Efforts to remove partisan checkpoints between Erbil and Sulaimani are ongoing: New Generation lawmaker

In place since civil war
New Generation lawmaker in the Kurdistan Parliament Kawa Abdulqadir (File)

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SULAIMANI — New Generation lawmaker in the Kurdistan Parliament Kawa Abdulqadir said on Wednesday (July 8) that efforts to remove the checkpoints between Erbil and Sulaimani governorates are ongoing, which he argued would help to unify the Region politically.

“Earlier, I sent a formal letter to the Council of Ministers and from there my letter was sent to Ministry of Interior,” Abdulqadir said in a post on Facebook. He is a member of the legislature’s Interior and Security Committee.

“If the government takes this step, the political disputes at the checkpoints of Degala, Gomaspan, Hiran, Sheikh Mamudian, and Zini Warte will not reoccur,” he said, referencing past incidents were either the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) or the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) has used its control over the checkpoints for political purposes.

For instance, in August the KDP prevented PUK senior official Mahmoud Sangawi from traveling to Erbil for a meeting with officials from other parties about whether to form a unified Kurdistani list to fight the since-delayed Iraqi provincial elections. The incident scuttled the meeting and the effort.

Abdulqadir said, however, that he was not optimistic that the issue would be resolved anytime soon, saying that the PUK and the KDP have “always put their partisan interests above national and patriotic ones.”

As long as the KDP and the PUK are on power, separate zones of political and security control will remain intact, he added.

The checkpoints between Sulaimani and Erbil governorates, which roughly correspond with a delineation between PUK and KDP control respectively, have been in place since the bloody civil war between the two parties in the 1990s.

The issue addressed by Abdulqadir predates and are separate from the current coronavirus travel restrictions in place between all of the Region’s governorates, including those within the same zones of partisan control.

(NRT Digital Media)