The authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan appear to have more or less completely pulled out of this part of the region. Locals are free to resolve any disputes using the local law courts, the PKK say, although they will get involved if invited to adjudicate.
The provision of municipal services is left to the PKK though, which charges locals some tax on income they earn with activities like bee keeping and farming.
The PKK takes IQD5,000 for every 100 boxes of bees and between four and five sheep for every 100 owned, says Bayonad Nabi, a local who has been subject to both these taxes.
That isn’t enough to administrate the area, spokesperson Varto adds. Additional funding comes from the Kurdish diaspora, scattered around the world, who donate because they believe in the idea of a Kurdish homeland; the Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the world without their own country.
One of the senior members of the administration in the area, Mohammed Hassan, says that the area was neglected by the Iraqi Kurdish authorities anyway and that the PKK has helped deliver services to locals.
But not all the locals are happy with this. One villager, who did not wish to be named, points out that Hassan was given the senior job in the local administration eight years ago and that this has never changed.
“The heads of the municipality are appointed by the PKK,” the man said, “even though we get to elect the village councils.”