The journalist Firmesk Ali has interpreted the deployment of Iraqi soldiers to Sinjar in Iraqi Kurdistan – under the scope of the agreement between the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) – as “a new [order for] massacre”. He stated that “there are Turkmen groups amongst the soldiers being sent” according to Mesopotamia Agency.
In a statement released on 24 November, the Iraqi army stated that 10,000 soldiers have been deployed to the region as part of the agreement signed between the Iraqi government and the KRG on 9 October. Upon hearing this announcement, the Sinjar Democratic Autonomous Council (MXDŞ) released a statement pointing to the volume of the military deployments and developments that could follow it, and called the developments as potentially leading to the 75th massacre.
Stating that the talks with the Iraqi central government were inconclusive, MXDŞ stated that: “The people of Sinjar are facing a great danger under the name of the law. Through the Sinjar agreement, the Iraqi government aims to do what the Islamic State (ISIS) could not do to the Yazidis. We call on all forces and the people of Kurdistan in all four parts to prevent this massacre. Be ready to protect the people of Sinjar”.
The journalist Firmesk Ali, who closely follows events in the region, called on all Kurdish people to be sensitive towards the issue, stating that Sinjar was under siege and that the 75th massacre was at Sinjar’s doorstep.
Sinjar is under siege
Stating that he had received information about 6,000 soldiers affiliated to the Iraqi army being sent to the region and that the goal was to deploy 10,000 soldiers, Ali pointed out that Sinjar was besieged after many strategic points in the region were taken. He stated that military deployment was still ongoing and said: “There are Turkmen groups amongst the soldiers. They have been brought from places such as Talafar. There are also forces affiliated to various groups. This situation is causing uneasiness amongst the people of the region. The Iraqi army sent special forces named ‘Anti-Terrorism’. ‘We are sending them to replace our troops’, they said, but so many soldiers are arriving. None of them seems to be leaving. Nobody has left yet. They try make things look normal. They try to make things look as if there is only a shifting of forces. They aim to defuse tensions by issuing such statements. But there is an intense deployment taking place. They are trying to scare the people and achieve a silent occupation”.
The threat of a new massacre
Stating that the people of Sinjar were holding meetings everywhere and discussing what needed to be done against the situation, Ali said: “MXDŞ raised an urgent solidarity call in their statement to all freedom defenders. Sinjar faces the 75th massacre. Sinjar is surrounded. The border between Rojava and Sinjar and many strategic areas are surrounded by soldiers. The Iraqi army withdrew its soldiers when ISIS attacked in 2014. The Kurdistan Democratic Part (KDP) peshmergas withdrew. This is what Sinjar fears. People ask: ‘Why did these soldiers not defend us when ISIS came? We formed our own forces, established a peaceful system, and established our management and service institutions, why are they coming now?'”
‘We will not allow a new massacre!’
Pointing out that the people were once again facing massacre and asking how many times they would have to keep experiencing this trauma, Ali said: “The people say that, ‘in the 74th massacre, they brought all kinds of evil on us. But we will not allow a new massacre. We will step back. We will protect both ourselves and our land. We will resist’. However, I can express that there is a certain discontent. However, it is clear that they have a strong attitude of resistance”.
The plan of the United States, Turkey and the KDP
Ali noted that, following the signing of the agreement between the KDP and the Iraq central government, the Yazidi leaders held dozens of talks with Iraqi government officials, but all meetings were inconclusive: “Many Iraqi MPs stated in these meetings that they did not accept the agreement, but they had to sign it due pressure from the United States, Turkey and the KDP. Many of them stated this”, he said.
‘Laying the grounds for a new massacre’
Ali emphasized that the international forces and Turkey would be the ‘gainers’ from the agreement. He stated that if the agreement is implemented, the Yazidis and all Kurds lives would be at stake. Interpreting the events as “officially a new occupation and laying the grounds for a new massacre”, Ali said: “They want to change the district governor, but this place already has an administration. They want to appoint someone named Khidir Rasho as the district governor, who is trained by the KDP and currently resides in Europe. They are trying to make the KDP’s role dominant here, ignoring the will of the people”.
‘An agreement between international and regional powers’
Evaluating the developments as games being played out by the United States, Turkey and the KDP, Ali stated that: “Turkey already does not want an autonomous administration here. They are trying to annihilate the Yazidis. Turkey has a role in this. The US-Iran tension continues. Some of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) affiliated with Iran are also based here. This agreement was also signed against them. Both sides do not want either the KDP or a different force here. Therefore, the main point is that this agreement is not an agreement between the KDP and the Iraqi government. It is an agreement between international and regional powers”.
Call on the Kurdish people
Underlining that the Yazidi people are going through a traumatic period, Ali said: “They are trying to destroy a society that wants to govern itself and defend itself. No society should remain silent against these developments. Sinjar has already gone through a very severe massacre. It is very difficult to explain this in words. You can only understand what happened when you listen to them one by one. All Kurds, wherever they may be, must act by their responsibilities so that such suffering would not be experienced again”.