This is from my trip to Kurdistan last month. Salim, my guide, was driving me from Erbil to the mountains in the north-east, and we stopped at this spot on the way. It's Korei.
In 1991, while the Iraqi army was diverted by the Desert Storm war, Iraqis throughout the country rebelled against Saddam's sadistic dictatorship. Many took hope from a statement by the senior President Bush that American aid would be forthcoming; they were tragically mistaken.
Only the Kurds in the northern part of Iraq achieved lasting success. It was here, at Korei, that the Kurdish Peshmerga stopped the advance of Saddam's forces, and managed to hold their ground until a no-fly zone was established to give the Kurds some measure of protection.
I served in US Marines the 1991 war. It would fall to a later generation of Americans to liberate Iraq from Saddam, but I took some comfort (and, I admit, a little bit of pride) in knowing that in some small way, I had helped to play a role in the liberation of Kurdistan.