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 Iraqi Kurdistan launches national Security Council

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Iraqi Kurdistan launches national Security Council  11.7.2012  

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July 11, 2012

ERBIL-Hewlęr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — The Kurdistan Region has now launched a national Security Council following legislation passed last year.

The institution combines three main responsibilities: security, military intelligence and the supervision of existing intelligence services. Some $273m have been allocated to the council from Kurdistan’s 2012 budget. Around 30,000 people work for the council, but the number may be higher due to some officers working covertly.

In the opening ceremony this week, Kurdistan’s President Massoud Barzani said forming the national Security Council is an important step towards serving the people of Kurdistan. He added that the council belongs to all of the people of the Kurdistan Region, not just one party or side. But the government has come under fire for not inviting opposition media outlets to the council’s launch. The council is part of Kurdistan’s Presidency and President Barzani appointed his son Masrour Barzani to head the institution at the rank of minister. The lack of independence raises concern among critics.

Security Council chief Masrour Barzani praised the efforts of the Kurdistan Region's security services. He expressed his gratitude to the people of the Kurdistan Region for their instrumental role in maintaining what he called the region's “sterling” security record. He said the council will protect citizens and property against any threat facing the Kurdistan Region’s security and stability.

The creation of the Security Council comes as tension between Iraq and the Kurdistan Region continues to increase. The Security Council belongs to the Kurdistan Democratic Party, while public security belongs to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. This means all security is in the hands of Kurdistan’s two ruling parties.

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