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Yazidis and the Iraq elections


A Yazidi refugee camp in northern Iraq

By NASER BASHA KHALAF

Yazidis will likely suffer large losses in the upcoming Iraqi elections due to the lack of clarity of their political landscape. This is a tragedy because they represent an indigenous part of Iraq. Yazidis are divided by electoral politics and many are connected to Kurdish political parties and movements. Extreme nationalist and political differences have resulted from frustration and despair.

A total of 51 Yazidi candidates running in the elections are divided into six parties. Yazidis feel persecuted and unstable. Hundreds of thousands were displaced in 2014 and they remain displaced people in fear of returning to their areas of origin due to differences between the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government, and differences among the political parties. Most of the estimated 600,000 Yazidis in Iraq live in the north of the country. Prior to 2014 many lived in the area of Sinjar near the Syrian border. The uncertainty about the future and difficulty of returning to Sinjar causes them to prefer to migrate out of Iraq, although it is difficult after Europe closed its borders in 2015. Since Islamic State (ISIS) attacked Sinjar in 2014 more than 120,000 Yazidis have sought refuge in Europe.


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