Monthly Archives: September 2014

The History of Kurdistan and its role in the US/ISIS Conflict

This week, my two Diigo posts were about Kurdistan. I’ve read news reports about Kurdish forces’ involvement in the conflict with ISIS, but I wanted to learn more about the history of Kurdistan in order to more deeply understand the Kurdish people’s  cooperation with the United States and Iraq. My first post was a website with a timeline and the history of the Kurdish people starting at the 7th century. I found it interesting that the Kurdish people are the world’s largest ethnic group that do not have a country of their own. The country with the largest number of Kurds is Iraq, and the Kurdish people have a history of conflict with the Iraqi government. Currently, Kurdistan is not legally separated from Iraq, but acts independently from the Iraqi government. This has enabled them to take strong defensive and offensive military action against ISIS, even after the Iraqi military fled areas of Northern Iraq/Kurdistan. My second post is an NPR segment and interview with the New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins, a reporter who has spent several years living and working in Kurdistan. He talked about the history of Kurdistan in Iraq, and how the Kurdish peoples’ history of military conflict with the Iraqi government, and relative independence have allowed them to really successfully repel ISIS forces.  In this interview, Filkins  gives the impression that he is a skeptic- he tends to speak about these issues in terms of states, but seems to favor a more collective approach to dealing with ISIS, and warns against military action as the exclusive way to solve the ISIS problem. He claims that airstrikes alone could eventually lead to further instability.


A map of areas occupied by the Kurdish people.


Iraq-IS Conflict and the Mosul Dam

This week my two Diigo posts were about the Iraq-IS conflict. The first one was an interactive map showing the movement of IS, Iraqi, Kurdish, and American forces in Northern Iraq. It surprised me how quickly IS captured border crossings and dams, in addition to other key strategic assets, like oil and gas fields. My second article was about the strategic importance of the Mosul dam to both IS and Kurdish and Iraqi forces. The dam supplies both food and water to over 1.8 million people. During the time it was captured by IS, the group threatened to flood the area surrounding the dam. Both of these articles are news reports, so they attempt to not have a bias, but both seem to have the perspective that states are the most important players in this conflict. If anything, both these articles take the political realist approach.