Friday, January 12, 2007

LESSONS FROM HISTORY

"Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results."
~ Machiavelli.


From the What-Goes-Around-Comes-Around Department, courtesy of the NYTimes:


An antitank grenade was fired into the heavily fortified American Embassy here on Friday just before dawn. The building was empty, but the attack nonetheless underscored deep anti-American sentiment here and revived fears of a new round of homegrown terror.

[ . . . ]

Panayiotis Stathis, a spokesman for the Public Order Ministry, said, “This was a violent act aimed to provoke Greek public opinion and disturb relations with the United States.”

As Mr. Stathis spoke to reporters Friday evening outside the embassy, a demonstrator waved a sign that underscored Greece’s often uneasy relations with the United States on issues from the war in Iraq and the longstanding tensions between Greece and Turkey to the American-supported military dictatorship that ruled Greece from 1967 to 1974. “The C.I.A. was behind this,” the sign read.

Greek officials said a phone call placed anonymously to a private security company used by the embassy stated that the attack had been carried out by Revolutionary Struggle, a Marxist group with strong anti-American sentiments.


Awww . . . ain't that too bad? All they needed to complete the scene was a few helicopters filled with pêşmerge to drop down onto the building, arrest anyone inside, and secret them away to an undisclosed Kurdish prison. By the way, not only did the US support the Greek military dictatorship, it supported (and continues to support) the Turkish military dictatorship.

It looks like the people of Athens had the same kind of wake-up call that the people of Hewlêr had the other day:


Tassoula Foumeli, a retired seamstress, said she had been in bed when the blast shattered the windows in her ground-floor bedroom.

“The explosion was so loud I couldn’t even hear the smashing of the windows,” she said. “I’m nervous and I’m mad.”

Mad, she and other residents said, partly at the anti-American demonstrators who have rallied, at times violently, for years in front of the embassy. But she said some of her anger was at American policies that she said provoked demonstrators and angered many ordinary citizens.


Compare with the American raid in Hewlêr:


Startled Irbil [Hewlêr] residents said they saw U.S. troops drop from helicopters onto the Iranian Consulate in the center of town about 4 a.m.

The firefight that ensued on a residential street jolted residents in a city largely spared from the daily bloodshed of Baghdad, about 220 miles to the south.

Hogher Mahmoud, 30, who runs a dairy shop in Irbil [Hewlêr], woke to the sound of aircraft and gunfire.

"We were shocked this morning," Mahmoud said. "It has been awhile since we heard shooting and violence in our streets."


Yeah, it has been quite a while, bira, since May 4, 2005.

Meanwhile, back in Athens:


Mr. Stathis, the Public Order Ministry spokesman, said the grenade used in the attack was of Russian design, a model manufactured in several Eastern European counties. He said Greek and American officials were collecting evidence from the debris left by the explosion, from surrounding buildings and from security cameras posted around the embassy.


Hold it right there and think about this: Greece was also involved with the Gladio program since 1952. The British laid the groundwork for the Americans to take over by instigating the Greek Civil War in 1944. Apparently, the British violently objected to the objections of the pro-Communist National Liberation Front (EAM) to British interference in Greek domestic affairs, never mind that the EAM had been the resistance force that drove out the Nazi occupiers during the war. A British and Greek right-wing massacre of EAM demonstrators in 1944 was never investigated.

The IHT is running an article with some backgrond on the accused perpetrators. Notice the last line of the article:


"How is such an attack on the American embassy possible, when the site is the No. 1 target in the country?" said Alekos Papadopoulos, Socialist spokesman for public order. "This points problems with the police's capabilities."


Not only might it be a problem with police capabilities, it might also be a false flag operation in the finest tradition of Gladio. It might be a good idea for Papadopoulos to order an investigation of the police and all other unsavory characters . . . like all the "former" members of Operation Sheepskin.


There's more from the NYTimes on the standoff in Ainkawa between pêşmerge and American forces who were not authorized to be in South Kurdistan:


The standoff began around 11 a.m. in Einkawa, a pleasant and predominantly Christian suburb of Erbil where many Western officials live and keep offices. Possibly angered by the earlier raid, the Kurdish forces refused to let several American Humvees through a checkpoint.

“It was the Americans’ fault,” said a Kurdish guard from the checkpoint, who refused to give his name. “We asked them to stop but they did not stop. That is why we pointed our guns at each other.”

The standoff, while tense, was carefully controlled by the Kurds. The American who witnessed it said that as the lines of traffic lengthened on the blocked road, the Kurds began waving cars through and they drove directly past the stopped Humvees.


Now, if they're talking about the same checkpoint that I'm thinking of, there are American special operations types housed just a short walk away. . . and everybody knows it. Also, check something from page 1 of that article:


The American military said that it had been “conducting routine security operations in Erbil [Hewlêr] Jan. 11 and detained six individuals suspected of being closely tied to activities targeting Iraqi and coalition forces. One individual was released and five remain in custody.”


That is pure bullshit because no one but Kurds conduct "routine security operations" in Hewlêr or in any other part of South Kurdistan. Additionally, this was no routine security operation; it more closely resembles a terrorist operation. I'm willing to bet these particular terrorists came straight from Baghdad, just like they did when they recklessly bombed Salahaddin University, located in the center of the city.

According to Hewlêr residents, the Iranian consulate processed paperwork for those who needed to go to Iran, most likely to Iranian-occupied Kurdistan--work typical of a consular office.

More on the standoff and the status of the consular office, from The Mercury News:


Iraqi Foreign Minister Zebari, however, told McClatchy Newspapers that the Iranian office had operated in Irbil for more than 10 years and the Iranians were in Iraq legally. "This is very, very embarrassing," he said. "The Iraqi government was aware of who was in that office."

Later Thursday, U.S. forces staged a second raid, attempting to enter Irbil airport and abduct a group of unidentified individuals, he said.

Members of a Kurdish paramilitary force known as peshmerga confronted the Americans when they refused to identify themselves, and a gun battle was narrowly averted "at the 11th hour," said Zebari.

He said U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad told him that the first raid was aimed at people who were trying to harm U.S. troops. Khalilzad said he was unaware of the operation at the airport.


Mmm, yeah . . . No wonder Iraq is a bloody mess since Khalilzad doesn't know what in the hell is going on. And how exactly were the consular workers "trying to harm US troops," by slapping Post-It notes on their backs that read, "Kick Me"?

More at that link, too, on the grilling of Condoleeza Rice at the Senate yesterday:


Biden, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, pressed Rice on whether operations against alleged Iranian and Syrian support networks would include cross-border strikes against "persons . . . or governments."

"Obviously the president isn't going to rule anything out to protect our troops, but the plan is to take down these networks in Iraq," she replied.

She sidestepped a question about whether Bush could mount cross-border operations without Congress' approval.

"I believe . . . he does need congressional authority to do that," replied Biden.

Biden later wrote to Bush asking him to state whether he believed he had the constitutional authority to order cross-border strikes without congressional authorization.

Rice's answers also failed to satisfy Hagel, an Army veteran of the Vietnam war, who said that former President Nixon "lied" in denying that he had ordered U.S. forces to invade Cambodia in 1970.

"No one in our government can sit here today and tell Americans that we won't engage the Iranians and the Syrians cross-border," said Hagel. "When you set in motion the kind of policy that the president is talking about here, it's very, very dangerous."


Ooooh . . . You know it's gotta be bad when a Vietnam vet goes all historical on you, and here's another one to remember from that war: the Degar people of Vietnam, referred to by the French colonialists as "Montagnards," from Wikipedia:


The Degar have a long history of tensions with the Vietnamese majority that is analogous to the tensions between American Indians and the population of European descent in the United States (or that between Aborigines and whites in Australia). While the Vietnamese are themselves heterogeneous, they generally share a common language and culture and have developed and maintained the dominant social institutions of Vietnam. The Degar do not share that heritage nor do they have access to the country’s dominant institutions. There have been conflicts between the two groups over many issues, including land ownership, language and cultural preservation, access to education and resources, and political representation.

[ . . . ]

The 1960s saw contact between the Degar and another group of outsiders, the U.S. military, as American involvement in the Vietnam War escalated and the Central Highlands emerged as a strategically important area, in large part because it included the Ho Chi Minh trail, the North Vietnamese supply line for Viet Cong forces in the south. The U.S. military, particularly the U.S. Army’s Special Forces, developed base camps in the area and recruited the Degar, roughly 40,000 of whom fought alongside American soldiers and became a major part of the U.S. military effort in the Highlands. The Degar’s legendary bravery and loyalty earned them the respect and friendship of the U.S. Special Forces as well as sympathy for the Degar struggle for independence.

[ . . . ]

. . . the Vietnamese government has steadily displaced thousands of villagers from Vietnam's central highlands, in order to use the fertile land for coffee plantations.


In spite of "respect," "friendship," and "sympathy," the Americans eventually abandoned the Degar, and that's a history lesson Kurdistan needs to take to heart.

8 comments:

Sor said...

Excellent post and wonderful combination of references to history that bring us a better understanding of the current situations for Kurds and Kurdistan.

Her biji Mizgin!

Vladimir said...

Don't you think the Iranian officials are linked to the revolutionary guard..

Sor said...

Vladimir, as a Kurd, I hate to see any Iranian Consulate operating in Hewler. But that's not the point. The point is that the Americans completely disregard the Kurdistan Regional Government's authority. This is this first step to de-legitimizing the Kurdish officials in Southern Kurdistan and they will continue to proceed in that direction unless the Kurds show them that they will no longer work as American slaves and will protect Kurdistan against the world no matter who the attacker is.

Mizgîn said...

You are most welcome, Sor. When I am reading news, I am reminded of things from history and I feel I have to mention them because I don't know if others realize that there is a certain, established pattern of behavior--criminal behavior, in this case.

I hope that Kurdistan will take advantage of this kind of knowledge, and not naively believe the propaganda. Unfortunately, I don't think anyone is listening, especially when I see that Kurdish Iraqi Army units will be sent to Baghdad. As far as I'm concerned, this is no different than sending pêşmerge. BOTH ARE KURDS.

Baghdad is NOT Fallujah. Let the Sunnis and Shi'a fight it out.

Vladimir, Sor basically replied as I would have, so I second those comments,and I would add that any operations against Kurdistan, by American, in the future, must be replied to by force of arms.

But, what is your opinion of this American act of aggression against the Kurdish people? Does it bother you that the Turkish general staff has exapnded its business interests in South Kurdistan?

Anonymous said...

Haha, we have a so-called Kurdish patriot that was against the Greek military junta. And to think, he starts the post out with a quote from Machiavelli, a pragmatist who would have allied with the colonels and had Kurdish independence by 1975.

Mizgîn said...

Did you read the post, Anonymous? Were you not able to tie in the references to history with the quote about history?

Or have you read Machiavelli? The interesting thing is that the quote at the head of this post is from the great and serious work of Machiavelli, The Discourses. It is a great and serious work of political philosophy, unlike The Prince, which was a quickly written tract designed to gain favor with the Medici.

In The Discourses, Machiavelli proposed a system of checks and balances and three branches of government. Machiavelli was a believer in the superiority of democratic republics over principalities. Since he was imprisoned and tortured when the Florentine republic fell, I doubt that he would have supported any military junta--especially one backed by a foreign state for the purpose of its own national interests.

In addition to being a republican (Note: Not Republican), Machiavelli was also an Italian patriot who desired to see a unified Italy.

So, instead of bellydancing your way around Machiavelli, why don't you come out and say plainly what your gripe is?

Anonymous said...

Of course I have read The Discourse, and I am of the persuasion that The Prince was a highly sarcastic work.

My gripe is that the colonels confronted the ethnofascists in Turkey. They fought a war with the ethnofascists in Turkey. The democratically elected government of Greece today is the foremost proponent of the ascension of Turkey into the EU. Their only issue, which is very minor, is with Cyprus ports. Strange, isn't it, that a leftist government in Greece doesn't give two ----s about the Kurds, but a rightist government up in Denmark does.

This is like when our boy Qadir was arrested in South Kurdistan. We all went to such lengths to get him released--we do support human rights, afterall. And his first article upon release was about how Mustafa Barzani was a Soviet puppet.

My question: who cares? Who cares if Barzani was a Soviet puppet? His son also allied with Saddam, and now he is the biggest proponent of Kurdish independence among the Iraqi leadership. Who cares if the Mahabad Republic was Soviet engineered? As a Kurd, I no longer care about ideology. I already tried that route, and it doesn't work. It hasn't worked for us for over a century.

If we're going to be free, if we're going to have our own nation, if we're going to take on those ethnicities (Persians, Arabs, and Turks) that have committed genocide and outlawed our very existence, then we must do it by any and all means necessary. I don't support the PKK because I agree with their ideology (those it does seem quite fitting for the northern Kurds), I support them because they fight the Turks. They fight for freedom. I don't support Barzani because of anything that corrupt old man has done, I support him because he has 100,000 peshmerga ensuring that anyone who dares touch the southern Kurds will pay dearly.

It is not becoming easier to get independence in this world. Nationalities are becoming synonymous with ethnicities. We no longer have a Soviet Union to fund separatist groups around the world, and China surely has no interest in filling those shoes. We're not going to get it all at once. We may have an independent nation in a small area with corrupt leaders, but that's a start. From there, inside, we can achieve anything we want because it sure as heck isn't happening on the outside.

Mizgîn said...

Well, then, it appears that we can agree on certain things, Anonymous.

I have serious reservations about Kurdish troops being sent to Baghdad, though--whether they're called pêsmerge, INA, or any other Newspeak term.

I do think that a federal arrangement is a beginning and I agree that we are getting nothing all at once, and since the US is in an even worse position now, in my opinion, vis-a-vis the Başûrî, I still think a serious talk with the SCO is something that should be done.

By the way, the Greek generals and the Turkish generals appear to be making kissy-kissy with each other right now. But that's probably because Buyukanit has such a warm, friendly, charismatic personality.

Check this link for more on that.

Note: TDN appears to be down at the moment, but I'll check it later to make sure the link is working.