“When America needs us, they call,” the woman tells me. “But will they forget what we have done when we need them?”Khota Kider is a commander of a female Kurdish brigade, and her question resonates here in Iraqi Kurdistan, on the front lines in the war against the Islamic State group (ISIS). A stateless people of roughly 25 million, Kurds live in oil-rich parts of Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria. They’re known for their skill on the battlefield, and they’ve long felt that other countries—especially the U.S.—use them as proxies, then abandon them when they’re no longer needed.
The Battle Against ISIS in Mosul Could Lead to an Independent Iraqi Kurdistan