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Komar University, Sulaymaniyah Kurdistan any info???
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El Hobo



Joined: 28 Sep 2012
Posts: 40
Location: Iraqi-Kurdistan

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

2buckets wrote:


Yes, but they will be well protected regardless of how safe Iraq-Kurdistan may be perceived. The US gov't can hardly afford to have these people at risk because of the political optic. In some ways Iraq-Kurdistan may be more dangerous for the evacuees. I can see ISIS leaders saying:Hmmm, we can't get them in Baghdad, but let's send some homicide bombers/snipers up there and make some history and TV time.


They evacuated US embassy staff to Iraqi-Kurdistan because the US Secret Service felt they were safe there. Forgive me, but I may take their judgement on this over a guy on the internet.


2buckets wrote:
Also, keep in mind that johnslat, scot47 and myself each have decades of time in the middle east.


Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12474
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear El Hobo,

Most of the "policy and decision-makers" in Washington don't have a clue about what the Middle East is truly like.

I would think decades of missteps, small and huge, would have indicated that pretty clearly by now.

Regards,
John
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El Hobo



Joined: 28 Sep 2012
Posts: 40
Location: Iraqi-Kurdistan

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear John,

If you have a gut feeling regarding the safety of foreigners in Iraqi-Kurdistan, then please ignore my knowledge and experience and post details to support your hunch. If it really is dangerous, it should only take a minute or two to prove me wrong.

When you find the information that proves Iraqi-Kurdistan is unsafe, perhaps you could also pass it on to the US embassy officials who so thoughtlessly evacuated to Erbil.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12474
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear El Hobo,

"perhaps you could also pass it on to the US embassy officials who so thoughtlessly evacuated to Erbil."

I only hope your experience with US embassies and consulates is better than mine:

1979: Shiraz, Iran: after days of demonstrations, some of us teachers at the university were getting a bit worried and went to the consulate (where we, in all innocence, had registered) to get some advice. Upon arrival, we found the builden boarded up, locked and deserted. The consulate staff had all decamped without letting any of the US citizens in Shiraz know.

1990/1991: Riyadh: Despite the growing tension between Iraq and Saudi Arabia and despite the fact that the citizens of every other country had been issued gas masks by their embassies, the US embassy continually refused to do so for us (although I suspect the embassy staff was well-supplied).

All the best - which I mean sincerely.

Regards,
John
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2buckets



Joined: 14 Dec 2010
Posts: 349
Location: Middle East

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

El Hobo:

"Forgive me, but I may take their judgement on this over a guy on the internet."

right, the guys who are drunk and hanging out with hookers. Yeah I'll depend on them.

Regarding johnslat comments on Iran. I had the same experience with consulate in Isfahan, and Tehran. They don't give a damn about you.

Same experience in Saudi, we got our gas masks and chem. suits from our employer, again, the consulate wouldn't open their door to us.

Regarding American"policy and decision-makers" knowing what's happening on the ground:

And how many of Obama’s foreign policy team have actually lived and worked among the people there? Not insulated in embassy compounds with drivers and bodyguards and sycophants telling them what they want to hear. That means going to the souk/bazaar (market) everyday to haggle with shop keepers, sitting in coffee houses playing backgammon and smoking sheesha (water pipes), to the wee hours of the morning, working with them side by side on a daily basis, going to the ministries regularly to deal with bureaucratic nonsense (and paying baksheesh {bribes}), that is part of the daily life in the middle east. I doubt any of them have, so they really don't know what's going on. I did so for nearly 30 years in Morocco, Algeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, India, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, and the UAE. I don't give any of these advisors any credence whatsoever. I don't care how many PhD advisors they have, they haven't "walked the walk".

You can bet your life on them, but I certainly wouldn't.

All the best from me too - which I also mean sincerely.

Regards,

2buckets
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2buckets



Joined: 14 Dec 2010
Posts: 349
Location: Middle East

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To paraphrase a saying about pilots:

There are old TEFLers, and there are bold TEFLers, but there are no old, bold TEFLers.
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El Hobo



Joined: 28 Sep 2012
Posts: 40
Location: Iraqi-Kurdistan

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are either of you going to post anything to support your assumptions that Iraqi-Kurdistan is dangerous for foreigners? I'm almost beginning to think you're being deliberately evasive. Although your anecdotes are rather interesting, they don't really support your point.

As I have written several times, if you believe Iraqi-Kurdistan is dangerous to foreigners, please provide some supporting information, I really would be very interested to see what you can find. Otherwise, perhaps you may be so gracious to concede that the US consular officials in Erbil, the British Foreign Office and my humble self, who all deem it to be safe and secure, may actually know a little more on Iraqi-Kurdistan than two guys who have never been here before. Just a thought.

All the best
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2buckets



Joined: 14 Dec 2010
Posts: 349
Location: Middle East

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been there, but probably before you were born. Came across from Iran on holiday on a carpet buying expedition with Iranian/Kurdish carpet dealers. Not an easy journey.

Even back then, travel in Kurdistan was rather iffy, as Iranian and Iraqi governments were always having trouble with Kurdish opposition groups like the Pesh Merga.

So, please don't be so quick to make assumptions.


Last edited by 2buckets on Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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El Hobo



Joined: 28 Sep 2012
Posts: 40
Location: Iraqi-Kurdistan

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

2buckets wrote:
I've been there, but probably before you were born. Came across from Iran on holiday.


That's great, 2buckets. And the information supporting your assumptions? Think you must've forgotten to post it.
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2buckets



Joined: 14 Dec 2010
Posts: 349
Location: Middle East

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bet on your worksite, there are lots of rumors and gossip about what is going on. Your employers are probably saying don't worry, everything is alright, but can they show you information supporting that.

This is what happened during the Iranian revolution. Nobody had hard information.

In any case you are not that far from the action and the Kurdish military is stretched very thin defending their long border, a border that is porous and probably not in complete control of the Kurds. Infiltrators can pass through undetected.

As I mentioned before, things can spin out of control very quickly. Just a couple of weeks ago, few would have thought that ISIS would make such dramatic gains this fast.

You're there, so you have to make decisions based on what you see and hear, and determine how accurate that information is.

We are living in interesting times.
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El Hobo



Joined: 28 Sep 2012
Posts: 40
Location: Iraqi-Kurdistan

PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is bizarre. Thank you for another anecdote, 2buckets.
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El Hobo



Joined: 28 Sep 2012
Posts: 40
Location: Iraqi-Kurdistan

PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For anyone reading this, it is probably obvious now due to the absence of any information provided by John Slat or 2buckets, that Iraqi-Kurdistan is indeed safe.

It is an easy presumption to make, I also made the same mistake before doing my research. These are some of the facts 2buckets probably came across:

No coalition soldier has been killed here since the war began in 2003

Since the 2003 war began, no foreigner has been kidnapped and no foreigner has been a victim of terrorism

The British Foreign Office does not issue a travel warning for Iraqi-Kurdistan

Iraqi-Kurdistan has it's own regional government, military and language. A separate visa is required for 'Federal Iraq'., A visa you are unlikely to obtain even should you wish.

These are facts.

I might also add, that crime here is virtually unheard of (except for corruption of course). Quite contrary to the Arab South, Kurds are enormously thankful for the 2003 Gulf War that rid them of Saddam and you often see cars emblazoned with the American flag and/or an American eagle. People love G.W. Bush here, if you have liberal views, best to just hide them and smile; Bush is a hero here.

This is the information that 2buckets would have come across. Pride is a terrible thing.
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rtm



Joined: 13 Apr 2007
Posts: 570
Location: US

PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't doubt what anyone here has said. However, this article seemed relevant:

Al Jazeera: Iraqi Kurds battle Sunni fighters in Kirkuk
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2buckets



Joined: 14 Dec 2010
Posts: 349
Location: Middle East

PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pride? Rolling Eyes
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returnee2014



Joined: 06 Jun 2014
Posts: 13
Location: United States

PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to concur with el hobo and say that if the British consulate thinks it's safe, and the american embassy is moving staff to Erbil, then we can assume it is reasonably safe. Could they be wrong, sure. But in the absence of information, this is the strongest evidence available.

I won't say that there is no threat at all, because there is some religious fundamentalism among the kurds of Halabja which is a region that's faced a lot of hardship and is very close to Sulaymaniyah.

"On May 23, Kurdish news agency Bas News reported an attempted attack in Sulaymaniyah allegedly carried out by 20-year-old Aram Ozair, a Kurd from Halabja who came back from Syria after eight months of fighting with ISIL."
http://www.aina.org/news/20140614113804.htm

So I wouldn't call it a completely irrational fear, but if I were to let isolated incidents like this scare me off, then I would never have worked in Saudi.

And btw, don't misread news from Kirkuk as representative of the security conditions of Kurdistan at large. Kirkuk falling so suddenly into Kurdish hands means there's going to be ethnic clashes in Kirkuk. The CPA had promised the relocated arabs/turks compensation for their houses that were to be given back to their dislocated Kurdish owners, but it never got funded, so they stayed on hoping for the compensation. Now there could be a big mess in that regard. I wish the Gulf Arabs or international corporations would step in and fund the compensation programs to bring about the demographic shift in a peaceful way, but I think it's going to be bloody. The Turks are telling their people to get out of Kirkuk and they're increasing the number of Turkish airlines flights to Sulaymaniyah and decreasing ticket prices to help people get out.


Last edited by returnee2014 on Wed Jun 18, 2014 1:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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