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17 September 2017


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To me it looks like that Israel made a serious mistake by associating itself with the Barzani KRG.

Bandolero, a lot of countries are 'associated' with the Iraqi Kurds. Maybe partly too as a result of what Laguerre refers to below. They might have had troubles to buy the necessary stuff to defend themselves against Isis. Remember what group they gave shelter? Among others I recall Germany. Check the visit itinerary/travels .... connected to weapons for the Iraqi Kurds.

Turkish/Kurdish problems are well known. Thus what does the discovery tell us, we didn't know before?

Barin Kayaoglu is an assistant professor of world history at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani. He obtained his doctorate in history from the University of Virginia in 2014, and he is currently working on his first book, based on his PhD dissertation, on US relations with Turkey and Iran from World War II to the present and pro- and anti-Americanism in the two countries. You can follow him at www.barinkayaoglu.com and on Facebook. On Twitter: @barinkayaoglu

The above caught my attention.

Babak Makkinejad

If you look at historical formation of Iran you will note that the Turkic-Persian dichotomy predates modern Iran. That was the Seljuk pattern of rule; military prowess of the Turks and the bureaucratic one of the Perisans - which continued even after Seljuk demise in what is today called Iran - with one addition - the Shia religion.

Before Reza Khan's coup, there was the Seyyed Zia's (instigated also by the English) since the English were horrified of the chaos in Iran after the Revolution of 1905; they feared USSR's incursion into Iran etc. (in spite of the help that they had rendered the revolutionaries earlier in their struggle against the Qajar despotism.)

(Later, the English, anticipating a war against USSR, had the trans-Iranian railway built so as to be able to transport their troops from India to the frontier with USSR quickly; all on Iranian dime.)

The emergence of the overthrow of the monarchy in Iraq, the eventual ascendance of the Ba'ath Party, and the war against Iran were not, in my opinion, inevitable; they were examples of historical contingency caused by fools.

I agree with IZ below about Kirkuk's demographics.


Perhaps the Israelis can give them some of their land. Pay it forward or something like that.


"Turkish/Kurdish problems are well known. Thus what does the discovery tell us, we didn't know before?"

Well, the Turks have their own, characteristic way to remind us of whatever ghost is spooking their brains on any given day.

We had a Kurdish demonstration here in Cologne-Deutz last weekend and because of Turkish blathering and implied threats there was a horde of cops out there to make sure the thing remained safe for the Kurds and the bystanders.

The Turks made their lamentation this time by summoning the german ambassador to Ankara's foreign office and blathered about how much any kurdish demonstration in Cologne hurts Erdogan's poor, oversized ego, Turkish pride and, of cours - likely just to be themselves - they added that since all Kurds are terrorists - any country allowing Kurds any demo means that that given country is supporting terror supporters, and acts against Turkey.

I.e. in Erdoganland allowing the demo was seen by the Turks as something close to an act of war. Ridiculous, absurd and pathetic, but a reality. That's the current Turkish practice in what they cocky call 'turkish foreign policy' at work.

Amusing and scary sidenote:

Not that long ago I had a turkish cab driver. The man drove like a maniac and liked high speed a lot. While driving me he lamented that the dutch and we germans are all stupid because we read papers which are owned by privates, and thus are being distorted, filled with propaganda and generally full of lies. He added that he was a smart and perfectly informed man because he only read turkish newspapers, which, according to him, are absolutely objective. Ah yes. That certainly is quite nice a thing to believe.


That said, his bright brilliance left me speechless. While sharing with me that secret wisdom he was almost making an en passant high speed rendevouz with a bridge support at 190 km/h. We were on an autobahn at the time, thus the speed, and, needless to mention, at that speed you're a splash of goo even when in a Mercedes. That was as scary as his wisdom about the news. Thank God I had luck and we arrived both alive.


It doesn't take a Talleyrand to figure out that the goal behind "Kurdistan" is the breakup of Syria by another name.

If the creation of Kurdistan destabilizes Iraq and Turkey as well, I doubt many tears will be shed in Tel Aviv.


Cp, Leander

I know that many different governments are on good terms with the KRG. But regarding Barzani's planned referendum it looks to me that virtually the whole world is united in being against that move - with one exception: Israel. Almost all countries, the US, Iran, Turkey, Baghdad, UK, Germany, to name just a few, and the UN, see the referendum as designed to make trouble and Barzani as trouble maker. And I think by supporting the referendum, Israel made a grave mistake to associate with such a trouble maker, because it highlights Israel's role in trouble making on the world stage.

In the diplomatic spat that will surely follow that referendum, it looks to become Barzani and Israel against the rest of the world. And if the referendum leads to military action it will likely look the same: Barzani and Israel against the rest of the world.

Sure Israel may be happen then to have managed to help spark just another war, but who's going to win that diplomatic spat or war? I think Barzani will lose it badly, because he's the ruler of a land locked area and he lost support from all neighbors and world powers. And that's while for the rest of the world, the US, Iran, Turkey, Baghdad, etc, the "KRG referendum crisis" may not bring more conflict against each other, but more cooperation and unity against isolated "trouble maker Barzani" and his few fellow travelers.

As I see how Israel may benefit from trouble, I don't think Israel benefits from beeing associated with a trouble maker and a loser. Israel already backed Syrian rebels and terrorists, and they lost. That pattern may develop into a regional or even global brand: if you have in a conflict support from Israel and the Israeli lobby, be sure you'll lose in the end. I think that could be very serious for Israel, going far beyond a PR problem.


Ishmael Zechariah -

I do not dispute your stats of Kirkuk City. However, the same 1957 census, also cited in Wikipedia, shows a much different picture for Kirkuk Province: 28.2% Arab, 48.2% Kurd, 21.4% Turkmen, 0.4 Assyrian.

Plus you have this from Wikipedia: "Due to the Arabization policies of the Ba'ath party the number of Arabs in official censuses increased fivefold within 40 years, however the most reliable data indicative of the ethnic breakdown of the governorate are those of the 1957 census.[5] The number of Kurds remained relatively constant from 1957 until 1977, decrease in their numbers coincides with the Arabization process in the 1990s.[6] The Turkmens were seriously affected by the Ba'ath changing Kirkuk borders their percentage fell from 21% to 7%."

The KRG has provided financial incentives to many of the Arab families that had been resettled there by Sadaam. Does not sound like misrule to me. Hundreds of thousands of Kurds have returned to the province, they now constitute 52% of the province population.

That being said, I do NOT agree with Kirkuk province joining the KRG if independence is declared. That would probably bring on war. But the referendum is not independence. So why not let the people there speak their mind?


Israel has a long history of playing the "minority card" in the Arab world, and also against Iran. They support terrorist groups from the Azeri, Baluchi, Kurdish and other ethnic minorities and have done so for a long time. In southern Syria, they are supporting Nusra, providing combat medical support and they are even backing ISIS in that area, as a means of keeping Iran and Hezbollah away from their borders. Not a great way to win friends.


Babak Makkinejad -

Thank you. I am always interested in the history of Iran. I for one wish you would join Colonel Lang's group of authors-of-posts and tell us more of your homeland and its history.

I also agree with IZ about the demographics of the city of Kirkuk. But he neglects to mention the demographics of Kirkuk Province, which is what I had quoted, and which I expanded on below.


Tel -

In addition to Kosovo and the other six countries of the former Yugoslavia, the UN has given membership to south Sudan and East Timor. They give the Palestinian Authority observer status, and would probably admit it to full membership if not for US veto. They have even given under-the-table encouragement to the Polisario for future independence.

But for the KRG they say no, and at the insistence of the US. Meanwhile sources in Iran and Turkey are claiming that the US is the evil genius pushing KRG independence.


"And if ... may ...",??? Bandolero.

Vaguely concerning PR. The 200.000 Jewish Kurds already preparing for their relocation in the Kurdish sections of Iraq, the part of the news you choose, could be government propaganda too. To the extend propaganda and PR always were connected. Never mind the propagated ethical norms of the PR industry. One has to pick up people were they stand. Relating two enemies by the stroke of a pen?

Bandolero, I might take a closer look at what your write. I am as concerned as you are more generally speaking. But strictly Turkish papers were always read over here in Turkish communities, just as Turkish channels were watched. I have this vague memory that a friend may have told me he disliked Hürriyet. In any case someone must have made me aware of Turkish media quite early. Since I suppose I wouldn't have paid much attention to whatever Turkish papers were read over here:




Jewish Kurds? Never heard of that before. pl


Colonel -

That is an Baathist myth, used to encourage hatred against the Kurds.

During the Crusades there were Jews from Syria and Palestine who fled in fear from the Crusaders to Mosul and other cities of northern Mesopotamia including Erbil.

And tradition says that Jews of northern Iraq were brought there almost 3000 years ago by the Assyrians.

All of them left in the fifties for Israel.



Just this morning I read in the newspaper that the Turkish Education Ministry has decided that the theory of evolution will no longer be mentioned in secondary schools in Turkey. It seems that their minds are at a perilous point in their development, and this is to protect the little darlings. Of course, it can still be taught an the university level...the subtext that occurred to me being that that applies in the present, but may soon no longer be the case depending upon the thinking of the Great Helmsman, Erdogan.

To me it looks as if the EU may have been correct to drag their feet concerning Turkish admisssion into their little club, and increasingly so with such turns of events.

Let the enstupidification begin! Sad.


Mike, talking from both sides of thier mouth happens very often with USG official policies, specially in FP. You can complain all you want, but believe me, this wouldn't fool anybody in the region, for good or bad bottom line nobody in the region distinguishes US' regionalpolicies from that of Israel and KSA, and other minor clientele.


The coup/ regime change happened when the brits were unsuccessful to make the Majles ratify the 1919 treaty taking control of Iran military and finances, colonizing it. In 1925 Reza Shah coup they were not as worried of new USSR/Russia as they were worried of newly returned foreign educated constitutionalist and pan Iranians.


East Timor was liberated fair and square. They have no connection with Indonesia, never have had the slightest cultural connection with the Javanese.

South Sudan I don't know a whole lot about. Willing to admit ignorance on that one.

Palestinian Authority I can get the point that these people clearly are not Israeli (they don't vote for Israel's government) so they need to belong to somewhere. Jordan should take them, but Jordan doesn't want them. I think a two state solution has more probability of working than a one state solution... presuming any peaceful solution is possible.

For the KRG I repeat the precedent has been set, everything else is folk dancing.


So who confirmed it? The SDF Press Office?

They were attacked by eight VBIEDs plus four suicide attacks. They have confirmed the death of hundreds of Daesh.
They liberated 4,000 civilians and evacuated them to safe areas.

Neutralising 8 VBIEDs and 4 Inghimasi, and killing hundreds of Daesh. That's pretty bloody impressive but where is the evidence? Looked on the Twitter feeds that seem to have been set up for this operation (#JaziraStorm, #CizireStorm) and there is nothing. No burnt out tanks, APCs, or even the ubiquitous burnt-out technicals and pickups. No videos of someone pointlessly firing off a DshK mounted on the back of a technical or even of a bit of spraying and praying from behind a mini-berm. Nothing. Or have I missed something?
In Syria, until you see the evidence, don't believe the claim. I don't doubt the SDF have closed on Deir Ez-zor, but how they got so far so soon is a bit of a mystery.

Philippe T.

IMO, one Israel in Middle East should be enough.

Babak Makkinejad

Matters not, Serbs will be back and the Albanians will flee back to Albania. Kosovo will revert back to Serbia.



Palestinians have never been Jordanians. "Jordan should take them,.." That, I believe, has always been the Israeli position.

Babak Makkinejad

The English did not care, they were concerned about the chaos in Iran.


Paul, reminds me, I looked this up quite some time ago:



Bandolero, I babbled in my latest response. Forgive. Good comment.

No doubt "self-determination" has become more controversial in recent decades. Just as it is central aspect of Israel's argument (Hasbara?).

From my own highly limited perspective post Balkan Wars and from there on beyond: I can understand scholars are looking at it as a double edged sword more and more.

Self-determination in Spain? Basque country? Basque language?


Kooshy -

All countries speak with more than one voice, even non-democratic ones.

PS - What kind of military unit is the 'Hazeh Qarargah'? I thought 'Hazeh' meant clerics, or perhaps the clerical establishment? Is this some kind of Chaplain's Corps for the IRGC? Or some type of political cadre overseeing purity of thought in the ranks?

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