The name Peshmerga is frequently recognized as the armed forces of Kurdistan Regional Government, in the semiautonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan. These fearless Kurds began with the end of the old aging relic, the Ottoman Empire, after its dissemination during World War I. The armed forces have fought wars against the state of Iraq for the Iraqi governments treatment of the Iraqi Kurdish population. Peshmerga fought against Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war and also helped the United States capture, Iraq’s former president, Saddam Hussein.
The People’s Protection Unit, commonly referred to as the YPG is the army of the Syrian Kurds. Founded in 2004 the YPG has only recently joined up in arms as the Syrian Civil War developed enough to cause a threat of violence within Kurdish territory.
These two Kurdish militias are extremely similar when comparing their demographic.
Both militias allow any one of any ethnicity to join the armed force and will provide anyone wanting security no matter the ethnicity or if they are able to join the army.
As most unusual in recognition of the Islamic world’s history, the two militias have combatant regiments composed of women. With the help of Al-Monitor’s article, “Meet the Female Peshmerga Forces Fighting IS” and VICE US’ short documentary, “Meet the YPG, The Kurdish Militia that Doesn’t Want Help from Anyone” I was able to grab up a bit of background on the two Kurdish militia’s female forces….
Peshmerga, the army of Iraqi Kurdistan, has had women led forces officially since 1996 but has allowed women to join the militia for many years past.
The People’s Protection Unit (YPG), the army of Syrian Kurds, has had women led forces since 2012, the women led force given the title YPJ.
Both of these women led forces of Peshmerga and of the YPG joined the fight against ISIS on the same given reason. That reason being ISIS infamous maltreatment of women. ISIS has been known to engage in genital mutilation, forcing women against their will into marriage and into sexual jihad….. which is where a woman of Sunni background offers herself as a sexual comfort to Islamic jihadists.
The culture of ISIS is very unusual with respects to the Kurdish culture and the devastating threat the ISIS militia has posed on Kurdish territory has caused these women to join their given military and give these radical jihadist hell!
From the western mind’s point of view the Middle East is seen to have a massive gender inequality problem. As many have discovered stereotypes do not hold true in every case. This is one of the many cases where a culture in the Middle East does not have women oppressed by their male counterparts. Having written this past sentence I feel somewhat strange about stating that a culture oppresses women. Thinking about this a bit deeper I feel a bit silly accusing culture of oppressing women, no offense to culture but I don’t think culture has the capability to oppress a woman. What should be blamed for the oppression of a woman or anyone for that matter are the people behind running the show.