A council administering the district of Shingal, home town of the Ezidi community, and close to Kurdistan workers Party PKK, have denied allowing a delegation of Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP into Shingal for electoral campaign.
On October 2nd, a delegation of KDP led by head of Shingal office and three parliamentary candidates with tens of supporters headed from the Northern Province of Duhok to Shingal, west of Mosul, in order to lead a campaign for introducing their candidates for Iraqi parliament yet Shingal autonomous administrative council denied their access.
The pro-PKK administration vowed it is ready even to fight in case they insist to return to Shingal.
The KDP says they have informed local authorities in Shingal and Ninewa province.
"The reason behind our visit was to introduce our candidates for October elections in Shingal through a public festival for KDP supports but unfortunately the PKK and their supporters have not allowed us," said Idirs Zozani, media manager of KDP office 17 in Shingal, which is currently based in Duhok following October 17th 2017 events in which Iraqi forces ousted Kurdish forces from the disputed territories.
Zozani said they have talked to security officials of Shingal and Ninewa but it was useless so politburo of KDP asked them to return to Duhok "because we didn't want to intrigue fighting or complications in order to avoid God forbidding people being killed or injured because we are against internal fighting so we peacefully returned."
The autonomous administration of Shingal has been established few years ago by the Ezidi, Arab and other components of Shingal and close to PKK, fighting Turkey and holding territories in Iraqi Kurdistan Region IKR and the disputed territories between Erbil and Duhok.
The council was put in office to administer war-torn Shingal by electing mayor for Shingal district and neighbor sub-districts yet not recognized by the federal government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG in Erbil.
Shingal, located 120 west of Mosul, on the border of Iraq-Syria, is home to the Ezidi community, estimated at over half a million population, targeted by Islamic State (IS) group in August 2014 and one of the disputed territories between Baghdad and Erbil.
Seized in August 2014 by ISIS militants whom accused the Ezidis of being “heretics,” Shingal has been the scene of tragedy: a genocidal campaign of killings, rape, abductions and enslavement, mounted to genocide, accused of being devil worshippers for their non-Muslim monotheist religion.
The surviving community fled to safer-heaven Internally Displaced Person IDP camps on Shingal Mount through a passage secured by the PKK fighters and to camps in the adjacent northern Kurdistan region where tens of thousands still live in tens of camps.
Thousands of Ezidi women, girls and kids were enslaved and taken as sex slaves. Up today, about 2800 Ezidis, mainly women, girls and kids, are still missing.
Hasso Ibrahim, deputy of Shingal autonomous council, said ahead of KDP delegation visit to Shingal, we have informed all sides that KDP is not allowed to visit Shingal or lead electoral campaign in town because no one approves return of KDP to Shingal."
"Yes, we stopped KDP delegation and they won't enter Shingal. If they would have rejected peaceful retreat, we would have fought them. This is a clear message for all so that they don't regret later."
This is a clear message for all so that they don't regret later
The pro-PKK Shingal Resistance Units YBSh, accuse the KDP, which ad upper hand in the region, of turning their backs to the Ezidis when IS attacked the vulnerable community back in 2014.
Iraqi troops and the Shiite paramilitary of Popular Mobilization Forces PMF backed by Kurdish Peshmerga (fighters) and pro- PKK fighters' ousted ISIS in October 2015 and each deployed in different areas in the region.
Shingal Autonomous administrative Council is a local civil administration founded few years ago, close to PKK forces, Ezidkhan Asayish, YBSh and YPZh based in Shingal Mountain. Ezidkhan Asayish (security) has about 1,000 fighters and is part of YBSh in charge of the security in the area.
In the Ezidi-dominant region of Shingal, only three thousand square kilometers, Baghdad federal and Erbil regional governments compete to establish their rule: three local administrations want to administer the district, and eight different armed forces are deployed.
The militant groups are Iran-backed Shiite Popular Mobilization Forces PMF, YBSh and Ezidkhan Asayish which are pro-PKK, federal and local Police, Iraqi army and the Kurdistan Regional Government's KRG Peshmerga.
The KDP accuses YBSh and pro-PKK groups of complicating the security and political scene in Shingal and banning IDPs from volunteer return to their hometowns.
The incident comes ahead of October 10th elections. The KDP has registered three Ezidis in order to earn more seats in the House of Representatives in Baghdad.
Pro-PKK groups such as democracy and Ezidi Party for Ezidis PADE have a candidate for Shingal beside the quota seat guaranteed by the Iraqi constitution for religious communities.
Omer Salih, leader of PADE, said they told KDP delegation they are not allowed because KDP does not allow them to lead electoral campaign in Duhok and Zakho district under the KRG, led by KDP.
Salih admitted it was Shingal council, PADE and YBSh supporters stopped KDP at Gohbal checkpoint, northeast of Shingal.
"Brigade 8 of PMF also participated in stopping KDP delegation," said Khudeda Chuki, mayor of Sinuni sub-district.
Brigade 8 of PMF also participated in stopping KDP delegation
In October 2020, the Iraqi federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG signed the Shingal Agreement aimed to reorganize the security and administrative dossiers in the district, under which local police, national security and intelligence run the security of the town, while the Iraqi army forces would be deployed in the suburbs.
The agreement was hailed by Baghdad, Erbil and Ankara as it leaves no excuse for any militia including the PKK to stay in town.
The 8th brigade of PMF mainly is composed of YBSH fighters. On August 16th, Sai'd Hassan, commander of the brigade, and nephew of him were killed and three fighters were injured in an airstrike by Turkish jets.
The KDP vowed it is going to address the Independent High Electoral Commission IHEC.
"We will take legal procedures against PKK blockage and report it to the IHEC because it’s a violation against our rights of electoral campaign," Zozani said.
We will take legal procedures against PKK blockage
"Unfortunately, Even Iraqi officials (in Baghdad) and Ninewa commanders couldn't ease the tension," he added.
Iraqi electoral law states attacks against authorized electoral campaign lead to imprisonment and financial fines yet Shingal tension has not been determined by the IHEC.
"I can't say if we will try again to go back to Shingal," Zozani added.
This was the first attempt of KDP to return to Shingal following October 2017 events which forced KDP to leave its headquarters in Shingal.
In the Ezidi-dominant region of Shingal, only three thousand square kilometers, Baghdad federal and Erbil regional governments compete to establish their rule: three local administrations want to administer the district where eight armed forces are deployed.