Posts Tagged ‘Kurdistan’

Turkey is “against” Kurdish separatism much more than it is “against” ISIS

October 14, 2014

I remain of the opinion that Turkish government policy is dominated by being against any Kurdish unity or separatism even if it means that their actions may assist ISIS. A Greater Kurdistan with access to oil wealth is a much greater fear than any new Caliphate. Two reports today only serve to strengthen my perception of Turkey walking the tightrope between NATO membership and an application to join the EU on the one hand, and their reluctance to intervene against ISIS if it helps the Kurds to consolidate their territory and attacks on PKK on Turkish territory on the other.

BBC: Turkish jets bomb Kurdish PKK rebels near Iraq

Turkish F-16 and F-4 warplanes have bombed Kurdish PKK rebel targets near the Iraqi border, as their ceasefire comes under increasing strain. The air strikes on Daglica were in response to PKK shelling of a military outpost, the armed forces said.

Both sides have been observing a truce and it is the first major air raid on the PKK since March 2013.

Kurds are furious at Turkey’s inaction as Islamic State (IS) militants attack the Syrian border town of Kobane. Fighters from the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) have been aiding Kurdish YPG militia in Kobane and Turkey has refused to help supply its long-standing enemy with weapons or allow Kurdish fighters to enter Syria.

NYT: Turkey Denies Reports of Deal for Use of Its Bases in Fight Against Islamic State

A day after American officials said Turkey had agreed to allow its air bases to be used for operations against the Islamic State, which they described as a deal that represented a breakthrough in tense negotiations, Turkish officials said on Monday that there was no deal yet, and that talks were still underway.

US, UK and Turkey give up on Kobani

October 9, 2014

Neither the US or the UK see Kobani or its Kurds as having strategic importance. The US admits that air strikes alone cannot save Kobani. Turkey sees greater strategic value in not supporting the Kurds than in confronting ISIS.

As I thought, Turkey sees ISIS and their vision of a Caliphate as being a lesser evil than any future Kurdistan. Their reluctance to assist with ground troops to confront ISIS in Kobani has probably helped the US to stay out as well. John Kerry has confirmed what I suspected that helping the Kurds in Kobani is not a strategic objective (though one does wonder whether Obama and Kerry have any strategic objectives at all beyond public relations) for the US. The UK is content to follow where the US leads (or stays still).

ISIS must be quite encouraged by the US / UK idea of “a buffer zone for the influx of refugees crossing the border from Syria”. It suggests that the US and the UK have already given up on Kobani. They will effectively write off Kobani and put all the refugees into a miserable limbo. But it will help their ally Turkey from being invaded by more Kurds and in general a weakening Kurdish position. But they have no intention of protecting any such “buffer zone” from a rampaging ISIS. It will be nothing but a refugee camp with no exits.

Meanwhile the US-led air attacks against ISIS is giving Assad more room to attack his other opponents in Syria.

Deutsche Welle:

At a press conference on Wednesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry indicated that saving the besieged Syrian town of Kobani from the terror of the “Islamic State” (IS) was not a strategic military objective for the United States.

Joined by British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond to address the press, Kerry also said the idea of a buffer zone proposed by Turkey should be thoroughly studied.

“As horrific as it is to watch in real time what is happening in Kobani … you have to step back and understand the strategic objective,” Kerry said.

“Notwithstanding the crisis in Kobani, the original targets of our efforts have been the command and control centers, the infrastructure,” he said. “We are trying to deprive the (Islamic State) of the overall ability to wage this, not just in Kobani but throughout Syria and into Iraq.”

He said the US and the UK were considering a buffer zone for the influx of refugees crossing the border from Syria – an issue Turkey should not have to deal with alone.

The advance of IS into the Kurdish town of Kobani, which can be seen from the Turkish border, has prompted 180,000 residents to flee to Turkey.

Turkey continues to watch.


Turkey’s foreign minister says it cannot be expected to lead a ground operation against Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria on its own.

Mevlut Cavusoglu also called for the creation of a no-fly zone over its border with Syria after talks in Ankara with new Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg. …… Activists say IS now controls about a third of Kobane after fierce fighting. Monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, quoting “reliable sources”, said IS was advancing towards the centre of the town from eastern districts. Earlier, a Kurdish leader in Kobane said IS had entered two more districts overnight, bringing in heavy weapons.

Mr Cavusoglu was holding talks with Mr Stoltenberg and US envoys on possible Turkish action against IS. “It is not realistic to expect Turkey to conduct a ground operation on its own,” he told a news conference. “We are holding talks. Once there is a common decision, Turkey will not hold back from playing its part.”

Turkey watches – while ISIS advances against Kurds

October 7, 2014

The US is bombing ISIS positions in Syria. But when ISIS advances against the Kurds in the border town of Kobani, Turkey – although a NATO ally – is content to watch. An enemy of the Kurds is almost a friend!!

Turkish tanks on the Syrian border near Kobani – image ibtimes

Of course nothing is simple in the Middle East.

But sometimes it seems to me that anything that weakens the Kurds is considered a “good thing” by the Turkish government. I have the feeling that even Turkey’s membership of NATO is subordinate to their goal of containing the Kurds and preventing the growth of a Kurdistan which stretches across part of present day Turkey. A “Great Kurdistan” as Ralph Peters’ map shows (from this analysis) is Turkey’s nightmare.

Great Kurdistan a Turkish nightmare – graphic Ralph Peters

For Turkey it is a choice between evils. They could well perceive that an ISIS Caliphate may be less of a geographic threat than a Great Kurdistan.

Caliphate claimed by ISIS – graphic

The many ISIS advances also cast doubt on whether the US air strikes will be anywhere near as effective as Obama hopes and has proclaimed.

Our objective is clear:  We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy.

At Kobani, ISIS advances are not even being contained – let alone degraded and destroyed.

Where Iraq goes today, Afghanistan will go tomorrow

June 14, 2014

History will come to see the Bush-Blair invasion of Iraq as an Axis of Evil.

The developments in Iraq are clearly showing the way for what is going to happen in Afghanistan. Barack Obama’s risk aversion and his desperation to disentangle the US from the quagmire that Bush led them into, is increasingly looking like an abdication. If the Bush-Blair objectives for the sexed-up invasion of Iraq were

  • to redefine the country,
  • to help create a new Kurdistan,
  • to permit Sunni extremists to establish an own state – Sunnistan,
  • permit an Iran backed Shia state to be Iran’s buffer against the Sunni and
  • to get hundreds of thousands of people killed (including many thousands of US and allied troops,
  • to create a precedent and a vision for Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia

then the entire adventure has been a spectacular success with the final phases being completed by Barack Obama. If the purpose was to combat modern terrorism then it has been an abject failure. In fact Bush and Blair and Obama have done more to increase terrorism than any rabid Mullah could have.

The Ralph Peters imagined map of a better Middle East in his book Never Quit the Fightof 2006 is looking increasingly prescient and real.

Turkey better get used to the idea loosing a chunk of Eastern Turkey to an integrated Kurdistan. Iran will be reshaped and Pakistan will have to accept a new state of a Free Baluchistan in the west. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will splinter into many pieces.



As Ralph Peters wrote in his Blood Borders article for the Armed Forces Journal:

A just alignment in the region would leave Iraq’s three Sunni-majority provinces as a truncated state that might eventually choose to unify with a Syria that loses its littoral to a Mediterranean-oriented Greater Lebanon: Phoenecia reborn. The Shia south of old Iraq would form the basis of an Arab Shia State rimming much of the Persian Gulf. Jordan would retain its current territory, with some southward expansion at Saudi expense. For its part, the unnatural state of Saudi Arabia would suffer as great a dismantling as Pakistan.

A root cause of the broad stagnation in the Muslim world is the Saudi royal family’s treatment of Mecca and Medina as their fiefdom. With Islam’s holiest shrines under the police-state control of one of the world’s most bigoted and oppressive regimes — a regime that commands vast, unearned oil wealth — the Saudis have been able to project their Wahhabi vision of a disciplinarian, intolerant faith far beyond their borders. The rise of the Saudis to wealth and, consequently, influence has been the worst thing to happen to the Muslim world as a whole since the time of the Prophet, and the worst thing to happen to Arabs since the Ottoman (if not the Mongol) conquest. ……

…….. True justice — which we might not like — would also give Saudi Arabia’s coastal oil fields to the Shia Arabs who populate that subregion, while a southeastern quadrant would go to Yemen. Confined to a rump Saudi Homelands Independent Territory around Riyadh, the House of Saud would be capable of far less mischief toward Islam and the world.

Iran, a state with madcap boundaries, would lose a great deal of territory to Unified Azerbaijan, Free Kurdistan, the Arab Shia State and Free Baluchistan, but would gain the provinces around Herat in today’s Afghanistan — a region with a historical and linguistic affinity for Persia. Iran would, in effect, become an ethnic Persian state again, with the most difficult question being whether or not it should keep the port of Bandar Abbas or surrender it to the Arab Shia State.

What Afghanistan would lose to Persia in the west, it would gain in the east, as Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier tribes would be reunited with their Afghan brethren (the point of this exercise is not to draw maps as we would like them but as local populations would prefer them). Pakistan, another unnatural state, would also lose its Baluch territory to Free Baluchistan. The remaining “natural” Pakistan would lie entirely east of the Indus, except for a westward spur near Karachi.

The abdication of Barack Obama ensures that all the lives lost in Iraq will have been in vain. And that Afghanistan will go the way of Iraq.The Middle East is going to keep the world on tenterhooks for the next 50 years at least.

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