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Monday, January 5, 2015

The Kurdish Peshmerga: Historically Fierce and Progressive Fighters

The Kurdish Peshmerga: Historically Fierce and Progressive Fighters 

Peshmerga is a Kurdish pronunciation that literally means "those who confront death.” The term is used by Kurds in referance to armed Kurdish fighters. The Peshmerga forces of Kurdistan originated from the independence movement that followed the collapse of the Ottoman and Qajar empires in the early 1920s, the term was introduced 1946 to 1947 during a self-declared Kurdish State.
 One of the modern Middle-Eastern societal advancements that the Kurdish Peshmerga is known for are their inclusion of women in the military ranks as fighting equals. Their forces have proven to be a remarkably well-trained and effective army that is also well-known for providing security to all ethnicities and religious affiliations. The KRG faction controls a large number of different denominations in their region such as the Catholic Chaldean churches, and the Assyrian Church of the East. Both are treated with tolerance even though most of the region is Sunni Muslim.

The Kurdistan Regional Government is presently seen by the United States as an Oasis in the dry desert of Islamist extremism; although in the distant past that was not the case.  Its educational campaigns and progressions in women’s rights, political diversity, and religious freedoms set them apart in the region. They are also known for their protection of countless refugees that are displaced because of the on-going turmoil in the region.

One of the most endearing feats to the United States by the Kurdish fighters is of course the capture by Peshmerga forces in 2004 of Osama Bin Laden's messenger Hassan Ghul . This key blow to Al-Qaeda helped lead to Operation Neptune Spear which allowed the U.S. Navy Seals to locate and kill Bin Laden.

One of the latest feats of the fearless fighting Peshmerga was the convoy sent out from Kurdistan to save the small Turkish border town of Kobani from the ruthless radical Islamists insurgent organization known World-wide as ISIS. Even after months of US led airstrikes, the militant terrorists still held the town in constant siege in the beginning of Oct of 2014. The city looked all but lost without outside help with fresh fighting boots on the ground. After the arrival of the convoy, by the beginning of Jan 2015 the Kurdish Freedom Fighters had claimed to have taken back and control 80% of Kobani, plus they succeeded in seriously depleting the resources and manpower of ISIS by fending off the group for so long. Something that has come as a great shock and embarrassment to an Army of extremist radicals that swept across Iraq and Syria almost unstopped.  

America certainly owes the Kurdish Peshmerga a great debt of gratitude. They were handy allies in the Gulf Wars with Iraq before and after U.S. occupation of the country. The United States is not in the position now nor then to turn away help in controlling its interests in the Middle East. What makes the Kurdish fighters such a valuable political asset in the region to the West is the fact that they also share a progressive outlook on Human Rights. Their tolerance of their fellow men and surrounding neighbors is evident in their society, even though some of those neighbors have not returned the favor back to them over the centuries. They have also been proven to be both trustworthy and fierce reliable fighters who can endure the harshest of desert settings. They are truly a remarkable cultural Oasis in a land of seemingly endless religious extremism, compounded by constant conflict.