Thursday, January 25, 2007


"Terrorism turns out to be about the same as counter-terrorism. The main difference is who is the agent of the terrorist violence. If it’s someone we don’t like, it is terrorism. If it's someone we do like, including ourselves, it is counter-terrorism."
~ Noam Chomsky, Addressing the Kurds in Amed.

Noam Chomsky's official website is carrying an interview that Kurdistanî Niwê did with him back in December, and I urgently recommend that all Kurds and friends of Kurds read it through in its entirety. In fact, just to read it through is not good enough; it should be thought about long and hard.

The interview begins by questioning the claim that the US invaded Iraq for its oil, since most of the oil consumed by the US comes from other countries. Chomsky correctly notes that it is not the consumption of oil which was the impetus for war, but the control of oil:

Over 60 years ago, the State Department described the oil reserves of the Gulf as "a stupendous source of strategic power" and "one of the greatest material prizes in world history." Iraq is at the heart of the region, and is itself estimated to have the second largest reserves in the world (after Saudi Arabia). Iraqi sources are also very cheap to extract: no deep sea drilling, extraction from tar sands, etc. Establishment of a US client state in Iraq, and a base for long-term military deployment (as is now being implemented), would greatly enhance US dominance over this "stupendous source of strategic power" and ensure that the wealth from this great "material prize" would flow into the preferred hands.

"Preferred hands" would be US hands, which is also the path being taken for Central Asian energy resources, in an effort to achieve dominance over those resources against the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The events taking place on the ground in Iraq, and in Kurdistan, right now, have very little if nothing to do with Iraqis or Kurds and everything to do with ensuring the control of energy resources for the future, and in this region, the struggle is against the SCO. What we are witnessing in the region is the beginning of a new Cold War, as one friend of mine recently put it.

Energy resources are going to be used to gain leverage with competing economic blocs, and the US intends to have the upper hand in the game:

Vice-President Dick Cheney, the most influential foreign policy figure in the Bush Administration, observed that control over pipelines can serve as a "tool of intimidation." He was referring of course to control by others, but understands perfectly well that the same is true of US control.

In the same way, Kurdish oil resources can be used by Kurds as a "tool of intimidation" against the US, which has betrayed Kurds consistently at every opportunity. The use of energy resources to intimidate is the idea which causes Condoleeza Rice to state that "Kurds do not have the right over oil in their areas," as recently reported by KurdishMedia. It is also the reason that Turkish politicians vilify Osman Baydemir when he says that local oil and hydroenergy resources should be administered locally. Kurds cannot be permitted to administer or have right of authority over their own resources by the great powers, or even by two-bit powers in the case of Turkey, because authority over these resources is empowerment.

Chomsky warns repeatedly to ignore the US claim of "spreading democracy," because it is mere political rhetoric with no basis in reality, and he refers to governmental use of phrases about "spreading democracy" as "routine and meaningless." Instead of actual concern for the global state of democracy, the democracy rhetoric is used to anaesthetize the victim into accepting US machinations to control resources as "tool[s] of intimidation", just as it's used to anaesthetize the American public into accepting policies that result in the brutalization of indigenous overseas populations (like Kurds) in the name of the American people. An honest discussion of these matters never enters public discourse in the US, or the West in general:

These matters, though obvious, are largely excluded from Western discourse. Doctrinal managers would like us to believe that the US and UK would have "liberated" Iraq even if its major exports were lettuce and pickles and the major energy resources of the world were in the South Pacific. It takes really impressive discipline "not to see" the obvious.

The fact that such "spreading democracy" phrases are "routine and meaningless" should be as clear as crystal to Kurds, because if the US were serious about the state of democracy elsewhere, why hasn't it done anything to encourage democracy in Turkey? Why the liberal use of the phrase (or any of its variations) that reminds us what a "model of democracy" Turkey is for the region?

The truth of the matter is recognized by the most prominent scholar/advocates of "democracy promotion." The most respected of them is Thomas Carothers, head of the Democracy and Law project of the Carnegie Endowment, who describes himself as a neo-Reaganite. He writes in part from an insider's perspective, having served in Reagan's State Department programs of "democracy enhancement." He is an honest scholar, and recognizes that these programs were a failure, in fact, a highly systematic failure. In the regions where US influence was least, there was progress in democracy, despite strenuous efforts of the Reagan administration to prevent it. The worst record was in the regions where the US had the most influence. He also explains the reasons: Washington would permit only "top-down forms" of democracy in which traditional elites, linked to the US, would retain power in deeply undemocratic societies.

[ . . . ]

The record in Iraq follows the pattern very closely. There is a mountain of evidence supporting Carothers's conclusion, in the Middle East and elsewhere. . . . The only evidence supporting the belief in the "messianic mission" is the rhetoric of leaders. It takes real discipline to jump on the bandwagon, as is routinely done in deeply indoctrinated Western societies. These delusions are safe enough for the powerful. For the victims to succumb to them has always led to disaster, as Kurds should not have to be reminded.

Chomsky believes that peace will not be achieved in the region without a solution to the Kurdish situation, a fact which Kurds have known for some time:

My own view has always been that there should be an independent Kurdistan, which would include northern Iraq and large parts of neighboring countries. I have spoken about that in the US, as you mention, but more importantly in Diyarbakir, several times. I do not think it is likely to happen in the foreseeable future. It is conceivable, however, that a form of federalism might develop in the region, which would permit considerable autonomy. I think that is a sensible outcome in most of the world, particularly in the complex West Asian region, but in Europe as well, where there are encouraging moves in that direction. I doubt, frankly, that Iraqi Kurdistan would be viable, surrounded by hostile neighbors, and with limited access even to the Iraqi market and its resources and outlet to the sea -- limited, of course, by the machinations of British imperialism, but still at least something.

The War on Terror is met with skepticism by Chomsky, and the notion of dividing the world into a terrorist camp and a contra-terrorist camp is characterized as propaganda, because jihadi terrorism has been around for several decades and has even proved useful for the US and the West at times. Chomsky gives examples from history, stretching geographically from Central America to Kosovo, and from Kuwait to Pakistan and Afghanistan. He has some ideas on how to fight terrorism, but notes that a serious fight against terrorism is not the priority of the American administration, and I suspect that the reason it isn't a priority is because, in addition to being profitable for the war industry, the maintenance of low-level conflicts in certain regions does much to mask the struggle for control of energy resources.

All in all, it's an excellent read and compresses a lot of Chomsky's thinking into a brief introduction.

Yesterday, KurdishMedia carried an article on MIT activity in Kerkuk. Now, this is something that isn't technically "news" since we all know that MIT has been active there since 2003--remember the bagging incident? However, what is new is that a KDP chief in Kerkuk has criticized Kurdish news media for not bringing to light the fact that the violence in Kerkuk and surrounding area is aimed at Kurds and not Turkmen as the Turkish Propaganda Ministry would have everyone believe.

Hîwa is the one who brought this to my attention and his comments to me make me think that as long as Kurdish news media ignores pointing the finger at MIT, or any other Turkish intelligence organization, this news will remain categorized as "rumor." For example, no matter how many eye-witnesses testify to the events of the Helebçe atrocity, no matter how many documents and audio tapes are available as proofs, no matter that there is an ongoing Anfal trial, there are still those who insist against all the evidence that the Saddam regime did not commit these atrocities. Investigative journalists in South Kurdistan need to start digging the dirt on Turkish involvement in the Kerkuk violence and they need to start publishing the information far and wide.

By the way, mentioning both Hîwa and the Anfal trial reminds me that Hîwa has posted something on the trial the other day, in which he wonders if anyone even knows that a trial is going on. This is exactly what all of us were worried about. While the Americans were crowing over the dubious victory they thought the Saddam execution would give them, and the Shi'a were dancing in the streets in Michigan, we knew that the memory of hundreds of thousands of Kurds were really being hanged.

And now, we are proved correct.

So, there you have it; the Iraqis and Americans have achieved their desires on the subject of Saddam's slaughter of 182,000 Kurds. Let us watch now and see how quickly the neocons start howling the Pelletiere/US Army War College lie that Iran gassed the Başûrî, as they are hot to use Iraq--and Kurdistan--as the launch pad for their next war . . . on Iran.

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