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For a United and Independent Kurdistan

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.

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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

Kurdistan is all about geostrategy

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I have come accross a 1920 issue of the NYT, thanks to @RozhBar, here is the link to read the article.

What I would like to point out is that. Whenever there has been a discussion about Kurdistan, it has always been about its geostrategy, be it in relation to India for the British, or the Mediterranean for the Russians, or today the Caspian and Central Asia for the Americans.

If once the Kurds themselves can understand this simple fact about their land, then they can pick one global ally (my nominee to be the winner is the US) and finally get the support and recognition. The support and recognition the Kurds so very desperately long to understand why they do not get.

Written by M. Husedin

25 February 2012 at 12:14 AM

Attack to Syria: opening the Kurdish corridor for an attack to Iran

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MILITARY LOGISTICS
The term logistics -in the sense being used today- was most probably first used after the World War II in American army (1953). It is also said that the term logistics comes from the surname of a general in Napoleon’s army who was responsible -and also effective- in provisioning the army with supplies, and that his surname has become the word for logistics today (logistique). Whether one or the other, it is clear that military warfare and logistics are very closely related.

When following events and developing analysis, I am being careful about ground preparations of an eventual assault, which I believe has not changed much since the times of Sun Tzu, the author of famous Art of War.

Whatever happens between nations, states, peoples; it is all about who is ready for what. Military preparation is almost always to avoid an actual war by showing the opponent that you are ready for it. Readiness is the key word here. Military logistics (and logistics in general) is all about being ready. When the shit hits the fan you want to be ready. This is almost all about it.

Then, there are times when you can not avoid a war. This is when the war happens.  Any general will always want to make sure that the right troops with all their arms, vehicles and provisions are at the right place, at the right time.

LOGISTICS ANALYSIS OF A WAR AGAINST IRAN
Now, put yourself to an American general’s shoes who is responsible for preparing the army for a war in Iran and think where you would want your army to be positioned and what access routes you would want to be secured:


I will not go into any detail in this article other than this small note here to tell that such a political map is no help to any general for preparing on the ground for an assault against Iran. I will only mention so briefly that Turkmenistan and Armenia are with Russia, thus no enemies to Iran; Azerbaijan and Georgia are with USA and Israel, thus friends with USA. Afghanistan and until recently Iraq under American invasion, whereas Pakistan and Turkey, though allies to USA, are against an attack to Iran (and sometimes openly declaring support for it). And of course the neighboring Arab states on the other side of the Persian Gulf are all pro-American. 

If I was the imaginary American general, I would make sure that I had access to the war theatre both from Mediterranean and Persian Gulf, through Hormuz Strait. For both passages, you need to secure and gain support of two nations which are not shown on this map: the Kurds and the Balloch.

FORGOTTEN PEOPLES: THE KURDS AND THE BALLOCH
However, the above map itself is a misperception for not showing the two nations who are hostile to Iranian regime. The Kurds in the west and the Balloch in the East.  Let’s examine the demography maps of these peoples / nations in relation to Iran’s borders.

First, map of Kurdistan. See what actually the western border of Iran looks like:

https://i0.wp.com/www.kurdaid.ch/download/map_kurdistan.jpg
In this demographic map you see that the Persians have no borders with the Turks. It is all Kurds, it is all Kurdistan.

Now, have a look at the Baluchistan map on the other side, in the east:

https://i1.wp.com/www.languageandpeace.com/images/perry_castaneda/balochistan.gif
Iran has no border with Pakistan, and if you include the Pashto, Iran has almost no border with Afghanistan. Both the Balloch and the Pashto carry hostile feelings against the Persians. Just like Kurds.

I guess this much introduction is enough to understand that what is seen in a ‘normal’ political map is completely wrong on the ground. A general will calculate well these variables before marching into these territories.

These are all well said and now we can continue with the analysis of the western front of a war against Iran, which is basically Kurdistan as you have seen.

WESTERN FRONT OF AN ATTACK TO IRAN: KURDISTAN

Iran’s western border is basically Kurdistan.It can be said that south of Kurdistan are the Shia Arabs of Iraq. Right, and they owe their rule in Baghdad to Americans. Not much to write on this, as against all the commentators I do not believe the Shia Arab politicians can possibly have negative feelings against the Americans, or that they will go out of control.

Iran’s western border is Kurdistan. There is part of Kurdistan under Persian rule, which we call Eastern Kurdistan. In this article we analyze the parts of Kurdistan which are not under Persian rule.

North of Iran’s western border is Northern Kurdistan, Kurdistan under Turkish rule, and south of it is South Kurdistan, Iraqi Kurdistan, which is semi-independent and if the rumours have truth, they are preparing for a declaration of independence. South Kurdistan, without doubt, is ally to the USA. Since the security of South Kurdistan is still widely owed to the US protection umbrella, I exclude an option that they do not fully support US in a war against Iran. Current Kurdish president Massoud Barzani’s father was Chief of Army of short lived Kurdistan Republic of Mahabad of Eastern Kurdistan, which was crashed brutally by the Persians. Long story but enough to know and imagine that president Barzani will want to liberate hs brothers and sisters accross the border.

This is one at hand for the American general.

One in hand but still too far to Mediterranean.

Can we expect the Turks to allow American troops and their provisions to pass freely through Turkey. Well, Turks refused a similar request in 2003 when Americans asked 61’500 trrops permanently based + 61’500 troops in transit during the war against Saddam to fight in what woould have been the Northern front. Turks refused and it did not happen. There is no reason for the Turks to accept a similar request in the coming years.  Actually, there are already reports leaking out that Turks do not want to allow any foreigners in Turkey during a war against Syria:

Meanwhile, there have been disagreements regarding what action must be taken against Syria. Turkey refuses to set up buffer zones for civilians on its border with Syria, and demands that the transfer of equipment and medicine be done via the sea and not through its territory.

Fortunately, Kurdistan map does not end in South Kurdistan. We still have the Southwest Kurdistan, what is Kurdish region under Syrian rule (Good news for our imaginary American general):

Syrian Kurdistan or Southwest Kurdistan itself does not border Mediterranean, which is not very important in my opinion. The lost connection of Kurdistan to Mediterranean is due to Turkification and de-Kurdification policy of the Turkish state. It can be reversed in time. This remark is for the Kurds themselves.

As for the Americans; once invaded, Latakia may very well serve as the port. Or, better still, Iskenderun under Turkish rule, once bordering Kurdistan, can serve this purpose. New Syrian state under American rule may sign a quick free-customs-trade-agreement and that may allow Iskenderun port to be a future base for US military supplies.

Once such a route is opened, it may very well serve the Kurds to open to the world.

Expect more on this to pop up in the future articles.

Written by M. Husedin

19 February 2012 at 8:50 PM

After Iraq (from the Atlantic)

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A report from the new Middle East—and a glimpse of its possible future

By Jeffrey Goldberg

 

Not long ago, in a decrepit prison in Iraqi Kurdistan, a senior interrogator with the Kurdish intelligence service decided, for my entertainment and edification, to introduce me to an al-Qaeda terrorist named Omar. “This one is crazy,” the interrogator said. “Don’t get close, or he’ll bite you.”

to read more, please click.

Written by M. Husedin

25 January 2012 at 5:18 PM