Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Peshmerga war crimes?

Amnesty International has a report that says there's evidence of a "concerted campaign" of displacement and destruction of homes by the KRG to punish Arab communities in northern Iraq for their perceived support of ISIS.

A couple of things must be said here. 

First, this is a reminder of the risks--for outside powers--associated with taking sides in a civil war. There's a dilemma. On the one hand it is imperative that you assist those who are willing to fight ISIS. On the other hand, most, if not all of those anti-ISIS actors have innocent blood on their hands.

Second, the actions the report says the Peshmerga did, if true, are reprehensible. But at the same time, it could've been worse. There are many shades of bad. I'll choose angry Peshmerga over smiling Badr any time. Ask Sunni Arabs in Diyala and Salahaddin. 

Third, war brings out the worst in people. It makes you paranoid and hugely increases the risks of giving others the benefit of doubt. Policies that look to an outside observer as collective punishment, are considered preventative/defensive in the eyes of those executing those policies. 

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