Single? Arab? Male? Then Kurdish Borders are Closed

By Hiwa Barznjy.

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Single? Arab? Male? Then Iraqi Kurdistan’s Borders are Closed to You

Almost a month after a terrorist attack on security forces in Erbil – the first in over six years – Iraqi Kurdistan is still feeling the effects. Border security has been tightened and Iraqi Arabs wanting to come in – whether for work or tourism – are being turned away. Single males are particularly unwanted.

One week after the attempted attack on Iraqi Kurdistan’s Asayish headquarters in the semi-autonomous region’s capital, Erbil, it was announced that all of the attackers were Arabs. Apparently no Kurdish individuals were involved. As a result of this, security on the borders of the region, which has its own parliament, military and legislation, was tightened.

The Sept. 29 attack was the first such attack to have succeeded – even partially –in over six years and resulted in the deaths of seven security staff and the six assailants, as well as wounding as many as 72 others. Masrour Barzani, who heads the Iraqi Kurdish Security Council, announced that the attackers and their accomplices were all Arabs who are thought to have made their way into the Iraqi Kurdistan via the nearby city of Mosul. An affiliate of Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack; Mosul is considered by many to be the headquarters of the extremist Sunni Muslim group in Iraq.

Even before the announcement was made though, border security was being stepped up and Arabs coming into the region from Iraq were being subjected to special scrutiny. Many who had planned to come into Iraqi Kurdistan were denied entry and made to turn back.

One of these was Haider Qasim, 20, from the Diyala province. He and three friends wanted to holiday in the Iraqi Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah. However border security turned them away, sending them home.

Qasim was angry and upset at his ruined holiday and felt that such behaviour would worsen the sometimes troubled but mostly positive relationship between Iraq’s Arabs and Kurds.

“Even if Arabs were behind this attack in Erbil, that doesn’t mean that all the Arabs of Iraq are terrorists,” Qasim argued. “If a Kurd does something wrong, we don’t blame every other Kurd for that deed.”

5 Responses to Single? Arab? Male? Then Kurdish Borders are Closed

  1. darbaz Kurdi 29th October 2013 at 10:24 #

    YES!! thats true if he said not all arabs are terrorist for sure... but can u tell who and how u can know who are terrorist? no cuz they are from the same country, same city, same neighborhood and maybe same house who know?!! if he say kurdish do something... yes if one kurdish guy did something we also don't accept him in our houses and we will go hunt him down cuz we love our country... do u love your country!? if "YES I DO" then what did u do for urs?

  2. Khalil Ibrahim 1st November 2013 at 23:46 #

    This is the normal reflex which the Kurdish authorities have learned from (where else?) Israel. Such steps would not help in bridging the growing gap between Iraqi Kurds and the Arab majority, and the Kurds security authorities better learn to practice less racist, exclusivist methods if they want to remain part of Iraq and the Arab world, but we know they don't want that, and are burning for the day when they will secede and I and many of us say the sooner the better.Good riddance!