On Saturday, voters in Iraq will head to the polls for a national election. The security situation in Iraq remains volatile and fragile – violence can erupt without warning and terrorism is a daily threat. There is a very real possibility that this vote could trigger further violence, and terrorist attacks are likely.
The Iraqi Government is closing all land and air borders for 24 hours from 12.01am on 12 May. Please factor this in to your travel risk management plan. Make sure you have key contact information available and stored in an offline location. Rehearse your plans for what happens in case anything goes awry.
We have pulled together some travel advice, as well as some headlines and links, to provide you with further information.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:
- Anbar province
- Ninewah province
- Salah-Al-Din province
- Diyala province
- Tam’mim (Kirkuk) province
- in Erbil province, south of Road 80, and within 10km of the border with Ninewah province between Road 80 and Road 2
The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of Iraq, including the remainder of the Kurdistan region.
On 12 May 2018, national elections will take place in Iraq. There will be a heightened security presence across the country over the weekend. Terrorists may try to disrupt the elections by carrying out attacks. The Government of Iraq has announced the closure of all land and air borders for 24 hours from 12.01am on 12 May. If you’re due to travel to or from Iraq on this date, you’re advised to contact your airline or travel company for advice on alternative arrangements and amend your plans accordingly.
Please click through to read the rest of the advisory.
#Iraq will hold national elections on 12 May 2018. Extremists have threatened to target elections and polling stations. Curfews, flight restrictions and road closures may be enforced around the election period https://t.co/HskEmpO4BI
— Smartraveller (@Smartraveller) May 9, 2018
Fair and free election? Headlines + background info
Iraqis will vote on Sunday, and, for the first time, their choices won’t be defined by their religion.https://t.co/XqyTNgbEjq
— Foreign Policy (@ForeignPolicy) May 10, 2018
Sunni participation in the election represents an existential threat for ISIS. It could reintegrate Sunnis into a political process they’ve felt marginalized from…cutting against the resentment/hatred ISIS uses to feed its ideology and attract recruits https://t.co/LPEQetdrGJ
— Caroline Nutt (@CarolineNutt1) May 10, 2018
— FRANCE 24 English (@France24_en) May 10, 2018
Here’s a link to the story for those curious for more about how Iraq’s Sunni voters feel ahead of Saturday’s election, the first after IS. You won’t find a linear narrative as there’s unprecedented, multi-layered division as with all groups in Iraq: https://t.co/1DlYACvyQq
— Raya Jalabi (@rayajalabi) May 9, 2018
While the election campaign is in full swing elsewhere in Iraq, the country’s displaced camps holding hundreds of thousands of people barely register on the radars of those running for office https://t.co/Vmk2uD9yeJ pic.twitter.com/o6PdfPgaHe
— AFP news agency (@AFP) May 6, 2018
Election posters on the bullet-riddled wall of a school in Mosul pledge a better future for those casting their ballot at a nationwide vote.
But the scenes of devastation almost 10 months after the Islamic State was forced out belie the hopeful claims https://t.co/Y8MK2eoqlk
— AFP news agency (@AFP) May 2, 2018
|Like what you read? Sign up here for our free Daily Updates.
We also send out a Weekly K+R Update, bundling together all the kidnap, ransom and extortion news of the week in one easy to read newsletter. (Same form – options at the end.)
Other ways to stay up to date: