Minister Sinjari: The security forces in Kurdistan Region have gained good experience and skills in fighting terrorism and extreme violence

Under the supervision of his exellency Mr. Karim Sinjari, the Minister of Interior at the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), KRG and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) held a joint conference on counter terrorism and evaluating the threats and risks facing the KRG in terms of national security. 

Minister Sinjari’s Speech at Terrorism Prevention conference in Erbil, on 12-13/2018

Dear guests…

Ladies and gentlemen….

Good morning and you are all welcome…

I would like to thank UN’s Office for terrorism prevention for organizing this important joint meeting about the issue of terrorism in Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Terrorism has become a global phenomenon and all free world has been targeted, daily we are witnessing terror acts across the globe by terrorist groups and resulted in tens and hundreds of civilian deaths, and under the name of Islam and other different names, they justify the killings of people.

Since the establishment of the Kurdistan Region Entity in 1992, we have been the target of terrorists due to the values, we believe in, and became the foundation of the KRG’s policies including democracy, peace, diversity, coexistence, political, religious, and journalism freedoms and gender equality, especially the women rights.

All these founding values are not agreeable with the doctrine and agenda of the terror and violent extremist groups, therefore, they have continued in their efforts to target the people and the Kurdistan Region, until now thousands of people became victims of the terror acts in Kurdistan.

And thousands of Peshmerga and security forces paid ultimate sacrifices in the war against ISIS and countering other terror groups to prevent terrorism and eliminate terrorist groups.

After the Iraqi liberation process in 2003, we became the direct target of terrorist groups, they continuously tried everything to destabilize and breach the security in Kurdistan through sending terrorists and establish terror base and incubate sleeping cells among our people, but fortunately, the people in Kurdistan, with all its ethnicities and religions, are peace loving and reject all forms of terror and extremism. This has become the bases of good cooperation between the people and the security forces.

So far, many terrorist groups and sleeping cells arrested and terror plots foiled in Kurdistan Region. Terrorists are continuing in their efforts, in response, we exert all efforts to eradicate terrorism and extreme ideology.

The terrorists are constantly inventing new ways, tactics and methods to spread violent extremism ideology and targeting youths, and teenagers to carry out terror acts across the globe. Especially, they have taken advantage of the use of technology like social media to spread the tragic scenes and videos of terrorist acts.

In response, there should more focus on strengthening the capabilities of the intelligence and security forces to use information technology to confront the terrorism.

The security forces in Kurdistan Region have gained good experience and skills in fighting terrorism and extreme violence during the last 26 years, but we need to pay more attention to the provision of technology and technical skills of these forces so that they be capable of not only to confront terrorism militarily but also how to prevent the spread of terrorism and violent ideology.

As the root causes of terrorism are numerous such as religious fundamentalism and extremism, economic, social, political problems as well as tekfiri and Islamic jihad ideology. Apart from military approach, we should work harder to uproot extremism ideology in all forms, educate and raise awareness of the youths and teenagers to not become easy preys of the terrorist groups and could not influence them towards tekfiri, violence, rejection and terrorism.

The terrorists have various economic, social, political, educational and ethnical backgrounds, all factors are found among them, and there is no single factor to terror, violent and jihadi acts.

This needs all sides’ cooperation and coordination at the internal, regional and international levels; government and non-government agencies including educational, religious establishments, civil society, IT technology companies, NGOs, research and scientific centres, media outlets and security departments and intelligence agencies and military to deal and find the root causes of extremism and terrorism such as religious, social, political, economic extremism ideology and social isolation at the community and individual levels.

In regards to Kurdistan Region, our capacities are limited concerning technology, finance, prisons, and programmes to counter violent extremism ideology and rehabilitation and awareness raising of the youths and teenagers who have become the victims of this ideology and educate them on democracy, peace and tolerance, coexistence and reintegrate them into society.

In this relation, we have many needs to be able to counter terror ideology with modern methods to prevent spread of the extremism and jihadi ideology the areas include:

  1. Technical and financial assistance to carry out a comprehensive study in Kurdistan Region to find and identify the root causes of violence and religious extremism and to develop a joint framework for all relevant stakeholders in government and outside government to raise awareness as way of preventing the spread of this ideology in the society and instead spreading peace, coexistence and social cohesion education among all religious and ethnic components.
  2. Provision of the information technology to the security forces to screen, monitor and follow up to further strengthen the security, protection, and safety of the citizens in the Kurdistan Region.
  3.  Development and expansion of the prions according to the international standards and development of tailored education and awareness raising programmes to counter terrorism and extremism ideology.
  4. Special training courses for the security forces in prisons and other stations on the ways of dealing with terrorists, and on how to educate youths and deradicalize them, especially those who have not committed any crimes, but hold extremism and jihadi ideology to reintegrate them into society.
  5. Financial and technical problem to develop programmes for awareness raising and rehabilitation for the prisoners to prevent radicalization and indoctrination of this ideology in the prisons. 
  6.  As well as development of special programmes in the religious and communal education on how prevent the youths and teenagers being exposed to this ideology.

Finally, we to have to consider that terrorism have many factors therefore, only through military measures, we will not be able to eradicate the terrorism and jihadi ideology, but we should start working right at the very beginning to prevent the spread of the tekfiri, jihadi, extremism ideology and block all opportunities that lead to brainwashing of the youths and indoctrination of this ideology.

Again, thank you for organizing this conference on the critical and important issue, I hope that will result in practical recommendations to counter the terror and extremism ideology.

Thank you…

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