Eyes on the Ground and the Kurdish Resistance
Screenplay by Alan Nafzger
This is a story from the Kurdish Resistance in Iraq.
LOGLINE: When a ruthless radical Islamic group in Iraq is terrorizing the population and setting up an independent Muslim state, the President of the United States is constrained by his ideology and an upcoming election; he refuses to commit ground troops for a new war in Iraq. While he is willing to use air power, the Air Force and Navy fliers need spotters on the ground to direct air strikes. The Office of Naval Intelligence recruits people who can speak the languages and blend into the area. This is the story of a Kurdish American woman who takes the job.
CULTURAL NOTE: The is unique in the Middle East in that they use females as warriors. They’ve earned a reputation for bravery and skill on the battlefield – so much so Peshmerga women are sometimes compared to the mythical Amazons. This notoriously fierce segment of the Kurdish security forces are striking terror into the hearts of ISIS terrorists – female fighters. The radical ISIS Jihadists have no problem slaughtering defenseless women but they don’t like facing armed female warriors in battle — because they don’t believe they’ll go to heaven if they’re killed by one of them.
Eyes on the Ground
A ruthless radical Islamic group in Iraq is terrorizing the population and setting up an independent Muslim state. The President of the United States is constrained by his ideology and an upcoming election; he refuses to commit ground troops for a new war in Iraq. While he is willing to use air power, the Air Force and Navy fliers need spotters on the ground to direct air strikes. Military intelligence recruits people who can speak the languages and blend into the area.
Seiran Aquino is a young woman whose father is Mexican-American and mother is Kurdish, living in San Diego during the current war. She is a natural born citizen.
Her parents are hard working people, but she has need for financial aid to attend college. She enrolls in ROTC and receives a scholarship. She is taught a great deal of the skills she would need to enter the military, but she has no real desire to join and become an officer.
She meets Kurdish Army officer Mawlawi Tawagozi, stationed at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, in San Diego for training, and within three days they become engaged to be married. They have a daughter, Taqana, but Mawlawi never sees her as he is killed fighting in northern Iraq; she and the daughter move into her parents’ home.
The screenplay is a paradigm of Kurdish pluck and reserve. The Kurdish culture is unique in the Middle East and actually encourages the use of female peshmerga fighters. The Kurds are by nature calm and reserved. Despite the increasingly gruelling circumstances in which the characters find themselves, their courage and patriotism never wanes, and an abundance of gurts will give the film a thoughtfully restrained air. When Seiran receives the news bearing the information of her husband’s death, the living room door is discreetly closed on the camera, leaving Seiran to grieve in private. Not once do we see any loss of composure or dignity on the part of the Kurds.
Because of her linguistic skills, the widow is recruited as a spy by the United States government. She is trained by the U.S. military much as her husband was.
On her first mission, she is teamed with a Peshmerga Captain Nemal Yasin, a man she had met earlier socially and liked. She parachutes into Northern Iraq, and shares a ride in the back of a pickup to Mosul with curious ISIS soldiers. The Kirdish Resistance group Yasin had set up in Mosul has been betrayed.
Their job is to contact any survivors and spot targets for U.S. drones and air strikes. Also, if possible, they are to blow up an ISIS petroleum refinery. One Resistance member who Aquino contacts tells her that another survivor, a garage mechanic, is suspect, but Aquino takes the risk of meeting him anyway. He informs her that only three of 98 group members remain. Nonetheless, she persuades him to try to blow up the refinery. Aquino is picked up and questioned by the ISIS. She is released (in the hope that she will lead the ISIS to her comrades). She, however, manages to rendezvous in Baghdad with Yasin, who congratulates her: the refinery was destroyed.
After their return to San Diego, Yasin assures Aquino that she will not have to go behind enemy lines again, but due to the shortage of experienced agents, she is asked to do just that. She agrees, parachuting into Iraq. Once again, she is under Yasin’s command, this time in the Al Qa’im region. She sets out with a guide to contact the various Resistance units to coordinate their actions. However, as they drive through a village, they see another Shiite shooting two ISIS soldiers passing by on motorcycles, and she and her guide become engaged in a running firefight with a ISIS patrol. When she breaks her ankle while fleeing, she remains behind to cover the guide’s escape as he swims the Euphrates River. She runs out of ammunition and is captured.
Though tortured, she defiantly refuses to provide any information. Eventually she is reunited with two fellow women Peshmerga fighters she had befriended during their initial training, Anghel and Medya, in a Tikrit prison. As Shiite forces advance on the North, the women are placed on a truck for Syria. When the truck is bombed by U.S. aircraft, the women survive and have a chance to attempt to escape.
Anghel and Medya escape. Seiran Aquino stops to help male prisoners in the following car, also bombed. One of them is Yasin. That night, Aquino and Yasin acknowledge their love for each other. Aquino and Yasin are separated. Yasin is taken to to be executed. Aquino escapes and saves Yasin from execution.
Back in San Diego, Yasin and Aquino with Taqana receive high military awards and are married. Yasin will be allowed to stay in American now with his new family.
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