The War of the Few, the Peace of All

December 11, 2012

As a frontline reporter of the 2003 war in Iraq, as a reporting instructor in the years that followed, and as someone who lived in Baghdad during the insurgency and sectarian war I was disturbed by the way the Kurdistan Region reacted to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s dispatching of Dijla forces into the disputed territories.
Watching the local TV channels, it was very worrying to see how the Kurds immediately took a defiant approach and deployed military figures and important Peshmarga units into the areas, which are claimed both by Baghdad and Erbil.
This happened during a very important oil and gas conference in Erbil, focusing on a sector that thrives on stability, and is enfeebled by war.
The events of the past few weeks suggest that the Kurds do not seem to have learned any lessons about war from history.
War immediately revives old slogans such as, “We will fight to the last drop of blood,” or “Fight for every span of the land,”
The deployment of Peshmarga forces to the hills of Hamreen, south of Kirkuk, should have been done with international public and official support. But nothing from official Kurdish or foreign statements suggests that the move had any international backing.
The question that we should be asking is: What happens if we all go to war as some Kurdish politicians, media and intelligentsia have been suggesting?
The answer is that a lot — if not all — of what has been built in the Kurdistan Region since 2003 will be lost. I don’t mean actual buildings or companies, but our reputation of stability, safety, security and resolving problems through politics, not soldiers.
If these are lost, very little room for peace will remain. Peacemakers will be seen as traitors, because the rhetoric of “to the last drop of blood” will prevail over the will for peace. A war would ruin too much to make peace a goal. Today, peace is still a reality, but conflict will kill this reality.
Last but not least, every war, whether it is won or lost, has its own heroes, and it is their words that later carry weight in society. My advice to those who see the deployment of troops as an extreme and dangerous measure is: Speak now, not after the war.
If you fail to speak now, afterwards the chance will not be yours. The moment will then belong to the war heroes, who will decide whether an article like this is a threat to national security, or if the writer and reader should be thrown into prison.

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    Zeerek Ziad says:

    I think you should re-title this article to read: “the war of all and the peace of a few”.

    Saad says:

    with my respect to Mr. Hiwa’s views, which are not necessarily reflecting logical reasons but rather he tries to be diplomatic in dealing with the subject. I say when the fire reaches your neighbors, be sure it will soon be on your doorstep. so think of something helpful before it is too late.

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