Murphy's Law: The Somewhat United Nations Of Iraq

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March 25, 2015: Another minority in Iraq, the Yazidi, have asked for international help in forming their own militia. The Yazidi are often described as Kurds but they are not and have apparently been in the region longer than the Kurds but often live among Kurds because both groups are often persecuted and there is safely in numbers. Despite that the Yazidi don’t want to depend on the Kurds for protection. Like many minorities in Iraq (and the region) the Yazidi don’t trust the majority Moslem sects (Sunni and Shia) to protect them and have often formed self-defense forces in the past. The Sunni governments (ending with Saddam Hussein) and the Shia government that succeeded Saddam discouraged Yazidi militias.

There are only about 600,000 Yazidi in Iraq and nearly ten times as many Kurds. In January 2015 the head of a Yazidi militia in northern Iraq called on Israel to provide weapons and training so the Yazidi and Israel can better fight their common enemy ISIL. Israel did not respond, at least not publically. The Yazidis want to arm themselves because they fear extermination and see a threat that not even their alliance with the Kurds will protect them from.

Many Moslems, and some Christians, consider the Yazidi pagans and devil worshipers. Most people just see Yazidis as practitioners of yet another ancient Middle Eastern religion. The Yazidi practice a pre-Christian (and pre-Jewish) religion related to the pre-Islamic Zoroastrian religion common in Iran (and now only found in India). The Yazidis are considered pagans by ISIL and to Moslems pagans must either renounce their beliefs or die.

Israel is always willing to work with persecuted religious minorities, who can often provide useful information and other services in return. This puts these minorities in more danger in the Middle East, but that has always been the case because Islam is one of the most violently intolerant religions on the planet and has been that way from the beginning. Israel has worked with the Kurds for decades, but keeps this cooperation quiet in order to placate the Arab Moslems (Kurds are mostly Sunni). Israel has also quietly sent aid to other persecuted minorities in Iraq. Some believe this is in memory of past help these minorities provided to get Jews out of Iraq (where their families had lived for thousands of years) in the 1940s and 50s. Whatever the case, if Israel arms the Yazidis they won’t issue press releases or leave any evidence that they did it. Any other Western nations that decide to help the Yazidis will probably also do it quietly.

Unlike the Kurds, the Yazidi don’t want autonomy they just want to be left alone. There are only about a million Yazidi worldwide and over a quarter of them now live outside the Middle East. Those in Iraq see themselves as the protector of the ancient Yazidi homeland. Many Yazidi consider the Kurds to be Yazidi who lost touch with the ancient traditions. That may explain why they don’t like being called Kurds. Yazidi speak Kurdish, which is an Indo-European language related to Farsi (the main language of Iran) and all other Indo-European languages in Central Asia, Europe, Pakistan and northern India.  The Iranian tribes split (from those that went towards Europe) over 4,000 years ago and invaded the Middle East (via Iran), Central Asia (Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan) and northern India. The Yazidi religion is the sole living descendent of the original faith of those original Indo-European tribes that moved south and west from their place of origin in the Eurasian Plains. The Yazidis have found that seniority brings mostly persecution rather than respect and protection.  

 


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