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Op-Ed: The Peshmerga should be respected by the world

Kurdish legal consultant, writer and journalist Chiman Salih weighs in on the newly launched battle for Mosul and explains why the Peshmerga forces should be respected by the world.
Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

The Mosul liberation offensive finally began yesterday and there are roughly 20,000 Peshmerga fighters involved in it, making it the biggest and maybe the last significant operation against the most dangerous terrorist group in the world.

President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region and the commander of the Peshmerga Masoud Barzani told reporters yesterday that “200 square kilometers [have been] freed from ISIS.”

The Peshmerga, the Iraqi Kurdistan army, started fighting this war against ISIS on behalf of the world. The most prominent leaders of the world have credited them over the past three years for this.

There are many reasons why the world should show great attention to and appreciation for the Peshmerga. The Peshmerga has proved that despite the fact that the majority of them are Muslims and observant, they are ready to fight against religious extremism without any fear or hesitation. There is a large number of Muslims in the world who even if they aren’t affiliated with the extremist group, they are hesitant to fight them.

The Peshmerga fighters are fighting for the sake of every human being regardless of his or her religion, doctrine, ethnicity or skin color. They are fighting for the freedom of everyone.

They have been fighting continuously for more than three years with very limited military resources, equipment and weapons. However, they have never given up. They have never left the front-lines defenseless.

Despite this, the Iraqi central government cut the Peshmerga fighters’ salaries and benefits. However, just like the other employees in the Kurdistan region whose salaries and benefits were cut, they didn't give up.

Even though they have been suffering too much as a result of the deteriorating economic situation, they are now on the outskirts of Mosul battling to take the city back from ISIS. They behave peacefully with all other Iraqi forces and are respecting the rules.

Most of them are living on limited resources but they continue to support their families morally, allowing them to endure the situation. In addition, the Peshmerga has never intended to harm innocent civilians.

While some of Kurdistan parties are contesting one another, they remain united and operate under the Kurdish Peshmerga leadership, which is a unique element in the international US-led coalition against ISIS.

The Kurdistan population and their guests from all corners of the world include nearly 50 consulates, diplomatic missions and foreign countries representatives in Erbil. More than 2 million refugees and displaced people are sheltered in Kurdistan. For the past three years, all of them have been living in peace and safely thanks to the Peshmerga forces despite having direct borders with ISIS.

The Peshmerga deserves the world’s support and respect thanks to their unique morals that are on the verge of extinction in some parts of the world such as loving other human beings, sacrificing by spirit for the sake of humanity, refusing discrimination, believing in freedom for all especially for those who are different from you, fighting not for personal interest and rejecting revenge.

The people of Kurdistan and the world owe the Peshmerga thanks and appreciation for being the fighters who protect peace and freedom.

JOL Blogger | Chiman Salih

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