The myth of the plucky Kurdish warrior

On Nawroz, the Persian New Year, last March, Isis sent a holiday greeting to the Kurds. They published several videos of Peshmerga fighters, now prisoners, kneeling, handcuffed and wearing the usual orange jumpsuits. In one video, a prisoner is shot in the back of the head; the rest have their heads sawn off with a knife. In a deliberate twist, no doubt relished by the leadership of the so-called Islamic State, the killers were themselves Kurds. ‘You all know the punishment for anyone who fights the Islamic State,’ says one. ‘It is death.’

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