Visiting Kurdistan

Seeking advice here.

For the past few years i've been helping a bunch of young ladies in Kurdistan , online, with their English.

Most are student teachers, some have since graduated, all are smart.
Being Muslim, they're devout, pious, but not looney tunes types, and several have lost family members to ISIS.

Their culture says they don't post photos, but strangely some will post photos of their mates, albeit wearing hijabs. Or they'll post photos, but with faces covered.

On to the crux of the matter, after several years conversing, they've kind of adopted me as an honorary dad/ grandad, so pester me with questions, as young ladies do, everything from PMT to boyfriend problems, dying parents and how to stop kids destroying the crockery.

And now, having built up a good rapport, they've invited me out there for a holiday.

I've read the usual HMG advice websites, and it seems doable without, literally, losing my head, but would also like to know if any arrserati have recent experience of visiting Kurdistan?

My Sorani is minimal, Arabic zero, and I have an Israeli stamp in my passport. I'm 64, walk with a limp, so not in a rush to join peshmerga, but would like to meet these ladies.

Any advice welcome, but sorry, no pics of them.

Vague itinerary would be a flight to Erbil/Hawler, with side trips to Soran and Slemani.

Thanks in advance.
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I reckon there’s great potential to take your current limp to the next level here!
t's not exactly a tourist trap out there

I was in Iraqi Kurdistan two years ago and can confirm ….well it's not a tourist trap which isn't a bad thing

You've got visit Halabja or more specifically the memorial . If you're in Suley visit Amna Suraka which was once a torture chamber and a woman asked why was I taking photos

Sulaymaniyah - Wikipedia

There's not a lot to do though , it's not a tourist trap . I was friendly with a hotel owner and he let me stay at a villa on the Dohok but I was bored within a couple of days , but if you've friends out there you won't be bored . One thing I do remember on the road out from Erbil to Dohok was the large number of villages that were empty. It turned out the villages were raised during Operation Al Anfal

Anfal genocide - Wikipedia

After the Saddam regime was over thrown the villages were rebuilt but no one wanted to live there and the original inhabitants can't because the were all murdered usually by being buried alive

A word of warning though - Do not get snappy happy with a camera. - While visiting Halabja I did walk past the local PUK government building , Which ended up with me being detained at gunpoint being asked why I was taking photos of buildings

BTW you'll be treated like a hero


Book Reviewer
Go on, take a chance - nothing could possibly go wrong...

Keep posting here on the experiences you have. Until you can't.
Practice sawing off a digit or limb with a pen-knife to see how it's going to feel when they take your head off.
Practice sawing off a digit or limb with a pen-knife to see how it's going to feel when they take your head off.
Sort of like a toughening up exercise?
You can fly to Erbil with no problems whatsoever. You can go about the city, no problems whatsoever. However, once you leave the main city, it’s a tad different.

Both places you mention are in Iraqi Kurdistan which was semi-autonomous. It’s a bit different since the Iraqi govt took back control from the Kurds.

English is fairly well understood in Erbil imx. Not so much in the outlying regions. Take $$. In general, they like if not love the Brits. As above no photos
For all your good and noble intentions, anyone willingly walking into a on-going war zone, for that is what it has become, with a Israeli stamp in his passport, scant knowledge of customs , traditions & social etiquette, and a heathen westerner, in their eyes, is going to ,at the very least , get a very hard time, at the worst, tortured and killed. I cannot see the British consular service coming to your aid in a hurry if it all kicks off, and the British military is not going to extradite you when the shit hits the fan. Your age and medical problems hampers you legging it at any rate of knots, and your lady friends will be very reluctant to shield you from the ISIS, should they come calling. not a good idea.
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