Kurds call for religious partition of Mosul after recapture
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Kurdish leaders met with US Vice President Joe Biden last week during his surprise visit to Iraq and stipulated that the province should be divided after IS is defeated in return for their help in the city's liberation.
Mosul, the country's second-largest city, fell during an IS offensive in June 2014 and has since become the militants' capital in Iraq.
"[Kurdish officials] have given conditions for their participation in the recapture of Mosul and other cities in Nineveh. They insist on dividing Nineveh into three provinces after IS is kicked out," the high-ranking official in the Kurdistan Democratic Party toldThe New Arab.
The official said they want to establish a Christian province in the Nineveh plains north of Mosul, a Kurdish-speaking Yazidi province in Sinjar and the third province in Mosul.
"Political dispute over the future of Nineveh is the main reason it has not yet been recaptured from IS. The Americans could, without a doubt, take it back," he said.
Iraq's rival ethnic and religious factions have been mired in a power struggle over the recapture of Mosul with all the armed groups in Iraq and their foreign patrons battling over who will control the city if it is taken back.
"Mosul will remain part of Iraq, no one can divide it," the head of the Iraqi parliament's security committee, Hakim al-Zamili, toldThe New Arab.
"Yes is true there is plan [to divide it] but the people behind it have to know that it will not succeed and it will remain united."
"The people of Mosul will not accept the price of the city's recapture being a division of the province," Zamili added.
The United Nations has warned that up to 30,000 civilians could be displaced in coming weeks, as the Iraqi military offensive against IS militants near Mosul continues.