Since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, Iraq has experienced nothing but sectarian mayhem, instability and a downward spiral.
While Kurdistan has prospered under security, economic growth, new infrastructure and strategic ties, Kurds need no reminder that they are still a part of Iraq and with all the repercussions and perils that this brings.
On Friday, the Islamic State (IS) managed to infiltrate Erbil where a suicide bombing took place near the US Consulate in the predominantly Christian district of Ainkawa.
Three were tragically killed with 5 wounded sending a stark reminder across Kurdistan that while IS remains on their doorstep, Iraq fails to heal its ever growing sectarian wounds and they remain under the rapidly deteriorating Iraqi state, Kurds can never rest at ease or take their status as the “other Iraq” for granted.
The Kurds have been embroiled in a deadly war again IS, a war that they never asked for and long warned about as the Syrian civil war was left unchecked and as sectarian animosity was stoked by successive policies of Baghdad.
One may be shocked when such acts of terror are committed, but in the anarchy that has ensued since 2003 and especially since the rise of IS in Iraq, the Kurdish security forces must receive great credit that such attacks have been kept to a minimum.
Not only does Kurdistan share borders with the most volatile regions of Iraq, it has also carried the burden of thousands of refugees that have streamed across its borders. Kurdistan has done a tremendous humanitarian job which often is forgotten while knowing that with every stream of people there is always a risk to the region.
If the US needed a wakeup call to provide greater support to their Kurdish allies, then they need to look no further than the carnage a stone throw from the gates of their consulate.
Their security and regional interests are at stake and allies such as Kurdistan must be protected. Kurdistan is remarkably home to a number of religions and ethnicities. The Christian that have inhabited these lands for hundreds of years are some of the oldest Christian populations with some that still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus.
IS has committed atrocities against Christians, Yezidis and other groups, with their acts designed to stoke mass fear and panic.
The West must support and promote Kurdistan as the bastion of the very ideals in the Middle East they have desperately tried to promote, a multi ethnic and multi religious society living in security, freedom and harmony.
This is not a local or regional fight but a global struggle. Kurds find themselves at the center stage of this battle, and most be supported and armed in their fight.
The continued sensitivity to Iraq’s sovereignty in Washington and beyond is becoming outdated and delusionary. The Western tiptoeing around Baghdad while Kurds make immense sacrifices to protect their diverse social landscape and the security of their people is sending the wrong message to the Kurds.
The Kurds never asked to be a part of Iraq and never asked for the anarchy and bloodshed on their doorsteps. Why should they suffer today for the Western wrongs that created the recipe of the current strife in the first place?
First Published: Kurdish Globe
Other Publication Sources: Various Misc