Saturday, December 16, 2006

A SPECTRE HAUNTING KURDISTAN

“Terrorism doesn't just blow up buildings; it blasts every other issue off the political map. The spectre of terrorism - real and exaggerated - has become a shield of impunity, protecting governments around the world from scrutiny for their human rights abuses.”
~ Naomi Klein.


Well, well, well . . . South Kurdistan's reaction to the ISG's Baker-Hamiltion report does not look good for the Americans. The Kurdish Globe reports that implementation of the ISG report on Kerkuk would spark Kurdish secession and war:


Ghafur Makhmuri, a member of the Kurdish regional parliament, told "The Kurdish Globe" on December 12 that if the recommendations by the Iraq Study Group concerning the fate of Kirkuk are implemented, then the Kurds might be forced to secede from Iraq.

"The part of the report that calls for postponing the implementation of the constitutional Article [140] on Kirkuk will lead to an explosive situation in the country," Makhmuri said.

Secession by the Kurds would present a disastrous scenario that could ignite a regional conflict. Iraq's fragmentation would greatly increase the likelihood of Turkish military intervention, not only to prevent its own Kurdish population from seceding, but also to protect northern Iraq's Turkoman population, who are ethnic Turks.

More bluntly, the president of the Kurdish regional government, Mas'ud Barzani, warned that if Article 140 was ever deferred, then the region would plunge into war, Kurdistan Satellite Television reported on December 9.

"If there ever would be serious strife, it would happen then. If there ever would be a bloody war, an organized and a determined war, it would only take place then, and only then would it [the situation] become dangerous," Barzani said.


From reports earlier in the week, we know that both Masûd Barzanî and Celal Talabanî reject the ISG report, however, what has not been more widely carried in Western media, has been the reaction of ordinary Kurds in South Kurdistan. Their reactions have not been favorable. An opinion piece in the Kurdish Globe put it this way:


Politic [sic] is nothing but the struggle of interests. Political forces are there for nothing but to safeguard their group, class, national, and etc, interests. It is delicate times for the Kurdish political establishment to protect the Kurdish national interests in such muddy waters. The Kurdish leadership and the Kurdish nation must make sure that both the US and the regional powers understand that should the tide go against Kurdish interests then the Kurds have as much will as the Sunnis to turn Iraq and the region into a chaos. No one should expect submissiveness from the Kurds anymore.


Finally, someone says something sensible. But there should be no mistake; this statement is in reference to the Başûrî. As for the Bakûrî, the old, "submissive" Kurd died in the North in 1978. The new Kurd in the North was born on 15 August, 1984. We need to see the same death and rebirth in the South, but the question is: Will we?

Another check of which direction the wind is blowing, from KurdishMedia:


Although the Iraq Study Group (ISG) report has had a marginal impact on southern and central Iraq, it has created a public outrage in the Kurdistan region. Since disclosure of the report’s findings three days ago, the streets, teahouses, markets, television, and radio stations have not ceased their criticisms. Demonstrations are being conducted and petitions signed against the report, referred to as another American sell-out of the Kurds. Some are calling for less compromise and more muscle in dealing with their unappreciative ally. The Kurdish president Massoud Barzani revealed this hostility in a regional news conference, criticizing the ISG for not having visited the Kurdistan region and assuring that the Kurds would have no part in Iraq if the ISG recommendations were implemented.


Another report on KurdishMedia shows the reaction against the ISG report in Silêmanî:


It is believed that the ISG violated all the rights of Kurdish people in southern Kurdistan and created uncertain environment among Kurds, which may not help the security and the stability of the region. Most Kurds see the report as the Bush administration's pre-plan to demolish the political entity of Kurdistan Regional Government and returning Iraq to a dictatorial rule similar to that of Saddam Hussein. Others believe that this is the view of the Bush administration but they want to break the news to Kurds in this fashion via a report by a partisan group such as ISG. In other words, they just wanted to know the Kurdish reaction to such drastic plan. Other Kurds blame the Kurdish leadership's immaturity of handling their relationship with superpowers and acting as puppets. Others believe that the Kurdish leadership’s depth in corruption world [sic] not allow them to pursue the Kurdish interests internally and externally.


More on the Kurdish street's reaction at Tiare's Notebook.

All of this is enough to make one wonder what was said and what deals were made, if any, during a recent telephone call between Bush and the Başûrî leaders, as reported by AFP. Call me skeptical.

In a report by Asia Times, carried on Kurdish Globe, the KRG representative to the EU, Saywan Barzanî, speaks on the American lack of respect for the Iraqi constitution, particularly with regard to implementation of Article 140 and the issue of federalism. The KRG also refuses reconciliation with the Ba'athi and dialog with either Iran or Syria. Note the following:


The Baker report calls for a stronger central government, especially in the management of oil resources. Kurds instead want regional control in each province.



The American desire for a "stronger central government," and Kurdish suspicions that a return to rule-by-dictator is approaching on the horizon puts this article by Jonah Goldberg in an interesting light, from the LATimes:


I THINK ALL intelligent, patriotic and informed people can agree: It would be great if the U.S. could find an Iraqi Augusto Pinochet. In fact, an Iraqi Pinochet would be even better than an Iraqi Castro.

Both propositions strike me as so self-evident as to require no explanation. But as I have discovered in recent days, many otherwise rational people can't think straight when the names Fidel Castro and Augusto Pinochet come up.

Let's put aside, at least for a moment, the question of which man was (or is) "worse." Suffice it to say, both have more blood on their hands than a decent conscience should be able to bear. Still, if all you want to do is keep score, then Castro almost surely has many more bodies on his rap sheet. The Cuba Archive estimates that Castro is responsible for the deaths of at least 9,240 people, though the real number could be many times that, particularly if you include the estimate of nearly 77,000 men, women and children who have died trying to flee the "socialist paradise."


First of all, be aware that Jonah Goldberg is a former staffer from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), which is anti-Kurd to its very core. Notice the regret expressed for Ahmed Chalabi not living up to Pinochet's standards, thus devastating the hopes of his American handlers. Chalabi was AEI's pet. Just ask Chalabi's old friend, Michael Ledeen.

Secondly, as with all the creatures affiliated with AEI, Goldberg avoids a regional comparison for Iraq. If he had actually used a regional comparison, he could have noted the millions of Kurds murdered by the Ankara regime over the course of almost a century of repression. He could have noted the tens of thousands murdered by the Ankara regime during the Dirty War alone. He could have noted the millions of Kurds ethnically cleansed from their villages throughout the heart of Kurdistan--the majority region of Kurdistan, that of Kurdistan Bakur. On the other hand, it simply would not do to risk opening the ugly can of worms that the US has backed in Turkey, it's own client state and a great model of so-called democracy and secularism in the Middle East.

Thirdly, this AEI creature also fails to mention that Saddam Hussein was also backed by the US, and that the US conveniently looked the other way when Saddam was busy slaughtering Kurds . . . or anyone else, for that matter. Goldberg, therefore, has absolutely no business criticizing "moral myopia."

Over and above the extreme hypocrisy and vile cynicism regarding the lives of Kurds and other Middle Easterners which the Goldberg article represents, we should wonder whether this article also represents the first motion toward a compromise between the neocons and the Kissingerians. The use of extremely centralized governments ruled by US-installed "stongmen" is another pattern used by the US to maintain its own interests throughout the world. In order to maintain control over Kurdish and Iraqi oil resources--which is what the ISG report is all about--will the search be on for a suitable candidate for the US to install over "Iraq" once again?

At this point, I see no candidates for the job of new Iraqi dictator, but that does not mean his spectre is not approaching somewhere on the horizon.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Another Kurdish reaction to the ISG report:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/kurdishchoices/

Anonymous said...

Turkey bans colours!

Eight pupils in the eighth grade at a school in the Kozluk district in the province of Batman, were suspended for three days for painting a rainbow in red, yellow and green, the colours of the Kurdish PKK group.

When asked for an explanation the students said the rainbow ``reflected the PKK’’. “We have given this punishment of three days’ suspension in order to avoid the children getting any bad habits,’’ head teacher Güven Bal said. The students protested the punishment.

here is the photo of the children!!!

http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/_newsimages/2604223.jpg

Anonymous said...

Hi Rasti, I enjoy your site, but in your latest update you fail to mention that the Bush administration has not accepted any of the recommendations of the ISG pile of trash. In fact, the ISG trash was created by retired politicians simply as a series of suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Mizgin, the Baker report is univerally seen in the US as an ATTACK on the Bush admin's policies, which have steadfastly adhered to the idea of placing all political decisions in the hands of the people of Iraq. To pretend it is an extension of the Bush policy is disingenuous, if not crooked.

Sometimes this has been bad for the US and Iraq (IMHO), as when a nut like al-Sadr takes 11% of the Iraqi parliament. But the Bush Admin has not interfered w/this principle.

Baker has been an opportunist and a loser and a nemesis of us neo-cons since at least 1982. It is a role he continues to fill today.

You mistake (I hope not on purpose) Jonah G's column--it was merely using the situation in Iraq to illuminate the reality of Pinochet. It was not a serious proposal for Iraq, as anyone who reads it can see.

I will shortly be writing about Gen. Pinochet at me blog, for those who are interested in his place in history. I'll give you a hint: Israel needs a Jewish Pinochet now.

Mizgîn said...

Thanks for the link to the petition, Anonymous.

Thanks for the information about the children suspended for using Kurdish colors, Anonymous. This is so typical of the regime.

The Bush administration is meaningless. It is in the last half of its existence. In the meantime, American congressmen have already gone to Syria and even Republicans have trips in the works. Obviously, the Americans are taking the ISG report seriously in this respect. Given past betrayals, there is no guarantee that in the future, these same Americans will not attempt to install another dictator, which they will have to do if they implement the recommendations on a strong, centralized Baghdad government. That's the only way it has worked in the past. The only difficulty for the Americans at this point is finding someone to install.

Then there is the Kurdistan referendum, which has been ignored for two reasons.

1: The KDP and PUK are going along to get along. They have their fat bank accounts to think of, not the expressed wishes of 98% of the Southern Kurds. Both the KDP and the PUK are in the process of betraying the Kurdish people for the sake of their own personal interests. It is time for a serious day of reckoning for these two.

2. This naturally plays into the hands of the Americans who, since Day 1, have been far less concerned with the actual desires of the people trapped inside Iraq than they have been with their own corporate interests.


From the Kurdish perspective (you know, the people who actually LIVE in The Region), it does not matter which administration is in power. It is irrelevant if the administration is Democrat or Republican, neocon, "realist", or otherwise. It is all the same. Americans cannot be trusted. Americans are not interested in "democracy." Americans are only concerned with business interests: witness the appointment of Lockheed Martin's Joseph Ralston.

Anonymous said...

"1: The KDP and PUK are going along to get along."

seems like the PUK is falling apart since Talabani started trying to turn the party into a family affair like the Barzanis did with theirs (resignation of several key reformists from nawshirwan to mohammad tawfeiq). that's also something to consider when keeping eyes on the krg powerplay and the party interests in kurdistan

Anonymous said...

Speaking of referenda, Mizgin, recall that Gen. Pinochet put his own leadership up to a national referendum in 1988--after 15 years in power, he got 45% of the vote.

And he left.

BTW, his country was peaceful and prosperous at the time, and has remained that way.

When you complain about the betrayals of the PUK and the KDP, you sound exactly like patriotic Chileans back in 1973, as Allende tried to drag that democratic, normal country into Stalinism. Thank God the General blocked him.

Anonymous said...

"The use of extremely centralized governments ruled by US-installed "stongmen" is another pattern used by the US to maintain its own interests throughout the world."

Mizgin, can you give us an example of this more recent than, say, the Moscow Olympics?

Thanks, buddy.

Mizgîn said...

Anonymous, yes, it seems like PUK is falling apart. This has been in the works for at least two years (that I know of), and I have heard similar things about Talabanî making changes. From what I understand, quite a few people are not happy about that--I mean ordinary people. Agreed. It's definitely something to watch.

JO, South Kurdistan is not a normal country . . . yet. Think real hard about the US use of dictators. I'll give you a hint: Central America. There was another in the year before the Moscow Olympics. He's much closer to home.

Or, as a hint for an example of a very US-friendly, dictatorial oligarchy: "Our boys did it."

Anonymous said...

Mizgin, mon ami, if your most recent example is from 1979, I suggest your use of the present tense ["is"] was erroneous, not to say deceptive.

I look forward to the day when all of Kurdistan, north, south, east and west, is a normal country.

Shexmus Amed said...

Rasti can I ask you why you have this urge to denounce KDP and PUK at every opportunity? Do you think this is consistent with your calls for solidarity among the Kurds? Don't you realise that with this obsession of yours with "fat bank accounts" and "betraying your own people for personal gain", a charge which you lay against KDP and PUK, you sound a lot less like a Kurd and more like Turk or an Arab?

You, as a PKK sympathiser, should know that PKK has been accused of even worse. There are non-PKK Kurds, conspiracy theorists and party slaves just like you, who keep banging on the lie that PKK wants to fight Turkey because the PKK leadership profit from the war. It is precisely this kind of baseless, mindless, senseless, clueless, distrustful, indiscriminate and tribal attitude that has been poisoning intra-Kurdish affairs. and it makes one sound just like Justin Raimondo.

Nowadays in Kurdistan everyone seems to have a "fat bank account" not just KDP or PUK and their leadership. KRG seem to be paying for almost every needs of the people; not good of course if we don't want a nanny state. Even PKK Headquarters has benefited nicely, thank you very much. They now traverse in Nissan Pathfinders and SUV's the distance they once covered on the back of mules and donkeys until several years ago.

And just where do you think the PUK and KDP leadership will spend their supposed personal gains after they have betrayed the Kurdish people? You think while the whole Kurdistan is burning around them they will just leave on a plane with their whole tribe for overseas, where they will live off their secret stash?

David McDowall, the author of "A Modern History of Kurds", concludes at the end of his book with an observation that neo-tribalism is replacing traditional tribalism in Kurdistan. By neo-tribalism he means of course a tribe like loyalty to a political party. Have you, Dear Rasti, ever considered that the tone you take against the KDP and PUK quite often smack of neo-tribalism?

Now please don't start again with me being ad hominem and so on. Yes I do sometimes feel like smacking on the butt of those tribalists and now neo-tribalists. It is because of them that we lack a sense of national solidarity in Kurdistan. Just look at what your tribal leader, Abdulah Ocalan, said recently; he likened the PUK and the KDP to the Zulus of South Africa. Is this why, Rasti, you feel the urge to target "primitive" PUK and the KDP?

And oh, here is an observation about the PKK from the Economist magazine. See if it sounds familiar to you:

"Guerrillas without a proper war; a personality cult whose object is incarcerated; a revolutionary force that has renounced revolution: to the uninitiated, Kandil resembles a never-never land whose inhabitants eagerly imbibe Mr Ocalan's “democratic-ecological paradigm” in timber schoolrooms and extol the virtues of sexual abstinence, the better to prosecute a cause whose ultimate goal has been lost from view. But no amount of fresh-faced zealots can conceal the PKK's quandary."

http://www.economist.com/world/africa/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8422447

I wonder what you have to say about that.

Cheers, if you can.

Shexmus Amed

Mizgîn said...

When was the last time you were in South Kurdistan, Shexmus?

Anonymous said...

Mizgin, that response is beneath you, and speaks volunes about the paucity of your argument and the strength of SA's.

I'm sure we cd find any number of Baathists, Turks, Turkmens, or others who have recently been inside S Kurdistan...Does that mean you would credit their arguments on that basis?

SA made some excellent points, some of which I had heard before from Kurds who are **VERY** close to you, Mizgin. His comments about the need for...SOLIDARITY, for example.

We had a term for what he calls "neo-tribalism" a few years ago: "the cult of personality." It appears that is the turn Rasti is taking, down a road that leads to the glittering palace of Raimundoism.

PLEASE DON'T GO DOWN THAT ROAD, RASTI! REMEMBER SOLIDARNOSC!

Mizgîn said...

Wrong, JO. Shexmus Amed makes the claim that KRG (shorthand for: KDP and PUK) is paying for everything for Kurds in the South. I expect an explanation of that claim because, if true, things certainly have changed since 2005.

I'm also trying to figure out how that claim squares with the flight of Kurdish youth from South Kurdistan, or the fact that permission to leave South Kurdistan is now dependent on age (in an attempt to keep youth from fleeing), or how it squares with less basic services available than last year, or the flight of villagers off their land to overcrowded cities to find work that doesn't exist. Or how it is that Kurdish engineers are unable to pay their rent, or why there have been more demonstrations and why those demonstrations have been put down violently by KRG, or why unaffiliated Southern Kurds are bitching about the same things.

I'm also waiting for someone to point out the hypocrisy of a neo-tribalist KDP/PUK supporter coming to a pro-PKK site and demanding "solidarity" after having left gratuitous criticisms of PKK here. That is gratuitous as in having no specific point. Do you know who does that very same thing? Turks. As soon as they get their asses kicked by PKK, they're the first ones to cry "Brotherhood! Solidarity!" They even go around to pro-PKK sites and BEG for "brotherhood."

Don't think that I give a damn who's ruling in South Kurdistan. I don't care whether it's KDP, PUK, or both, or neither. What I do expect is accountability in government, and that means tax revenues, oil revenues . . . everything that Americans expect accountability for in their government. Whoever refuses accountability, should never rule anything. Since the South has a government, it's time for accountability.

As for "solidarity," a lot has changed since the Amed Serhildan. A LOT. Those who choose the friendship of Genelkurmay Baskanligi over other Kurds should not expect "solidarity." Those who brag about how helpful they've been to the Ankara regime in its war against Northern Kurds should not expect "solidarity."

I will tell you something else, too. Shexmus Amed has done this kind of thing to pro-PKK sites before, so his point has nothing to do with questions of "neo-tribalism," "solidarity," or Nissan Pathfinders (but then old Shexmus has never been forced off the road by a KRG convoy of brand new Toyota SUVs or he never would have made such a stupid comment). There is a network through which information flows and which is not open to "outsiders" so I know about Shexmus Amed.

Besides, he's a big boy; let him answer for himself.

Anonymous said...

His point, and his post, spoke for itself. In my humble outsider's opinion, both of your responses illustrated and proved his point about solidarity, or lack thereof.

Of course, solidarity is a two-way street.