When Kirkcaldy MP Roger Mullin made the decision to visit Iraq, he didn’t tell his family that he would be going out into the bomb-ravaged streets to see first-hand the chaos of life for the people still living there.
And it wasn’t until he returned home that they knew the extent of the dangers that his mission had entailed as he toured the area where just two days before a suicide bomber had left a massive crater in the middle of the road, and where hundreds of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have been left scattered around abandoned homes and properties with the prime objective of causing death and injury.
But Mr Mullin, the first MP to visit the area, said he did not fear for his life or those of the three other members of the delegation he led into east Mosul on a fact finding mission to establish the extent of unexploded landmines and IEDs in the area, as they were in the safest possible hands of former army personnel, now working with a security firm, with a wealth of experience on the region and its risks.
“I came here to find out how people are coping in such horrendous conditions,” said Mr Mullin, who until recently chaired the All Party Parliamentary Group on Explosive Weapons.
“We hear in the media about what it’s like in Mosul but it’s only when you get there do you fully realise the incredible resilience of ordinary people and the colossal threat they now face because of hundreds of thousands of IEDs that have been planted by IS across the city.”
His visit has left him hopeful that, after holding talks with the three main political parties in Iraqui Kurdistan, which have accepted an invitation to visit the UK and specifically Scotland in October, that he can help to bring them around the table for talks on taking forward the fledgling democracy in their country.
The incredible resilience of ordinary people ...
“I presented them with a proposal that they come to the UK and particularly to Scotland, and we negotiate with them a detailed agenda not on the basis of what I think they need to know, but on what they want to learn about,” he told the Press.
“They want to speak to people at community level in the education and healthcare system and I will facilitate that.”