An ethnically, religiously and culturally diverse region, it has been subject to attacks by the terrorist organization known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, with Mosul being captured on 10 June 2014, and many places of worship and historic ruins and monuments destroyed. A massive offensive to retake the city, dubbed Operation "We Are Coming, Nineveh" (قادمون يا نينوى; Qadimun Ya Naynawa), began in October 2016.
Its two cities endured the 2003 Invasion of Iraq and emerged unscathed. In 2004, however, Mosul and Tal Afar were the scenes of fierce battles between US-led troops and Iraqi insurgents. The insurgents moved to Nineveh after the Battle of Fallujah in 2004.
After the invasion, the military of the province was led by (then Major General) David Petraeus of the 101st Airborne Division and later by (then Brigadier General) Carter Ham as the multi-national brigade for Iraq. During the American civil head of the local office of the Coalition Provisional Authority was a US Foreign Service Officer and former Kurdish refugee to the States. Mustafa administered her nominees on the provincial council and through members of the Kashmoula family.
In June 2004, Osama Kashmoula became the interim governor of the province and in September of the same year he was assassinated en route to Baghdad. He was succeeded as interim Governor by Duraid Kashmoula, who was elected governor in January 2005. Duraid Kashmoula resigned in 2009. In April 2009, Atheel al-Nujaifi, a hardline Arab nationalist and member of Al-Hadba, became governor. While al-Nujaifi's Arab Muttahidoon bloc lost its majority to the Kurdish Brotherhood and Coexistence Alliance List in the 2013 provincial election, al-Nujaifi was reelected as governor by a larger Sunni Arab coalition that was later formalized as the Nahda Bloc.
In June 2014, insurgents from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (known as ISIS or ISIL) overran the capital Mosul, forcing an estimated 500,000 refugees to flee the area, including governor al-Nujaifi, who was subsequently deposed by the Iraqi Parliament.
While the Kurdish list proposed Hassan al-Allaf, an Arab affiliated with the Islamic Party, the provincial council elected Nofal Hammadi (formerly Loyalty to Nineveh List) with the votes of the Nahdha bloc.
An offensive to retake Mosul from ISIL control began in October 2016, with Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers supported by a U.S.-led coalition of 60 nations.
Neighboring Iraqi regions are Dohuk Governorate to the north, Erbil Governorate to the east, Saladin Governorate to the south-east, and Al Anbar Governorate to the south. In the west it shares a border with Syria, mostly Al-Hasakah Governorate, and also Deir ez-Zor Governorate in the south.
Nineveh Governorate comprises 30 districts, listed below with their areas and populations as estimated in 2003:
Makhmur District, Aqrah District and the northern part of Al-Shikhan District were formerly part of Nineveh Governorate and currently under the Kurdistan Regional Government control, as Mosul has no control over these districts.. Now Makhmur District is part of Erbil Governorate. Aqrah District and the northern part of Al-Shikhan District are parts of Dohuk Governorate.
Nineveh Province is multiethnic. There are significant numbers of Arabs, Assyrians, Kurds, Turkmens as well as Yazidis both in towns and cities, and in their own specific villages and regions. There are also numbers of Armenians, Kawliya and Mandeans, Shabaks.
In religion, the majority of Arabs are Sunni Muslim 80% of arabs are Sunni Muslim. Kurds are Mostly Sunni Muslim, and a few of pupulation are Christians. Assyrians are exclusively Christian, with the, following either the Chaldean Catholic Church, Syriac Catholic Church, Syriac Orthodox Church, Assyrian Church of the East, or the Ancient Church of the East. Armenians are also exclusively Christian and mostly followers of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Yazidis, Shabaks and Mandeans follow their own religious beliefs: Shabakism, Yazidism, and Mandaeism. However, Arab Sunnis form a majority in the province.
The main language spoken is Arabic. Minority languages include Neo-Aramaic dialects spoken by the Assyrians, Kurdish (to include dialects of Kurmanji like Shengali), Shabaki, Turkman, Mandic and Armenian.
Many Assyrian leaders advocate an autonomous Assyrian homeland within Nineveh Province for the indigenous Assyrians. Most National Iraqi leaders have not taken this plan seriously, but it has a strong proponent in the Kurdistan Regional Government Minister of Finance Sarkis Aghajan, himself an Assyrian and a prominent figure in the Kurdish dominated government. Sarkis has claimed that the autonomous region he envisions would stretch from the Syrian border to the north at Faysh Khabur to Bakhdida. He says it would have its own parliament, executive council, constitution, budget, logo, and flag.