The Dream of Kurdistan leads where exactly?


The Iraqi Kurdish parliament has voted for a referendum on the 25th of this month.  The present Barzani leader of that parliament says that they might postpone that a bit if the somewhat frightened concerned powers propose an actual alternative date, one that is not just diplomatic pettifoggery and empty rhetoric.

The Iraqi parliament and Iraq's Shia Arab president, Abadi, have made it very clear that the state of Iraq will not accept a vote in Kurdistan for an independent Kurdish state.  The history of Iraq as a country from the end of the Ottoman Empire to the present is an endless series of iterations of resistance to Baghdad's authority followed by various combinations of Kurdish factions cooperating with the government against the other Kurdish factions.  This usually took the shape of the Talabani Kurds and the Barzani Kurds thinking of themselves as two sides of a triangular struggle with the government.  This moiety in Kurdish society seems eternal.

 Complicating the present situation is the nature of the Baghdad government which is now Shia while 90% of the Iraqi Kurds are thought to be Sunni Muslims.

A serious attempt to separate Iraqi Kurdistan from Iraq proper seems likely to lead to yet another war between Baghdad and the Kurds.

Iran, Turkey, Syria, the US are all opposed to the idea of an independent Kurdish state carved out of the existing countries of the region.  Only the Kurds and the Israelis favor the idea.  STT discussed their attitude in the wake of my piece "Is this what is driving US Kurdish policy?" on 12 September.   The Israeli attitude on this seems a part of their general policy and desire to foster enfeeblement of the countries of the region so as to have greater relative weight in the region's business.  pl


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53 Responses to The Dream of Kurdistan leads where exactly?

  1. Lemur says:

    As a principled nationalist, I believe that any major ethnic groups who aspire to nationhood should have their desire for self-determination respected. If there is war, then so be it. The Thirteen Colonies seemed to think they were justified in their struggle against the imperial metropole (arguably culturally more aligned with them than Shia Arabs are with Sunni Kurds).
    Nonetheless, there are qualifications. Nationalism shouldn’t lead to more internationalism. The Kurds will clearly become another magnet for useless foreign interventions by the West. We must defend the democracy loving kurds! Look, they even love gays! Furthermore, the Kurds are already embroiled in Zionist scheming, which promotes nationalism for the chosen but not for the goys. Lastly, the Kurds have mistreated Christian minorities like the Assyrians from time to time, and really our foreign policy should be discriminating in favour of our coreligionists in the region.
    Until our own national integrity is restored, and the Kurds can prove they not aligned with forces whose goals are contrary to our interests; the Kurdish state will have to wait.

  2. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Why do not you support the breakup of the Indian Union, which could give rise to at least 13 new countries?
    Who cares if 10 million Indians die in that process and another 10 during the coming decades?

  3. jld says:

    The Kurds have been a bunch of suckers and mountain bandits since at least the times of Xenophon (circa 400 BC) and never managed to “get their shit together”.
    Why would this be different as of today?

  4. Oilman2 says:

    In my time in the area, the majority of the Kurds I interfaced with just wanted a stable environment. They wanted to work and eat and the usual things we all want. The ones who wanted a separate state were few, and many of those were unemployed by choice. There is work aplenty, when there isn’t a war going on. Most people don’t want or need the war, as many had quite enough in Iraq. The predominant wish was no war and to be able to make a living.
    My feeling is that chaos all around would be fine for the Israelis, secure for them when enemies focus on their own chaos. But this same chaos is unwanted by the people involved – hence where does it originate? Cui bono?
    I don’t think there can be a separate Kurdish state, as landlocked countries require good allies, and Turkey and Iraq are unlikely to surrender any land. But there can certainly be a functioning Kurdish region within Turkey, Iraq and Syria – as they are used to. Reversion to the old normal would seem the most likely, if not most equitable, solution. Turkey may wish to expel the Kurds but they are too many. Iraq may wish the same, but has the same problem. And the Kurds themselves are splintered in their wishes and goals – making anything resembling a separate state very problematic.
    If chaos all around is preferred by Israel, who is the only beneficiary in this entire mess (keep the Golan, grab offshore nat gas, divert from Palestine issue, etc.) – it would seem that the participants may soon have another option courtesy of the civil war winding down. Yet I do not see Kurdistan appearing due to the inability of the Kurdish groups to form a viable alliance and be able to push that agenda on the ground. Maybe in some conference room in another country, but this has to translate into actions supported by the Kurds themselves in a unified fashion in reality – which has not happened. It must be supported by other governments as well, and yet all we see is their desire to curb Kurdistan and corral the Kurds into a tidy box – elsewhere…

  5. Erich Newhill says:

    As a principled nationalist who believes “that any major ethnic groups who aspire to nationhood should have their desire for self-determination respected”, do believe that US Hispanics should be able to carve out the SW as their own country? Should black Americans be able to have their own white free country (or countries); e.g. Detriotistan? I bet not.
    IMO, If there is to be any hope for the MENA it lies in dropping the idea that any tribe can raise a flag and call itself a country. Why not a multi-confessional, multi-ethnic Syria?

  6. mike says:

    November will be the one-hundredth year since the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement was unveiled to the world by the Russians. Iraqis, Turks, Iranians and Syrians have been griping about it and denouncing it ever since. Now is their chance to bury this English and French colonialist afterbirth of World War I.
    Unfortunately for the Kurds, the oil under their ancient homeland has now become part of the colonial dreams of Baghdad.
    The US Department of State is paying ‘Realpolitik’ and siding against Kurdish independence. Although there seems to be some pushback from many SOF troops who have served with Kurds in both raq and Syria.

  7. Bandolero says:

    To me it looks like that Israel made a serious mistake by associating itself with the Barzani KRG. Just have a look how regional media reports about the referendum now. See here for example Turkish media:
    “200,000 Jewish Kurds headed for Iraqi Kurdistan, howls Turkish press”
    Or see NRT TV from Sulimani:
    “Maliki says Iraq won’t allow creation of ‘second Israel’ in country”
    So, if conflict breaks out after the referendum, what will this fight look like? It already looks like Barzani KRG & Israel against the rest of the world.
    I wonder whether Israel really believes it can win this.

  8. Will.2718 says:

    Not on point, but sort of related to the topic of Separatism. Have often wondered whether the Crown escaped a catastrophe down the road by losing the three Carolina battles of King’s Mountain, Cowpens, & Guilford Courthouse (of which the
    American commander was Lighthorse Harry Lee, Robert E. Lee’s dad) which led to the surrender at the Siege of Yorktown in Virginia.
    The decision of Lord Mansfield’s case had previously held that the free air of England & Wales did not support chattel slavery
    “Somerset v Stewart (1772) 98 ER 499 (aka Somersett’s case, or in State Trials v.XX Sommersett v Steuart) is a famous judgment of the English Court of King’s Bench in 1772, which held that chattel slavery was unsupported by the common law in England and Wales, although the position elsewhere in the British Empire was left ambiguous. Lord Mansfield decided that:
    The state of slavery is of such a nature that it is incapable of being introduced on any reasons, moral or political, but only by positive law [statute], which preserves its force long after the reasons, occasions, and time itself from whence it was created, is erased from memory. It is so odious, that nothing can be suffered to support it, but positive law. Whatever inconveniences, therefore, may follow from the decision, I cannot say this case is allowed or approved by the law of England; and therefore the black must be discharged.[1]
    Slavery had never been authorised by statute in England and Wales, and Lord Mansfield’s decision found it also unsupported in common law. Lord Mansfield narrowly limited his judgment to the issue of whether a person, regardless of being a slave, could be removed from England against his will, and said he could not. Even this reading meant that certain property rights in chattel slaves were unsupported by common law. It is one of the most significant milestones in the abolitionist campaign.
    Some historians believe the case contributed to increasing colonial support for separatism in the Thirteen Colonies of British North America, by parties on both sides of the slavery question who wanted to establish independent government and law.[2] The southern colonies wanted to protect slavery and expanded its territory dramatically in the decades after independence was won.[3][4]”
    The Crown abolished slavery in 1833 with some overseas exceptions which were removed in 1843.
    “The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 (3 & 4 Will. IV c. 73) was an 1833 Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom abolishing slavery throughout the British Empire (with the exceptions “of the Territories in the Possession of the East India Company”, Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, and Saint Helena; the exceptions were eliminated in 1843). The Act was repealed in 1998 as part of a wider rationalisation of English statute law, but later anti-slavery legislation remains in force.”
    Thus, I believe the Slave holding American colonies would have ultimately been involved in a war of secession with the Crown rather than the United States had the American Revolution failed.
    I believe a prime cause of the (largely) Anglo-American Texian (that’s what they called themselves then) revolt from the Mexican government was Slavery. Mexico had abolished slavery but made an exception for Texas but forbade further importation.

  9. Hood Canal Gardner says:

    Lemur .. okay, your call:
    “aligned with forces whose goals are contrary to our interests; the Kurdish state will have to wait.”
    I’ll bite: Have to wait for what?

  10. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Iran did not care about Sykes-Pico.
    2/3 of the oil that KRG pumps comes from Kirkuk; they are stealing Arabs’ money. That will not last.

  11. Fred says:

    “As a principled nationalist, I believe that any major ethnic groups who aspire to nationhood should have their desire for self-determination respected.”
    So in 1861 the folks in South Carolina were right afterall.

  12. kooshy says:

    Colonel FYI, according to Iranian news site , last night secretary of Iran’ national security council Admiral Shamkhani ( Himself an Iranian Arab) went on live TV and said if Kurdistan region in Iraq declares independence, Iran will close all it’s borders to the region and will terminate all its agreements with the Iraqi Kurdistan.
    “Iran only recognizes integrated, federal Iraq: Top official”

  13. Emad says:

    Last I checked, troops, SOF or not, serve national policy, not make it. Have things changed recently?

  14. Bill Herschel says:


  15. Laguerre says:

    The problem of the Kurds in Iraq is that they are bankrupt. They have an agreement of 17% of oil production with Baghdad. But then they broke the agreement by exporting elsewhere. So Baghdad stopped paying. The oil-fields of Kirkuk produce only 65k bpd, as opposed to 2 million in the Iraqi south. Big financial freeze in Erbil. Only relieved for the Peshmerga, by the US agreement to pay their salaries, if they attack Mosul.
    That’s the context of the Kurdish vote. No doubt the vote will be for independence. The only question is how Kurdistan will pay for it.

  16. mike says:

    Oilman2’s comment above is correct that a landlocked country requires good allies so there will probably be no separate Kurdish state. Unfortunate IMHO.
    Israel would never support them. They only support the KRG’s referendum in hoping that their public support will infuriate Iran and it will start a war in which Big Sugar would get involved in. I expect that Iran is not going to fall for that.
    The Turks have threatened war though. And Iraq will undoubtedly go to war if disputed areas try to breakaway. Will Abadi invade if only the undisputed areas of the KRG secede (i.e. without Kirkuk, and much of Nineveh)? Maybe, or maybe not, but the Hashd may take matters into their own hands with or without Baghdad’s consent.
    In any case a referendum is not a declaration of independence. It is basically only a tally on the aspirations of the Kurdish people of Iraq. IMHO all the tough talk by Ankara, Baghdad and Tehran is an attempt to tamp down those aspirations by scaring away some voters with threats of violence or boycott.

  17. blowback says:

    You do know that the article you linked to is dated March 1st, 2017 and refers to events around al-Bab. The date is in the link BTW.
    However, there was an incident in the last couple of days when the RuAF or SAAF were alleged to have bombed some SDF forces near Deir Ez-zor and US advisers were claimed to be nearby. The Russian statement on this indicates that the Russians informed the United States forces that they would be operating in the area and no doubt expected the United States to stay away as the Russians did earlier in the year around Al-tanf:

    “To avoid unnecessary escalation, the command of the Russian forces in Syria gave the US partners an advance notice, through an existing communications channel, on the [territorial] borders within which the military operation in Deir Ez-Zor would be conducted,” Konashenkov said.

    It also appears that the Russians are suspicious of exactly who the alleged SDF are:

    Konashenkov pointed out that the Russian intelligence services had discovered no clashes between Daesh fighters and any armed representatives of “third parties” on the eastern bank of the Euphrates in the last few days. He added that “only representatives of the international coalition themselves” could say how opposition members or coalition allies could make their way into the midst of Daesh troops without any fighting.

    Could it be that there was no fighting because the “SDF fighters” were members of ISIS who have shaved off their beards and “reconciled” with the SDF? ISIS would not reconcile with the YPG.
    BTW, so far there seems to have been no comment about the alleged bombing from the US military that I can find (looked in NY Times and WaPo, also nothing in Guardian, RT or Sputnik).

  18. mike says:

    Babak Makkinejad – Thank you for the input.
    You are right that Iran was not directly affected by Sykes-Picot when it was first implemented. But didn’t the Brits shortly afterwards empower Reza Shah to bring down the Qajars. But maybe that was a good thing as Qajars were Turkic weren’t they and not Persian? Later Sykes-Picot gave the British a springboard in Iraq for their August 1941 invasion of Iran. And Sykes-Picot gave rise to Iraqi Baathism and eventually the eight-year war of aggression launched by Sadaam against Iran. So Iran may not have cared at the time but it did damage them indirectly.
    As far as Kurds stealing Arab oil: Kirkuk was a multiethnic province where Arabs were a 28% minority and Kurds held a plurality of 48% of the population. That is until Sadaam and the Baathists started ethnic cleansing by forcing Kurd, Turkmen and Assyrian families out and moving Arab families in.

  19. mike says:

    Blowback –
    Fourteen SDF KIA so far in the Deir ez-Zor operation. They were attacked by eight VBIEDs plus four suicide attacks. They have confirmed the death of hundreds of Daesh.
    They liberated 4,000 civilians and evacuated them to safe areas.
    US statement on Russian airstrike is here:
    A similar statement was released by CentCOM.

  20. paul says:

    until fairly middle ages “kurd” was a generic persian word for nomad, (the same thing for Baluch)
    and in the ancient world the people who inhabited the kurdish areas were semites of one form or another.

  21. confusedponderer says:

    I wonder whether Israel really believes it can win this.
    One has to look at this closely to get an idea about it. I think the Izzies rather ovbviously do think that.
    Probably, IMO that is, from an Israeli nutter point of view, ‘winning would be achieved’ if their neighbouring countries are wrecked and destabilised. It would leave the Israelis in a position of greater relative strength, which Israel understands as ‘greater safety’, erroneously IMO.
    Anyway, Bibi’s folks IMO seem to like that and aim on it, irrespective of any price that their neighbours will have to pay for that relative greatdom.
    I think that’s why that loon near to Netanyahu recently said that Israel would like ISIS governing Syria instead of Assad. His thus expressed idiocy sums up the narrow and low thinking in Israel on that matter marvellously:
    To folks like him that would be a benefit, because ISIS-Land would be weaker than Assad’s Syria.
    If it came to that desired chaos around Israel, then the Izzies, with the support of the Saudis and the like – and the US of course – be the last and strongest, and of course truly benevolent, nation around.
    They could then dictate, err, of course ‘propose for everybody’s benefit’ “solutions” to the neighbours and ‘live in “safety”, eventually.
    Well, that sort of desired “safety” would naturally be limited to what occasional bombs and raids and bribes can achieve. That much for the ‘win‘.
    If it came to violence against Israel and/or jews afterwards that’s just proof of how super true Israel’s permanent initial accusations against about everybody else, especially Iran, have been. For Bibi likely a ‘win-win‘.
    My nasty pessimist side of the mind adds to this that also, as a side benefit probably not lost on King Bibi, a warlet may have domestic benefits as well, since it may even distract from that nasty corruption investigation that is on in Israel against him and his wife atm.
    Bibi’s domnestical benefit would be that one cannot unseat a leader, how corrupt or dumb he is, in times of war – when national security, no, more, national, no, the world’s survival is at stake! That’d be the triple strike – ‘win-win-win‘.
    Now that’s a strategy, just by screwing up, here and there, you don’t lose but win – and win three times. Magic at work!
    In that respect, “right now” would be a desired time ‘to do something, anything. IMO it is thus rather realistic and reasonable to expect the Israelis to bomb something soon. After all, the Israelis were planning for and babbling about air striking Assad’s presidential palace, perhaps killing the man, to help ISIS, err, naturally, to help their super patriotic, benev(i)olent Syrian resistant friends.
    IMO such a warlet wouldn’t solve anything but it would likely feel good in Israel and would also reduce domestic pressure on Bibi. That written, going to warlet or trying to create neighbour destability is IMO an utterly crazy idea, but then, can the utterly bright and likely smartest people on earth, like Bibi, ever err, or fail? Never ever.

  22. LeaNder says:

    BTW, so far there seems to have been no comment about the alleged bombing from the US military that I can find (looked in NY Times and WaPo, also nothing in Guardian, RT or Sputnik).
    I was slightly irritated too …
    Wikipedia glimpse on 2017 events around the SDF:
    Pentagon/Operation Inherent Resolve:
    Sputnik, 9/16 and 9/17 – A Kurdish source?

  23. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    “The presence of the oil industry had an effect on Kirkuk’s demographics. The exploitation of Kirkuk’s oil, which began around 1930, attracted both Arabs and Kurds to the city in search of work. Kirkuk, which had been a predominantly Turkmen city, gradually lost its uniquely Turkmen character.[32][33][34] At the same time, large numbers of Kurds from the mountains were settling in the uninhabited but cultivable rural parts of the district of Kirkuk. The influx of Kurds into Kirkuk continued through the 1960s.[35] According to the 1957 census, Kirkuk city was 37,63% Iraqi Turkmen, 33,26% Kurdish with Arabs and Assyrians making up less than 23% of its population.[36][37]”
    Care to dispute the above?
    Still, even if we use your numbers, 52 % of the population, Turkmens, Assyrians and Arabs, form a majority and will not accept kurdish mis-rule. Given your vast knowledge of the region, you might have noted that kurds have a peculiar reputation in the Middle East…Most of us detest separatist kurds. Read the comment by Oilman 2 above again. It is very accurate.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  24. LeaNder says:

    To me it looks like that Israel made a serious mistake by associating itself with the Barzani KRG.
    Bandolero, a lot of countries are ‘associated’ with the Iraqi Kurds. Maybe partly too as a result of what Laguerre refers to below. They might have had troubles to buy the necessary stuff to defend themselves against Isis. Remember what group they gave shelter? Among others I recall Germany. Check the visit itinerary/travels …. connected to weapons for the Iraqi Kurds.
    Turkish/Kurdish problems are well known. Thus what does the discovery tell us, we didn’t know before?
    Barin Kayaoglu is an assistant professor of world history at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani. He obtained his doctorate in history from the University of Virginia in 2014, and he is currently working on his first book, based on his PhD dissertation, on US relations with Turkey and Iran from World War II to the present and pro- and anti-Americanism in the two countries. You can follow him at and on Facebook. On Twitter: @barinkayaoglu
    The above caught my attention.

  25. Babak Makkinejad says:

    If you look at historical formation of Iran you will note that the Turkic-Persian dichotomy predates modern Iran. That was the Seljuk pattern of rule; military prowess of the Turks and the bureaucratic one of the Perisans – which continued even after Seljuk demise in what is today called Iran – with one addition – the Shia religion.
    Before Reza Khan’s coup, there was the Seyyed Zia’s (instigated also by the English) since the English were horrified of the chaos in Iran after the Revolution of 1905; they feared USSR’s incursion into Iran etc. (in spite of the help that they had rendered the revolutionaries earlier in their struggle against the Qajar despotism.)
    (Later, the English, anticipating a war against USSR, had the trans-Iranian railway built so as to be able to transport their troops from India to the frontier with USSR quickly; all on Iranian dime.)
    The emergence of the overthrow of the monarchy in Iraq, the eventual ascendance of the Ba’ath Party, and the war against Iran were not, in my opinion, inevitable; they were examples of historical contingency caused by fools.
    I agree with IZ below about Kirkuk’s demographics.

  26. eakens says:

    Perhaps the Israelis can give them some of their land. Pay it forward or something like that.

  27. confusedponderer says:

    Turkish/Kurdish problems are well known. Thus what does the discovery tell us, we didn’t know before?
    Well, the Turks have their own, characteristic way to remind us of whatever ghost is spooking their brains on any given day.
    We had a Kurdish demonstration here in Cologne-Deutz last weekend and because of Turkish blathering and implied threats there was a horde of cops out there to make sure the thing remained safe for the Kurds and the bystanders.
    The Turks made their lamentation this time by summoning the german ambassador to Ankara’s foreign office and blathered about how much any kurdish demonstration in Cologne hurts Erdogan’s poor, oversized ego, Turkish pride and, of cours – likely just to be themselves – they added that since all Kurds are terrorists – any country allowing Kurds any demo means that that given country is supporting terror supporters, and acts against Turkey.
    I.e. in Erdoganland allowing the demo was seen by the Turks as something close to an act of war. Ridiculous, absurd and pathetic, but a reality. That’s the current Turkish practice in what they cocky call ‘turkish foreign policy’ at work.
    Amusing and scary sidenote:
    Not that long ago I had a turkish cab driver. The man drove like a maniac and liked high speed a lot. While driving me he lamented that the dutch and we germans are all stupid because we read papers which are owned by privates, and thus are being distorted, filled with propaganda and generally full of lies. He added that he was a smart and perfectly informed man because he only read turkish newspapers, which, according to him, are absolutely objective. Ah yes. That certainly is quite nice a thing to believe.
    That said, his bright brilliance left me speechless. While sharing with me that secret wisdom he was almost making an en passant high speed rendevouz with a bridge support at 190 km/h. We were on an autobahn at the time, thus the speed, and, needless to mention, at that speed you’re a splash of goo even when in a Mercedes. That was as scary as his wisdom about the news. Thank God I had luck and we arrived both alive.

  28. sid_finster says:

    It doesn’t take a Talleyrand to figure out that the goal behind “Kurdistan” is the breakup of Syria by another name.
    If the creation of Kurdistan destabilizes Iraq and Turkey as well, I doubt many tears will be shed in Tel Aviv.

  29. Bandolero says:

    Cp, Leander
    I know that many different governments are on good terms with the KRG. But regarding Barzani’s planned referendum it looks to me that virtually the whole world is united in being against that move – with one exception: Israel. Almost all countries, the US, Iran, Turkey, Baghdad, UK, Germany, to name just a few, and the UN, see the referendum as designed to make trouble and Barzani as trouble maker. And I think by supporting the referendum, Israel made a grave mistake to associate with such a trouble maker, because it highlights Israel’s role in trouble making on the world stage.
    In the diplomatic spat that will surely follow that referendum, it looks to become Barzani and Israel against the rest of the world. And if the referendum leads to military action it will likely look the same: Barzani and Israel against the rest of the world.
    Sure Israel may be happen then to have managed to help spark just another war, but who’s going to win that diplomatic spat or war? I think Barzani will lose it badly, because he’s the ruler of a land locked area and he lost support from all neighbors and world powers. And that’s while for the rest of the world, the US, Iran, Turkey, Baghdad, etc, the “KRG referendum crisis” may not bring more conflict against each other, but more cooperation and unity against isolated “trouble maker Barzani” and his few fellow travelers.
    As I see how Israel may benefit from trouble, I don’t think Israel benefits from beeing associated with a trouble maker and a loser. Israel already backed Syrian rebels and terrorists, and they lost. That pattern may develop into a regional or even global brand: if you have in a conflict support from Israel and the Israeli lobby, be sure you’ll lose in the end. I think that could be very serious for Israel, going far beyond a PR problem.

  30. mike says:

    Ishmael Zechariah –
    I do not dispute your stats of Kirkuk City. However, the same 1957 census, also cited in Wikipedia, shows a much different picture for Kirkuk Province: 28.2% Arab, 48.2% Kurd, 21.4% Turkmen, 0.4 Assyrian.
    Plus you have this from Wikipedia: “Due to the Arabization policies of the Ba’ath party the number of Arabs in official censuses increased fivefold within 40 years, however the most reliable data indicative of the ethnic breakdown of the governorate are those of the 1957 census.[5] The number of Kurds remained relatively constant from 1957 until 1977, decrease in their numbers coincides with the Arabization process in the 1990s.[6] The Turkmens were seriously affected by the Ba’ath changing Kirkuk borders their percentage fell from 21% to 7%.”
    The KRG has provided financial incentives to many of the Arab families that had been resettled there by Sadaam. Does not sound like misrule to me. Hundreds of thousands of Kurds have returned to the province, they now constitute 52% of the province population.
    That being said, I do NOT agree with Kirkuk province joining the KRG if independence is declared. That would probably bring on war. But the referendum is not independence. So why not let the people there speak their mind?

  31. Harper says:

    Israel has a long history of playing the “minority card” in the Arab world, and also against Iran. They support terrorist groups from the Azeri, Baluchi, Kurdish and other ethnic minorities and have done so for a long time. In southern Syria, they are supporting Nusra, providing combat medical support and they are even backing ISIS in that area, as a means of keeping Iran and Hezbollah away from their borders. Not a great way to win friends.

  32. mike says:

    Babak Makkinejad –
    Thank you. I am always interested in the history of Iran. I for one wish you would join Colonel Lang’s group of authors-of-posts and tell us more of your homeland and its history.
    I also agree with IZ about the demographics of the city of Kirkuk. But he neglects to mention the demographics of Kirkuk Province, which is what I had quoted, and which I expanded on below.

  33. mike says:

    Tel –
    In addition to Kosovo and the other six countries of the former Yugoslavia, the UN has given membership to south Sudan and East Timor. They give the Palestinian Authority observer status, and would probably admit it to full membership if not for US veto. They have even given under-the-table encouragement to the Polisario for future independence.
    But for the KRG they say no, and at the insistence of the US. Meanwhile sources in Iran and Turkey are claiming that the US is the evil genius pushing KRG independence.

  34. LeaNder says:

    “And if … may …”,??? Bandolero.
    Vaguely concerning PR. The 200.000 Jewish Kurds already preparing for their relocation in the Kurdish sections of Iraq, the part of the news you choose, could be government propaganda too. To the extend propaganda and PR always were connected. Never mind the propagated ethical norms of the PR industry. One has to pick up people were they stand. Relating two enemies by the stroke of a pen?
    Bandolero, I might take a closer look at what your write. I am as concerned as you are more generally speaking. But strictly Turkish papers were always read over here in Turkish communities, just as Turkish channels were watched. I have this vague memory that a friend may have told me he disliked Hürriyet. In any case someone must have made me aware of Turkish media quite early. Since I suppose I wouldn’t have paid much attention to whatever Turkish papers were read over here:

  35. turcopolier says:

    Jewish Kurds? Never heard of that before. pl

  36. mike says:

    Colonel –
    That is an Baathist myth, used to encourage hatred against the Kurds.
    During the Crusades there were Jews from Syria and Palestine who fled in fear from the Crusaders to Mosul and other cities of northern Mesopotamia including Erbil.
    And tradition says that Jews of northern Iraq were brought there almost 3000 years ago by the Assyrians.
    All of them left in the fifties for Israel.

  37. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Just this morning I read in the newspaper that the Turkish Education Ministry has decided that the theory of evolution will no longer be mentioned in secondary schools in Turkey. It seems that their minds are at a perilous point in their development, and this is to protect the little darlings. Of course, it can still be taught an the university level…the subtext that occurred to me being that that applies in the present, but may soon no longer be the case depending upon the thinking of the Great Helmsman, Erdogan.
    To me it looks as if the EU may have been correct to drag their feet concerning Turkish admisssion into their little club, and increasingly so with such turns of events.
    Let the enstupidification begin! Sad.

  38. Kooshy says:

    Mike, talking from both sides of thier mouth happens very often with USG official policies, specially in FP. You can complain all you want, but believe me, this wouldn’t fool anybody in the region, for good or bad bottom line nobody in the region distinguishes US’ regionalpolicies from that of Israel and KSA, and other minor clientele.

  39. Kooshy says:

    The coup/ regime change happened when the brits were unsuccessful to make the Majles ratify the 1919 treaty taking control of Iran military and finances, colonizing it. In 1925 Reza Shah coup they were not as worried of new USSR/Russia as they were worried of newly returned foreign educated constitutionalist and pan Iranians.

  40. Tel says:

    East Timor was liberated fair and square. They have no connection with Indonesia, never have had the slightest cultural connection with the Javanese.
    South Sudan I don’t know a whole lot about. Willing to admit ignorance on that one.
    Palestinian Authority I can get the point that these people clearly are not Israeli (they don’t vote for Israel’s government) so they need to belong to somewhere. Jordan should take them, but Jordan doesn’t want them. I think a two state solution has more probability of working than a one state solution… presuming any peaceful solution is possible.
    For the KRG I repeat the precedent has been set, everything else is folk dancing.

  41. blowback says:

    So who confirmed it? The SDF Press Office?

    They were attacked by eight VBIEDs plus four suicide attacks. They have confirmed the death of hundreds of Daesh.
    They liberated 4,000 civilians and evacuated them to safe areas.

    Neutralising 8 VBIEDs and 4 Inghimasi, and killing hundreds of Daesh. That’s pretty bloody impressive but where is the evidence? Looked on the Twitter feeds that seem to have been set up for this operation (#JaziraStorm, #CizireStorm) and there is nothing. No burnt out tanks, APCs, or even the ubiquitous burnt-out technicals and pickups. No videos of someone pointlessly firing off a DshK mounted on the back of a technical or even of a bit of spraying and praying from behind a mini-berm. Nothing. Or have I missed something?
    In Syria, until you see the evidence, don’t believe the claim. I don’t doubt the SDF have closed on Deir Ez-zor, but how they got so far so soon is a bit of a mystery.

  42. Philippe T. says:

    IMO, one Israel in Middle East should be enough.

  43. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Matters not, Serbs will be back and the Albanians will flee back to Albania. Kosovo will revert back to Serbia.

  44. Fred says:

    Palestinians have never been Jordanians. “Jordan should take them,..” That, I believe, has always been the Israeli position.

  45. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The English did not care, they were concerned about the chaos in Iran.

  46. LeaNder says:

    Paul, reminds me, I looked this up quite some time ago:

  47. LeaNder says:

    Bandolero, I babbled in my latest response. Forgive. Good comment.
    No doubt “self-determination” has become more controversial in recent decades. Just as it is central aspect of Israel’s argument (Hasbara?).
    From my own highly limited perspective post Balkan Wars and from there on beyond: I can understand scholars are looking at it as a double edged sword more and more.
    Self-determination in Spain? Basque country? Basque language?

  48. mike says:

    Kooshy –
    All countries speak with more than one voice, even non-democratic ones.
    PS – What kind of military unit is the ‘Hazeh Qarargah’? I thought ‘Hazeh’ meant clerics, or perhaps the clerical establishment? Is this some kind of Chaplain’s Corps for the IRGC? Or some type of political cadre overseeing purity of thought in the ranks?

  49. kooshy says:

    Mike, thanks for your reply, I have no idea what the “Hazeh Qarargah” is or means, do you mean Hozeh like a religious seminary? this 2 words have no meaning that I know of.

  50. mike says:

    blowback –
    I agree about the pervasiveness of false claims going on in Syria. By many sides.
    In any case, the SDF did acknowledge the deaths of several of their fighters in the DeZ op. I seriously doubt they would publish names and photos if they had not actually had those KIA.

  51. mike says:

    Kooshy –
    Probably a Kurdish transliteration of the original Persian.

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