Barzani : Reassures Arabs Living in Kurdistan Region

By Bassam Francis, Al-Hayat – Al Monitor – 18.12.2012 – ERBIL–  A security source in Erbil said that the nature of security measures being taken at the entrances to the Kurdistan region has not been affected by the political crisis with Baghdad. Arab residents said that they are relieved by the assurances of the president of the Kurdistan region, Massoud Barzani, who denied that this would have any negative effects on their residency.

Fuad Hussein, head of Kurdistan’s presidential office, said in a meeting with dozens of Arab residents on Thursday [Dec. 13] that Barzani “reassures you that the political and military crisis with Baghdad will not produce any negative ramifications.” He stressed that “talk about eliminating a sense of nationalism between Arabs and Kurds as a result of the crisis is a mistake that is being made for the first time in Iraq’s political history.”

A security source at a checkpoint near Erbil, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Al-Hayat: “Our measures for passengers entering and leaving the region have not been affected or changed as a result of the crisis. We have given people entering the region permits to stay for as many days as they choose. Moreover, performance has even improved, the flow of passengers entering the region has been unaffected, and hundreds of people have entered and exited.”

The source called on those who would like to enter the region “to bring the necessary identification documents and to avoid submitting any false names or information. This is first and foremost in order to preserve their safety — if threatened — and to maintain security.”

Zaid Salman, a young man who has been residing with his family in Erbil for almost a year, told Al-Hayat: “Our life here is very normal, we never think about being harassed and we are sure that it will not happen. We live on Ari street in Erbil, which is a majority-Kurdish area, and they always welcome us.” He added: “However, if we felt that the worst case scenario was likely, or if we feel that we need to leave, then we will return to Baghdad. But, the assurances that Barzani recently provided have made us more confident that we will stay in the region.”

Mustafa Abboud said that he goes to Baghdad from time to time and he does not feel that any changes have taken place regarding the measures at the checkpoints. He noted, “My wife has also been living for years in Erbil. We talked with one another about the ramifications of the crisis, without hiding our concerns.”

[His wife], Nidal, said: “The president of the region invited us to attend a seminar for employees in Baghdad departments and Erbil departments,” noting that “Barzani reassured participants that the political crisis would not affect our presence in any way, and emphasized that we are in our homeland.”

Translated by from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) |