Duhok – The conflict that has been smoldering for months between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (kurd. PDK) and the Kurdistan Workers´ Party (kurd. PKK) over the disputed region Shingal in northern Iraq is becoming increasingly severe. After high-ranking PDK generals of the Peshmerga announced that the Peshmerga will not include other forces in the offensive to liberate the southern Shingal region, PDK officials have gone the extra mile.
Sheikh Shamo, a Yezidi PDK politician and member of the Kurdish parliament in Erbil, said in a statement published on Thursday that Shingal belonged to the PDK, calling the PKK an occupation force. They would not accept “the plan of the PKK”, adding that the PKK and the PYD, the political arm of the YPG, were not in Shingal to liberate the region but to occupy it. Alone the PDK and Barzani would be those defending Yezidis and Shingal. “Where have they (editor´s note: YPG and PKK) been for a year?”, “why haven´t they liberated Shingal up to now?”, asked Shamo without answering himself the question of where the Peshmerga and the PDK had been.
Shamo is the only Yezidi MP and is considered corrupt. With a scandoulous interview in August 2014 he entirely antagonised the Yezidis, saying that Yezidis should be proud that – thanks to them – the international community was finally helping the Kurdish government. The catastrophe in Shingal was “an international conspiracy against the PDK”, Shamo added.
Due to the political differences and recent statements made by the Peshmerga, Yezidi combat units joined forces and released a statement yesterday. The PDK fears a loss of power in Shingal after its forces fled the region in August last year and enabled a genocide against the civilian population by the “Islamic State”. Shingal is viewed as a new sphere of influence by the PDK as it is being bumped by the political parties Gorran and PUK in the east of the Kurdish autonomous region where most recently demonstrations escalated and several demonstrators were shot by PDK security forces. This had been precided by attacks on PDK offices. The PDK then blamed Gorran for the escalation and immediately unseated four Gorran MPs against the law, including the Speaker of Parliament.
In August 2014 units of the Kurdish PKK and YPG entered Shingal and counterposed the IS together with Yezidi resistance fighters of the YBS and HPS. In Shingal city, it is primarily YBS, YPG and PKK fighters engaging in a bloody urban combat with IS terrorists. Dozens of fighters have already died.
For the PDK, however, the PKK´s intervention and presence of its fighters in Shingal constitue an interference in internal affairs. The party fears for its influence and is making every effort now to oust the PKK from the region as far as possible.
Disputes already erupted a few days ago when PDK Peshmerga blocked the PKK´s and YPG´s primary route to northern Syria. Above all, there are fears of a proxy war that will be fought by Yezidi fighters from the respective parties. Yezidi politicians should therefore contribute to a deescalation and tone down statements.