Poor Recognition of Kurdish Sacrifice by Iraqi Government

On Monday, December 6th, a joint Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga military force took back a northern village captured the previous day by Islamic State militants (ISIL/ISIS). Beginning Sunday, ISIL attacks throughout the region resulted in the death of four Kurdish soldiers and one Kurdish civilian. To reclaim the lost territory, the Iraqi central government in Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government were able to push back ISIL militants and free the surrounding villagers. While there have been reports of possible explosive devices left in homes by ISIL militants, the local population has been living without incident since this recent recapture.

While the joint force military incursion was successful in freeing the region of intrusive ISIL militants, the Iraqi government has yet to mention the Kurdish forces’ role in their victory. In 2017, during the ISIL conflicts along the Iraq and Syrian border, the then Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi failed to recognized the Kurdish military forces in their success in expelling ISIL militant from their country. News source, Al-Jazeera, quoted Prime Minister al-Abadi as praising the Iraqi “heroic armed forces,” and stating, “Our forces are in complete control of the Iraqi-Syrian border, and I, therefore, announce the end of the war against Daesh [Arabic acronym for ISIL],” omitting key detail of the Kurdish evolvement in the defeat of ISIL forces in Iraq. New Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi has yet to make a statement on the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and their degree of aid in the most recent skirmish with ISIL militants in the north. 

The Kurdish people were thrown into statelessness following World War II, as the Kurdistan territory was sectioned apart into regions of Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria. Without a self-ruling state, the Kurdish people have been scattered and left with inadequate political representation. It was not until 1970 that the Iraqi government agreed to allow regional autonomy for the Kurdish people, creating the Kurdish Regional Government. Beginning three years ago, the Kurdish territories have been subject to frequent land disputes. Due to the Iraqi conflicts with ISIL militants, the Institute for the Study of War estimates forty percent of Kurdish land has been thrown into dispute due to regional instability. The Kurdish minority within Iraq have felt disenfranchised by the central government in Baghdad for decades, and the previous actions of Prime Minister al-Abadi in the past has not help lessen these beliefs. Without proper acknowledgement of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces from Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi, not only in the most recent incursion, but their aid throughout the fight against Islamic state militants in Iraq in the past, the central government will reaffirms the Kurdish feeling of subjugation.