The following article was published by Reidar Visser, an historian of Iraq educated at the University of Oxford and currently based at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. It is reproduced here with the author’s permission. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
There are many interesting aspects to the recent departure by Vice-President Tareq al-Hashemi from Erbil in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) area of Iraq to Doha, the capital of Qatar.
Among those aspects is one that has yet to receive the attention it deserves: The means of travel used by Hashemi – who is sought by the central government in an alleged criminal case – from Erbil to Doha. Most accounts simply state that Hashemi arrived in Doha on 1 April en route from Erbil. Some Kurdish interior ministry officials even went on record saying they had no knowledge about Hashemi’s departure.
The picture of Hashemi arriving in Doha, published by the website of the vice-president, is clear enough. It shows Hashemi stepping out of a Qatar Airways jet, apparently onto a red carpet and with ministers waiting to welcome him.
So, Hashemi arrived with Qatar Airways. It is true that they have announced plans for an Erbil–Doha service. But that service will not commence until May. Also, it will be operated by Airbus 320s. The aircraft on the picture looks slimmer than an Airbus, perhaps more like a Bombardier?