September 1, 2014

Isn't It Time to Unite-3?

Part 3. The Kurdish Card in the Caliphate's Deck

Militants-jihadists who seized large areas of Syria and Iraq and declared their power over them under banners of the “Islamic State” (IS), continue to consolidate their holdings. In early August, they took five cities in northern Syrian province of Aleppo, surpassing other jihadist group — “Islamic Front”, financed, according to some reports, by Saudi Arabia. As the IS has become almost the most influential, large and dangerous international terrorist Islamist organization of today, many militants from other smaller groups and movements are moving into it, increasing its combat potential.

Despite the ongoing war in Syria, the main arena of action of forces of the IS, today, continues to be Iraq, where the military-political situation retains its stable tendency to further aggravation. The “Islamic State’s” rebel forces are developing an offensive against the Kurdish Peshmerga in the north of the country. They seized several towns in the north of Iraq, and reached the approaches to Erbil — the capital of the Iraqi Kurdish Autonomy. Also extremists had seized the country's largest dam and hydroelectric power station to the north of Mosul, which later was won back and thus a possible environmental catastrophe in case of undermining the dam, was prevented.

Abbasid Caliphate
Abbasid Caliphate
http://www.runivers.ru/

According to Arab media, the IS acts very aggressively at the center of the Middle East, within the Abbasid Caliphate, in areas with huge oil and gas deposits. It now controls more than 35% of the territory of Syria. In its hands there are major oil fields and granaries, waterworks on the Euphrates in the provinces of Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa. In the north-east of El Hasik a Sunni extremist organization is trying to win back the Kurds' oil–bearing region of Rumaila.

After having robbed banks in major Iraqi cities, the financial potential of the IS has grown considerably. It is believed that the organization's budget can reach 7 billion US dollars. Only from banks of Mosul (the second largest city in Iraq) was seized cash amounting to 500 million US dollars.

In an effort to secure the support of the population in the territories under their control, Islamists are trying to improve the supply and economic life of cities, restoring the destroyed infrastructure. Simulating power, they pay employees' wages and unemployment benefits, collect taxes. Radicals give their fighters salary equal 700 US dollars. At this, like Taliban, they implant medieval order everywhere.

Kurds are one of the oldest nations

Under the control of the IS is now the territory, where live the religious minority — Yazidis Kurds, as well as Iraqi Christians. Extremists have blocked in the mountainous region of Sinjar up to 50 thousand refugees, mostly Yazidis. Islamist militants have unleashed a real genocide against infidels. Mass murder, abduction, sale into slavery and sexual crime have become commonplace in the territory of the Caliphate. According to the UN, the IS' militants executed 670 prisoners in Mosul in June, in mid-August of this year they killed all the men — Yazidis in several villages in Sindzhar area in the north of Iraq.

Note: The Yazidis (or Yezidi, the self-name — ezdi, Kurd. Êzdî) is a Kurdish ethno-confessional group speaking the Kurdish language (kurmandzhi group of the Aryan branch of the Indo-European family). Yazidis themselves claim that their language — ezdiki belongs to the Iranian group of the Indo-European family of languages.

Kurdish dialects

Kurdish dialects
http://www.randevu-zip.narod.ru/

In the world, according to various estimates, there are 1 to 3 million Yazidis, of whom more than one million live in the north of Iraq, and the rest — in Armenia, Georgia, Russia, Germany, France, the United States and some other countries.

There are very few peoples in the world, whose history is several thousands of years. One of these peoples is the Yazidis. Their origin is ambiguously perceived by the world scientific community. There are three main versions:

  • direct descendants of the Babylonians;
  • direct descendants of the Sumerians;
  • natives of India, Mumbai (Bombay), who had migrated to the north of Iraq.
Карта расселения курдов на Ближнем Востоке
Maps of the Kurds in the Middle East
http://topworldnews.ru/

It should be noted that none of the versions is confirmed by scientific evidence. However, the areas of Mosul and Sinjar in the north of Iraq, where live the majority of Yazidis, are considered their homeland. The main territory of compact residence of Yazidis is areas of Ain Sifni, Sinjar and Dohuk in the governorate of Mosul. In the area of ​​Dohuk, there is the main shrine of the Yazidis — Temple Lalesh. According to various estimates, in Iraq there live approximately 700 thousand Yazidis.

During the reign of Saddam Hussein, they tried to register Yazidis as Arabs. After the overthrow of the regime, Kurdish authorities who control the north of Iraq are also trying to assimilate the Yazidis. Historically, the Yazidis experienced harassment also from the Muslim majority, considering them “infidels”.

Like many people, until the formation of their religion in the 12th- 15th centuries, Yazidis were pagans, sun-worshipers. Since the beginning of the expansion of the Arabs begins violent spread of Islam, which is gradually replacing old beliefs, and what Yazidis fiercely resisted. In the 7th century Yazidis strongly rejected Islam, moreover, October 10, 683, during the Battle of Karbala, Red Sultan Yezidi killed one of the sons of Shia Ali — Hussein, Prophet Muhammad's beloved grandson, Red Sultan Yezidi himself was gone missing.

The Yazidis were also accused of the death of Shia Ali's second son- Asan. Since then, the people began to call themselves the Yazidis, and Muslims began to pursue and ruthlessly exterminate them.

Attempts of the Peshmerga commandment to counter-attack have not been successful so far. The matter is that the IS’ units' attacks and the very first bloody battles on the territory of the Iraqi Kurdistan, revealed many shortcomings in the organization, management system and arming of Peshmerga units. That is why Kurdistan's President Massoud Barzani has ordered as soon as possible to reform the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in order to create in them a unified command structure.

According to the sources the information of the agency Rudaw, the President gave the Minister of Peshmerga six months to carry out the necessary reforms. This decision was taken after the reports of Parliamentary committees, in which deputies had pointed out that the Ministry of Peshmerga “has no power over all the troops”. At the same time the Kurdish Peshmerga Ministry has announced that Peshmerga forces will continue the struggle against fighters of the “Islamic State” until they liberate the entire territory of Kurdistan, including disputed territories, which remain part of the plans of the KRG's plans.

Fighters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Syria and Kurdistan Workers' Party of Turkey arrive in order to help Iraqi Kurds. It has been reported about the resumption of military cooperation between Baghdad and Erbil in the interests of the struggle against the armed forces of the IS.

Iran has provided paramilitary Kurdish Peshmerga forces with  weapons, ammunition and equipment
Iran has provided paramilitary Kurdish Peshmerga forces with  weapons, ammunition and equipment

Iran was the first to respond to the call for help and provided the paramilitary Kurdish Peshmerga forces with weapons, ammunition and equipment. The leader of the Iraqi Kurdistan Massoud Barzani at the joint news conference with Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif in Erbil made ​​a corresponding statement. “We asked for weapons, and Iran has become the first state to provide us with it,” — said the leader of the Iraqi Kurds. Barzani also stressed that “the support of friends made ​​possible Peshmerga's success in its struggle against terrorists”. For his part, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran stated that the actions of “the IS' grouping are not directed against specific people or a particular religion, they are directed against each and Iraq's safety is our safety”. He also pointed out that he supports rapprochement between the central Iraqi government and the government of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Peshmerga forces have also received light and heavy small arms, ammunition and military equipment from France and the United States. Are being planned deliveries of weapons and equipment from Germany, the Czech Republic, Canada, the UK, Italy and Sweden.

Fate decreed that Syrian and Iraqi Kurds were on the way of further expansion of the Islamic Caliphate and in the situation of weakness of their central governments and still limited aid from Western countries, they are forced to mobilize all their internal resources to fight Islamists.

It is not excluded at all that the common enemy such as radical Islam will serve as a catalyst for further integration processes of Kurds of Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran. Let's look into this in more detail.

So what is happening in Iraqi Kurdistan, apart from war with insurgents of the IS? Sadly, the common threat, on the one hand, has brought together all Kurds in the heavy and bloody struggle for freedom, independence and statehood, but on the other — to some extent it has intensified infighting in the age-old question of “who is the boss in the forest”. To be the boss in the forest want:

Barzani Abdullah Öcalan The “People's Protection Units” (YPG)
  • Iraqi Kurds led by Barzani;
  • Workers' Party of Turkish Kurds (RKK) headed by its leader Abdullah Öcalan (serving sentence in prison on the island of Imrali) and its commanders;
  • Syrian Kurds from the “People's Protection Units” (YPG) — military wing of the “Party of the Democratic Union” (PYD) of Syria, allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. They are still believed to be the Syrian military wing of RKK.

A factional fighting broke out with the beginning of extermination of the Yazidis by the IS' militants near Sinjar in the north of Iraq.

The essence of the problem, as it turned out, is the significant portion of the Iraqi Yazidis' having joined the partisans of YPG and RKK, but not the ranks of the Peshmerga. YPG forces from the very beginning have been taking an active part in the liberation of the blocked in the mountains of Sinjar, Yazidis refugees, who are being let out through the Syrian territory to the Iraqi Kurdistan. With the arrival of Yazidis refugees from Sinjar, fighters and organizers of PYD organized for them in Derrick (Syrian Kurdistan) a refugee camp. According to eyewitnesses, agitators of PYD were trying to persuade refugees that Peshmerga forces had betrayed the Yazidis people, left them to their fate, and were calling upon all men to join the ranks of the “Troops of defense of Sinjar”.

Militants of the  “Islamic State” (IS) have captured the Iraqi town of Sinjar (Shangal)
Militants of the  “Islamic State” (IS) have captured the Iraqi town of Sinjar (Shangal)
http://newsland.com/

Analysts believe that this reflects the current situation that exists within the Kurdish reality. Kurds of Syria and Turkey are well aware who is the “boss” of the organization “Islamic State”. Those were they, who together with soldiers of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (Turkey), stationed in Syria, were fighting Islamists, when they wanted to “democratize” Syria. And they are now accusing leaders of Iraqi Kurdistan of betraying interests of all Kurds. The accusations are very serious — Iraqi Kurds allegedly have “amicably” shared Mosul and Kirkuk with militants of IS, as well as arranged cooperation with Turkey and Israel on the issue of illegal export of oil from Iraq.

Iraqi Kurds, in their turn, accuse the “People's Protection Units” (YPG) of Syria and fighters of the RKK of Turkey that they foiled the plans of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces (Iraq) and the United States military advisers to liberate Yazidis city Shangal (Sinjar district). At this, American sources claim that the military leadership of RKK “has expressed threats to American military advisers”. And the senior commander of the combat units of RKK Tekoshar Zagros does not repulse these accusations!

The leadership of YPG has opened in Shangal a military training center for “Yazidis movement of Iraq”. Its members believe that the Yazidis are not Kurds, and promote hatred to the Iraqi Kurdish ruling party — Massoud Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) There you go — the enemy is on the doorstep, but they cannot “divide” the Yazidis, who are being severely destroyed by Islamists of the IS!

Here is another fact — the leader of the RKK, Abdullah Öcalan from the prison on the island of Imrali has ambiguously and pointedly stated, “The struggle of Kurdish rebels against Turkey is coming to an end. Turkey after the presidential election is on the threshold of historic changes”.

If you add this A. Öcalan's statement to the intentions to “drag” the Iraqi Yazidis to the side of Syrian and Turkish Kurds, and also take into account their efforts to undermine the confidence in them to the KDP and Massoud Barzani personally, it turns out that in the nearest future the “Kurdish question” can be radically revised. Given the special relationship of the RKK and PYD-YPG parties with Syrian President, we can assume that the center of events within the framework of the “Kurdish question” is being shifted towards Turkey.

And the Iraqi Kurdistan will have to adapt to new realities connected with or imposed on it by the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is rapidly gaining weight and influence there.

Today we can say with confidence that tens of thousands of radical Islamists from all over the world, having gone through military training in Jordan, Turkey, and other countries, armed with the latest weapons and equipment, having virtually unlimited financial and mobilization resources, have created in the center of the Middle East their own state — “Islamic Caliphate”, the boundaries of which they are going to expand further.

Neither Iraq nor Syria nor Iran, nor Turkey, can stop this process so far. The US Air forces' surgical strikes at militants' positions have not affected in any serious way the combat capability of IS' units.

Should not be excluded the fact that the proclaimed Sunni caliphate was given by its sponsors the role of a buffer zone or a barrier in the way of the so-called “Shiite arc” that runs from Tehran. As a result, to the well-known international terrorist organizations “Al Qaeda” and “Taliban movement,” has been added another terrorist movement — “Islamic State”, which can destabilize the situation in the region for many years.

“Historical Fertile Crescent”
“Historical Fertile Crescent”

As for the forecasts about Turkey and Kurdistan, in spite of their new, independent role in the Middle East, they are the most in need of support from the West in the struggle against the IS, and that can be a real basis for the formation of such a union.

However, around the salvation of Kurdistan, which is important not only for Turkey but also for the entire international community, can start a struggle that will lead to the transformation of the whole north-west of the Middle East, or as it is called “historic Fertile Crescent” which can become a new regional power center. It will all depend on what players declare their participation in this struggle.

To be continued