Baghdad withdraws Kurdish businessman's work permit due to ‘independence referendum’

"Kurds are treated as second-class citizens in Iraq."

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Iraqi authorities prevented a Kurdish businessman from the city of Sulaimani from working on an investment project in the southern Basrah governorate.

Fuad Sheikh Hassan, a Kurdish businessman from the Kurdistan Region, told Kurdistan24 on Thursday that the Iraqi authorities have withdrawn his company's work permit, barring them from continuing their activities on an investment project in southern Iraq.

Speaking to Kurdistan24 in Baghdad, Sheikh Hassan said he launched his 18 million-dollars-worth project in 2012, and that it is now worth 200 million dollars.

“A court decision was made to withdraw my company's work permit because it was registered in Sulaimani [by the Kurdistan Regional Government], not by Baghdad government,” Sheikh Hassan said. He also stated that some groups in Basrah, which he did not name, accused him of "occupying Arab lands" using his business.

“Security forces have even prevented me from entering Basrah and visit my project site,” he told Kurdistan24.

Sheikh Hassan said he has been in contact with many Kurdish officials in Baghdad to resolve his issue, but that all efforts were "useless" because in Iraq "we [Kurds] are treated as second-class citizens."

Sheikh Hassan believes that his issue is 100 percent related to the Kurdistan Region’s independence referendum, and says that after he claims his financial rights, he will leave Baghdad and reopen his businesses in Kirkuk and other areas in the Kurdistan Region.


Editing by G.H. Renaud