International Business Times-Oct 23, 2015
Iraqi Kurdistan's first Jewish official has high hopes for reviving Jewish life ... About three-quarters of Israel's oil is reportedly imported fromIraqi ...
Mike is not the first Israeli army veteran to join the Kurds in battling their adversaries. Canadian-born Gill Rosenberg, who also moved to Israel and was falsely rumored last year to have been captured by ISIS, made international news as the first foreign woman to join Kurdish forces fighting the extremist militant organization.
His main contact when he landed in Iraq was Ryan O’Leary, a former veteran of the Iowa National Guard who took Mike under his wing. O’Leary is the only other foreign volunteer serving with the KDPI today, and like Mike, he had originally planned to join Kurdish forces fighting ISIS but ultimately came to believe that Iran was a greater threat.
“Mike is here acting on his own,” O’Leary said in a telephone conversation from his base in Iraq, when questioned about the young American-Israeli’s affiliation. “He made that specifically clear to the leadership. They wanted to make sure he wasn’t working with the Israelis or Americans because they don’t want any conflicts.”
O’Leary said that after Mike brushes up on his language skills, the plan is to have him join local forces on operations, including across the border. “What we mainly do is gather intelligence. If there are soft targets like military patrols, we also take them out,” he said. “But we’re not interested in starting a full-blown war just yet.”
The KDPI is one of several political groups representing the estimated 7 million Iranian Kurds living today between Iran and the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq.
Among them is a small group who claim to have Jewish roots, and in his spare time, Mike has volunteered to help some of them look into the possibility of immigrating to Israel.
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/1.684014
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