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31 July 2015


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William R. Cumming

My definition of Governance--The ability to feed and take care of your population without reliance on the vagaries of international aid. This includes health, education, decent safe sanitary housing and access to water for drinking and other uses, effective forestry, not allowing exploiters to steal and abuse the commons, and regulate the wealth of the area governed to provide prosperity for those governed--all of them!

And of course the Rule of Law preserved and 1st Amendment AS POLICY GUIDANCE!

Babak Makkinejad

Yes, but most Euro-Americans do not know any of that; colored people such as myself (Beige) or darker (Olive or Coffee) are automatically assumed to be Muslims.

Like this German neuro-science graduate student who could not make a distinction between Sikhs and Muslims.



If that was the bar then even China and India, states you referred to as key 21st nation states invoking Paul Kennedy work, would fall short on many of these accounts. There has been massive international aid investment in countries like China and India and even now there are huge challenges in nutrition, health and effective governance.

The part about not allowing exploiters to abuse the commons and regulate wealth, i see so much anguish among Americans of all stripes that this is the case with their country and that they are being robbed blind by exploiters.

These seem to be quite onerous conditions for even widely accepted nation states to comply with, wouldn't you agree?



Thank you for your reply and i agree with your point regarding fallacy argument.

Did you mean to put a question mark at the end of "Same goes for Syria, but the same does not apply to Turkey and Iran" or was that an assertion from you that the questions you raised regarding Syria, Iraq, Kurds etc do not apply to Turkey and Iran?

And while i have your attention :D i have a slightly different question regarding Turkish foreign policy. It seems like Turkey is paying attention to Uyghur's cause which may create irritants with Chinese relations. Is this a Erdogan project or there really is a national desire for such support to Uyghurs? What does the security establishment think of it?

alba etie

What might be interesting to watch is Bejing's strategic leaning forward in the Stans - it looks like the Chinese are successfully to brokering a peace deal in Afghanistan between the 'moderate' Taliban, the Pakistan government & the Kabul government - and at the same time locking up the resource concessions in both countries. It might be that the Chinese will not look favorably on Erdogan's unabashed support of the Uihgur Sunni Salafist. In my opinion the PRC is doing a lot more strategically then the West might credit - for example it was the Chinese Navy that helped the Russian Navy escort the CW out of Syria. Bejing apparently is a big of supporter of Assad as Moscow. Even right here in our own backyard the Chinese are building another East West Canal through Nicaragua & also building a South American Intercontinental Highway - linking the Atlantic & Pacific .


While the Kurdistan Workers' Party was originally Marxist-Leninist, over a decade ago Öcalan abandoned Lenninist Communism for "Democratic Confederalism" based on the Libertarian Communalism of American Anarchist Murray Bookchin.

Bookchin was one of the last of the old Socialist Anarchists in the American Anarchist scene, and was best known for his opposition to the "Lifestyle Anarchism" of upper class white drop outs. He was almost completely ignored within the western left.

For details of the convoluted evolution of the Turkish/Kurdish left see:



On Bookchinism:





On the Democratic Confederalism of the modern PKK:






Patrick Bahzad

I'm not sure what you trying to say except giving crappy links to BS stories !
Democratic conderedalism of modern PKK ? You mean like driving two tons of explosives into a Turkish gendarmerie post maybe ? Indeed sounds very modern ...


As I understood it, it is unknown exactly how many Turkmen are in Iraq but they are supposed to be 50-50+ percent Sunni.

Though clearly a minority in Iraq, they appear concentrated in areas where they could serve as a real hindrance to the establishment of any independent Kurdish state.

Turkish support would increase their ability to be a hindrance. I wouldn't put it past the Iranians to support both the Sunni and Shia Turkmen either.

Babak Makkinejad

Yes and the weak-minded, the illiterate, and the feeble-minded who buy into all this clap-trap die a violent death or otherwise destroy their own lives and the lives of others - be they Turk or Kurd.

It is sad spectacle of seeing young people in Istanbul with pictures of Ocalan...stupid as stupid does.

Babak Makkinejad

It was equally sad to see a Christian Lebanese, during the Civil War, propose a Canton-like structure like Switzerland for Lebanon - as though the problem in Lebanon was the specific set of rules under which that state had been constituted or that Lebanese could or would operate the apparatus of Swiss-like state any better than the one bequeathed to them by France.

Always looking for Europe and the West for ideas - be it medicine or politics - never being able to think for themselves...


I wish I had the geographic memory you & others here have, sorry, however about a month ago I was listening to NPR in the car & they did a piece about Iranians shutting down all the industry/businesses that Kurds used & then using snipers to kill the Kurds horses & donkeys justifying it as stopping illegal trafficking (the horses cost over 10K a head) in an attempt to starve the Kurds out.

As for "for young people in Istanbul with pictures of Ocalan", please correct me if I'm mistaken, I thought during the recent Turkish election the party formally known as the Kurdish party morphed into a broader less ethnic based party in an attempt to attract other disenfranchised minorities & secularists. Actually I think they did rather well & were successful in stopping Erdogan
from obtaining dictatorial power over the parliament. Perhaps the Kurdish base of that party was just sowing their oats with those posters of Ocalan. It hasn't been all that long ago the Kurds were
jailed for speaking their own language. Sure Kurds have done some awful things & so have the Turks. If you or anyone knows of a truly saintly ethnic group please inform me as I'd like to meet them.

Patrick Bahzad

Is there a point you're trying to make, other than "nobody is perfect", so to speak ?
Just for the record the PKK is listed as a terrorist organisation, and rightly so. If adopting your logic, we might say the same thing about Al Qaeda and ISIS as well. Do do you draw the line ?

Patrick Bahzad


I'll get into that in part 2 of this piece about the Kurds, which will deal specifically with the situation and various reversals of alliances that have taken place since 2003

Patrick Bahzad

Turkmen could indeed be a hindrance and some of them actually feature prominently among ISIS leadership, even though they're not Iraqi Arabs.
Originally, the Turkmen had been used as "frontier auxiliaries" by the Ottomans against the rebellious Kurds.
They might act again as a buffer against an over-extension of Kurdish territory, especially in areas of mixed population.

Patrick Bahzad

I'm pretty sure they won't be shipped through Baghdad !

Patrick Bahzad

You're right, there's the geopolitics of oil that play into this as well, both from the Turkish and the Kurdish perspective. The fate of Kirkuk in particular has been part of several rounds of negocations between the Kurds and various other actors, including the Islamic State.
Agree also with the Turks wanting the play and "divide et impera"game with the Kurds, as always. They are walking a fine rope though as they can accomodate some of the Iraqi Kurds demands, but have to make sure there's no spill-over into what's going on in Syria and Turkey itself. Hence the importance of ISIS in that regard.


Farook, Turkey and Iran are much more cohesive and with state traditions going back thousands of years, not artificial entities created out of a map exercise in a field tent. The Kurds will have a difficult task to create a separate state out of both Iran and Turkey.

As far as Turkey is concerned, in 21st century, neither the single state-single folk approach, nor the separate Kurdistan in Turkey is realistic. A middle way is for the white Turks to suck it up and grant limited local self governance to Kurds, and for the Kurds to convince the majority that they will stop there. Equal citizenship, cultural and social freedoms will need to be guaranteed by law, and enforced if necessary. The Kurds are so close to actively taking a part in how the state is run after the miracle of 2015 elections, as far as representation is concerned. That is a huge, positive development. Two others, a change in Turkish constitution acknowledging the existence of Kurdish ethnicity within Turkey, and everyone hold on to your hats, release of Ocalan from prison. Followed, or preceeded by PKK disbanding.

As far as the Uyghurs, whaaat, who? I wrote here that Tayyiban care nothing about them, except from the fact that they are Sunni, and therefore great political lever for those who have caliphate dreams. I am sure the security establishment have their hands full with ISIS and the Kurds to the south, Turkey is at war here, and Uyghurs are in an unfortunate position, but why tickle the Chinese dragon? Who will believe that RTE is taking a principled stand here? Unless he is instructed to distract the Chinese so that they will be checked a little in their quest to become the mentor of underdeveloped parts of the world in their rush for grabbing natural resources that they so desperately need.


Patrick Bahzad, PKK does not represent majority of Kurd's aspirations in Turkey, maybe it did at a time as a last resort for those who had enough of living like second class citizens in their own land. But times have changed, Kurds are integrated to the mainstream especially in western population areas. Most do not want to have anything to do with terror. PKK on the other hand, also have evolved. It got wealthy, its leadership got used to a cushy, privileged statusquo. It has enormous illegal income channels both in the border areas and outside of Turkey. And with the miraculous rise of HDP, most common sense Kurds have an alternative now to express their demands and frustrations on legal platforms. HDP is still under the thumb of PKK leadership and Ocalan, but they want to break free of both in order not to lose the support they got from non Kurds. HDP election platform is almost a carbon copy of CHP, the social democrats. The latest breakout of hostilities between AKP and PKK is a last ditch effort to break the impetus of HDP in a very cynical game that costs actual lives by the dozens. RTE is desperate, if he loses his last gambit, things can get very serious for him, and if PKK is forced to a stand down, the leadership has a lot to lose as well. Even Barzani, sensing their weakness, is demanding that PKK leave their enclaves within Iraqi Kurdistan. And for my two cents, in all this chaos, there is only one man to watch, which can change everything. Primed Minister without portfolio, Ahmet Davutoglu. If he can break free of his shackles, and become his own man, and of course that takes courage, which I heard him speak of oh so gloriously in every Gallipoli commemoration, well then, something may change.

Patrick Bahzad

I don't think I've ever suggested the PKK represents the majority of the Kurds and I made quite clear what the situation of the Kurds was in Turkey for most of their modern history.
The point youre making is certainly valid from a purely electoral and political point of view, but in a game where the balance of power becomes more decisive than the number of votes, your argument loses almost any weight.
I could make a parallel with plenty of countries, periods and situations where a democratic process was derailed by an even much smaller fraction of the population supporting organisations such as the PKK.
How much support did the Provisional IRA have among Catholics in Ulster ? What about ETA in the Basque country ?
I wish Turkey finds a way to include all its citizens into a country giving everybody the rights they're entitled to, in exchange for genuine loyalty to the State the citizens live in.
I'm not sure this is the ways things are going though and the Kurds (i.e. those who support violence and terrorism) are partly responsible if things get out of hand.
And they will be the losing side in the end, once again, that's all I'm saying.
Regarding your take on Barzani, well, the Iraqi Kurds have other interests to defend than the Turkish and Syrian Kurds, which is the baseline of my argument: clans, tribes, and groups, but no nation speaking with one voice.


Very sensible solution to Turkish Kurdish conundrum. Thank you for your response!

Babak Makkinejad

You need to treat everyone the same; Kurds cannot be given local autonomy if Turks do not have it themselves.

Babak Makkinejad

I think you are writing about smugglers?

In Iran or in Turley, as far as I know, there is nothing preventing Kurds from participating in the political, commercial, cultural, scientific, religious, national lives of those 2 countries.

yet young people's lives are fed into the chimerical furnace of Kurdish Autonomy - with nothing to be gained and nothing that has been gained.

Babak Makkinejad

He is an academic and therefore a wimp.

He will not do what you hope.

William R. Cumming


William R. Cumming


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