The advancing storm and Kurdish opportunities

By Rauf Naqishbendi:

Peshmarga arriving in Kirkuk

Peshmarga arriving in Kirkuk

Iraq is in the news headlines; a fool’s surprise, for it was expected. This writer has cautioned in dozens of articles and foretold today’s event for many years.  (Please read the book of my collected articles).

Now, this banana republic is spiraling to ruin and bringing ominous desolation to its people, neighbors, and the entire Middle East.  It is threatening the world’s peace and the global economy. Thus, the infestation of Iraq by Islamic Jihadists, should they prevail, paves the way for the first Jihadist country in the region. The realm of Jihadist thugs extends beyond Iraq.  Its realm is the entire Islam world, and it is crippling Western civilization.

In a nutshell, this movement has attracted the attention of many powers regionally and internationally. The United States can act under its hallowed slogan of national and global security but, with its dreary experience once before, it should not revisit Iraq. Iran has a vested interest in Iraq and has intervened.  To what degree should her intervention extend? And the Kurds, should they be attacked by the Jihadists, can they defend themselves?  The Kurds are sanguine about this recent development, hoping it will make their centuries-long dream for a sovereign Kurdish state a reality.  But how real is this optimism? As this chaotic event is advancing, can the Jihadists topple Al-Maliki’s Shiite government, making Iraq a Taliban-like state?

President Obama is adamant about helping Iraq.  He is evaluating American military support short of sending American combat troops. Notwithstanding, he asserts that any assistance must be predicated upon Al-Maliki’s reaching out to bring about reconciliation amongst sectarian groups. However, at this stage of the game it’s too late for that; Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has already burned all his bridges with the Sunni Muslims. American assistance to Iraq will be limited to mainly supplying Iraq with more sophisticated war machinery, but this is futile in the face of Iraq’s shiftless military. The other option is to assist Iraq in using American air power to attack Jihadist targets and using drones for surveillance.  However, the only effective way for surveillance to work is that it be accompanied by troops on the ground.  Iraqi troops are fleeing away from the Jihadists; therefore, American assistance would not be efficacious.

Iran’s role as a powerful force in the region is not to be underestimated. According to the Wall Street Journal, two Guard units, dispatched from Iran’s western border provinces on Wednesday, were tasked with protecting Baghdad and the holy Shiite cities of Karbala and Najaf. The bottom line is that Iranians will not stand by idly as Iraq is about to collapse. Millions of Iranians will be willing to sacrifice their lives to rescue their Shiite brethren in Iraq and to warrant security of the holy shrines in Karbala and Najaf. It should be realized the Jihadist infestation will turn out to be a bloodbath between Shiite and Sunni Muslims in a way that is unprecedented.

This development in Iraq has been a shockingly astounding phenomenon as to how the agile Jihadists have advanced and how easily the Iraqi military is forfeiting their duties of defending their country. The Jihadists commenced with three thousand men.  As they advance, they will have more than two million Arab Sunnis to recruit from. They started with no ammunition; now they have obtained more than their needs.  Taking control of the Mosel banks offered them enough money to further their recruitment and progress.  Observing the events as they unfold, it seems that the Jihadists presently determine to topple Nouri al-Maliki’s regime.  Once they have completed this mission, I believe they will redirect their attention to Kurdistan.

Kurdistan, for now, has been overlooked by the Jihadists.  The Kurds are sanguine about this development and are hoping that, at last, their dream for an independent Kurdistan will be realized. Present Kurdish sentiment regarding their national ambition is well justified. At the same time, there are a few points to be considered. First and foremost, the Kurds do not possess a well-armed military, and Kurdish peshmargas are lacking battlefield experience. During the Kurdish revolution peshmargas were trained on the battlefields, but the current peshmarga forces are a new generation that hasn’t experienced much fighting.  Moreover, the Kurds have been known throughout history for being brave combatants in the mountains of Kurdistan. Should the Kurds enter into this conflict, they will be fighting in the desert.

Regardless of these odds, this is an ample opportunity for Kurds to declare their statehood. Kurdish leaders must engage, not being haughty as they have been, not being complacent.  They should thoroughly study the situation, manage their resources well, mobilize the masses, and secure all necessary ammunition.

Kurdish leaders must realize the dreams and hopes of their people.  The time is right, and the leadership must be right. They should maneuver diplomatically to gather enough international support for an independent Kurdistan so that, when an independent Kurdistan is declared, it will have formidable international recognition.

Rauf Naqishbendi is a contributing columnist for Kurdistan Tribune,,  American Chronicle, (2003 – 2011),,, and has written Op/Ed pages for the Los Angeles Times.

Books by Naqishbendi:

(1)   His memoirs entitled “The Garden Of The Poets”. It reads as a novel depicting his experience and the subsequent 1988 bombing of his hometown, Halabja with chemical and biological weapons by Saddam Hussein.  It is the story of his people’s suffering, and a sneak preview of their culture and history.
(2)   My Articles: This is a collection of columns published from 2002-2013 through several web media sites. It addresses Kurdish issues,  American politics and democracy, humanities, religion, terrorism, and Middle East chaos.

Rauf Naqishbendi is a software engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Comments are welcome at:

One Response to The advancing storm and Kurdish opportunities
  1. Asso
    June 15, 2014 | 14:37

    Peshmara Forces lacking battlefield experience? True! Its because Masood Barzani never wished that to happen so that he can continue to maintain absolute power over every branch and establishment. For years the citizens of Kurdistan urged him to unify Peshmarga Forces. I sincerely hope he will consult with all Kurdish political parties in South before making any steps otherwise given his past failures, its not unexpected to see him cause another round of mass-murders and refugees exodus of Kurds. The only thing he cares about is only to maintain his position at any cost even if Kurds fail again. He is going to say we tried. Trying is not enough. Succeeding is what Kurds demand. Barzani another weak point is his simplicity, overoptimism and overdependency on Americans.

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