Category Archive: Kurds

Apr 26 2017

Rojava – A Popular Project of Empire

States had a hand in that decision as well.   Meanwhile, the time has passed and circumstances are changed.  The countries that currently exist in the Middle East may or may not survive but for us here to decide their fates is a continuation of a gross imperial violation of the rights of the people of that region.

We can’t decide which force in these war torn regions is really the one that will be best for the people there based on our assumptions about their reality.   That is why we have to withdraw from the field rather than attempt to determine what is best for the people and manage events so it will happen.   We can’t control the empire.  We can only resist it’s drive.    For us to decide what is best for the people there is like religious people who think they can apprehend God and God’s will in a particular way.   Our imaginations aren’t big enough to encompass God.  We can’t play god and make decisions for these regions where imperial decision makers have bee wreaking havoc for two centuries.

Rojava is and interesting example of this phenomenon.

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Mar 26 2016

Syrian Kurds Alliances with the US and Russia

An article in the Russian blog, Russia Behind the Headlines asks the question “Why does Moscow need Syrian Kurdistan?”   I think they are asking the wrong question.   The Russians initially allied with the Kurds to make sure that the Syrian border with Turkey would be sealed.   To end the Syrian war, it is necessary to bar the flow of fighters and goods for ISIS and al Nusra crossing the border.   It is necessary to end the flow of oil crossing into Turkey from Syrian wells under ISIS control.   There was no problem with being allied both with the Syrian central government (with Assad as President) and with the Kurds, because the Kurds have been allied with the central government throughout the war.   They may have wavered for a moment when the U.S. came in and supported them in Kobani, but that is an old story now.  

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Nov 06 2015

US Alliance With Syrian Kurds Can be Costly

The US media has made a very big point that the Kurds are the only viable force on the ground  in Syria capable of fighting ISIS.   This is a convenient half truth.    In fact, the strongest force on the ground in Syria is the Syrian Arab Army, which is often portrayed as a kind of personal militia of the President.   This is far from the truth.   The Syrian army is a national army drawn from the population and tasked with protecting the people, and they have fought the longest war to save their nation.    The US determination to delegitimize Syrian President Bashar Assad has led to some very distorted analysis of events on the ground as well as poorly framed battle plans and unstable alliances.

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Jul 11 2015

Messages from Iraq: Erbil

Last September I had hoped to travel to the village areas surrounding Mosel to hear their voices, so often neglected since the U.S.-led war on their country over a decade ago. And then as we know, in early June of 2014, ISIS took the city of Mosel. I write all of this to help explain the deep emotions that welled up in me as I entered one of the compounds for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Erbil just two days ago. The Sunday service had just ended and people were streaming out of the tent that serves as their church.

This compound, called Ozal city, in the Kasnizan area of Erbil in Kurdistan, houses approximately 900 Christian families, 400 Muslim families, and 35 Yazidi families. It is just one of many compounds in Erbil. Almost all of the Christians in this complex, if not all, come from the village of Qaraqosh, a Syriac Catholic enclave, outside of Mosel.

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Jan 29 2015

Eye Catching Headlines

From Foreign Policy:   With Islamic State Routed from Kobani, Kurds Eye Mosul.

So, what’s wrong with this picture.   Apparently, ISIS has abandoned Kobani.   Certainly the Kurds would like to see Mosul liberated.   It is just over the border of Iraqi Kurdistan and is home to many Kurds, though they are not the majority population.

OK.  …

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Nov 05 2014

Kobane and The Middle East Shell Game

The news about the US in the Middle East has been focused almost exclusively on the fight in Kobane for weeks.   There has been a lot of conjecture in the papers about whether the rebels can be trained, whether they are moderate, whether they can fight, whether they exist at all separate from ISIS and …

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Oct 21 2014

Turkey Struggling with Shifting Plans in Syria

President Erdogan of Turkey has, under extreme US pressure, allowed Iraqi Kurds into Syria to fight with the PYD (Syrian Kurds) for the city of Kobane.   The international press has been following the desperate fight in Kobane with intense interest for the last few weeks, though most of the population has abandoned the city some …

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Oct 08 2014

Numbers Don’t Add Up for Kobane

We have been hearing about the Kurds battling ISIS for control of a town named Kobanè for more than a week. After reading that 100,000, 200,000 or more refugees had fled the area to Turkey, I looked up Kobanè online and found it to be a city of 45,000. That was a week ago, and …

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