A deputy of Nineveh governor, Ali Omar, has disclosed that the governments of Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region have reached an agreement on a new administration for Shingal (the Ezidi-majority district in Nineveh province) and stressed that “in the coming days, the administration will be installed.”
The current officials in Shingal, who run a council elected by the various components of Shingal's population, stress that they will reject any agreement if they are not consulted.
Ali Omar, the Nineveh governor deputy for affairs of the displaced persons, told KirkukNow: “The governor of Nineveh Najim al-Jibouri has been working for some time on normalizing conditions in Shingal and installing a new administration, because the current one is not legitimate.”
He added: “A few days ago, the governor of Nineveh met with the prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, the [Iraqi] minister of interior, and officials in Baghdad, and they agreed to install a new administration for Shingal district, which will soon assume its duties."
Ali Omar did not disclose any information about the new administration, but said: "A new mayor will be installed in accordance with an agreement between Erbil and Baghdad. The mayor will be someone from Shingal district and he must gain the approval of the residents of the district to avoid problems."
On 27 December 2018, the formation of a new administration for Shingal was announced, consisting of a mayor, head of a council and two deputies, and 21 members of the council. The announcement of the new administration came in a meeting with the participation of various groups in Shingal district, including tribal leaders, representatives of protestors and a number of political parties of different ethnicities and religious sects.
That administration, which did not have any support from the Iraqi government nor the Kurdistan Regional Government, sent the conclusion of their meeting on the same day through a statement to the Iraqi government saying, "We decided to elect a new administration and an interim council to run Shingal."
That administration under the leadership of Fahd Hamid, the current mayor of Shingal, was not recognized by either the Iraqi government nor the Kurdistan Regional Government, and the Kurdistan Democratic Party, which won the majority of votes in the provincial elections, immediately expressed its opposition to it.
The seal of mayorship is currently in the possession of Mahama Khaleel, who currently resides in Dohuk, and who the Kurdistan Democratic Party considers the legitimate mayor of the Shingal district. But Mahma Khaleel has been living in Duhok since the events of 16 October 2017 (when Peshmerga Forces were expelled from the disputed areas in the fallout of the independent referendum held by the Kurdistan Regional Government).
Fahd Hamid is not accepted. As for Mahma Khaleel, he is not rejected by the people of Shingal
On the incumbent administration, Ali Omar said: “They don’t have legitimacy, and Fahd Hamid is not accepted. As for Mahma Khaleel, he is not rejected by the people of Shingal, so we don’t know which mayor we should deal with.”
“Our attempt is to appoint someone whom both the Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government can agree on, so that we officially resume services,” Omar added.
But Khudéda Choki, the mayor of Sinuné (a subdistrict in Shingal), told KirkukNow: “We heard about the agreement between Baghdad and Erbil only on the news; we weren’t aware of it at all. With all due respect to the governor of Nineveh, the KRG and Baghdad government, we assure them that any agreement without the participation of the people of Shingal will not be successful; it will not be implemented in any way, and the people of the region will reject it.”
"The KRG and the Iraqi government abandoned us on 3 August 2014 when ISIS attacked us, and now they want to make agreements without the participation of the people of Shingal.
the opinion of the people must be taken into consideration when making agreements. If they don’t, Shingal will without doubt face bigger problems
Those who remained in Shingal and defended it, are still serving the people of the region and they are the owners of Shingal. Therefore, the opinion of the people must be taken into consideration when making agreements. If they don’t, Shingal will without doubt face bigger problems which probably no one can solve.”
Khal Ali, a commander of PMU (a coalition of Shi’a militia), told KirkukNow: “We were consulted and are aware. A new person for Shingal’s administration will be appointed soon without doubt. Our opinion is that a new person who is independent should be chosen, so that no side can complain.”
The KRG and the Federal Government have several times attempted to install a new administration in Shingal, but they were being rejected by the people of the district.
In March 2019, Falih Fayyaz, a former national security advisor, visited Shingal and nominated three candidates for the mayor position. But all three were rejected and Fahd Hamid was once again appointed by the interim council, political parties and tribal leaders.
The Shingal district is located 120 km west of Mosul in Nineveh province.
Currently the YBŞ (Shingal Resistance Units) – which is considered to be close to the PKK – plays the main role in keeping the district secure. The force took part in retaking Shingal from ISIS, and now have bases in a number of places in the district.