The Kurds Between Iraq and a Hard Place

 

end of the road-Kurdistan
End of the road in Kurdish area, Northern Syria, 1992.

 

I’ve been reading this article, The Trump Administration Just Stabbed the Kurds in the Front, by Michael Totten chap on how the Americans have stabbed the Kurds in the front (so to say). I think they have stuck the knife somewhere else.
I totally agree with everything Totten says in his article.
He is right on so many things.

Totten laments that Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has not been studying up on the dysfunctional Middle East, i.e. the Kurds, Arabs, Persians and the Turks. Maybe he needs a book I bought many years ago called–The Middle East for DUMMIES. Rex has even discounted the independence referendum amongst the Kurds that showed an overwhelming 92% who voted in favour of independence.

For that matter, do any of those folk in the White House and Washington study up on the “know thy enemy” book about the geopolitics about the Middle East? True, Rex Tillerson is full of hooey and former national security advisor, Mike Flynn, has now been exposed as a lackey for Erdogan too. Flynn had been a one-man Turkish lobby in Washington before he got ousted.

Since Bush (take you pick), the US administration has been so up its ass about that “shithole” country Iraq that it forgot that the Kurds have actually set up a fairly stable and decent place in Northern Iraq called, wait for it—Kurdistan. So much so that when IS initially reared its ugly head in Iraq and after the Iraqi Army abandoned their bases and armaments to IS, many Iraqis escaped to Kirkuk and other “safe” places in Kurdistan.

Erdogan too has his head up his ass as well and both are getting bigger by the minute. I saw him recently on TV at a rally in Turkey where he broadcast that “we will defend Turkish soil…” by invading Afrin. Well, buddy boy, Afrin is not on Turkish soil, in fact, it is on Syrian soil, and they (the YPG) had been no threat to you whatsoever.

Defending your own soil is one thing; invading another sovereign state is quite the other, (of course, unless you are the Israelis).

Erdogan is trying to do on the Syrian/Turkish border what the Israelis tried to do on their Lebanese/Israeli border back in the 1980s—create a “cordon sanitaire”. The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) did that in southern Lebanon in 1982 after the PLO had been lobbing katuysha rockets into the northern Galilee where my kibbutz was.

The IDF, in “Operation Peace for Galilee”, under General Ariel Sharon invaded Lebanon and then armed their “friends”, the South Lebanese Christian militias under the rule of Saad Haddad—hence called Saddadland. This was the IDF’s “cordon sanitaire”.

You may not remember Haddad, but he was also implicated in the Shabra/Shatilla Massacres in the Palestinian camps in West Beirut in 1982 by the Christian militias under Elie Hobeika. This was in retribution for the earlier “assassination” of the Christian Phalangist president of Lebanon –Bashir Gamayel.

During the 1980 and 90s, the IDF had given financial and materiel aid to arm the Christian militias and the South Lebanese Army (SLA) under Haddad to the teeth as well as set up the notorious Khiam Prison where many Lebanese disappeared and were tortured by the SLA under the guidance of the IDF.

In 2000, once the Israelis found that their former Christian allies (the SLA) were longer of any use–they just pulled back their IDF army and equipment, and abandoned the toothless SLA to the PLO and Hezbollah forces arrested many of the SLA whilst others sought exile. The Lebanese Army and the Hezbollah took over Khiam Prison and the “cordon sanitaire”.

Turkey, no doubt, would like to emulate this “cordon solitaire” that the IDF did by invading Syria and the towns of Afrin and Manbij that lie on the border of southern Turkey.

The Kurds could indeed borrow that hackneyed expression by US comedian Rodney Dangerfield—“I get no respect”. Part of the Kurds problem is that ever since the Ottoman Empire, they have been wrongfully referred to as “mountain Turks”. Unfortunately, unlike that saying by the worst Turk of all—Ataturk—the Kurds have not been—“Happy is he who is a Turk.” The Kurds have also suffered eight betrayals by the western powers despite having been the West’s staunchest ally and have taken on Saddam, IS in Syria/Iraq along with the Johnny-come-lately help of the US.

In fact, the Kurds are closer to us “westerners” than that blonde-haired twit in the White House knows. The Kurdish language is Indo-European as is both English and Iranian if you must know and the Iranians are also under assault.

Mind you, it was okay when the Kurds were holding their own against IS and then routing them, but now that the Turks have waited for the YPG Kurdish folk to clear the northern Syrian border area of IS terrorists, the Turks once again see the Kurds as “terrorists”.

The Kurds situation reminds me of a joke from the 1990s when Saddam was still in power in Iraq.
What do Little Miss Muppet and Saddam have in common?
They both have Kurds in their way.
I guess now you can replace Saddam with Tayyip Erdogan.

Seems that the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) and their leader Ocalan are on Erdogan’s radar once again; even though, Ocalan has been rotting in a Turkish prison since 1999. That was when the sneaky Israelis intercepted cell phone calls from Ocalan (in Kenya at the time) and his gf in Scandinavia and pinpointed his location so that crack Turkish spetsnaz could liberate him from Kenya. because of his incarceration, he posses no threat to Erdogan or Turkey whatsoever.

The pundits on TV keep saying that there are US forces stationed among the Kurds and the YPG in the Afrin Enclave area, but I never hear a peep out of tea for the Tillerson or any of his acolytes from the State department concerning that.

Once again the Americans have abandoned the only real friend they have been able to count on in northern Syria and Iraq. The Kurds have acted as a bulwark agst IS and the other pro-Assad Syrian forces even though now, Assad has apparently sent some of his forces to join YPG to try and thwart the recent Turkish advances.

It will be interesting to see how this recent Middle East Muddle works out—stay tuned!

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