Al Qaida har forsøkt å starte en ny krig mellom shiaer og sunnier i det sentrale Irak, uten å lykkes. Shiaene har alt å tape på å la seg provosere. Men i nord derimot, i provinsen Niniveh, med Mosul som hovedstad, er det motsetninger nok å spille på. Her forsøker Al Qaida å starte en krig mellom kurdere og de andre.

De andre vil si sunnier, som fikk mulighet til å flytte dit etter at kurderne var tvangsfordrevet av Saddam Hussein, turkmenere som beskyttes av Tyrkia, og minoriteter som yazidene og kristne.

De strider om retten til landområder, om retten til olje og suverenitet. Den irakiske hæren kan ikke rykke inn i Mosul, og kurdiske Peshmerga passer på at det ikke skjer. Det er en standoff som gir store sikkerhetshull. De vet Al Qaida å utnytte.

Motsetningene er med andre ord reelle, og det samme er muligheten for en borgerkrig. Den vil kunne rive Irak i filler. Amerikanerne er bekymret.

Situasjonen ble ikke bedre av at de trakk seg ut av byene 30. juni.

A series of huge bombings in northern Iraq have triggered fiery accusations of blame between Arabs and Kurds, escalating a dispute over land and oil that has played into the hands of a resurgent al Qaeda.

Truck bombings and suicide attacks have killed scores of people and caused enormous destruction in northern Iraq near the troubled city of Mosul this month, which lies close to territory disputed by Iraq’s Arab majority and minority ethnic Kurds.

Khisro Goran, a senior Kurdish politician in Mosul, said the mainly Sunni Arab al-Hadba group that won control of the local council this year had to take the blame for «inciting» Arab nationalists and armed groups like al Qaeda to attack Kurds.

«They facilitate access for the suicide bombers,» he added.

Al-Hadba won seats with an anti-Kurdish election campaign earlier this year. Its leaders reject Kurdish accusations.

The Kurdistan Regional Government, which governs a largely autonomous enclave nearby in northern Iraq, accused Arab officials in Mosul of trying to «ethnically cleanse» the region of Kurds.

The Sunni Arab governor of Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital, in turn blames Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers for security breaches. Peshmerga are deployed near Kurdistan’s borders, including areas around Mosul.

«There have been Peshmerga forces in these areas for a long time, and (the bombings) have given them legitimacy to remain to protect Kurdistan only. They are not concerned with what happens in Nineveh,» governor Atheel al-Nujaifi said.

The boundary between Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq is blurred due to seemingly intractable disputes over territory and oil between Iraq’s Arabs, now led by a Shi’ite Muslim government, and Kurds. Kurds see parts of northern Iraq as their ancestral homeland, and want them folded into Kurdistan.

Arabs and Turkmen in those areas fear Kurdish hegemony. The tensions have triggered standoffs between the Peshmerga and Iraqi security forces that have come close to war.

The deep mistrust and lack of security coordination between the two sides has allowed al Qaeda and other militants to thrive, as has northern Iraq’s remote and mountainous terrain, where such groups can hide out between attacks.

Qaeda stronger as blasts feed Iraqi Kurd-Arab feud