Known as the cradle of civilization, the history of modern Iraq has been far from civilized. Under the iron fist of Saddam Hussein for almost 25 years, Iraq saw relentless conflict from a long war with neighboring Iran in the 1980s which cost hundreds of thousands of lives and billions of dollars, followed by the invasion of Kuwait in 1990 which triggered the Gulf War and caused even more casualties, a subsequent civil war and a decade of international sanctions.
Across Iraq can be found fascinating cradles of ancient culture such as the magnificent ruins of the city of Babylon and the ancient Yazidi people, dotted throughout the country are the grand former palaces and dystopian structures from the Saddam Hussein regime as well as large scale war damage from the US invasion and the more recent battle to drive ISIS from the country. The scenery can range from awe inspiring deserts and mountains to lowlands and stunning rivers
Security situation in Iraq:
The security situation in Iraq can be classified by two regions, the first is the republic of Iraq. Iraq is beset with numerous problems that make travelling risky and difficult. The security situation is perilous in just about any area of the country, and continues to deteriorate under continuing terrorist attacks. Resistance to continuing military occupation, U.S. and UK forces, and Iraqi military, police or anyone associated with the Iraqi government, as well as increasing factional and sectarian conflict make street warfare, bombings, and other acts of armed violence daily occurrences. Travelling alone makes you an easy kidnapping target, and is best avoided – it is vital to travel with a translator/armed guard. Iraq, like most warzones, has minefields everywhere especially in the desert, do not walk into fields, especially unmarked ones.
The second region is Iraqi Kurdistan, which is a semi-autonomous republic inside Iraq and is considerably safer than the republic of Iraq. In 2018 it was named among the top 5 safest cities in the world. Many Western companies operate in the Kurdistan region problem free. The Kurdish military (known as the Peshmerga) is over 100,000 strong and there are checkpoints on every road, town, city and even village. All cars are searched thoroughly and this is why there is almost a very low chance of terrorism in the North. The police are friendly, hospitable and happy to meet foreigners, especially Americans and British people.
Access for filmmakers and journalists in Iraq:
Entry to the Republic of Iraq for citizens of most countries requires a visa which can be obtained at your nearest Iraqi embassy.
The Republic of Iraqi Kurdistan offers visa on arrival to citizens of the following countries/Areas; the EU, Andorra, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Iceland, Iran, Japan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Qatar, San Marino, South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United States, and Vatican City will get an entry stamp for max 15 days at Erbil or Sulaimaniyah International Airport. Pioneer Media have been operating in Iraqi Kurdistan for the past four years and the republic of Iraq for the past two years. Through our mixture of on the ground contacts we can guarantee visas, journalist and film permits as well as access to local fixers. We will deal with all the bureaucracy and entrance applications on the ground. Similarly, we can arrange film logistics within the country at ease. Staff and translators can be found for very affordable rates.