Ziyad Raoof KRG Representative to Poland- statement on omitting the role of Peshmerga in Iraqi Prime Minister’s speech after defeating ISIS

Ladies and Gentleman,


After taking by Iraqi forces the last ISIS positions, on Saturday 9 December prime minister Haider al-Abadi delivered the special “victory speech”. Prime minister listed all armed groups that contributed to victory and congratulated them. However, he did not mentioned nary a word about Peshmerga. There is no doubt that it was deliberate, provocative act.

It was grave insult for all the Kurds. In the fight against ISIS 1824 Peshmerga were killed, 10 540 injured, 62 are still missing. It is not exaggeration to say that in critical moment of ISIS offensive in 2014 Peshmerga saved Iraq. Iraqi army disgraced itself by series of defeats, being in total disarray. It gave up Mosul without fight leaving arsenal and warehouses full of new American equipment, in panic retreated to Baghdad, Iraqi generals sought shelter in Kurdistan. On August 2014 Peshmerga bear the brunt of ISIS strike, counter the attack and then forced terrorists to retreat. Simultaneously, Kurd gave a shelter to 1 800 000 refugees including more than million Iraqis.

Over the following years, Peshmerga inflicted terrorists a series of defeats cooperating in unison with Iraqi Army until recapturing Mosul. Nowadays, only half a year after battle of Mosul, Iraqi authorities try to rewrite history and erase the role of Kurdish army. Such attempts are particularly offensive for families of killed and wounded Peshmerga, but also doomed to failure because the world still remember important role of Kurds in victory over ISIS. World leaders have repeatedly praised bravery of Peshmerga and this will not be changed by any speeches of Iraqi politicians.

Haider Abadi’s speech was collectively condemned by Kurdistan Regional Government and all Kurdish MPs from Iraqi parliament. One day later Iraqi Prime Minister posted on facebook about defeating ISIS this time mentioning Peshmerga. However, Saturday speech was undoubtedly deliberate provocation. Previous Haider Abadi’s speech given December 6 also proclaims it. At the Dawa party event he considered the attack against Tuz Khurmatu, Kirkuk and other areas on October 16th as a great victory and compared it to the defeat of ISIS terrorists in Iraq. Considering that at the same time the prime minister is not responding to the subsequent calls of the Kurdistan Regional Government and the international community for dialogue, it is difficult not to agree with the opinion of the Kurds: central government in Baghdad try to increase control over Kurdistan Region, but it does not intend to treat Kurds as an equal part of Iraqi society.