Yazidis criticize the Shengal agreement between KDP and Iraq

Feleknas Uca (HDP), Hecî Çelik (NAV-YEK) and Riham Hiço (Autonomous Council of Shengal) criticize the KDP’s agreement with the Iraqi government on the future of Shengal as an "agreement of perpetrators and traitors”.

South Kurdistan’s ruling party KDP is one of those responsible for enabling the IS genocide against the Yezidi people in Shengal. Due to the retreat of the Peshmerga overnight, the population was left to the murderers of the "Islamic State" (IS). Instead of accepting its historical responsibility for the genocide, the KDP continues its hostile policy against Shengal, supports the Turkish AKP/MHP regime in its attacks on the region and incites against the self-government of the area. The KDP is making every effort to regain control of the region. An agreement between the government of the South Kurdistan autonomous region and the Iraqi central government on the Shengal region was signed on October 9.

Among other things, the agreement addresses administrative and security policy issues and the provision of state infrastructure. According to the agreement, Hewlêr [Erbil] is now responsible for administration in the region, and the Iraqi central government is responsible for security. While various combat units are set to be disbanded, what this means concretely for the Shengal Defense Units (YBŞ) is still unclear.

KDP to regain control of the region

The people from the region and the Autonomous Council of Shengal were not involved in the preliminary talks for the agreement that would determine their future. Instead, there were international mediators. For example, Felah Mustafa, member of the KDP Politburo, thanked the United Nations, the USA, Germany and France for mediating the agreement.

When the IS invaded the Shengal region on August 3, 2014, the Peshmerga equipped with heavy weapons left Shengal and the KDP and the Iraqi central government left the Yazidi community to genocide with their eyes wide open. The IS murdered thousands of men and abducted women and children to sell them as slaves or indoctrinate them and turn them into child soldiers. Even today, thousands of women and children are "disappeared".

The defense of Shengal was initially taken over by a dozen PKK fighters instead of the Peshmerga that had fled. The guerrilla group eventually received support from the guerrilla forces and the YPG/YPJ forces from Rojava and were thus able to free an escape corridor. Together with the newly established YBŞ and YJŞ the region could be liberated from the IS. In November 2015, the center of Shengal was liberated. Just before the liberation of the city, the KDP marched in again and occupied part of the territory. To prevent new conflicts among the Kurdish forces, HPG and YBŞ remained silent about the renewed entry of the KDP Peshmerga.

In March 2017, the KDP stationed its so-called "Roj Peshmerga" forces in Sinune and Khanasor. The counter-militia equipped with the most modern German weapons such as Dingo-type vehicles attacked the YBŞ. The provocation failed, however, because of the massive protest of the Yazidi population.

KDP takes flight for the second time

In October 2017, the KDP’s referendum on independence failed because of the attitude of the Iraqi government. The KDP withdrew again and left the Shengal area to the popular mobilization units Hashd al-Shaabi) of the Iraqi government (. Subsequently, an agreement was reached between the autonomous administration of the Shengal region and the Iraqi central government, and the YBŞ was officially recognized as part of the Iraqi military.

Dirty deal

Although the HPG withdrew from the area after the liberation of the Shengal region in April 2018, the KDP claimed that the PKK was still present in the region and supported the Turkish state in its attacks on the region. The new agreement was concluded on October 9, of all days, the anniversary of the international conspiracy against Abdullah Ocalan. In Middle Eastern politics, dates have a high symbolic value and it cannot be excluded that the date was not chosen at random.

"Traitors have nothing to say about Shengal"

Prominent Yazidi personalities have expressed their views on the agreement in an interview with the ANF. Riham Hiço, co-chair of the Executive Council of the Democratic Autonomous Administration of Shengal, criticizes the agreement as a continuation of the "massacre of August 3. She says: "You [the KDP and the Iraqi army] were in Shengal two days before August 3. But when the IS came, both fled and left the Yazidis to the genocide. Therefore, both forces are guilty. The Iraqi government has committed a crime by withdrawing from the Shengal region. The KDP has committed not only that, but also treason. They have absolutely nothing to say about the Shengal region."

"UN and USA are accomplices"

Hiço criticizes the role of the international powers in this agreement and emphasizes: "This agreement was concluded under the observation of the USA and the UN. We see these forces as accomplices in this conspiracy, which is nothing more than a continuation of the August 3 massacre". Hiço recalls the attacks of the KDP in March 2017, the KDP’s attempt to take control of the town and the Turkish air raids on the region. She calls the current agreement a continuation of this policy.

"We will not accept this agreement at any price"

"This agreement is a deal to destroy the Yazidis," says Riham Hiço and continues: "We will not accept it. Hewlêr and Baghdad are making deals at our expense. We have made great sacrifices for a free life and not for Baghdad and Hewlêr to push the Yazidis back and forth as gifts to each other. We will not accept any decision that does not correspond to our will. Whatever the cost, we are ready to make the sacrifice. We are not a morsel that can be swallowed so easily. We have made our stance clear and will continue to do so."

"They demand accountability because we have defended ourselves"

"There will be no return to the status quo before August 3. The governments in Hewlêr and Baghdad, which themselves must be brought to justice, demand accountability from us. They say, ‘Why did you arm yourselves, why did you defend yourselves?’. They want account for the fact that we did not let ourselves be annihilated. They themselves must give account. In Shengal there is no place for traitors. Shengal is the home of the Yazidis and will remain free. We will not accept anything else," emphasises Riham Hiço.

"Not acceptable in any respect"

Hecî Çelik of the Yazidi umbrella organization NAV-YEK points to the date of October 9 as the anniversary of the plot against Abdullah Öcalan and the beginning of the occupation of northern and eastern Syria. He says: "We do not believe that this was a coincidence. We see this agreement as a continuation of the conspiracy."

"The agreement will have serious consequences"

Çelik warns: "It must be clear to the whole Kurdish public that the consequences of this agreement, which disregards the will of the Yazidis, will be serious. This agreement carries a great danger. The international public must follow this decision closely. We as Yazidi institutions will protest against it and will not accept the agreement.”

Uca: "It is about the completion of the goals of the IS"

Yazidi HDP deputy Feleknas Uca makes the following comment on the agreement: "One of the goals of the IS onslaught was to depopulate the Shengal region. What the IS did not manage to do is now meant to be accomplished through the agreement. It is a decision that completely disregards Shengal. If the focus of the agreement were indeed Shengal and the Yazidis, they would ask for their opinion of those who have resisted in Shengal for years and have built up a system under great sacrifices. Also in view of the threat against Rojava, it is clear that this is all about the plan to cut the connection there".

Uca criticized the other parties in South Kurdistan for their silence. The politician warned that similar agreements could be made for all the so-called "disputed areas" and asked: "How can the KDP make such a decision alone?”