New Dangerous Rivalry Between Kurds over Shingal

Map The National

Before someone else writes it down, there is bigger ‘dangerous’ rivalry ongoing between the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Kurdistan (KDP) over power-sharing in the Shingal (Sinjar), rather than between the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and KDP, as suggested in a piece in the New York Times. The non-Muslim town of Sinjar inhabited by Ezidi minority was captured on the 3rd of August by the IS, leading to violent forms of human rights violations. In December, Kurds recaptured Shingal mountains. Competition between the PKK and KDP over Shingal could hamper Kurdish efforts to fight against the Islamic state. Despite capturing the Shingal mountains, there is still fighting going on in the city.

Although the main Iraqi Kurdish parties PUK and KDP are involved in media wars through Facebook and their media outlets over who wins what battle, it is clear which party is dominant at which area at which area (KDP in Mosul, Duhok, Erbil area, PUK in Slemani, Diyala, and Kirkuk area).

Adapted map, can’t find original map
Map Wikipedia official KRG provinces Duhok, Slemani, and Erbil

In Sinjar the situation is not so clear after the Peshmerga lost control in August. The PKK-affiliated organizations want to establish a canton administration in Shingal (similar to the three canton administrations in Kurdish areas of Syria), while the KDP wants to keep it under the ‘KRG’, or Peshmerga control. The PKK played an important role in defending Sinjar mountains, after the Peshmerga’s fled. The two sides need to work to find a compromise, since without cooperation it will be difficult to control Sinjar, or to fight IS. More about this issue can be read here in an article written by the journalist Jonathan Krohn for the National. He was the first journalist to cover this issue.

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Jamestown Analyst & freelance journalist based in Kurdistan vvanwilgenburg @gmail.co m

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Wladimir van Wilgenburg

Jamestown Analyst & freelance journalist based in Kurdistan vvanwilgenburg @gmail.co m