For now the front is more about tea and waitin…

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For now the front is more about tea and waitin…


Neil Shea






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For now the front is more about tea and waiting than ISIS and battle. At this spot just south of Kirkuk, beyond the oil fields and the slow green canal, there is shooting every day but mostly it's a kind of conversation, and mostly it is the Kurds talking to themselves. ISIS is weak here, everyone says so. Just ask: Yes, beams a colonel, his ancient tanks peeling in the sun. Yes, frowns a Spaniard, who came hoping for greater glory. Of course, says the cook, boiling eggs in a half-crushed pot. Not far away, across a waste of grass and trash, in a village ringed with trees, ISIS fighters are waiting, too. Last week they were attacking. They came at night, or in the early morning. Crept in under cover of spring fog. A few weeks before that they were at the edge of the city, ready to purge in the name of God. But each time they have been beaten back. The Kurds have had help—airstrikes provided by foreign friends—and it's given them time to build earthworks, berms and mounds and walls of mud that zipper north and south almost as far as one can see. This has become the new border of Kurdistan, and it offers a fresh grip on an old claim. Atop the tallest mounds anti-aircraft guns point toward the enemy. ISIS has no planes, but whatever. Neither do the Kurds. After dark we hear explosions over there, in ISIS territory, though no one can say what's happening. The booms echo across the field like questions, and all along the Kurdish wall soldiers answer with gunfire. Little pops, frantic light. It's just talking. Asking. Inviting. Hey, ISIS, what are you up to? Come see us. We're waiting. #onassignment for @natgeo

#kurdistan #natgeo #kirkuk #iraq #kurdishwall #frontline #instakurd #everydayiraq #everydaymiddleeast #peshmerga #isis #daesh #onassignment for #nationalgeographic @petergwin @kengeiger @hawrekhalid @yuri.kozyrev •• a series: #kurds2015




Neil Shea, “For now the front is more about tea and waitin…,” The InstaEssay Archive, accessed June 20, 2019,