Shengal Autonomous Council: Every attack will be answered

The situation in the Yazidi region of Shengal in southern Kurdistan continues to escalate. The Iraqi government wants to take control of the Yazidi security forces, and the Shengal Autonomous Council vows resistance.

The Shengal Democratic Autonomous Council (Meclîsa Xweseriya Demokratîk a Şengalê, MXDŞ) has met for a special session due to the tense situation in the region. The Iraqi government demanded on Tuesday to hand over the autonomous security forces in Shengal, Asayîşa Êzîdxanê (Yazidi Public Security), to state control within two days. After its meeting, the Shengal Autonomous Council issued a statement calling once again for dialogue. At the same time, it stressed that the Yazidis will not give up their autonomous structures and that any attack will be reciprocated.

"During the previous talks with Iraqi representatives, we were assured that our demands would be taken into account. However, now it looks like decisions have been made without considering our demands. The promises made to us have not been kept. We emphasize once again that we do not want war, but peace. We are in favor of solving all problems through dialogue. At the same time, we inform that no attack on us will remain unanswered," said the Shengal Autonomous Council.

Hesen Hecî, a member of the council, stated: "More plots have been taking place since the ISIS was defeated in Shengal. The people of Shengal are able and willing to govern themselves and determine their own future. An occupation of Shengal is contrary to the Iraqi constitution. The Iraqi government is telling the people of Shengal, ‘We don't recognize you and you have no rights in this state’. We have had dozens of talks with Iraqi government officials over the past six years. All of them have made various promises to us, but none of them have kept their promises."

The Iraqi government had demanded the handover of the Yazidi security forces the previous day, Heci continued, referring to the agreement reached between Baghdad and Hewlêr last October on the future of Shengal: "We are meant to be made slaves. We appeal to the Iraqi government: the constitution applies equally to all Iraqi nationals. If the government moves in with its army, we will respond. We will never accept the injustice and we will not give up our rights. If a decision is to be made on Shengal, it can be done through dialogue. As long as the way for dialogue is still open, we are against war. If, despite our efforts, there is an attack on Shengal, there will be images that no one would want to see. That would hurt all sides."

At the meeting, it was decided to organise protests in Shengal on Thursday. Heci called on Yazidis worldwide to show solidarity with the self-government established in Shengal after the 2014 ISIS genocide.