Security

The security situation in the Kurdistan Region in Iraq is very different from the rest of Iraq and hence Kurdistan is oft referred to as The Other Iraq.

Not a single coalition soldier died in Kurdistan during the Iraq war, nor has a single foreigner been kidnapped in the areas administered by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). With the cooperation of citizens, the Kurdistan Region’s securityforces have kept the area safe and stable. Security responsibility was formally transferred from the Multinational Forces to the KRG in May 2007.

The official Regional guard, the Peshmerga forces, are highly trained and experienced in providing security. To maintain the level of peace in the Kurdistan Region, there are checkpoints on the borders and city perimeters.

Some visitors use private foreign or local security firms, some prefer to be accompanied only by their local contacts, and some prefer to use taxis and walk. Separate advice must be sought for travel outside of the Kurdistan Region.

Statement by the Directors of The Other Iraq Tours LLC on the most recent Security situation:

Note: To our clients regarding recent disturbances in Sunni Arab areas of Iraq (outside the Kurdistan Region)

The public has recently been deluged with media reports regarding activities of theIslamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in various parts of Iraq outside of the Kurdistan Region.    The latest events involving (ISIS) of course causes concern for those considering a trip to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). As we are physically in Iraq, and one of our owners is a security expert, we thought you might like to know what the situation is really like in Kurdistan.

 

“In spite of what is happening in other parts of Iraq, the situation throughout Kurdistan remains safe and secure. In fact, the areas where we tour to are further within the security belt provided by the security forces, since they have pushed further to the west and south.”

Harry Schute
Senior Security Advisor to the Ministry of Interior
July 5, 2014

Sunni Arab areas of Iraq (unlike Kurdistan) have had numerous and almost continuous security issues since 2003. Hence we have consistently refused to conduct tours there although we get many requests. Kurdistan has for many years been a separate autonomous region with its borders secured by the local very sizable and competent Pesh Merga (Kurdistan military). One of the key reasons both media and many governments often refer to Kurdistan as “The Other Iraq” is that the region has remained relatively safe and stable over the past decades—unlike the rest of Iraq.

The Kurdish security forces are on a higher state of alert and readiness, but that is purely precautionary to insure the integrity of the region.  Otherwise, there are no changes in terms of movement, control, or conduct of daily business.  The border areas have received large numbers of displaced persons, but they are being held in displaced persons camps if they do not have relatives or others who can vouch for them inside of Kurdistan.

It is important to know that we are in constant contact with the Kurdistan security forces leadership and are well aware of the real time situation.  We are also constantly evaluating our routes and destinations to ensure we are staying clear of any areas that are potentially troublesome. The well being of our clients has been and always will be foremost. As we have stated in the past, we will cancel any tour or alter any itinerary we do not deem safe. We are continuing our scheduled tours in Kurdistan for the foreseeable future, as the security situation within the Kurdistan Region is largely unchanged.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. If you would like a more detailed overview of the situation in areas of Iraq outside of the Kurdistan Region, we will forward a concise but fairly comprehensive analysis and historical background of the situation.

Regards

Management of The Other Iraq Tours LLC