Open dis­cus­sion on fight­ing ISIS held in Wash­ing­ton

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

The Cen­ter for Transat­lantic Re­la­tions SAIS at Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­sity in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. hosted Mousa Ahmed Agha and Awat Mustafa of the Barzani Char­ity Foun­da­tion in Kur­dis­tan for a dis­cus­sion ti­tled “Fight­ing ISIS: News from the Front Lines in Kur­dis­tan.”

“We all stand united in the fight against ISIS and we can­not speak highly enough of the brav­ery of the Kur­dish Pesh­merga forces, men and women, be­ing on the front lines of the con­flict,” said Dr. Sasha Toperich, Se­nior Fel­low at the Cen­ter, who mod­er­ated the dis- cus­sion.

Cit­ing the long his­tory of tol­er­ance of mi­nori­ties and pro­tec­tion of hu­man rights in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion, Agha said this is one rea­son ISIS has fo­cused on the re­gion, seek­ing to de­stroy its young democ­racy as an ex­am­ple to the re­gion.

Agha dis­cussed the need for hu­man­i­tar­ian and mil­i­tary as­sis­tance to Kur­dis­tan in its fight against ISIS. “The tragedy of the con­flict with ISIS can­not be com­pared to a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter – it is a crime against hu­man­ity. The bor­der­less na­ture of ISIS means they can attack civ­i­liza- tion any­where. The Pesh­merga are fight­ing on be­half of the en­tire civ­i­lized World,” said Agha.

He ex­pressed grat­i­tude to the United States for its as­sis­tance – diplo­matic, hu­man­i­tar­ian, and mil­i­tary – but noted that much more must be done. “Thanks and praise are not suf­fi­cient as­sis­tance for the Pesh­merga – we need hard­ware, weapons, and the like. Our out­dated arms are not enough to de­feat ISIS.” He also called on the Iraqi gov­ern­ment to keep its bud­getary prom­ises to the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion to en­able the Pesh­merga forces to con­tinue its fight.

The Barzani Char­ity Foun­da­tion is on the fore­front of as­sist­ing refugees flee­ing ISIS, hav­ing es­tab­lished 32 refugee camps in the re­gion. “Refugees flee­ing is ex­actly what ISIS wants. It is a form of eth­nic cleans­ing,” said Agha, who noted that refugees should be en­cour­aged to re­turn and rebuild their lives as ISIS is re­pelled. Mustafa said that the Barzani Char­ity Foun­da­tion acts as a “bridge” or­ga­ni­za­tion to fa­cil­i­tate the flow of money and as­sis­tance from the West to the refugees in Kur­dis­tan.

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