Protestors in Shingal demand having a say

Shingal, 11 October 2020 – a demonstration against the Baghdad-Erbil agreement – photo: Ibrahim Ezidi

Ibrahim Ezidi - Shingal

A number of Shingal residents staged a demonstration today, protesting against the agreement between the Federal and the Kurdistan Region governments on administering the district. They demand to have a say in any decisions or agreements.

During the demonstration (held today, 11 October 2020) the protestors chanted slogans against the agreement, and threatened to have a stronger stance if it is not going to be annulled.

An agreement was signed between the Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government on 1 October 2020 for the instalment of a new administration council and make changes in security oversight.

Murad Khalaf, an Ezidi activist who participated in the protest, told KirkukNow: “We will not accept an external decision for Shingal in any way; the district’s residents have their own political parties and institutions. We must, therefore, be consulted as well.”

According to the Baghdad-Erbil agreement, a new mayor for the Shingal district will be appointed and other administrative positions will also be put under review.

The district of Shingal currently has two mayors: one of them is Mahma Khaleel (KDP) who resides 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); the other is Fahd Hamid who was appointed mayor by a temporary council.

Barakat Faqir, chief of one of the tribes in Shingal, told KirkukNow: “Several agreements have been made in the past, but none of them lasted because the views of the people of Shingal were not taken into consideration.”

Faqir says that his community has suffered immensely and that that should be recognized by letting them participate in administering the district.

The agreement stipulates that the Federal Police, Intelligence Agency, National Security Apparatus with cooperation with Kurdistan Regional Government Security Forces, will be put in charge of the security of the district. And that 2500 individuals from Shingal to be hired by the Internal Security forces; 1000 from current Shingal residents, and 1500 from those living in IDP camps.

It also stimulates the removal of all other forces from the district, and not letting the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) and its affiliates have any role there.

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Shingal, 11 October 2020 – residents demand to be consulted when decisions are made - photo: Ibrahim Ezidi

Faris Harbo, a public relations official of the Democratic Self-Administration Council of Shingal, told KirkukNow: “Not only us, but most of the people of the district reject the agreement. Today’s demonstration was the first step to denounce the agreement and we will take a stronger stance; we will turn the district into Tahrir Square if the agreement is not annulled!

“We will not allow anyone to step on these lands without the consultation of its residents.”

The Democratic Self-Administration Council of Shingal was formed to administer the Shingal district. Their views are close to that of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party), and it incorporates a number of Ezidi and Arab political parties.

The agreement reached by the Federal Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government under the auspices of the United Nations came after many years of administrative and security conflicts in Shingal.

There are currently more than five different forces in the district, among them the Popular Mobilization Units (a coalition of Shi’a militia known as Hashd) and the Shingal Resistance Units (YBŞ; an Ezidi militia formed by PKK affiliates to fend off ISIS attacks), Internal police, Iraqi army and Ezid-Khan Peshmerga.

The district of Shingal is located about 120 km west of Mosul in Nineveh province. It is considered part of the disputed areas according to the Iraqi constitution.

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