U.S. Army Veteran Helps Kurds Who Fight Iran
The FBI and the State Department aren’t happy that U.S. Army veteran Ryan O’Leary has taken up arms with the Kurds in eastern Iraq in their resistance against Iran. He originally went to Iraqi-Kurdistan to help Peshmerga units fighting Islamic State, and then volunteered with an armed faction within the Democratic Party... Read more
We Watched Kurdish Troops Train With Guided Missiles
The students sweated in the July heat of a classroom on their last day of training. They watched as two young Peshmerga second lieutenants disassembled a large tripod for a MILAN anti-tank guided missile launcher. We had a chance to observe this missile training course during a visit to... Read more
But what of the region’s minorities? by MATT CETTI-ROBERTS During the American occupation, Kirkuk was a violence-prone hotbed for insurgents fighting the U.S. military and Kurdish troops. That war is over — but a new one is underway. Today, Kirkuk is the location of fighting between Islamic State and the Peshmerga — the Kurdish... Read more
Kurdish Bomb Technicians Play a Deadly Game of Cat and Mouse
Fine sand whips around a few spread-out temporary cabins that comprise a Kurdish Peshmerga base near the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. Attached to the side of one cabin, an irritating water-cooled air conditioner squeaks away as the midday July sun beats down, removing all but the smallest shadows. The... Read more
NATO hasn’t supplied enough rifles to replace their decades-old AK-47s by MATT CETTI-ROBERTS “When I shoot, the top of the rifle flies off,” Mahd Abdul Basit, a 28-year-old Peshmerga fighter told me while we stood a few hundred meters from Islamic State’s front line. Unlike many Kurdish troops, who must... Read more
Kurdish Troops Grumble—Our Junk Weapons Are Killing Us
“When I shoot, the top of the rifle flies off,” Mahd Abdul Basit, a 28-year-old Peshmerga fighter told me while we stood a few hundred meters from Islamic State’s front line. Unlike many Kurdish troops, who must purchase their own weapons, Mahd’s rifle — a taped-up Kalashnikov appearing to... Read more
Saddam Is Long Gone, But His Minefields Still Maim and Kill
In the spring sunshine on the rolling green pastures along the Iraqi border with Syria, a Kurdish man scans the ground between two red flags. Under the surface, deadly mines lie in wait. As he moves his Vallon mine detector across a patch of grass, the man’s headphones squeal... Read more
Pissed Off Turkmen Want Their Town Back
An Iraqi Turkmen militiaman stands on a black Ford F250 Super Duty and stares off into the distance. Above there’s the hazy midday sun. In front of him, there’s the front line in the war with Islamic State. Three Islamic State fighters approach the front line — a sandy... Read more
On Iraq’s Remote Edge, Kurdish Troops Stare Down Islamic State
Our SUV passes ripe wheat fields swaying in the gentle breeze. The occasional signs poke out where the fields meet the highway warning travelers that Islamic State has planted improvised explosives along the road. No one will harvest these fields for a long time. We’re headed toward the front... Read more
We Watched as a Kurdish Battalion Trained for Battle
At a military base outside Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, a battalion of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters stood in formation on a concrete parade ground. The men wore mismatched uniforms and headgear — giving them an irregular appearance. But looks aside, they were here to become professionals … and learn... Read more

Matt Cetti-Roberts

Photojournalist, documentary photographer and correspondent in Iraqi-Kurdistan

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