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Kurdish politics is in a momentum it never had before. The turmoil in Syria and its effect in Kurdish dynamics through Kurdistan’s southwestern tip is impossible to not to see. At the same time, the whole change in the region (Near East) forces the Kurds to unite their faith but the tension this force creates among different Kurdish factions is also impossible to not to see.

 

And nowadays an American intervention to Syria, thus to Kurdistan is imminent. Nobody seems to discuss this. In this article I would like to share my speculative view of it.

The US has invested hugely in Kurds through the southern Kurds, Kurds of Iraq. This investment met with Kurdish dream of being independent from Iraq and resulted in the KRG today. With the turmoil in Syria the Kurds are once again hopeful of breaking yet another chain on the road to independence, this time the rule of Damascus.

As any other dream, there is a waking up and facing the reality. As it was in South Kurdistan between PDK of Barzani against YNK of Talabani during the 90s, this time in Southwest piece of Kurdistan it is between PKK affiliate PYD and other small factions affiliated to either PDK or YNK of the South.

 

The upper hand seems to be with PYD. They were the hardworking group when opportunity rose as a result of the fighting between the Arabs of Syria. They worked hard, defended well their achievements and did their best to become permanent.

PDK on the other hand, as well YNK, had their long time affiliates in Southwest, Rojava most like to say. They were not as agile but they were well established there. PYD seemed to recognize this and they agreed in some kind of cooperation.

As it is the nature of PKK known since the attempt of a Kurdish National Congress in Exile in Brussles in the 90s, cooperation became a tool in its hands. PDK or any other party could not develop any real policy against this attitude of PKK and on the eve of an attack by the US to Syria, at a time when the hopes are high for a Kurdish Congress, Kurds are not united. We are once again left without a policy of our own.

Hopes are not to be left down. The force created by the nation itself for unification is strong. It is just the politicians that can not make up their minds to come together.

All these put aside, we have a problem which is the air bombardment of the US, that is to come. How will it affect the Kurds?

 

In my opinion the Americans will not leave their investment to nothingness unless the investment proves itself to be nothing. PDK and the so far invested Neçirvan Barzani will need to take some clever action in Rojava. They will be pushed for this. I believe the American move will result in opening a political channel for the PDK there. To be followed.

Written by M. Husedin

05 September 2013 at 4:02 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

Can Syria’s Kurds Protect Their Oil Fields?

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http://www.rudaw.net/english/news/syria/5738.html
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Can Syria’s Kurds Protect Their Oil Fields?
By HEMIN KHOSHNAW

ERBIL Kurdistan Region – Can Syria’s Kurds use the oil reserves in their territories as leverage to strengthen their position after the fall of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime?

Most of the oil-rich places in Syria, including the Rumilan fields, are located in the Kurdish territories, and some people believe that the fields should be protected at all cost as an important insurance for the Kurds in the future.

Located in Syrian Kurdistan, Rumilan produces 270,000 barrels of oil a day, more than half of Syria’s total crude output.  Syria’s daily production of 385,000 barrels goes not figure on the global energy map, but its total reserves of 2.5 million barrels are still reportedly 2 percent of the world’s reserves.

Even though most of Syria’s oil lies in Kurdish territories, no oil refineries have been built there: The crude from Rumilan is piped to refineries in Humos and Banyas.

“President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has oppressed the Kurds politically as well as economically,” said Abdulhakim Bashar, secretary-general of the Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria.  “The natural resources are being transferred to other Arab cities for refining.”

The oil fields discovered in Kurdish territories during the 1960s led to major demographic changes in Syrian Kurdistan. 

“If it was not for the natural resources, the current boundaries would have been a lot different today.” said oil expert Rebwar Khinsy.  “The Kurdish residents around the oil-rich fields were forced to leave and replaced by Arabs, so it remains to be seen whether the fate of Rumilan will turn out like the disputed oil-rich city Kirkuk in northern Iraq after Assad’s fall,” he said.

Bashar said that, “Rumilan has always been part of Kurdistan and it will not become Kirkuk.  There may be a couple of oil fields outside Rumilan where both Kurds and Arabs live.  Other than those, the rest of the Rumilan oil fields are in the heart of Kurdish territories.”

Syria’s infrastructure has been badly hurt by the conflict between the regime and opposition forces, which began nearly two years ago.  Some believe it could take at least 10 years to rebuild the country, but add that the infrastructure in the country’s Kurdish regions is still relatively good and was not badly affected by the war.

Salih Muslim,  co-leader of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party of Syria (PYD), told Rudaw that, “The Kurds support the fall of the regime, but they don’t want to see the whole country go down.  That’s why they will protect the Rumilan oil fields.”

Abdulmajid Tamir, a member of the Kurdish Youth movement in Syria, believes, “The Kurds must do everything they can to prevent the Rumilan oil fields from being set on fire.” 

He said that the regime might hold its position for several years and the Syrian Kurdistan might stay independent during this time, so it is important for the Kurds to take advantage of this and make preparations to operate Rumilan, as everything is still in place, except for oil refineries.

“The attempts by the Islamic radical groups to control Serekaniye (Ras al-Ain) is mostly for Rumilan,”

said Razwan Badini, a university professor.  “They try to infiltrate the Kurdish territories through a multi-ethnic place like Serekaniye and finally control a strategic location like Rumilan,” he said. 

Written by M. Husedin

14 February 2013 at 4:03 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

Turkey: A midwife for a Kurdish state… JPost

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Ankara has willy-nilly helped the Kurdish genie escape from the bottle and it will be very difficult for Turkey to push it back inside.

via Turkey: A midwife for a Kurdish state… JPost – Opinion – Op-Eds.

Written by M. Husedin

13 June 2012 at 12:49 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

About Syria and the Kurds

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(a re-edited article of mine, from here)

Syria is a particular country for Eastern Mediterranean. Not because it’s an Arab country. That’s not my opinion. It would be way too narrow look to see Syria as one of the many Arab states. Syria is more than that.


The map does not reflect the demography fully but is good enough

Many now know Syria’s multi-religious, multi-cultural and multi-lingual society. There are Arabs; the Alewite being the ruling elite, the Sunna muslims as the majority and the Christians. Then there are the Druze as a religious minority; Arab speakers but not very much interested in Arab nationalism. And then there are the Kurds.

The Kurds live in northeast and northwest corners of Syria and claim these lands to be a part of Kurdistan (literally KurdLand). There is also the Kurdish population in Damascus and in Haleppo.Kurds in Damascus are mostly ancient settlers of the city and the ones in Haleppo are more recent immigrants. The Kurds have three different faiths they follow: the Sunna Islam (the majority), and two varieties of an ancient Kurdish religion which academics classify under ‘Angels Cult’ name: the Ezidi (or Yezidi) in the northeast tip and the Alevi in the northwest tip. (Alevi Kurds share a different fatih than Alawit Arabs).

One thing about Syria: it touches Kurdistan; is an occupant force on about 5 % of Kurdistan.

ABOUT THE KURDISH CURSE: THE STATUS QUO IN THE REGION
If a Kurdistan map can be analyzed quickly, it will be seen that Kurdistan itself and the Kurdish people onboard are the one thing Syria shares with Turkey, Iran and Iraq. This has been the curse of Kurdistan from the point of view of the Kurds since these countries’ borders have been drawn by the British and the French. The curse was basically this: All these four countries had their own allies within and outside the region. Even though there was conflict between themselves and between their allies, they also had their agreement on the status quo. The status quo, tied strongly by the global strategy balance, did not allow Kurds to gain rights.

Bu then, things started to change with the turn of the century after the American led invasion of Iraq. I would like to go into a bit of detail on Kurdish politics here to help you to understand the Kurdish sentiments that effects the Kurdish decision making.

Now that a good bit of Kurdistan (about 20%) inside the Iraqi borders enjoys relative independence, this effects the rest of the Kurds strongly. First time during the modern ages Kurds claim their own land under their very own rule. Being Kurd in the other parts of Kurdistan is more or less being prisoned at home and not being allowed to go to the next room. However this time Kurds in one part of Kurdistan live in freedom. When one part gets something, it means that a United and Independent Kurdistan is one step closer. The sentiment among Kurds since the invasion of Iraq is that the curse is broken.

Today though, Kurds in Iraq live in freedom. Kurds in Syria, Turkey and Iraq don’t. If we give the Turkish example; knowing that Kurds in Turkey do not officially exist should tell the story. Or to know that the 24h Kurdish broadcast of the Turkish state owned TRT6 is officially in an ‘unknown’ language. Shortly, Kurdish identity is not recognized in Turkey. In Iran it seems better because at least the identity is recognized. The Kurds are not Persians but Kurds as they are (they are officially Turks in Turkey, not Kurds). In reality though the Shia Persian enmity against Kurds is an ongoing opression.

If one looks from this perspective it is easy to understand why Turkey is so much interested in what goes on in Syria. Turkey has about 50% of Kurdistan (250’000 km2) and between 17 and 25 million Kurds. With no rights. Imagine the power vacuum having no right creates in Kurdistan.

Thinking of domino effect theory, it is hard to imagine that if the Kurds in Syria gained similar rights to those in Iraq, the ones in Turkey or Iran would agree on any less. Kurdish agenda has never been to agree to that little though.

In general, Kurds ask for an independent state. They have their own flags, their own antem and their own separate history in the land which they claim to be theirs and name after themselves: Kurdistan (KurdLand).

That’s what makes all affairs in Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran of interest to each other. And of course, when you have interest in any of these countries you find yourself in a position to understand the long un-solved Kurdish issue. And I believe it is the puzzle made in Kurdistan by the British and the French after the I. World War that created the curse mentioned: even if you want more rights for Kurds, say from Washington or Moscow, you would not know how to agree on a deal with other powers who would have their own interests. And so many countries had their own interests in these four countries. And nobody knew how things would evolve once the status quo changed.

After the intervention in Iraq which led to a federation between South Kurdistan and the rest of the Iraq, the status quo changed. The curse finally broke. The fact that it broke once, the Kurds do not believe to it any more. Kurds in any part of Kurdistan only prepare themselves for their turn. They believe that an independent Kurdistan only approaches with the events.

Written by M. Husedin

19 April 2012 at 8:26 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Can the PYD of Syria play a positive role for a stable region?

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Nowadays we read that the PKK affiliate PYD, operative in Syrian or Soutwestern Kurdistan, is more or less in control of the Kurdish territory.

Claim is that the Assad regime pulled out from the region. This, plus the ineffectivity of Kurdish Patriotic Conference of Syrian Kurdish political parties creates a gap and hardworking PYD fills the gap. As a result it is more or less the only player on the ground for Southwest Kurdistan. Already an alternative to the regime.


Salih Muslum Muhammed, leader of PYD (Patriotic Union Party)

Many worry for this situation as PKK is not an organization with a positive history in allying with other Kurds, or for many more, is known as having suspicious relationships with the regimes controlling Kurdistan parts.

Perhaps we can ask whether the PYD (or PKK) is a threat against the efforst to create a stable region? Can they be thought as partners in contributing to a new Middle East? If yes, how can they be encouraged for this.

OCALAN
Without doubt, Ocalan is the ‘Christ’ for the supporters of the PKK. Being the Christ, he is the unquestionable and the undoubtable. Many misunderstand this prophesized symbol.


Ocalan, prophesized by his followers and seen as a megalomaniac by his rivals

For many of his rivals Ocalan (Abdullah Ocalan, or Apo) is a true megalomaniac and that he has a perverted view of himself and forces himself into every single brain cell of his followers.

I must say I have not met an Apoist with intellect. Clever PKK militants know the truth of Ocalan and take him as nothing more than a symbol. Those who take Ocalan as the unquestionable leader are the ‘workers’ of various PKK affiliated organizations. Having said that, there is no doubt that Ocalan himself is the true leader of his organization and rules his party even from an island, where he is held in a custom made prison by the Turks, for about 13 years now.

How much Ocalan’s rule applies to PYD in Syria?
Ocalan was based in Syria for about all his career until he was deported from the country by father Assad in 1998 and captured by CIA in Kenya to be given to the Turks. Ocalan’s political and prophetical ‘soul’ is strongly present in the PYD.

PYD and realist policy making
One who tries to understand the ‘policy making’ and ‘strategy making’ of PKK will truly get lost in the ideological labyrinth of the organization.

PKK sets its struggle theatre as one for an ideology which they call ‘democratic confederalism’, though they have changed the name for the same several times already. What is democratic confederalism then? Well, noone truly knows.

Ocalan’s usual claim is that noone among his supporters in the organization ever truly understands him and I believe this is true. Take the note: Ocalan publishes and announces his books as the latest most advanced thoughts in human history. His supporters (those that I mentioned) believe him in that but not dfferent than supporters of any religion. They willnot truly know what they believe to but they will also not allow you to criticize their belief.

Returning back to the subtitle, can the PYD be a partner of a realist policy making. The very simple question to that is a no.Well, this does not mean that there will be no realist policy making from the PYD, but rather pointing the effective leaders of the PKK at Qandil mountains as the policy makers for PKK and all its affiliated organizations, including the PYD.


PKK leaders based at Qandil mountains in South Kurdistan (Iraqi Kurdistan)

If one asks whether the PKK can be a realist policy maker, the answer is undoubtedly yes.

The PKK in Syria
It would be quite silly if the PKK was not in contact with the Assad elite and trying to get the best out of this falling regime. I call this realist policy making. But how far will the PKK go in affiliating itself with the regime in Syria? Until there is be nothing else to get from them, or until such affiliation prevents something else and better from happening.

PKK is an organization characterized by the person who established it. Ocalan is known to be using the resources of the states colonizing Kurdistan. In the startup days of the PKK, Ocalan was effectively being supported by the Turkish intelligence and he accepts this fact and defends his act by saying, “they were using us and we were using them”. The same was the case in PKK’s relationship with the father Assad. Today, it should be the same with Bashar the son.

It will be the same with anyone else. PKK is an organization with strong will and will not hesitate to get in contact with anyone. There is always a benefit for the PKK.

For the role PKK will play in southwestern Kurdistan, my opinion is that it will be contructive and is already on the right path. Local committees are being established in almost every street and village and people are being prepared for a defense against an attack from the Arabs.

As for Turkish threat, Murat Karayilan, the commander in charge of the PKK, has said that if the Turks would try to enter southwestern Kurdstan, they would retaliate in Turkey. This, I call, is a perfect strategy.

My only worry is the relationship of a possible authority of PKK in southwestern Kurdistan and its future relationship with the Iraqi Kurdistan, the KRG.


A rapidly developing South Kurdistan (Iraqi Kurdistan)

PKK is an organization with ideological stance, an ideology resembling communism. How this ideology will fit Kurdish life style, I doubt. There is a developing liberal lifestyle in Iraqi Kurdistan or South Kurdistan and any logical political progress in southwestern Kurdistan should target a merge with the brethren in the neighbouring Iraq. I wish I had an easy answer for this.

So, can the PYD of Syria play a positive role for a stable region?
I do believe so. Even though the rhetoric of the PKK is highly complex, hidden beneath is an organization that seeks recognition. The danger is the paranoia of any Kurd: betrayal. Betrayal of your own men, betrayal of your ally.

I do not believe you can ever really take out this ever imminent emotion from the thoughts of the Kurds. After the last two centuries, we are ever suspicious of anyone approaching us. This and our inexperience in diplomacy, the paranoia may seem ‘suspicious’ to others. However, in the end action should tell itself and PKK’s actions show that it is a reliable organization and is a factual policy maker on the ground.

Written by M. Husedin

31 March 2012 at 12:26 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

More stragetic investments in Kurdistan (Iraq)

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Here is another good news about investment in Kurdistan. Very much against the Arab propaganda that oil companies would not invest in Kurdistan Iraq, and that Total eliminated such an idea, the CEO of French Total seeks investment opportunities there.

The news is from AFP and can be reached from here.

French Total seeks business in Iraqi Kurdistan: chief

KUWAIT CITY — French oil giant Total is in talks to tap opportunities to invest in autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan, its chief said Tuesday as Baghdad insists contracts should go through the central government.

“Kurdistan is part of Iraq. A lot of companies are investing in Kurdistan-Iraq and we don’t see why Total couldn’t do it,” Total chief executive officer Christophe de Margerie told reporters in Kuwait.

“We are looking at opportunities. We are discussing, but there is nothing done yet,” he said on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum.

He said Total was seeking entry into the sector through companies that already have permits to explore in the oil-rich region.

“Definitely we will go through discussions with owners of existing blocks,” but “in any case you need the approval of the Kurdish government,” he said.

Baghdad regards any contracts not signed with the central government as invalid.

On October 18, Kurdistan signed a deal with US giant ExxonMobil for it to explore six areas, a deal Baghdad strongly opposed.

In December, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said ExxonMobile has promised to reconsider the deal.

De Margerie also said that his company has replaced “all” its imports of oil from Iran with supplies from other countries, in line with sanctions imposed on Tehran over its nuclear programme.

“I cannot tell you by whom,” he told reporters, declining to name oil producers that covered the gap, which he put at “a little bit more than 200,000 barrels per day.”

Oil giants operating in Iran, including the Anglo-Dutch Royal Shell, Norway’s Statoil, Italy’s ENI, have gradually withdrawn from the country, abiding by sanctions.

Written by M. Husedin

15 March 2012 at 1:38 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

2011 in review

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WordPress.com has an annual service where some basic stats for the past year is prepared. You can find it in the link below with a small summary from my side.

Click here to see the complete report.

Here are my highlights from 2011 statistics:

– Most number of visitor are from the US, followed by Europe, Asia and Australia
– The blog was viewed about 1’700 times in about five months
– 23 articles have been posted in this time

Written by M. Husedin

01 January 2012 at 12:43 PM

Posted in Uncategorized