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The geography of bloodshed – carving into Islam

THE LEVANT  – By Akif Emre – While we are still trying to elaborate the last incidents in Iraq, we don’t mind putting our clichés into the topic and simply putting it away as ‘America is behind ISIL’. This way we get rid of all of our responsibilities and supposedly solve the most enigmatic question of the region in a moment. Of course, every kind of incident in a country like Iraq, the center or summary of the Middle East, is in the interest of the US as is the case with the Syrian issue. However, to skip the social, historical background, political developments, local actors and take the easy way out immediately does not solve the questions. Looking at the incident from a geostrategic equation, those, who argue that a Shia crescent has risen with the latent allegiance between America and Iran, are just as coherent when explaining that there is a strategically breaking of the above equation through the allegiance between Sunnis (howsoever represents Sunnism) and the US.

The fact that ISIL cut its road transportation to Syria directly is eliminating the cliché analysis that ISIL was established by Assad. It would be meaningful to pose the question, ‘What kind of a role do the resilient groups against the invasion of Iraq by the US play along with the regional forces not opposed to the US hegemonic power? This is a good field to find out how the geostrategic calculations, power and interesting relationships are stripped off from morality and blended with pragmatism. At first glance, it is always hard to notice who the actor is and who is being used. Especially if the American pragmatism is involved; it means the line of the argument will get even more jammed. Those who take out their axes ‘in the name of shadows’ may not be the same with those who are targeted.

The most concrete incident on the ISIL front came out during their conflict with the Kurds. The armed forces of the Kurdish region, the Peshmerga, were less resistant than they were expected to be, and they submitted a certain location to the hands of ISIL. The expulsion of Yezidis from their green-lush living areas became a human tragedy. The figures of the American military contradict the physical existence of the Yazidi migration as presented in the media. In these situations, it is clear that a relentless violence and slaughter is being conducted in which there is the possibility of a manipulative dimension. The retreat of the Peshmerga even brought up the topic of the Mahmur Camp evacuation. The town of Arbil being in danger was one of the red lines of the US. Due to the image and strategic concerns of the loss, the US announced that it would not let the Arbil administration go under a risk, which is considered the only successful side of the American invasion. Hence, the air force strike was brought up.

However, in the meantime there was another important incident taking place in Turkey. The PKK and its extension in Syria, PYD’s military wing, engaged in a war battle against ISIL. This brought PKK militants down from Qandil to fight against ISIL shoulder to shoulder with Americans who took them to the terror list. It is important to note that this has an important psychological meaning as well as its military sense.

The ISIL’ non-hesitant slaughters of other Muslims and non-Muslims reinforced the already existing Islamophobia in the West. It is absolute that this will be used as a pretext to legitimize many political and military operations addressing Muslims not only restricted to Iraq or Syria, as it will refer to a larger geography expanding the whole Middle East. It is like showing and having one’s consent for Sisi.

This image is carved on the minds very deeply. The attempt to have allegiance with the West, rather than its military value, is much more important to PKK for its political image and consequences. It is clear that they are expecting to have a positive result similar to the mindset of Saddam’s support for religious structures and especially him fostering the Baathist secularism against the Iran danger.

What is the meaning of a non-religious and even an anti-religion, Marxist-Stalinist origin organization going on war against an organization labeled as religious? It is difficult to anticipate whether it will be enough for PKK to be exculpated through this last attempt, which became a PR war in view of the West and in particular, the US but it definitely gave a way for it.

Another dimension of the war on ISIL is strictly relevant with its future competition between the Peshmerga and PKK. The recapturing of strategic locations by Peshmerga through American support or at least preventing Arbil from going under gunfire portrays how significant this competition is. Kurds had thus a little rehearsal with guns in identifying their savior and who the boss will be in Northern Iraq.

Beyond all these war games and strategic calculations, the destruction of the fabric that Muslims have been building for centuries in the Middle East is being established as a geography of bloodshed due to multiple separations. Among the most tragic separations is the hostility between the Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims or the conflicts between Muslim Arabs and Kurds or the internal conflicts among Arabs. If we don’t behave ourselves, the Middle East will pay a huge price.

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