"In our age there is no such thing as "keeping out of politics." All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia."
~ George Orwell.
~ George Orwell.
Let's see . . . first item tonight: Mîr at Rastbêj throws out his ideas of what needs to be done now for the Kurdish situation, all laid out in four points for the Southern Kurdish leadership as follows:
1) Create a common Kurdish National Policy,
2) Use oil contracts with Western countries as a card against them,
3) Found high quality universities to train the brightest youths from all over Kurdistan,
4) Use international media effectively,
The bottom line? Cooperate or die.
Andrew Lee Butters, at TIME, has a few historical reminders for all those who can't remember what happened yesterday, much less ten years ago:
In 1995, the Turkish army invaded northern Iraq, sending some 35,000 soldiers across the border to destroy the guerilla infrastructure of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) a militant group made up of Turkish Kurds that had found refuge in the lawless mountain region. Operation Steel, as it was called, killed over 500 militants, but still the PKK survived to fight another day. In early 1997, the Turks sent in another 30,000 soldiers — this time as part of Operation Hammer — to finish the job. They didn't. The Turks had to go in again later that year with Operation Dawn.
This month the Turks launched yet another operation against the PKK, and there is little to suggest that it will be any more effective than the others. So far 300 Turkish commandoes crossed briefly into Iraq, while Turkey has staged three air strikes, including one Wednesday. Turkey claims to have attacked some 200 PKK locations, and killed hundreds of militants. A PKK fighter told TIME that just five of the group's members had been killed. Whatever the true figure, the operation would seem to be a minor chapter in Turkey's seemingly never-ending civil war with radicals among its oppressed Kurdish minority population, who took up arms in the 1980's.
Well, okay, maybe it is radical to fight back when someone is trying to kill you.
Butters notes that not even the peşmêrge are able (even if they would be willing) to do anything about PKK, since the peşmêrge are stretched thin trying to hold Iraq together for the Americans. Besides, the peşmêrge fought PKK in the 1990s, too, and they were unable to do much more to PKK than inflict a few scratches on the organization.
Butters' comment about the Turks' relationship with Turkmen is amusing and on the mark as well.
He concludes with a moral about what happens when you put all your eggs in one basket:
Kurdish leaders in Iraq have been relatively subdued since the Turkish operations began, acquiescing perhaps to the fickle will of their American masters. They know better than anyone that, without American protection, it's doubtful their hostile neighbors — not just Turkey, but also Iran and Syria, which have restive Kurdish minority populations of their own — would limit themselves to a few air strikes.
Well, maybe not if some of Mîr's ideas had been at the top of the agenda in 2003.
It sounds like Hillary Clinton has appointed Mehmet Çelebi as one of her delegates to the Democratic National Convention, which will be held in the summer of 2008, putting Çelebi in the lead for MİT--as in Milli İstibarat Teşkilatı and not Massachusettes Institute of Technology--Asset of the Year.
Anyone who votes for Hillary should be horsewhipped within an inch of his life anyway.
Mother Jones has a nice little timeline showing how the US worked to encourage the rise of militant Islam. You might want to keep that in mind when thinking about the recent assassination of Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto.
I'm no expert on Pakistan, however there is a blogger who does seem to follow the Pakistani scene and I highly recommend two of his posts on the Bhutto assassination. The first by Winter Patriot was posted today:
And you'll hear lots of talk about extremists in the near future in connection with this assassination, and in nearly every case you will be expected to make the mental connection between the word "extremists" and the wild men in the mountains of the northwest. But you will remember, won't you, that in addition to these more famous extremists, there are extremists working for Musharraf, and extremists working for Bush ... and there may even be extremists working for the PPP, the party Benazir Bhutto betrayed.
The second was posted yesterday:
You will see media reports of shock and grief at her death, but you will not likely see anything about how thoroughly she betrayed her country for personal gain.
Her death will be painted as a blow to George Bush and his plan to make Benazir the face of Pakistani "democracy". It will also be painted as a blow to Pakistani "democracy" itself.
But if there were anything approaching democracy in Pakistan and the USA, Benazir Bhutto and George Bush would both have been in prison a long time ago.
And people think Kurdish politics is a mess. . .