Consequenses for Iraqi Kurdistan of a military attack on Iraq

The Kurds' situation in relation to the Iraq crisis was the topic of a press seminar held at the Norwegian People's Aid Head Office in Oslo in the beginning of March.
The following questions was among the issues raised at the seminar:

  • In what way will the Kurdish self-governed areas in northern Iraq be affected in the event of a military attack on Iraq?

  • The situation as regards mines in the area.

  • The Kurds' position in the conflict between Iraq and the USA, and the fight for a democratic Iraq.

Norwegian People's Aid has been working in the self-governed Kurdish areas in northern Iraq since 1995. Since that time, we have been involved in the clearance of mines and explosives from one of the world's worst mine-infected areas and contributed to the reconstruction of Kurdish villages which were all but levelled to the ground by the Iraqi army in the 1980s. Today, Norwegian People's Aid has about 90 employees in northern Iraq, and supports a range of local, non-governmental organisations in areas such as democracy and human rights, literacy, the battle against violence towards women and income creation initiatives. In this, we are supporting a process of democratisation and strengthening of civilian society that is wholly exceptional in Iraq.

Owing to the possibility of war, Norwegian People's Aid is working with the local Kurdish authorities and local humanitarian organisations to be able to receive and give shelter to any internally displaced refugees from the Kurdish towns and areas south of the Kurdish self-governed area.

The issues was covered by:

Ketil Volden, adviser for the Middle East, and Per Nergaard, Head of Mine Action Unit. The seminar was led by Ivar Christiansen, Head of Information.