Iraq security forces withdraw from Mosul govt offices as clearance requirement ends
Iraqi security forces and intelligence agents in the northern city of Mosul and the rest of Nineveh province began withdrawing from government offices on Thursday as a new government decree went into effect.
The decree ends the requirement for citizens in northern and western provinces of Iraq to have security clearances. It was issued at the end of last week and was welcomed by local residents.
For the past five years, Iraqi authorities have required residents of Nineveh, Anbar, Salah Al-Din, Diyala, Kirkuk, and parts of Baghdad to go through a security check and obtain a clearance if they need to visit a government office.
The areas are mostly Sunni and parts of them were formerly held by the Islamic State militant group, which was territorially defeated in Iraq in 2017.
The security measures were a major burden for local residents, who had to go through difficult procedures every time they needed documents such as birth certificates, identity cards, passports, and even university degrees, property sale and rental documents, as well as subscriptions to electricity generators.
Mohammed Nouri Al-Abd Rabbo, a member of the Iraqi parliament from Nineveh province told The New Arab’s sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the security forces’ withdrawal from government offices would happen gradually.
“The withdrawal first took place from civil offices and will later happen from offices linked to the security forces,” he said.
Al-Abd Rabbo previously accused Iraqi security forces of corruption around the issue, saying that members of the security forces had pressured people into paying bribes in order to get security clearances.
A security source in Nineveh Province confirmed to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that intelligence officers from the Iraqi interior ministry had withdrawn from security centres at the court complex in Mosul as well as the Nineveh Traffic Department and the University of Mosul.
He said that they remained at other government offices however, such as the passport and identity card office.