#UnitedWeWin: A Blunt Look at Iraq’s Front Lines in the War on the Islamic State

Courtesy #UnitedWeWin

#UnitedWeWin is a short documentary that follows four university students that travel to the front lines of Iraq to see what the international community is doing in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS).

In collaboration with the Council on Global Security, they meet with Generals of the Peshmerga Army only to find out how limited resources the Kurdish forces have at their disposal.

“History has shown that it was a huge mistake to withdraw all the troops from Iraq in 2011, without a residual force status agreement. The Iraqi government was unable to tackle the growth of insurgency, and as a result, ISIS managed to take full advantage of the vacuum that was left behind,”says Henrik Friis de Magalhães e Meneses, Director of #UnitedWeWin. “Our goal with #UnitedWeWin is to spread a positive message to the millions of people who have been affected by this conflict and largely been ignored by the international community,” he continued. “Change is coming, and if we, the global community and governments from around the world, can unite together despite our differences, then we will be able to send a clear message to ISIS that their time is up.”

Henrik adds that there are three elements to solving this conflict. One is solving the political situation not only in Syria but also in Iraq. It has also been abundantly clear that the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds do not get along in Iraq. At the Makhmur front line, Commander Najat Ali said that the best thing for Iraq would be to separate Iraq into three regions: Sunni, Shiite, and Kurd.

Ideologically, he says, Arab nations need to take a stronger stance and speak out against extreme interpretations of Islam, especially the Wahhabi and Salafi ideologies. Thirdly, the military component. ISIS will not be defeated by diplomacy. To defeat ISIS, it is crucial that their financial facilities and supply routes are destroyed in order to prevent their supply of money and other resources.

The Peshmerga appreciate the little support they have gotten. The limited airstrikes have proven to be helpful, especially in the liberation of Sinjar. However, more can be done. Ferhang, a Canadian/Kurdish soldier, expressed frustration in how disengaged the international community has been in this entire conflict. More airstrikes, weapons and special forces are some of the crucial tools needed to win the war against ISIS. The question is, how long will it take for the international community to put these measures into place?

#UnitedWeWin recently premiered at the Hollywood Raleigh Studios and won Best Documentary and the Audience Award at Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards.

Watch the trailer for #UnitedWeWin below:

Tera Dahl is Executive Director of the Council on Global Security.


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