What Destroyed This Abrams Tank?
On Oct. 20, 2017, the Kurdish Peshmerga claimed to have destroyed an Iraqi M-1A1 Abrams tank during fighting in Kirkuk province and took grainy video footage to prove it. It was an especially noteworthy clash given that Western allies supplied many of Iraqi Kurdistan’s anti-tank missiles and Iraq’s Abrams... Read more
Kurdish Troops Halt Iraqi Forces on the Kurdistan Border
“These are our last moments,” said Warrant Officer Neihaad Sdeq Mohammad from the Kurdistan Freedom Party’s 5th Division. “We won’t go back, never. We will stay and fight, ’til the end.” On Oct. 20, 2017, just four days after Iraqi forces and the pro-Iran Hash’d Al Shaabi militia captured... Read more
No, the Israeli Air Force Won’t Race to Iraqi Kurdistan’s Rescue
Here in Iraq’s Kurdish autonomous region, a friend recently overheard some of his countrymen discussing the prospect of an independent Iraqi Kurdistan coming under attack from Baghdad or its neighbors. They dismissed this prospect out of hand, very matter-of-factly, by insisting that the Israeli Air Force would come to... Read more
On the Kurdish Front Line, a Tense Night Fending Off Islamic State
Along a lonely patch of desert roughly 20 miles south of the city of Kirkuk in Iraqi Kurdistan, far away from the world’s attention, a little-known front in the war against Islamic State simmers. While much of the media has focused on the months-long battle for Mosul and the... Read more
An Independent Kurdistan Would Begin With a Clash
Iraqi Kurdistan’s upcoming independence referendum on Sept. 25, 2017 will determine, among other things, the borders of an emerging Kurdish state in that region. With this determination would likely come border conflicts for an independent state squeezed between several volatile flashpoints. Presently, the borders of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region are... Read more
A Culinary Guide to the Kurdish Front Line
This story originally appeared on July 5, 2016. “You must stay for lunch.” “Well we should really get going, we still have hours of driving.” “It doesn’t matter, you need to eat, so you will stay with us.” When you finish interviewing anybody in Iraqi Kurdistan — but in particular soldiers — there’s always that... Read more
Turkish Jets Blasted America’s Kurdish Allies in Karakoc
The rumble of Turkish jets taking off from the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir has become a banal muzak for the city’s wearied residents. Numbers are dialed, warnings are given and life proceeds — under the heavy presence of Turkish troops. Hasan, a middle aged Kurdish activist smiles slyly as... Read more
The Coalition Just Formed a Fighting Unit of 120 Kurdish Women
British and Dutch military advisers in Northern Iraq have wrapped up training for a class of female peshmerga fighters. The foreign instructors trained 120 Kurdish women in infantry tactics, first aid and counter-IED skills. This is the first time the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State coalition has trained Kurdish women. These... Read more
Iraq’s Largest Kurdish Faction Excludes Women From the Front Line
A mortar round exploded close to her position. She was hit on the head and on the left leg. It was the end of 2003, the enemy was Saddam Hussein and Chinor Sabir fought alongside dozens of other peshmerga women to liberate Iraqi Kurdistan from the regime’s troops. For... Read more
With Heavy Air Support, Kurdish Troops Go on the Offensive
This is the second part of a two-part series. Read part one. Before dawn, the peshmerga prepare for fighting. A group of soldiers gather below the outpost, pointing down with the lights on their mobile phones and cracking open Soviet-style ammunition boxes, distributing the bullets. Armed vehicles laiden with... Read more

Matt Cetti-Roberts

Photojournalist, documentary photographer and correspondent in Iraqi-Kurdistan