The whole world watched the Shengal genocide as if it was a movie. Unfortunately, nobody took action to stop this massacre. There was an absolute humanitarian tragedy. Yazidis (Êzidîs) experienced the greatest trauma of recent history. On the fourth anniversary of the Shengal massacre, there is still a need for this massacre to be analyzed in all aspects and brought to light still. Was the reason for the 73 genocides, the inhuman cruelty and genocide just that the Yazidis have a different faith? What other factors are at play? Who are attacking Yazidis, and why? Who has how much responsibility? These questions need to be asked and answered.
Siba Şêx Xidir and Til Zerê residential areas were attacked by explosive laden trucks on August 14, 2007 and there was a massacre. The perpetrators of this massacre and their motives still haven’t been brought to light. It shouldn’t be ignored that the attacks were based on political interests as much as a difference in faith. Like in August 2014 the KDP, responsible for defending Yazidis in the ISIS massacre, failed to carry out this duty and caused a social tragedy, they had a political responsibility in the massacre of August 2007. Not only a political responsibility, they had knowledge of and a role in the planning and execution of this massacre. It was revealed that the Turkish MİT was involved in this massacre. Shengal and thus Yazidis have been used as pawns for politics.
FOUNDATIONS FOR THE MASSACRE LAID IN 2007
A new constitution was drafted in post-Saddam Iraq in 2003. According to article 140 in this constitution, conflicted areas were to hold referendums to determine their status. The referendum planned for 2007 was to determine whether the line from Makhmur to Shengal, including Kirkuk, was to be under the Iraqi central government or the Kurdistan regional government. As Shengal was attacked with explosive laden trucks before the referendum, the vote could not be held and the fate of these conflicted areas was not clarified. Defining the August 2007 massacre without establishing its ties to the referendum would be obscuring the truth. A massacre scenario was devised and it was enacted by those whose plans for the referendum failed. The Yazidis were chosen as victims in this. KDP used this massacre as an excuse to fortify their own area of influence. Shengal was officially under the Mosul province, but in effect it came under control of the Kurdistan regional government. This in sum is the political play over the deaths of over 500 Yazidis. Who carried out the massacre is just a detail. If the massacres of Siba Şeyh Xidir and Tilezer are to be analyzed correctly, they should be considered in relation to the future of Shengal and the referendum.
The Yazidi genocide in Shengal in August 2014 is similar. The ISIS gangs attacking Mosul is the fruit of the same political tree. They wanted to balance symbolic Kurdish presidency, a symbolic Sunni parliament chair post and a strong and effective Shia Iraqi administration with ISIS. The Shia Iraqi government and Iran, gaining more and more influence, were to be restricted with ISIS against the growth of Shiaism in Iraq. It is the self-expression of the Sunni block through ISIS. The Turkish state, KDP and some Arab countries, and primarily the residue from Saddam, are the collective of accomplices.
SHENGAL WAS HANDED OVER, LIKE MOSUL WAS HANDED OVER TO ISIS
The gang group that assumed the name the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham targets mostly different faith groups and Kurds. Breaking the PKK control in the lands ISIS targets and eliminating the Kurds influenced by the PKK would serve ISIS in gaining territory, would allow the Turkish state some comfort and would push the KDP forth as a model. It would also serve to break the influence of Shiaism in Iraq. This is the politics of interest that birthed this monstrosity. ISIS attempted to advance by burning and destroying everything that crossed their path – until they were stopped in Kobanê. Shengal was handed over the same way that Mosul was handed over to ISIS. Those who tied their hopes to ISIS’s advance allowed them to advance quickly. That was why Shengal was left undefended. The Yazidi society was stuck victimized by political interests once more. A force making these dirty plans over Shengal and the Yazidi people claiming to be the conqueror of Shengal and claiming rights is such a sad contradiction.
“PKK WAS THE ONLY FORCE”
The states of the world were silently watching the Yazidi genocide in Shengal, and the PKK was the only force that intervened with the massacre with their own limited resources. Despite KDP’s obstacles and arrests against the intervening force, they stood against the ISIS attacks and prevented the massacre from achieving the ultimate result. PKK forces defended the Yazidi lands at the price of their lives. They opened a corridor for the people in the throes of hunger and thirst, desperate in the scorching desert sun, and removed the Yazidis from the area. The first intervention was an urgent intervention. It was done to save the people from the jaws of the beast, so to speak.
Analyzing the PKK’s intervention in Shengal as just stopping the Yazidi massacre, aiding the Yazidis, defending the Yazidi lands and transporting the Yazidis through a corridor would be lacking and insufficient. The PKK has made an intervention that goes beyond all these.
The PKK’s intervention in Shengal should be analyzed correctly. The PKK intervention is in such a way that won’t allow for further massacres or genocides against the Yazidi people who have suffered 73 genocides. The PKK’s intervention is in such a way that won’t allow for Shengal and the Yazidis to be sacrificed for political interests ever again.
The time to take advantage of the closed nature of the Yazidi society, the way they have been left out of politics and without self-defense, their financial struggles, the insecurity created by the small size of the population and using the Yazidis as pawns is over. Yazidis have evolved into a structure that will allow them to defend themselves and protect themselves against any attacks instead of the Yazidi people being used in wars as soldiers or peshmerga according to others’ interests. The youth, the women have organized themselves and have launched intense efforts to get to a point where they can answer the needs of the Yazidi society. Yazidis have become a society that learned to stand on their own without any outside help. It is an important achievement that they are handling political, military and diplomatic efforts over the Yazidi people’s organizations. What is happening in Shengal is a women’s revolution. The self-defense force YBŞ organizing the military structure and the security forces is no small feat.
SHENGAL SHOULD BE AUTONOMOUS
The Yazidis are developing their self-government. The assembly efforts have created a significant experience. They need to be more institutionalized, assumed as the governing model and go into action. Whether Shengal is under the Iraqi central government or the Kurdistan regional government, in any case, it needs to have an autonomous status. Considering the facts that the threat against Shengal is not completely removed and that it was a conflicted area and part of the Article 140, there is still a long way to go. But despite everything, the Yazidis are going through a process where they learn by doing, and do by learning. The fortune and the history of the Yazidis have changed.
The PKK’s intervention in Shengal is geared towards building a new social system. It aims to create a free and political society. Most recently, a mixed group of gangs have resorted to military force and attacked Khanasor with Roj Peshmergas and counter units on March 3, 2017. They have murdered some ten of our friends and wounded others. They opened fire targeting women. Two female friends fell martyr while dozens of others were wounded. Failing to achieve results via provocative attempts on Shengal, KDP has resorted to dirtier tricks and are trying to pressure and intimidate the people. They want to achieve results via intimidation, arrests and buying people out. If that wasn’t enough, the Shengal mountain was also targeted by the Turkish state’s aerial attacks.
All of the Yazidi massacres were carried out during the Ottoman period. The Yazidis who fled Ottoman genocides and sought refuge in the Shengal mountain back in the day are now threatened by aerial attacks, to finish off the survivors of the ISIS massacres.
The partnership between the KDP and the Turkish state over Shengal has been exposed once more with these attacks. This alliance over animosity and murder of Yazidis is also a tacit alliance with ISIS. PKK’s intervention in Shengal is a permanent response to animosity against the Yazidi people.