The Islamic State may have been defeated in the field, but they have not been defeated in Iraq. What actually happened was that their fighters retreated from Mosul and Hawija, before slowly melting back into the Sunni Arab villages — and storing their weapons in the nearby caves — and prepared for war once again. What lies across from me are the most fanatical and hardcore: Those who have hung on, who refuse to surrender or flee. And they will stay there until they win or die.
Just as in the rest of Iraq and the wider region, the Kurdish model has failed to resolve deep social, political and economic issues by mere nationalistic thinking and slogans. The ongoing mass Kurdish exodus to Europe through Belarus is a clear example of this failure.
In the dusty farms and villages of Sinjar, the interests of Iran and Turkey collide. Here in northern Iraq, Tehran is allying with non-state actors in order to further its own interests — this time with the controversial PKK group, which will bring it into conflict with Ankara.
Within Kurdish politics in Turkey, there is an emerging style of right-wing discourse. No longer content to be a silent partner of the governing Turkish right-wing coalition, the new Kurdish right defines itself in opposition to both the Turkish state and the PKK’s left-liberation mythos.
Even though Kurds produced many legends in Islamic history, like Saladin, contemporary Kurds invoke folkloric figures and battles. The central role of these legends explains the secularism of Kurdish resistance and why Islamism has not gained ground among Kurds today