There aren’t many silver linings to the dark cloud of ISIS, but one of them is newfound Western appreciation for the Kurds, a remarkable people who got shoved off the stage of history during the 2000s, because American liberals were desperate to make the invasion of Iraq look like a total mistake. Sympathetic people victimized by Saddam Hussein complicated that narrative.
But now the Kurds are critical to Obama’s nebulous non-war plans to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the non-Islamic Islamic State, and the severe threat to the Kurdish capital of Irbil is one of the things that brought the Golfer-in-Chief off the links (along with the near-genocide of the Yazidis) so all the cool kids are paying attention to them. The Kurds stand out as the only group that seems willing and able to go toe-to-toe with ISIS, and their fighting spirit is matched by a sincere desire among Iraqi Kurds to improve their autonomous (and maybe soon, fully independent) government.
The battlefield performance of the Kurdish peshmerga is even more impressive when you consider just how badly outgunned they were against ISIS… a heroic detail I suspect American media has been under-reporting because it complicates the Obama narrative a bit too much. “Why the heck were our stalwart allies fighting with rusty Soviet equipment and running short on ammo?” is one of the questions you’re not supposed to ask when you’re pretending our super-genius President was led astray by inept U.S. intelligence agencies.
The UK Daily Mail has an incredible pictorial essay of the improvised fighting vehicles thrown together by the peshmerga to to battle with ISIS. They’re all great, but this one’s my favorite:
Out: bending swords into plowshares. In: converting tractors into tanks.
OK, one more, but then fair use obliges me to send you to the Daily Mail for the rest:
Tell me you don’t hear the “A-Team” theme playing in your head when you look at these things.
As for what the peshmerga is up against, the Daily Mail explains:
In order to resist ISIS’ high-tech firepower, the Kurdish forces have converted tractors and other farm equipment into heavily-armoured vehicles fitted aging Soviet-era guns.
Previously troops from the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria had little more than rifles and flak jackets – making them incredibly vulnerable in the face of heavily-armed ISIS terrorists.
Much of the weaponry and military equipment currently in the hands of the jihadists was gathered after thousands of members of the U.S. trained and expensively equipped Iraqi army melted away in the face of a lightning advance by just a few hundred ISIS militants in June.
As the soldiers fled the scene, they left behind millions of pounds worth of top-of-the-range and barely used equipment – all of which was quickly swept up by ISIS.
Since then the Kurdish peshmerga forces have carried out the defence of much of northern Syria and Iraq, despite the fact many of the militants only know how to operate clunky, decades-old Soviet-era weapons and are hugely under-resourced in terms of ammunition and protective equipment.
Thanks, Obama! Please, tell us some more about how you personally killed bin Laden, leaving al-Qaeda decimated and on the run, so “the tides of war receded” and left no reason for an American military presence in Iraq.