqi army, Kurdish Peshmerga, Christian and Shabak armed groups as well as the Shiites Hashd al-shaabi. The biggest concern for Christians returning to the area is security. Having this mix of armed groups however only increases sectarian tension. Thus there is a push for the power to be returned to locals, like the Kurds who have protected the Christian minority in the Kurdistan Region since the conflict began.  

07/18/2017 Iraq (Rudaw) – With the focus of the military operations against ISIS militants shifting to security, the return of civilians, and stabilization, a prominent US think tank analyst believes that Kurds can help with security in Nineveh and that locals should be recruited for security and army posts in their own areas.

“Outside forces (such as militiamen brought from beyond the Nineveh Plains) should be excluded from local security arrangements wherever possible, perhaps being displaced by local men,” wrote Michael Knights, a Lafer Fellow with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Currently there is a mix of Iraqi army, Kurdish Peshmerga, Christian and Shabak armed groups as well as the Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi in the area.

A recent report released by the Erbil-based Middle East Research Institute (MERI) summarized that Sunnis view many Shiite units in the area as an extension of Iranian interests.

In his analysis, Knights believes that the congregation of so many forces in this area may lead to serious tensions.

 

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