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16 October 2017


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I don't have a problem with any of that but I have to write for a more general audience. pl



I should have included that. It strengthen my case for the structural instability of Iraq. pl



You left the Confederates out of your list but they too were crushed in the end. In the case of both our wars for independence foreign intervention was crucial. You either had it or you failed. pl


One thing that puzzles me is the inconsistent position of the 'woke' anti-imperialist left on the Kurdish Question.

Whereas they are always hopping mad about 'Israeli neo-colonialism', in the same breath they will adamantly support mini-metropoles like Baghdad, themselves the creation of Greater Metropoles (London, Paris). So a 'brown' imperialist group is backed against a (perceived) 'white' imperialist force. Pot kettle black. Sorry Kurds, Assyrians, Druze, et el. The vulgar anti-antisemitism of white leftists (who are all about anti-imperalism providing you do it their way) comes before your right to self-determination.

The specious argument I've heard from the likes of SyrianGirl is that Israel wants weak and divided statelets in order to achieve regional hegemony. But arbitrarily defined post-colonial states like Iraq and Syria are already divided against themselves. It was always the USSR who turned these 'countries' into somewhat credible threats to Israel. Absent a powerful 'big boy' friend, their incoherent demographic composition rendered them vulnerable to destabilization. One of the reasons Iran wields real power that Israel fears is that its led by a dominant Persian-Shia majority. Were it not for the interventions of external powers with coherent majorities (Iran and Russia), the Syrian Arab Republic would have been wiped off the map. Some resistance. States like Egypt and Jordan remain united but are more or less on board with Israel. Thus, there is no necessary correlation between the preservation of the post-colonial division of the ME and the curbing of Zionist ambitions.

If the dreaded division of the ME happened according to that map floating around which concentrates each ethno-religious groups into a single state, I would wager the result would be more powerful and independent states who might very well align against Israeli expansion. Good fences make good neighbors after all. Sure there would be a few teething problems (border wars) and a bit of ethnic cleansing, but a structure would emerge from the violence. Can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. The other option is eternal breaking of eggs and no omelette.

The final line of defence is that this scheme has been glossed by various Western think tanks. Apparently, this automatically imbues the idea with an inherent evil. 'If America wants it must be bad!' is the simple binary logic, born of reflexive hatred of their own countries. However, there is no conceptual reason why the ME can't be rearranged in a way that benefits everybody. Had Britain, France, and America done so from the beginning (and stuck the Jewish homeland somewhere less explosive), the West would probably be widely admired in the Arab world today, as friendly liberators from Ottoman oppression and the civilization that gave each group a homeland where they could live by their own lights and realize their collective potential.

Anyway, I don't think my position is inconsistent with supporting Assad, because clearly a highly centralized secular governments is preferable to terrorists.


Once again the Barezanies are blaming the Talebanies for treason and withdrawal of forces from Kirkuk.


Very well and precisely said.


For linguists, the distinction between a language and a dialect has often been that a language is a collection of mutually-intelligible dialects. Many "languages" seem to defy this distinction. One or more linguists are credited with the distinction that a language is "a dialect with an army and a navy." This seems to apply here and in several other "would-be countries."


When you deconstruct the Kurds like that, you sound remarkably like the Jews un-peopling the Palestinians.

Its possible for an ethnic group to have a number of different expressions. In my country, New Zealand, natives (Maoris) are divided into distinct tribes, many of whom fought one another and aligned with or against the colonizing British. But that does not mean there isn't a common Maori substrate that provides a basis of unity. It also doesn't mean that there isn't a spiritual organic bond of "New Zealander" comprised of the top level identification of Anglo-Celts and Maoris.

You could do this with anyone.

>There is no uniform Scandinavian identity. They speak different languages and adhere to different cultures.
>Therefore, it is incoherent for Scandinavians to seek sovereignty.

Seems the issue here is denying fractal structures of identification.

Even one expression of Kurdish identity is entitled to pursue statehood. Anthropologists believe the Kurds who went north toward Russia are now an entirely separate ethnic group. Perhaps the Kurds should receive four states each corresponding to a language group. If its expedient they combine, the Kurdish *citizen* will have to be created after the Kurdish state. Their differential experiences reflect the partial erasure of their identity because of their dispersion. Its telling your analysis freezes them at the point of maximum divergence and dilution. *But if Kurdish identity diverged and diluted, it can also reconverge and intensify.* Ethnicity is not some eternal Platonic form.

Finally, groups of people who have cohered for centuries don't fade in and out of existence based on whether leftwing Eurocentrists deem them 'enlightened' according to ideas less than a few centuries old - ideas that are the product of one particular conception of the world during one particular phase (rapidly fading) of one particular civilization.


Colonel -

You are right that foreign intervention was critical, and still is for independence movements anywhere. I always wondered why Louis Duportail and Bernardo Galvez never got the same tributes as that Lafayette, Pulaski, Steuben, deGrasse, and Rochambeau. There is a lot more to both Duportail and Galvez than what is in their Wikipedia entry. Galvez held the British in check in the west and the deep south. Duportail not only designed the siege works at Yorktown, he was the first Commandant of the US Corps of Engineers, was with Washington at Valley Forge, was the first to propose a US military academy and much of his texts were included in the first course of instruction. It is no accident that the insignia of the Corps of Engineers is the Castle at Verdun in honor of France's Corps du Génie. Well worth the read is a good book I just finished on the subject "Brothers at Arms" by Ferreiro: https://www.amazon.com/Brothers-Arms-American-Independence-France/dp/1101910305/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1508190626&sr=1-1&keywords=larrie+ferreiro

Regarding Saladin. There may be Kurds who do not revere Saladin as you say. But I have seen Kurdish websites/twitterfeeds where Kurdish commenters bragged of Saladin's capture of Jerusalem and his defeat of the crusaders and threw it in the face of Arabic/Turkish commenters that had called them the dogs of crusaders and Jews.


Hear, hear!

Babak Makkinejad

Jordan and Egypt are onboard with the Greenback.

Babak Makkinejad

That there is a substrate with a bsis of unity is not in dispute. What is in dispute, in Palestine or in Kurdish lands, or in Catalonia is if that basic unity is sufficient for statehood. The last 3000 years say "No".


The BBC recently showed 1 lone Kurdish soldier in uniform trying his best to play
traffic cop in the chaotic exodus of thousands of Kurds from the city as pockets
of gunfire were heard incoming from the background. The reporter had to withdraw
from the traffic jam in fear.

The U.S coalition basically created the current Iraqi government & used the Kurds to fight ISIS & now we have no influence? Diplomatically are we just hamstrung? Treated
like weenies unable to encourage any calm? While in other areas of Iraq & Syria
the coalition allows ISIS, their families & human shields to escape in convoys.
What is the end game plan for the Coalition? I'm confused.


Thanks. Thanks. Watching Sand Pebbles movie this evening. And book is free for Amazon Prime Kindle, so I’ve downloaded it. Excellent review convinced me.

ex-PFC Chuck

I'd add to your list of novels James Jones's The Thin Red Line.


In this discussion of USA policy in Iraq, the elephant in the room is Saudi Arabia.
In 1945, Roosevelt met with King Saud and promised USA military support, and also promised not to interfere with wahabi fundamentalism - in return for access to oil.
In 1973, when USA was suffering from the oil embargo, so severely that Nixon was running out of oil to continue to war in Vietnam, Kissinger went to Saudi and begged for more oil. Saudi agreed to provide it secretly so that arab allies would not know. Then in 1974 USA was broke, and Nixon sent William Simon and Kissinger to Saudi Arabia to beg again. USA agreed to buy oil and provide military aid, and in return Saudi agreed to buy Treasuries to finance USA spending. Significantly, USA agreed to keep Saudi purchases secret, and illegally misreported Treasury sales ever since.
So that is the basis for USA's blind support for Saudi monarchy,
no matter what Saudi does, including 911.
And of course this blind support has to make Iran the fall guy for everything that happens in ME today.
The 1945 meeting is shown in "Bitter Lake", film by Adam Curtis, highly recommended, available on youtube.
The 1974 meeting is described here:

Babak Makkinejad

Turco-Persian stearoller being the Seluk Civilization.

Babak Makkinejad

And they were always defeated and their fiefdom rolled up. But not before leaving a large number of dead.
They are not Diocletians.


IMO the current political attitude towards the whole thing is the short term perceived defeat of ISIS and a complete pullout, fully leaving Iraq to Iran come what may. Trump is fulfilling one of his promises in this at least. Our underestimation of ISIS is akin to obama's I'm afraid, and the same thing we saw in 2014 will be repeated, perhaps worse depending on local political climate in this powderkeg

Babak Makkinejad

Their current vision has nothing forvyoung people.



My uncle, John Henry Lang was in the ship's company of both USS Palos and USS Panay. He liked the movie but said the US was unequivocally on the Side of the KMT. pl

Babak Makkinejad

The Pontics were a separate nation than Greeks. They were Hellenes, no doubt, but were not a state or country.

Ishmael Zechariah

Two questions:
1-re:"The specious argument I've heard from the likes of SyrianGirl is that Israel wants weak and divided statelets in order to achieve regional hegemony." "Does "Yinon Plan" ring a bell? Do enlighten us.
2-re: "However, there is no conceptual reason why the ME can't be rearranged in a way that benefits everybody. Had Britain, France, and America done so from the beginning (and stuck the Jewish homeland somewhere less explosive), the West would probably be widely admired in the Arab world today, as friendly liberators from Ottoman oppression and the civilization that gave each group a homeland where they could live by their own lights and realize their collective potential." Please grace us w/ a map-assume you have infinite power, know all parties, and take your best shot. We will then see if "lemur despotism" is better than any of those you despise.
I look forward to your reply.
Ishmael Zechariah


I have nothing to contribute to the analysis but thought you might like to hear this Kurdish - Persian music -- Hawniyaz Aynur, Queen of Kurdish music, with Master of Persian music Kayhan Kalhor



Apparently not all Arabs are against Kurdish independence. Southern Yemenis in Aden demonstrated Saturday for their own independence. In addition to waving the old flags of the Peoples-Democratic-Republic-of-Yemen, some in the mass demonstration held up Catalan and Kurdish flags.


The north and the south merged only 27 years ago. As I recall the south decided decided it was a bad deal and tried to secede four years later, which ended up in a civil war. Before the merger weren't they a client state of the Soviets? So maybe Putin is interested in sticking it to the Saudis, Emiratis, AQAP and Daesh's Wilayah al-Yaman by helping in Yemen next? Would the Houthis in the north welcome the Russians also?

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