Presence of Expats is Key After Attack
ates, whether through oil jobs to continue the development of Kurdistan’s greatest financial resource, English teaching to further educate the rising generation, or NGOs to help lift the burden of a million refugees, is vital to the Kurdistan Region. It also further secures at least some level of foreign interest in keeping Kurdistan’s major cities safe.
When President Obama authorized air strikes against ISIS in early August, he cited the need to “protect American personnel” in the region. There’s a strong likelihood the US would have gotten involved even without Americans in the area, but few would argue that the US consulate in Erbil, along with a sizable population of Westerners, made the decision easy.
Last week’s attack is a clear attempt to scare away foreigners and in so doing cause more economic damage than can be done through one bombing in Ainkawa. It was ISIS’s desperate attempt to take a jab at the Kurds' developing relations with the West while destroying the economy by sending its business partners packing.
These days, whether in Europe, the US, or Kurdistan, it’s important for us all to respond to these events with vigilance and tightened security. Yet for the Kurdish community to further prevent the economic and education crisis that ISIS seeks, it will be crucial to not only keep the region secure but to clearly communicate its special commitment to protect the world's diplomats, businessmen, teachers, and NGO workers.
Likewise, for the expat community, let’s not give way to overblown headlines about the region and assume what we know isn’t true. Kurdistan offers a good level of security to guests living here. As evidenced by last week’s attack, it’s not perfect. But as we look at isolated terror events that have happened worldwide in the last three years, we know that no where is perfectly safe. Let’s maintain steadfastness and commitment towards our host country and together not fall prey to the terror that seeks to destroy us all.