South of Erbil, men and women of the peshmerga forces undergoing training courses. Credit: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images

December 29, 2017   < 1

The caliphate of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has been brought to its knees and, as their influence has diminished so has our interest in what comes next.

Kurdish Peshmerga forces bravely held off the world’s most brutal terrorist organisation with old AK47s and T55s – and let’s be clear, without their gigantic contribution, the murderous jihadists would still rape and kill their way to genocide. The West, in the moment of truth, bluntly told the Kurds that they were out there on their own.

In a grotesque display of historic miscalculation, we watched on as our Kurdish allies were crushed by Iranian-backed Shiite militia forces and elements of the Iraqi army in the assault on the city of Kirkuk in October.

Iraqi forces, under the ideological spell of the regime in Tehran, used US-made military hardware to humiliate Kurdistan – the most promising democratic experiment in the Middle East since the creation of the state of Israel.

The same Muslim people that climbed on churches to restore the cross of Christ, torn down by Islamist barbarians, are now being killed in the ongoing offensive in northern Iraq with American-made military vehicles and shiny new weapons – all at the behest of the theocratic mullah regime in Tehran.

Why should we care? Because what we have seen emerging in Kurdistan since the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime – the commitment to confront Islamic extremism, gender equality, religious pluralism – is the most promising democracy experiment in the Middle East since the creation of the state of Israel.

Defeating the Islamic State is not enough. We need to help shape an environment which leaves no room for forces just as dangerous and reactionary.

For more background please read “Challenging Capture of Kirkuk Necessary to Counter Iran“.


Introduction to this Under-reported series.

Summary guide to all under-reported articles in this series.

Julie Lenarz is Director of the London-based Human Security Centre and speaks widely across the media on terror and radicalisation.