Iraq’s most urgent challenge is to eliminate the Islamic State (IS), but that battle will be just a prelude to myriad conflicts in liberated areas such as Sinjar and Tuz Khormato if the rival parties can’t reach a consensus on their future status.
The forces that helped liberate the areas — namely the peshmerga, Shiite militias and minority Sunni forces, among others — are already disputing who will control the lands.
Once Sinjar was freed Nov. 12 by various Kurdish and local Yazidi forces, armed and political conflicts ignited between forces of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) peshmerga.
The dispute seemed simple enough in the beginning, as Kurdistan, the PKK, Yazidis and others rushed to raise their partisan flags over major government buildings. But that rush prompted Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani to say Nov. 13 that only the Kurdistan flag could be raised.
That same day, Haider Shesho, commander of the Protection Force of Sinjar, accused the Kurdish parties involved in the fighting against IS of advancing their factional interests over those of Sinjar.
The current disputes in Sinjar reflect Kurdish internal conflict as well as Turkish influence on the Kurdish situation.