I left Khanaqin for Sulaymaniyeh again, due to if I went on further from my final frontier peace camp in Khanaqin, I was likely going to get into the hands of extremists, and my peace mission might have been stopped. Now with this decision I can move around to find the best way forwards rather than the worst. I have decided to stay here for a few days and then go to the capital of the regional Kurdish government in Howler (Irbil).
I am planning to set up my peace camp there to see if they can help me to find a safe passage to any of the western or southern borders of Iraq. Obviously this has to be by the regional Kurdish government getting in touch with the central government of Iraq and getting a letter for me, saying that I am “a messenger of peace from London to the Middle East and the world”, so that I won’t be in trouble when I am passing the checkpoints in the area under the central government control.
In the case of Khanaqin my so-called visa card was just for the regional area and not for the whole of Iraq, and this visa card wasn’t recognised by the central government at the border when I was with Richie trying to get him to Iran. The security people for the central government (Istikhbarat) weren’t happy with the visa cards produced by the regional government; that was a good test for me as if/when I was going to get to any borders – in my case Kuwait/Jordan – I would have had the same difficulties as Richie had in Khanaqin.
So, I am trying my best to get out of this country in the way I wanted, rather than being forced to change my route.
Since yesterday I have been back with Chris and Hanna and am trying to see some other good people in Sulaymaniyeh, and I am also trying to find a good way to get to the regional capital and then hoping to manage to set up my peace camp near to the regional Parliament… and then I hope to get more good news to everyone.
May peace be upon all of you and I hope to see you all soon.