+The Kurdish momentum & the time of ISIS
+Kurdish Groups End Cease-fire With Turkey
"An umbrella network of Kurdish organizations that includes the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has announced a three-year-long cease-fire agreement with Ankara is now over, dealing a major blow to a protracted reconciliation process with Turkey's Kurds."
by Jamie Dettmer. July 13, 2015
Voice Of America
A bit of history
Since 1984, nearly 40,000 people have been killed in clashes with the PKK, which is designated as a "terrorist organization" by the international community, including the United States and the European Union.
The PKK launched a three-decade-long self-rule insurgency in 1984. It tempered its aims subsequently and its imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan has been negotiating a resolution to the conflict. But in recent months the process has stalled with positions hardening on both sides.
Kurdish anger has been boiling since the Turkish government refused to intervene militarily to help the Syrian Kurdish defenders of the border town of Kobani to see off a months-long siege by Islamic extremists.
During the siege, which was lifted in January partly as a result of fierce U.S.-led coalition airstrikes on the extremists, Turkish jets launched air raids on PKK positions in southeast Turkey.
The main Syrian Kurdish group is an offshoot of the PKK. Further anger was prompted last month when the Turkish President warned he would not allow the Syrian Kurds to create a state of their own along the border with Turkey.
And clashes between the PKK and the Turkish military have increased in the southeast of the country, with both sides accusing the other of prompting the fights.
The peace process with the Kurds is one of the main initiatives of President Tayyip Erdogan's decade in power, during which Turkey has enjoyed an economic boom underpinned by investor confidence in future stability.
The sentiments of frustration and deep anger contained in the weekend statement reflect the ire of many of the country’s 12 million Kurds towards Ankara.
The PKK-linked Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) declared an “end to the cease-fire” first agreed in 2012 and warned it would target "all the dams” in the country’s southeast.
In the statement delivering a significant setback to the fragile off-and-on peace process, the KCK said Turkey's building of barracks, dams, and roads for military purposes had violated the truce.
"The Turkish State took advantage of the cease-fire conditions, not for a democratic political resolution, but to gain an advantageous position in preparation of war by building dozens of guard posts, roads for military purposes and dams in order for a cultural genocide," the statement said.
Turkish political crisis
In March, the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, dismissed the idea there is even a Kurdish problem, prompting fears that talk of a breakthrough by his ministers was misplaced. Erdogan argued Kurds already enjoy equal rights with the rest of the country and should not need anything else.
The plight of the Syrian Kurds in Kobani provoked riots among Turkey's 15 million Kurds.
Opposition politicians tied his nationalist dismissal of the Kurds to the June parliamentary elections. His ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its majority in the polls and is now immersed in coalition talks, with the most likely partner being the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which wants to see an end to the peace process.
Pro-Kurdish lawmaker Altan Tan accused the government of paving the way for a collapse of the peace process by acting slowly and dragging its feet in the talks. "Those who want a [peace] resolution have to act swiftly to avert a rekindling of the insurgency", he says.
And Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu vowed Monday the construction of dams and roads in the country's mainly Kurdish southeast would continue. "Governments build roads and dams," he said. "They don't back down through threats.”
He accused the PKK of reneging on a pledge to withdraw armed fighters from Turkish territory.
The rise of nationalist parties in Turkey's recent elections and developments in the broader Kurdish geo-politics of the Middle East illustrate that nationalism as a political, ideological, and sentimental framework is regaining steam. An independent Kurdistan has been a dream for the region's Kurds for decades.
Twenty five percent of Turkey’s population is Kurdish, and Erdogan—like most of his ethnic Turkish countrymen—are terrified that Turkey may lose a huge swath of its territory if Syrian Kurdistan liberates itself alongside Iraqi Kurdistan. Turkish Kurdistan could very well be the next domino.
Turkey has a world-class army—the second-largest in NATO—and could obliterate ISIS from the face of the earth if it wanted. If Syria’s Kurds can make headway into ISIS-held territory with just a ragtag militia, Turkey could liberate the Syrian population from Bashar al-Assad, Hezbollah, and ISIS simultaneously.
The Kurdish momentum
Kurds are often regarded as "the largest ethnic group without a state", although larger stateless nations exist.
Kurds have a special deal in Iraq that they have nowhere else in the world: territory they actually govern semi-autonomously from the central Iraqi government. Iraqi Kurdistan is defined as the three provinces — Dohuk, Erbil, and Sulaymaniyah — and the Kurds' fight against ISIL both in Iraq and Syria is also creating the Kurdish public sphere as a community of shared emotions and sentiments. The US cares so much about protecting Kurdistan because US is bombing the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq with a campaign narrowly targeted (?) to support the Kurdish military, or peshmerga.....but the point is that the Kurds aren't totally united. And neither is their government, or their military.
The government of Iran has never employed the same level of brutality against its own Kurds like Turkey or Iraq, but it has always been implacably opposed to any suggestion of Kurdish separatism.
The most populous Kurdish community is in Turkey — about 13 million. There's between seven or eight million in Iran, about five million in Iraq, and somewhere between 2 and 2.5 million in Syria. And none of these countries want an independent Kurdish state but now they have territory, oil and the friendship of the government of the United States because kurds are by far the most effective force fighting ISIS in both Iraq and Syria.
In Iraq, Kurdish forces armed by both Iran and the U.S. have taken perhaps 10,000 square miles from ISIS since last fall. They also snapped up the disputed city of Kirkuk, rich in oil and cultural significance to Kurds and Arabs alike—and are preventing Arabs from returning to some villages. Houses are marked “Reserved for Kurds,” and Kurdish checkpoints declare, “No Arabs Allowed.”
Massoud Barzani, who leads the Kurdistan Regional Government, has repeatedly said Kurds will not fight for the rest of Iraq, or for the idea of it.
The ISIS momentum
Since the US intervention, the peshmerga have retaken some of the towns ISIS had seized. It's possible ISIS will hold onto the territory they've taken, but on-the-ground reports make it sound as if the momentum is flipping to the Kurds.
Human Rights Watch documented instances of Kurds confining Sunni Arabs to specific areas to prevent their return, actions undermine the attempts by the U.S. and Baghdad to lure Iraq’s Sunni Arabs away from the orbit of ISIS and back into Iraq’s national enterprise.
The maddening paradox is that the situation grows more difficult to manage with every gain against ISIS, the shared enemy: “Iraqi Kurds are using U.S. airstrikes and the political vacuum in northern Iraq not only to push back ISIS, but also to recapture disputed territories and oil fields—some of the very measures that have fueled Sunni Arab resentment since 2003.” Said Denise Natali, a senior research fellow at National Defense University in Washington.
A substantial percentage of the Middle East’s Sunni Arabs see ISIS as the only thing standing between them and Iranian overlordship and If ISIS can keep the Kurds down, Turkey’s territorial integrity is more secure.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said there was no discrepancy between Ankara and Washington over the strategy for fighting Islamic State in Kobani and that Ankara would define its role according to its own timetable....
....But Diplomats and heads of state are often to last to notice tectonic geopolitical shifts. They’ve spent years, even decades, forming relationships with their foreign counterparts. but it’s becoming clearer by the year that Turkey’s membership in NATO is a vestige of an era that expired a long time ago.
If Isis is the monster that Nostradamus predicted the Kurds must be defeated as the new allies of the United States ( the Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah axis) .
UPDATE July 25,15 ___ POST RELATED
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ORIGIN OF A SECT: War Between Kuwait & Iraq
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Michael J. Totten's blog
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Goodbye from Spain
July 15, 2015.
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