How is the current security situation? (2014)
Well, believe it or not, but here in Erbil I feel safe. The daily life routine is going on without problems. I go to supermarket and cannot decide whether I want cream cheese or falafel for
lunch. I go to the ladies sauna on Wednesday and I take a sunbath in my garden underneath lemon trees. Hard to believe, that the fights are less than one hour away from Erbil.
Nevertheless, some sights of course we cannot deny. The fuel became very expensive, as all the oil transport from southern Iraq are blocked. Also cheese and milk gets ridiculous expensive as the Kurdish government has to import those things from Turkey or Iran now. The checkpoints into Erbil are massive! It took us almost one hour to come back into the city and the army checks the car three times.
A lot of people are fleeing to Erbil now, especially from Mossul, were Christians are not safe anymore. What I see very often, that people are all packed in one truck and each of them has one suitcase for their goods. These refuges coming either from the Arab Iraq looking for protection in Erbil or coming from Syria and heading towards a refugee camp, that is built with the help of THW here. The family of my housemate will come to our house in Erbil now, as their home town is too close to the front.
That everybody is fleeing to Erbil means to me, that it is definitely safer here. But we´re all aware of the fact, that the situation might change within minutes.
The Kurds in Iraq have their own government, are allowed to speak their language, Kurdish. But still, they are not an own country yet and belong to the Iraq. They have to hoist both the Kurdish and Iraqi flag on official buildings and are using the same currency, Iraqi Dinar. And as you can imagine, the concept about which city belongs to Kurdistan and which not, is not clear. A guy from the Arabic Iraq would reply in a completely different way than somebody from the Kurdish Iraq.