Up North

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"Up North"

Ah, Kurdistan, model of democracy, where Leila Fadel reports that a pass system has been put in place to restrict the movement of Arabs:

Every three months, Munawer Fayeq Rashid goes to the Asayech, an intelligence security agency in Irbil, and hands over his identification. The Shiite Muslim Arab never goes alone. He has to bring a Kurdish sponsor to vouch for him. […] After a battery of questions and the testimony of a Kurd to vouch for them, would-be residents are issued special ID cards that allow them to live in the city. The card must be renewed every three months. If a person wants to visit another city in the Kurdish region, he or she must have a Kurdish sponsor in that city, too.

This seems to be about half “draconian measure necessary to keep Kurdistan relatively safe” and half “discrimination against Arabs for its own sake” but whichever way you look at it, it takes some of the sheen off Kurdistan-as-shining-model. Meanwhile, bloody fighting around a Kirkuk referendum remains just around the corner.

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