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Sources: Military governor to run Mosul after Islamic State

Haider al-Abadi plans to place Mosul under a military governor [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 October, 2016

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Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi seeks to appoint a military governor in the Nineveh province following the liberation of Mosul from Islamic State group, senior sources tell The New Arab.
As the offensive to recapture Mosul from Islamic State [IS] group entered its fourth day on Thursday, The New Arab has gained exclusive access to information concerning Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi's plan for the administration of post-IS Mosul.

According to a senior figure in the Iraqi National Alliance [INA] who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has put forward plans to place Mosul and other cities in the Nineveh province under a military governor using Iraq's 2005 Emergency Law.

Abadi put forward the proposal during a meeting with senior leaders and the heads of Iraqi political parties on Tuesday, the INA politician told The New Arab.

"The plan was welcomed, especially by the members of the Alliance loyal to Iran," he said "But it is expected that this will be met with resistance from Erbil as it may be seen to undermine the Kurdish government."

According to the source, Abadi claimed the plan will halt any external interference in Mosul's affairs and prevent the division of Nineveh province which borders both Syria and Turkey.

The proposal will need to be approved by one-third of the Iraqi parliament – which Abadi is expected to receive – before it can be officially released.

A number of other politicians who also spoke anonymously to The New Arab gave their take on the proposal reflecting widely diverging views on its acceptability.

A member of Islamic Virtue, a constituent party of the INA, told The New Arab that the plan seeks to provide the new governor with direct military command to ensure Mosul remains firmly within the governance of Iraqi central government and prevent external control.

"According to the proposal, the governor of Nineveh will have at least two military divisions under his command to help stabilise the province after its capture from IS and to prevent any movements that may seek to impose de facto control [of Mosul] that operate outside of the Iraqi constitution." 

The plan may run afoul of existing agreements between the Iraqi government and the Kurdish regional authority regarding administration of contested regions.

Other figures however indicated that the plan may run afoul of existing agreements between the Iraqi government and the Kurdish regional authority regarding administration of contested regions.

A senior figure in the Kurdistan Alliance [KA] told The New Arab: "For us, any step taken by Baghdad that breaches the agreement between us will have negative impact on them and on the battle to free Mosul."

"We do not have a problem with the placing of a governor but on the condition that the agreement between us over the status of disputed territories remains standing."

Meanwhile the use of military governor as opposed to a civilian administration was rejected by other Iraqi politicians as a symbolic throwback to the heavy-handed era of the previous administration which led to grievances amongst Mosul's populace.

A member of the Iraqi Islamic Party – the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Iraq- said "the proposal reflects ill intentions and a return to the policies of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in dealing with Mosul, which eventually led to the emergence of IS."

"Mosul must have a civilian governor approved by a provincial council and so any other plans must be rejected, as it may be used as a cover for human rights violations in Mosul and may pave way for greater Iranian influence, subsequently leading Mosul into the Syrian battle."

Other sources confirmed that while Abadi’s proposal was tabled it was "only among several possible solutions proposed by the prime minister for a post liberation Mosul."

While the battle of Mosul has yet to reach its climax and as commentators and US military analysts predict weeks and even months of fighting ahead, plans for a post-IS Mosul seem already to be a major cause of contention between Iraq's internal blocs.

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