Shingal (Sinjar) mayor replacement suspended

Ninewa, March 2019: Najim al-Jibouri, commander of Ninewa Operations, and currently governor of Ninewa, in military uniform on the right, received the Iraqi president Barham Saleh following the capsized ferry incident. Media of Ninewa Joint Operations' Command

By Ammar Aziz

The Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Tuesday April 26 has appointed governor of Ninewa as acting mayor of Shingal following the election of the old mayor as member of the Iraqi parliament yet the order was suspended few hours later.

Office of Ninewa governor was informed about the admin order and the postponement, sources told KirkukNow.

Governor Jibouri was ordered to attend Shingal once a week as acting mayor, Rafat Simo, governor deputy for administrative issues, told KirkukNow.

The current mayor Mahma Khalil, member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP, has made it to the Iraqi parliament and left Shingal following the takeover of power by Iraqi government in the disputed territories run by the two main Kurdish parties KDP and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan PUK.

Khalil as the head of the official elected administration of Shingal was fulfilling his duties from Duhok Northern Province.

Ali Omar Gabo, governor deputy for the affairs of the non-governmental organizations and the Displaced, confirmed that PM Kadhimi suspended the order of appointing the governor as acting mayor of Shingal few hours of informing them about the order.

PM Kadhimi suspended the order few hours later

“We are not sure if the order was revoked or it will be activated soon. Even for us, it was surprising and have no idea how the decision was changed,” Gabo added.

At the end of 2018, the local figures and political parties excluding the KDP have formed an interim council to replace the mayor office and run the war-torn district of Shingal, west of Ninewa, home to the Ezidi community massacred at the hands of the extremist militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria from August 2014 up to 2015.

Then the groups affiliated to Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK, fighting Turkey and holding territories in Iraq, have announced Shingal Autonomous Administrative Council.

Though the council is not recognized by the federal government in Baghdad or the Erbil-based Kurdistan Regional Government KRG yet it is backed by the locals supporting pro-PKK groups: Ezidkhan Asayish (security), Shingal Struggle units Yabasha or YBSh and Women Protection Units YPZh based at Mount Shingal. Ezidkhan Asayish is part of YBSh, in charge of the security in the area.

Shingal, November 2015: An Ezidi soldier at the center of the war-ravaged district. Reuters

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 groups are deployed.

Khudeda Alias, Chairman of the Autonomous Administration Council in Sinuny sub-district of Shingal district, told (KirkukNow), “If the people of Shingal accept Najim al-Jibouri to attend office in Shingal, we will also certainly confirm and applaud it.”

“We are against the return of the previous administration now in Duhok and any of its personnel. We don’t want any one of them to be nominated as mayor,” he added.

The issue of appointing a mayor has popped up recently following the denial of pro-PKK groups to evacuate the military points and security checkpoints to the Iraqi army forces which resulted in armed clashes causing casualties in both sides.

Al-Jibouri, a senior officer, was appointed per a presidential decree on November 2019 as the governor of Ninewa, few days following his election for that position.

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