This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Anti-Humane Volatility of the Middle East

"There is no strategy planned by the [Kurdistan regional government] to destroy or destruct any component villages, any component set up in these newly liberated areas. [Peshmerga forces] have been in full obligation to implement the standards of and principles of international human rights, international humanitarian laws."
"[But] there are a few cases where an entire village stood against the Peshmerga ... they fought in line [alongside Isis militants]."
Dindar Zebari, Peshmerga spokesman, Iraq

"It does appear to be a form of collective punishment of perceived sympathizers [with Islamic State]. Rather than deal with individuals, they [Kurds] are punishing whole [Sunni Arab] communities."
"If you're interacting with those forces Canadian special forces working closely with Kurdish troops] I think you're obliged to know what they're doing."
"You have an obligation to ensure that violations of human rights and humanitarian law aren't occurring."
Hilary Homes, spokesperson, Amnesty International, Ottawa
"By barring the displaced from returning to their villages and destroying their homes KRG forces are further exacerbating their suffering,"
"By barring the displaced from returning to their villages and destroying their homes KRG forces are further exacerbating their suffering," AFP

This is the Middle East. This is the geography of militant tribalism, of venomous sectarianism, of violent attacks against minority groups, led for the most part by Islamist distrust and hatred for non Muslims and 'apostates' alike. Where verses in the Koran enjoin the faithful to conflict with the despised infidels and Jews:  "Do not take the Jews and the Christians for your friends and allies” (5:51) and “You shall find none who believe in Allah and the Last Day on friendly terms with those who oppose Allah and His Messenger [i.e., non-Muslims] — even if they be their fathers, their sons, their brothers, or their nearest kindred" (Koran 58:22; see also 3:28, 60:4, 2:120).

The incessant violence being perpetrated by one Muslim sect against another reflects the culture of viral tribalism and poisonous sectarian animosities. And when geography throws in the complications of ethnic groups, the Kurds and the Yazidis, the Druze and other minorities whom the majority groups view as inferior and think nothing of depriving of their lives, the dangerous cocktail of Arab and Muslim dysfunction erupts under the volcanic pressures of endemic and constantly erupting issues of survival.

The West and its human rights groups look on from afar at what unfolds in the Middle East as one 'nation' after another implodes, and often with considerable assistance from the meddling West. Remove a totalitarian government and the vacuum that results invites even more intolerance and violence to explosively erupt as tribal and sectarian and ethnic and clan hatreds are inflamed, setting the landscape onto a trajectory of inflicting utter disorder and bloodshed in generous proportions.
Destroyed homes in the village of Barzanke in Iraq's northeastern Diyala province
Destroyed homes in the village of Barzanke in Iraq's northeastern Diyala province Photo: AFP
A new Amnesty International report highlights the region's Kurds taking the initiative to seek revenge for the humiliations and violence and depredations they suffered in Iraq under the regime of Saddam Hussein. This is the militant Kurds who have given haven and protection to the minority groups whom the Shiite Iraqis have persecuted more latterly and whom the Sunni terrorist groups like ISIL have tormented, enslaved  and slaughtered.

According to Amnesty its report accuses the Kurdistan Regional Government and its allied militias in northern Iraq of bulldozing, exploding, or torching thousands of homes in a deliberate campaign to banish Arab communities from the area the Kurds claim sovereignty in. The displacement of Arab populations by force and destruction reflects Amnesty's research of 13 villages and towns including testimony from eyewitnesses and victims.

"It would be very hard to see how this was militarily justified [widespread destruction of villages]. This is deliberate destruction, the punishing of entire communities", commented Hilary Homes, spokesperson for Amnesty International on security issues in Ottawa of the report corroborated by satellite imagery. The claim is that Kurdish Peshmerga forces and sometimes Yazidi militias and Kurdish armed groups from Syria and Turkey operated alongside the Peshmerga to force thousands of Arabs to abandon their homes.
Internally displaced Arab Iraqis at a camp in Khanaqin in Iraq's northeastern Diyala provinceInternally displaced Arab Iraqis at a camp in Khanaqin in Iraq's northeastern Diyala province  Photo: AFP
And the Kurdish Regional Government forces have barred those Arab civilians from attempting to return to the areas recaptured from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, where the Sunni Arab civilians lived under the banner of the Sunni ISIL jihadists. The Kurds are busy consolidating their territorial gains in "disputed areas" claimed traditionally by the Kurdish Regional Government as their own, in a drive to address abuses from the past by the Saddam Hussein tyranny.

Kurds had formerly been forcibly displaced by Saddam Hussein's military for the purpose of settling Arabs in those very same areas. It was the Kurds who launched the rescue of Yazidis trapped by Islamic State when the jihadi terrorists captured Sinjar, slaughtered Yazidis, took their women captive as sex slaves, and people fled in terror from the invasion onto Mount Sinjar, trapped without provisions on the winter mountain. Little wonder that Yazidis seek their revenge.

It is dreadful that the revenge falls not on the jihadists who attacked, raped and enslaved Yazidis, but on their co-sectarian civilian Sunni Arabs who may have viewed their actions with favour, or indifference. On the other hand, war is a dreadful human construct of misery and dread. And in the Middle East empathy and compassion always appear to be on short order unless it is directed at people of the same clan or tribe or religious sect.

The horrible excess of slaughter that has taken place under the command of a tyrannical president in Syria punishing his civilian subjects who protested their unequal treatment as opposed to that of the opposite sect, just about equals the wretchedly grotesque butchery of the non-state Islamist militias associated with al-Qaeda, and most particularly Islamic State. It is the danger posed by the Islamists who look beyond the region to inflict their brand of Islamic justice on the West that democracies are engaged in bringing to a halt.

Thus far, it is has not been the military of Iraq or of Syria that have successfully contested the advance of the Islamists, but the courage and perseverance of the Kurds in defending their people and their territory. And it has been the Kurds whom the Americans and the Canadians have favoured in tutoring in the art of successful warfare against an implacable enemy of humankind. There should be the recognition of a universal standard of human rights obligations, that much is true.

The old adage, when in Rome do as the Romans do might not fit exactly here, but it does go a long way to explaining why and how it happens that a large ethnic group long suffering persecution and existential hardship is finally determined to claim its territory and to defend its population and in so doing is deserving of the assistance of those attuned to the situation and immersed in doing what they can to change it.

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