Cliff Kindy Iraq Blog

Current entries are related to Cliff Kindy's fourth Iraq trip, beginning in October 2007. The blog archives contains letters from Cliff's third Iraq trip in 2004-5.

Friday, December 28, 2007

CPT Security Statement for the KRG Area

CPT Iraq Security Statement, 27 December, 2007

Security can apply differently to various populations. This statement will highlight three populations, to assist an understanding of security for this CPT project.

One: security for Kurds here in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of northern Iraq, the three governates of Dahuk, Erbil and Suleimaniyah, is judged in light of the end of the Baathist regime. Kurds feel any current difficulties are better than the discrimination, terror and death experienced during the Anfal. But now, practically, the KRG does not face the suicide bombings, kidnappings and random violence that have been so prevalent in the south and central parts of Iraq. 170,000 Peshmerga and an unknown number of Asaish security police and other patrols staff check points on highways and tightly control the transit of strangers and security of Kurds. The exceptions are resistance groups and voices of dissent (Islamic groups and journalists) that have been silenced, jailed and disappeared, even in recent years. Presently, the Turkish border is a potentially volatile region that will require close attention.

Two: security for the CPT team in Kurdistan was cause for very careful planning as the team returned in October, 2007. The kidnapping of early 2007, which happened outside the KRG, led to a great deal of caution and the development of security guidelines. But CPT has not been in survival mode as in Baghdad. Women are free to dress as fashion misfits – no need for an abaya or head covering. CPTers over the past two months have found little cause for security concern in the KRG. CPTers have traveled to the Iranian border region, have walked the Suly streets alone without qualms, have ventured into new areas like Halabja and within four miles of the Iranian border as a team, and traveled alone from Erbil. CPT has relaxed the tight guidelines set in place prior to our travel to Iraq. They do listen to voices of caution about particular areas, assess those warnings, and then decide how to respond. There are mined areas, especially along the borders, and they have been urged to stay away from the Penjeune area.

Three: security for a CPT delegation must be judged in light of little or no experience by delegates in this region. But there is continuous safe travel in the KRG area. Travel by bus, taxi and with hired drivers is safe. Movement of a delegation would not be a security concern. This project is operating in a security situation that is better, at the present, than the Colombia and Palestine projects.


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