Week 33: Hero(es) – the Kurdish Peshmerga

by George_East on August 17, 2014


Kurd_heroThis Week’s Heroes of the Week are the Kurdish Peshmerga who have halted and in some places reversed the advance of ISIS, helping those who live in northern Iraq of all faiths and none in the process

In many ways the Kurds are the unluckiest people on the planet.  Their lands are rich in oil.  They are historically a tolerant and outward looking people.   They have been (to their significant cost over the years) friends to the west, in a region where that has sometimes been something that has been hard to find.   Yet because their lands spread across the borders of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, an independent Kurdistan has been politically impossible.

Yet it is the Kurds and their armed forces, the Peshmerga, who have been leading the fight against the medieval Islamic  genocidal purism of ISIS.   This has clearly been primarily defensive – the Kurds are an obstacle to the expansion of the refounded caliphate and are very much in ISIS’s murderous gun sights.   This week saw a further report of the summary execution of 800 men in one Iraqi village by ISIS forces.

However, the Kurds have not themselves adopted the same tactics (as might have been the case) as they have started to push back ISIS forces.  In re-taking the strategically critical Mosul dam and other parts of northern Iraq back from ISIS, there have been no retaliatory mass executions against sunni muslims of arab extraction in the region.  Moreover, the Kurds have  offered safe haven to the displaced Christian and Yezidi people in the areas they control.

With no other boots on the ground and the Iraqi official army in disarray and Baghdad in chaos, as a result of the corruption and sectarianism of the now thankfully gone, Maliki regime, there is nothing else that stands in the way of ISIS hegemony throughout northern Iraq.  We should be thankful that the Kurdish Peshmerga are proving to be worthy fighters and that they are not seeking to match the ruthless dogmatic brutality of the Islamic State.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Killingworth August 18, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Re that last sentence. Are you sure?

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George_East August 18, 2014 at 5:36 pm

I’ve not heard of any mass executions or genocidal programmes on the Kurdish side, Mike.

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