This series of images shows how the Kurdish parties in the neighboring countries of Iraq,Turkey, Syria and Iran are managing to put aside their political disagreements and ideological differences to unite in defending the Kurdish people.
As a photographer of Kurdistan this work means a great deal to me. I feel this series of portraits of Pesh Merga fighters visually represents a unity between the Kurds that hasn’t been seen before, brought together in one place to defend one idea. That the aspirations of the Kurdish people can unite the political and military powers of self-determination amongst a people with the same nationality, language and culture.
There is no doubt that the region is witnessing a dramatic redrawing of its map, not seen since the end of World War 1 and the Sykes-Picot agreement that created the modern nations of Turkey, Iraq and Syria. Kurdistan is not immune to this redrawing, but the difference is that the Sykes-Picot led to the breakup of Kurdistan, split between several countries. Yet in this current redrawing there are signs of a unified Kurdistan looming.
While Western support for the Kurds as allies has emerged in the fight against ISIS or The Islamic State, thus proving that Kurdistan has become one of the priorities of the West, one must be careful to assume that America and the Western powers would support full Kurdish independence. The initiation of air strikes on Daash/ISIS terrorist sites in Iraq, and then in Syria, after the start of the Daash war on the Kurds and Kurdistan, have raised the hopes of Kurdish separatists and formed a natural partnership between the Kurds and the West as a result.
The Kurdish political parties, with this new unity, will hopefully lead to an end to their differences, to form a unified political option for Western Kurdistan, and the formation of a joint administration and military force defending the Kurdish people and territorial gains in this part of Kurdistan.