Harry Barnes recommends an English language newspaper from Iraqi Kurdistan

It is a month since our delegation from LFIQ returned from its visit to Iraqi Kurdistan.
At our hotel in Suleimanieh, we picked up copies of issue No.4 of the newspaper SOMA, which is published in English and is subtitled “An Iraqi-Kurdish Digest”.
It was a fascinating for us to read. To start with, in Erbil we had had an extensive question and answer session with Adnan Mufti the Speaker of the Kurdistan Parliament. Now the paper had published its own interview with him.
Mufti wasn’t restrained by the parliamentary convention which normally limits Speakers to only discussing their role in relation to Parliamentary procedures. He was as political as the rest of us – and SOMA. The paper was given open responses to questions about Iraqi Kurdistan’s relationship with the Shia South, the peshmerga’s role in relation to the Iraqi Army, whether Kurdistan should seceded from Iraq and problems with neigbouring Turkey and Iran. Plus much more.
Most of the themes discussed with Mufti were also taken up in separate articles. There was also an item which clearly explained why our hosts from the Kurdistan Workers’ Federation had cancelled our trip to Halabja on safety grounds. Just a fortnight earlier, Islamic extremists and Iranian agents were thought to have been behind violent protests which had led to the desecration of the graves and the destruction of the memorial to those that died from Saddam Hussein’s gassings.
Issue No.5 of SOMA has just been published. There is an article here on the petrol shortages and black market substitutes operating in Sulemanieh.
The scene of the sale of petrol from plastic containers, normally be young men with lighted cigarettes in their mouths had been a regular feature of our travels. We saw that the petrol stations themselves were invariably closed. A Photo with the SOMA article reveals the size of the queues when the stations do manage to open. Yet this in a country and a region with massive oil fields.
On page 15 of No 5 there is an article entitled “Suly’s house of horrors” on the Red House.
The SOMA website also contains access to past editions of the newspaper and to a Kurdish Radio station which mainly plays Kurdish music. It is worth a visit.