Kurdish Peshmerga nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Statue of a Peshmerga with the Kurdistan flag at the entrance to Kirkuk on the road with Erbil © Levi Clancy

Norwegian lawmaker Himanshu Gulati has nominated the forces of the Kurdish Peshmerga for the Nobel Peace Prize for their contributions in the fight against "the greatest enemy of humanity."

"The Peshmerga have been crucial to the fact we have been able to fight ISIS, which I believe is the greatest enemy of humanity," Gulati said in an interview with the Norwegian online newspaper Nettavisen.

"Without the sacrifices of the Peshmerga victims on the frontline of the battle against ISIS, ISIS probably would be bigger and more powerful than they are today," he said.

Gulati, an MP from the Progress Party and a state secretary in the justice and public security ministry, was asked if warfare is compatible with receiving a peace prize.

"In this case," he said, "we are faced with a terrorist organization that stands for a caliphate and a territory that beats people on the street, gays being thrown down from buildings and Yezidi women who are brutally being held captive as sex slaves."

ISIS was declared militarily defeated in December after three years of war. However, Peshmerga have continued to serve to eliminate ISIS remnants as a partnered force in the US-led international coalition, of which Norway is a member.

"This kind of evil is the duty of all humanity to fight, and here the Peshmerga have been on the frontline on behalf of the rest of the world," said Gulati.

Wednesday is the deadline for Nobel Peace Prize nominations. Gulati is eligible to nominate by invitation of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

"It will be a big signal from the world to recognize this effort and the lives that have been lost," added the MP.

More than 1,700 Peshmerga died and more than 10,000 were injured in the war that began in 2014.

Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers were the first to fight back against ISIS after the group overran the Iraqi Army in the country's second-largest city of Mosul and were just kilometers away from the gates of the Kurdistan Region's capital of Erbil.

Iran initially backed the Peshmerga with arms. The United States and then later the coalition provided air support, training, advising, and weapons to the Kurdish forces.

The Peshmerga maintained a frontline against ISIS that ran roughly from Shingal to Khanaqin, which shielded the Kurdistan Region, Turkey, and Europe.

Norwegian soldiers have trained Peshmerga at the Kurdistan Training Coordination Center.

The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded annually for "outstanding contributions in peace" in Oslo, Norway, since 1901.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons was bestowed the award in 2017.

Source: Rudaw

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