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Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Vol. 41, No. 2, Winter 2018 Reporting the Crisis in Iraq: Media Coverage of the Humanitarian Aid Effort in Kurdistan Ahmed Omar Bali* Rinella Cere* Introduction The Kurds have faced ISIS on the ground by fighting them over a front of about 1400 kilometers, a conflict which has led to the killing of more than a thousand Peshmerga fighters and the injuring of many more. In addition, more than 1.5 million people living in the areas taken over by ISIS have been displaced to Iraqi Kurdistan, as it is the only safe area for 85 *Ahmed Omar Bali earned his Ph.D. in media and communication from Sheffield Hallam University in the United Kingdom. He is the head of the Diplomacy and Public Relations Department and a lecturer at the University of Human Development; he is a visiting lecturer at Sulaimani Polytechnic University in Iraqi Kurdistan. He teaches on Public Diplomacy, Principle of Public Relations, Media and Public Opinion, Methodology. His recent publications include: “The consequence of an economic boom on the perception of democracy, government performance and public service: Iraqi Kurdistan as a case study,” International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies, 2017; “The role of communication technology in fighting administrative corruption,” Journal of Human Development, 2017; “The attitude of Kurdish elite toward The Arab media discourse-Aljazeera as an example,” Journal of Human Development, 2017; “The Six-Day War and Its Impact on Arab and Israeli Conflict,” Journal of History Research, 2017. E-mail: *Rinella Cere is a Reader in Media and Cultural Studies at Sheffield Hallam University. She teaches on European and international media, globalisation and the media, and postcolonial media cultures. She teaches on European and international media, globalisation and the media, and postcolonial media cultures. She has co-edited with Rosalind Brunt the book on Postcolonial Media Culture in Britain and recent publications include chapters for the edited collection Postcolonial Studies Meets Media Studies. A Critical Encounter (Transcript Verlag, 2016) and for Representing Communities. Discourse and Contexts (Palgrave 2017). E-mail: 86 all the different ethnic and religious backgrounds1 . Those displaced are estimated to represent 25 per cent of the population of Iraqi Kurdistan. The population of Iraqi Kurdistan is nearly 5 million. The withholding of the budget allocated by the central government in Baghdad to Kurdistan, has in turn led to a deepening of the economic crisis. After the fall of Saddam’s regime in 2003 aided by the USA and its allies, Iraq faced a political and administrative vacuum. The United States began to involve those Iraqi political parties which had been in opposition to the Saddam’s regime. These political parties can be classified on the basis of ethnic sects and religious backgrounds, namely the Shia Arabs, the Sunni Arabs and The Kurds. With the establishment of the new Iraqi regime, the Shia dominated the Baghdad government, as “Iraq’s majority population is Shia.”2 This new government formation was not recognized by the Sunni constituent, because since the emergence of the Iraqi state, power was in the hands of the Sunni while they constituted just over one quarter of the total Iraqi population.3 After 2006 this arrangement led to violence between the military groups of the Shia and the Sunni factions, The lack of political homogeneity is more likely to cause violence,4 and this was particularly the case for the Iraqi factions5 . With the creation of a new Iraqi Shia-led government, the Sunni were not quite ready to be cooperative and large numbers of them were accused of having affiliation to the former Iraqi regime or Al-Qaeda terrorist groups, which entered Iraq to oppose the Americans and the Baghdad government. Sunni people have faced increasing violence, resulting in many arrests, random killings and taking of hostages.6 This change in the distribution of power led many Sunnis emigrating to foreign countries and in some cases joining the terrorist groups to fight the Shia military.7 The increasing geographical area of influence by ISIS has 1 For more information see the report of “Marked with an ‘x’” Human Rights Watch...


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