Tag Archives: Yazidis

Testimony of an American Fighter with the Syrian Kurds

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on February 18, 2017

1

In November 2016, an American, named only as “Brennan,” who had fought alongside the Kurdish militia in Syria, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), spoke to “Kraut and Tea,” a German atheist YouTuber. Brennan provided some interesting details on the governance methods, ideology, and capabilities of the YPG. Continue reading

Why Solely Backing the PYD Against the Islamic State is a Mistake

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on October 20, 2015

Published at NOW Lebanon.

1

The Pentagon-run train-and-equip (T&E) program had intended to take Syrian rebels, stop them from being rebels by preventing them from fighting the Assad regime, and repurpose them into an American-directed strike force against the Islamic State (ISIS). Unsurprisingly, there were few takers and the program ended in disaster and humiliation. In the wake of this failure, President Barack Obama has turned away from the Arab rebels and looked to the Syrian Kurds to fight ISIS. This is a strategy that is not only doomed to fail—since Sunni Arabs taking responsibility for their local security is the only way to sustainably defeat ISIS—but would, if implemented, make the ISIS problem worse. A report from Amnesty International this week documenting crimes, including ethnic cleansing, by the armed Kurdish forces against Arabs and Turkmens in northern Syria also provides an occasion to look more closely at a force with a history of regime collaboration, political extremism, and terrorism. Continue reading

The Horrors for Women of Islamic State Rule

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on October 12, 2015

Published at Verily 

1

I have always been interested in the Middle East, specifically the Syrian conflict. In early summer 2014, as part of my master’s dissertation, I went to Lebanon to work with the United Nations. I was still there when the Islamic State group, commonly known as ISIS, struck Iraq.  Continue reading

Religion’s Moral Guidance: The Islamic State, the Yazidis, and Mass-Rape

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on October 24, 2014

Yazidis fleeing from the Islamic State to Mount Sinjar, carrying their children

Yazidis fleeing from the Islamic State to Mount Sinjar, carrying their children

When the United States finally intervened against the Islamic State (I.S.) in early August the timing, if not exactly the strategic imperative, was determined at least in part by the scenes of Yazidis being starved to death on the side of Mount Sinjar. The Yazidis were forced to choose between descending the mountain and being murdered by the takfiris or remaining and dying of dehydration. As it turns out they were the lucky ones. Continue reading