The Major Step
Last week, Peshmerga was able to defend Kurdistan vigorously against the ISIS offensives. The savage attacks of the radical Islamic groups launched on Shingal was an attempt to exterminate the Kurdish Ezidis. Thousands of them moved to the arid, dry and waterless Mount of Shingal fleeing the threats of genocide. This created tragic scenes in the world’s media. Practically, many civilians have died of starvation and hunger, including over 60 children and a number of the elderly. We still witness heartbreaking images indeed.
Peshmerga, who has had a long history in defending people of Kurdistan including all the ethnicities and religions, again waged a fierce war despite the lack of adequate ammunition. The ISIS was able to defeat Nuri al-Maliki’s army within two hours in June. They, almost in no time, controlled a number of Sunni cities and towns including the Iraqi second city of Mosul. But Peshmerga courageously defended their positions. The new reality surely will convince Iraq and other countries such as the US, France and other allies and friends of the Kurds to reconsider their relation and approach to the Kurdistan Region and Peshmerga forces as well.
The initial steps have been taken and this time without returning to Baghdad. President Obama has authorized air strikes and announced providing military support to Peshmerga forces to target ISIS terrorists and their bases. He made another important decision which is providing aid via airdrops to the Kurdish Ezidis who fled to the mountaintop of Sinjar and whose life are really in danger. This is the right step by the U.S to stop the threats against the capital of the Kurdistan Region.
It’s true that Obama fears involving the U.S into another endless warfare in Iraq, which’s now being led by a chauvinist and sectarian person like al-Maliki. The current PM is the main reason behind triggering sectarian war and the failure of the Iraqi government. It’s true that the air strike is limited in scope, but it will generate a great hope within all the components that believe in democracy, civil society, tolerance and coexistence of religions and ethnicities in the region. The Kurdistan Region will take a great advantage of this step. It will be able to defend itself and continue its struggle in combating terrorism and repulse any threat against the region. At the same time, Kurdistan improves its diplomatic and military ties with the U.S to enhance more stability and constant growth.
So what’s next? Is this going to be the beginning of a crucial strike and a joint Kurdistan-US-Iraq operation against the terror? Are steps going to be taken to eliminate ISIS and radical armed forces in Mosul? Or they’re just going to partially limit and curtail their influence? The Islamists are assisted with military and logistic supports by some neighboring countries. Is this becoming a new beginning for a new Iraq after June 9? Of course, many new developments could happen in the coming days even inside Kurdistan. Many parties will hardly be criticized over their shortcomings politically.
The anti-terrorism front should seriously reconsider the strategies of fighting these extreme groups. The Kurdistan Region is an indispensable center to defeat the ISIS. This stable region is the only haven in the Middle East that is moving towards democracy, openness and alliance with the West; it has no interest in violence, on the contrary it is rather developing amid stability and security. This is not only advantageous to the people of the area, who are now facing an act of genocide, but many countries like the U.S and Europe will certainly benefit from it. Even some regional countries could make use of the important position of Kurdistan under the slogan of «one alliance and one power against the radical Islamists.» That could be called The Major Step.