, 88 tweets, 32 min read Read on Twitter
1) A MONUMENTAL DAY: The #KDP has FULLY WITHDRAWN from #Sinjar. I'm completely SPEECHLESS—(well, not completely): Bye-bye KDP!
#Yazidi #Iraq
2) After over 3 years of fighting for this outcome, the #Yazidi community has finally scored a major victory in reclaiming their homeland.
3) After #Peshmerga withdrew from Kirkuk yesterday (for which the PUK was hit w/ blame), the effect continues in KDP-controlled areas today.
4) Once Iraqi forces made it clear that they intended to resume administration over KDP-controlled disputed territories, the KDP chose to >>
5) < vacate those areas without resisting. Here one day, gone the next. There was no fighting in Sinjar—this transition has thankfully >>
6) < occurred without any violence or bloodshed. After the order to withdraw was received, the #Peshmerga based in #Sinjar >>
7) < began their withdrawal after midnight, in the early hours of this morning (Oct 17). They first pulled their front line south of the >>
8) < mountain back to the city. (There is no more IS in the area—beyond this front line was just the Hashd al-Sha'bi in the area.)
9) From the city they organized a full withdrawal and departed to the north side, passing through Snune (where other KDP personnel also >>
10) < began withdrawing) & headed back to Dohuk. The withdrawal of KDP Peshmerga/asaish/other personnel from north side was completed later.
11) No more #KDP asaish. No more #Peshmerga Rojava. No more KDP checkpoints. They are all empty now.
12) Some civilians tried to loot government offices in Snune, but local #Yazidi police (#Iraqi central gov police force) prevented this:
13) Some people believe that the #Peshmerga leadership in #Sinjar knew that this was coming, before the actual order to withdraw was given.
14) Some #Yazidis connected to sources in the Hashd al-Sha’bi say that at least a week ago they were told that this was coming.
15) A #Yazidi man I spoke to who was in #Sinjar yesterday told me that he felt something strange in the air, perhaps the "winds of change."
16) He said that the faces of the KDP asaish and militia commanders looked downcast, as though they had a sense that this might happen.
17) #Yazidis are very happy—except, of course, for the minority that were beneficiaries of #KDP patronage. In fact, even before the >>
18) < Peshmerga withdrew this morning, the local Yazidi PDK political and military leaders were the first to leave Sinjar.
19) These were all unelected party appointees, including Sinjar "mayor" Mahama Khalil, head of PDK Peshmerga Qasim Shesho, the head of >>
20) < the Snune Subdistrict Naif Seido, etc. This withdrawal is not only military but also political—the KDP will never rule #Sinjar again.
21) A #Yazidi boy removes the #Kurdistan flag in Snune (north side of #Sinjar Mountain), this morning, Oct 17, 2017:
22) The large #Barzani image next to the Qasim Derbo monument (on top of #Sinjar Mountain) removed and destroyed by #Yazidis this morning:
23) For an explanation of the image in the last tweet, see this article: joshualandis.com/blog/krg-targe…
24) Video of some #Yazidi Hashd leaders/civilian supporters entering #Sinjar admin offices early this morning:
25) #Yazidi Hashd fighters raising the #Iraqi flag in #Sinjar City at 3:00 am this morning.
26) Photos are now circulating showing #Yazidi Hashd forces inside the administrative offices in #Sinjar & Snune:
27) Sources in Sinjar now report that the only Peshmerga remaining in the entire district are a few of Haider Shesho’s “Peshmerga.”
28) Haider has been #KDP affiliated until today, but has a reputation for conveniently opportunistic compromise:
29) Haider went from PUK to KDP to—today, apparently—Baghdad. In contrast with Haider, Qasim Shevan was a resolutely unaffiliated leader >>
30) < of local fighters defending Sinjar until joining the Hashd al-Sha’bi after they liberated the southern collectives.
31) This is Qasim Shevan today in the office of "former mayor" Mahama Khalil in #Sinjar City:
32) All of the disputed territories have their separate histories and problems. I think it is wrong to gloat about what happened in #Kirkuk.
33) #Kirkuk is a diverse city in which #Kurds, Arabs, and #Turkmen all have a claim. It is sad that the dynamic has become one of >>
34) winners/losers. I spoke earlier to a Kirkuki friend in tears, whose family fled in fear (perhaps needlessly, but fearful nonetheless).
35) For Kirkuki #Kurdish families like this one, the loss of the city is humiliating and a blow to the dream of independence for #Kurdistan.
36) History cannot provide solutions regarding who has the “right” to rule #Kirkuk. Abandoning ethnic nationalisms and creating an >>
37) < environment of political and cultural inclusivity would be the only way to resolve the dispute without bloodshed and displacement.
38) Sadly, while blaming Baghdad for not being more inclusive, the #KRG itself used rhetoric ahead of the #referendum that hardened the >>
39) < boundaries of identity and fomented national separateness. Masoud, Nechirvan, Bayan Sami Abdulrahman, etc. pushed this line that >>
40) < “Kurds have no future in Iraq.” But now more than ever, it looks like #Kurds don’t have a future apart from #Iraq:
41) After these last two days, #Barzani now has less territory than he had before 2014.
42) Amazing to think that between the last time he tweeted and the next time he tweets, #Barzani may have lost all the disputed territories.
43) #Barzani’s downfall is his own doing—he set himself up for it by pushing this #referendum forward against the advice of his closest >>
44) friends and allies. The #referendum has now completely blown up in the face of its author. Even if the KDP tries to put all the blame >>
45) < on the #PUK for the loss of Kirkuk, people will still view Barzani as ineffective in that he couldn't maintain the unity of the KRI >>
46) < in holding these territorial gains—in addition to not being able to hold the disputed territories where the #KDP had hegemony.
48) #Sinjar is quite different from #Kirkuk in that the vast majority of Yazidis view the KDP as an external entity that wants to rule them.
49) The point is that Kurdish political options have much more legitimacy among #Kurdish Kirkukis than among Yazidis in Sinjar.
50) The non-Kurdish segments of Kirkuki society might be analogous to Yazidis in Sinjar, but in the case of the latter, a large, pro-KRG >>
51) < bloc similar to the Kurds in Kirkuk is absent.
52) The #KDP knows this but has ignored the wishes of the #Yazidis over the past 3 years, insisting on their now defunct claim to rule them.
53) And therefore.... I have no problem with a bit of gloating about what has happened today in #Sinjar.
54) A former US diplomat who worked in the US consulate in Erbil during the #Yazidi Genocide has this to say:
55) Today is a first step toward what Yazidis have been demanding for the past three years: the chance to develop their own administration.
56) Today is a very happy day in Sinjar—even many #Yazidi Peshmerga who served under Qasim Shesho for a salary are happy—but it is not an >>
57) < easy road ahead. Local competitions and tribal politics will still pose many challenges to developing stable security & governance.
58) Today marks a crucial moment in which it is vital for the international community to work with #Iraq, foster accountability, and help >>
59) < the Yazidis to develop the kinds of local institutions of governance and security that they want. This is not a call for external >>
60) < meddling; Sinjari Yazidis have been begging for this kind of support, and the opportunity to provide it is finally here.
61) These measures are important in ensuring that the KDP’s abusive authoritarianism isn't replaced w/ yet a new form of exploitative power.
62) There is talk today that already Baghdad has appointed a new "mayor" for Sinjar, without an election. I haven't heard "provisional" >>
63) < or "temporary" attached to this title, which is worrying, even though many local Yazidis seem to have a good opinion of him.
64) Future relations between the #PKK and Iraqi forces in #Sinjar remain unclear. Relations between PKK affiliates & Hashd have been uneasy.
65) PKK voices are asserting that they have no problem with the Iraqi forces and so on, and of course they want to maintain this line, >>
66) < because they are not in a strong position to compete with Iraqi forces in #Sinjar now, and want to avoid confrontation.
67) However, the #YBŞ have now moved in and occupied many checkpoints and positions that the #KDP #Peshmerga vacated this morning.
68) Will the #YBŞ/#PKK try to maintain their presence in these areas of #Sinjar when #Iraqi forces arrive? No one knows how this will be >>
69) < resolved, but it is unlikely that Baghdad would accommodate some kind of ongoing PKK presence. The PKK doesn't have the flexibility >>
70) < to adapt to the unique context in Sinjar and share political power under Iraqi authority; it has pushed an exclusive ideological >>
71) < paradigm of Kurdish nationalism that many Yazidis have found alienating. This has involved telling Yazidis that they are "not part >>
72) < #Iraq," a message that many don't want to hear at this time and that certainly won’t go over well with the new boss in town.
73) Nevertheless, many local Yazidis maintain strong feelings of loyalty toward the #PKK after it/affiliates saved them from #IS in 2014.
74) Even if the several hundred #PKK guerillas now still in #Sinjar were to leave, the #YBŞ has recruited over 2,000 local #Yazidis.
75) This entity will not dissolve as easily as a Barzani phone call brought the KDP back to Dohuk.
76) Facing southward—a KDP checkpoint at Dare Karse (entrance to #Sinjar Mountain from Snune) now occupied by the #YBŞ since this morning.
77) #Yazidi #YBŞ fighters (#PKK affiliate) now inside the #KDP party headquarters in Snune:
78) The #YBŞ flag placed this morning (Oct. 17) at the #KDP party headquarters in Snune:
79) The outcome between #Baghdad and the #PKK will largely unfold according to whatever actions #Iraq takes regarding the border between >>
80) < Sinjar and #Syria. This border is the link between PKK affiliates in #Sinjar and PYD/#YPG in #Rojava. This is one main economic and >>
81) < humanitarian corridor for Sinjar now, as farming and livelihood goods are being brought to Sinjar from as far away as Aleppo.
82) The question is how Iraq will try to regain control of this border, as it will no doubt regain control of the border between the Arab >>
83) < area of Rabi'a and #Syria, further north/east. Will it find it convenient to leave the PKK in Sinjar for now, or negotiate their exit?
84) ALSO: Now is the time for NGOs to pursue a renewed humanitarian focus in #Sinjar, as many #Yazidi families will want to come home soon.
85) Thousands have already returned—assuming that today's reduction of 3 players to two will spell more stability, the returns will continue
86) The #Sinjar District remains largely without schools and basic utilities. Reconstruction and livelihood support are urgently needed.
87) Apologies if this thread from hell was at all disjointed or unclear in places—I was up all night and am hearing from many happy people.
88) The #KDP #Peshmerga is now quite good at fleeing #Sinjar—they’ve had practice to refine the procedure! Bye-bye KDP!!!!
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