Tensions are increasing in Sinjar following the agreement signed by the central Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in October last year.
Faris Herbo, the foreign affairs spokesperson of the Democratic Autonomous Assembly of Sinjar, shared his thoughts with MA on the dispute following the agreement in Sinjar.
The agreement was intended to rebuild “stability” and “security” by removing armed groups in Sinjar, which is a Yazidi majority town in northern Iraq. However, Yazidis living in Sinjar have been protesting against the agreement, describing it as an attempt to “occupy” Sinjar.
Herbo pointed out that the world witnessed but remained silent on the Yazidi genocide in 2014. It has been more than five years since the Islamic State (ISIS) was removed from Sinjar. A UN team announced on Monday that it has found “clear and compelling evidence” that ISIS committed “genocide” in 2014 against the Yazidi minority living in Sinjar.
“Yazidis wanted to be left unorganised during the genocide and the aftermath. Yazidis insisted on not leaving Sinjar and paid a great price to remain on their lands, to rebuild Sinjar in all possible ways in terms of its administration and security,” Herbo said.
Herbo added that “the Iraqi government and Peshmergas affiliated with the Kurdistan Democratic Party [KDP] have not been active in the defence of Sinjar against ISIS, when they were committing genocide against the Yazidis.”
Herbo continued: “Despite the opposition of the Iraqi government’s immigration department and the KDP, the Yazidis who had to migrate returned to their homelands. They have formed their self-governed institutions under the Autonomous Administration of Sinjar. It was an indication that Sinjar was a stable, safe and peaceful place.”
Herbo praised the defence forces for their efforts. “It was the Yazidi defence forces and Yazidi women’s defence forces, the YBŞ and YJŞ, who opened a space in Sinjar for the Iraqi government. When the KDP was in control of Sinjar, the Iraqi government was not able to enter the region at all.”
He said the parliamentarians and political parties close to the Iraqi government do not really approve of the Sinjar agreement. “The agreement is the agreement between Iraqi prime minister Mustafa Kazimi and the KDP. And some secret elements are also involved. Kazimi had visited both the USA and Turkey before the agreement was signed. Other powers, such as France, Egypt and Jordan are also unofficially involved the agreement,” he said.
As a result, the Sinjar agreement involves many parties, but it excludes one very critical party: the Yazidis.
“The will of the Yazidis has never been taken into consideration. Our protest against such disregard of the Yazidis continues. There is no security issue in Sinjar, there is a policial issue,” Herbo said. “The issue in Sinjar is the existence of Yazidis in Sinjar. You cannot disarm the Yazidis after all that has happened, you cannot leave them defenceless. All neighbours of Yazidis are armed, the surroundings of Sinjar are armed. Yazidis have no problem with that, they just want to defend themselves like all the other parties in the region.”