8: The Kurds and the fight against IS
During 2014 and 2015, the PYD-controlled Kurdish areas in Syria have been under attack from IS, which controls the areas further south with an Arab Sunni Muslim population. IS was close to overpowering the PYD in the city of Kubane , one of the autonomous Kurdish areas, in 2014. With assistance from US air bombing, however, the PYD managed to take back the areas and conquer new areas from IS in 2015. A new coalition in which PYD participates , is now militarily supported by the United States and is trying to drive IS back.
According to shoe-wiki, the autonomous territories in northern Iraq have also been attacked by IS. In August 2014, IS attacked Mount Sinjar, where large sections of the population are Kurdish Yezidis . This triggered mass flight from the area. Jesuits who failed to flee were killed or forced to convert to Islam. At the same time, many women were taken as sex slaves and “married off” to IS fighters. During the last months of 2015, Kurdish soldiers from the PKK and the autonomous authorities in northern Iraq took Sinjar back with the support of American warplanes .
At the end of 2015, IS was in retreat in both Syria and Iraq. The Kurds have been among the most effective ground forces in the war against IS. They have thus been very important for the American-led coalition against IS, which does not want to deploy its own troops on the ground. However, there is no reason to believe that the Kurds will be able to defeat IS alone. There are several reasons for this:
- IS primarily controls areas in Syria and Iraq with a Sunni Muslim, Arabic-speaking population. The Arabs have historically been deeply skeptical of the Kurds and their attempts at secession, and do not want to be ruled by Kurds. Neither the Shia-dominated government in Iraq nor the regime of Bashar Al Assad (also Shia-dominated) in Syria has legitimacy among the Sunni Arabs, who today feel politically neglected in the two countries.
- The Americans’ support for the PYD in Syria is strongly disliked by Turkey,which views the PYD as the PKK’s extended arm. The Turkish government considers the PKK to be at least as great a threat as IS , and they therefore do not want to give the PKK and their allies a role in the fight against IS. However, after the suicide attack in Turkey in June 2015 (more than 130 killed in Ankara) by IS, Turkey decided to take part in the US-led bombing campaign against IS. However, the Turks carried out only a few bombings against IS, and far more attacks on the bases of the PKK and PYD. For the Americans, it will thus be a great challenge in the future to balance the interests of their close ally, the NATO country Turkey, against their desire to cooperate with the Kurds in the fight against IS.
- Another challenge is that the rivalry between the KDP and the PUK in northern Iraq is still ongoing, and threatens to destabilize the Kurdish autonomous region. Despite the fact that the area is currently controlled by one Kurdish administration, the armed forces, the peshmerga, are in practice still controlled by either the PUK or the KDP. The arms deliveries that these forces now receive from the United States and other Western countries as part of the fight against IS contribute to increasing tensions between the PUK and the KDP because they compete for weapons.
Muslim main directions
Sunni Islam and Shia Islam are the two major faiths in Islam. The Sunni religion makes up about 85 percent of all Muslims; the shear direction about 15 percent. The Shiites make up the vast majority in Iran, and the majority also in Iraq. In addition, they are many in Lebanon and quite a few in Syria.
Individuals or groups that the government pardons or exempts from punishment or prosecution even if, in the opinion of the law and / or the government, they have committed offenses. In other words, “a line is drawn over the case”.
Facts about the Jesuits
About Kurdish settlement
In addition to the approximately 30 million Kurds living in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey, approximately 1.5 million live in Western Europe, half in Germany.
Also note that many Kurds now live in Istanbul – far from the Kurdish areas of southeastern Turkey.
Some talking quotes
“In the rivalry that exists in Kurdish politics, one can glimpse a clear pattern with the PKK, PYD and Iraqi PUK and Gorran ( Change , a new party that became second largest in the last election in Kurdish northern Iraq) on the one hand and KDP with support organizations in Syria and Turkey on the other. ”
- Turkey: “Religious Kurds prefer the AKP – the Turkish ruling party – to social conservatism over the PKK’s secular appearance. Many are also skeptical of the many female leaders in the PKK’s legal branch, the Democratic People’s Party HDP.”