Iraqi PM mandates formation of committee to monitor border crossings

Iraqi army soldiers are seen during duty (File)

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SULAIMANI — As part of his push to bring Iraq’s border crossings under the control of the state, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhmi on Sunday (July 26) ordered the formation of a committee to monitor customs procedures and ensure that parties, tribes, and militias are unable to reimpose themselves over the process.

“The committee should evaluate control of the border crossings and each border crossing should be run inside the governorate [where it is located],” read a statement issued by the prime minister’s media office.

Iraq’s Joint Operation Command said on Saturday that it has sent units to fourteen border crossings, including four seaports, to add weight to Kadhimi’s efforts.

Before the prime minster made enforcing state control a priority, many of the crossings were run by locally-powerful political parties, tribes, and militias who expropriate customs revenues for themselves, robbing the state of financial resources and encouraging smuggling and corruption.

On Tuesday, an official at the Ibrahim Khalil border crossing between the Kurdistan Region and Turkey denied rumors that the Iraqi Army had taken control of the facility.

So far, Kadhimi has not visited any of the Region’s crossings with Turkey and Iran, which are operated by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

(NRT Digital Media)