A Kurdish journalist named Hunar Ahmed did something very brave on Monday: he walked up to the front lines of fighting between Iraqi Kurds and Islamic State (ISIS), waved his arms at the ISIS militants who have been killing their way across the Middle East, and asked for an interview. Several times.
Here's the video, published by Ahmed's outlet, Rudaw. The good news is that Ahmed, despite sticking his head between the lion's jaws, came away fine. The other good news is that it's pretty funny to watch how casually he saunters up to armed jihadist extremists that any sane person would flee immediately:
My favorite part is how he mostly spends the segment talking about, and demonstrating, that he tried to get an interview with ISIS. "We tried to reach them but they are warning me not to get any closer," he says, wandering aimlessly around the bridge that serves as the front line. Also pretty entertaining are the two ISIS fighters on the far end of the bridge, whose sole job seems to be holding up the black jihadist flag.
More seriously, this does show ISIS acting as a rational, disciplined military force, using heavy industrial equipment to dig in fortifications around a defensible structure. And the fact that they are shown here digging in outside of Kirkuk, a major Kurdish-controlled city that sits on top of vast oil reserves, may help explain why the US is so apparently alarmed by the group's push into Iraqi Kurdistan.