Kurdistan Region’s Enemy Number One – Radical Islam
Islamist extremism is representing the biggest threat to global security in the 21st century. The threat of radical Islam is not fading, it is growing. It is spreading across Iraq and the Kurdistan region and it is destabilising communities and even cities. Challenges posed by radical Islamic groups such as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) becomes increasingly obvious. Currently, Kurdish Peshmerga are bravely fighting off the heavy Islamist offensives in a treacherous 1050 kilometer frontier with ISIS terrorists. However, the struggle against the Islamic extremist group ISIS is far from supported by all Kurdish political parties. The Islamist political parties in Kurdistan are reluctant to look unflinchingly at Islamic extremism because of their supporters and of their party politics and policies. Mainstream of Islamist won’t name and condemn the enemy and are therefore uncomfortable talking about the serious issues of radicalism and extremism. Further, the Islamist parties must realise that the conflict with ISIS is undoubtedly one of Muslim on Muslim and anyone that is becoming in between. Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and its security community must do anything in its power to defend the region against radical Islam and the Islamist parties must take sides and if necessary, make common cause with Peshmerga and rest of the KRG’s security community to counter the Islamic extremism that lies at the root of all chaos of the rise of radical Islam in the Kurdistan region. If we want to defend our region, we have to know the enemy and stand united against extremism.
Islamic extremism is not about a competing view of how society or politics should be governed within a common space where you accept other views are equally valid. It is exclusivist in nature. Their goal is not a society which someone else can change after winning an election. It is a society of a fixed society, governed by religious policies that are not changeable. Kurdistan is facing a massive struggle with the ongoing conflict in the region between those who want the Kurdistan region to embrace the modern democratic world politically, socially and economically and those who instead want to create a politics of religious difference and exclusivity.
But what is absolutely nec- essary is that the Kurdish Islamist parties must liberate themselves from their own attitude. They have to take sides. We have to have a common approach to the region that is coherent and sees it as a whole. And above all, we have to commit. We have to engage against those who want to blow us and our allies up. It is the job of Kurdistan’s security and intelligence agencies, to counter any threat they might pose here in Kurdistan and we all need to support them. These are really difficult issues and Islamic extremism is so deep that in the end they have to know that they're facing a stronger will than theirs.