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16 October 2017


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Pacifica Advocate

I don't know what Linda thinks, but I think it would have been wiser to never have partnered up with Saudi Arabia in the first place.

It was their people on those planes. It was their money that financed those people. If the US was going to invade any place, it should have been Saudi Arabia--not Afghanistan, not Iraq.

Phil Cattar

My Godfather/Great Uncle, who would be about 130 years old if he was alive,told me one claim to "fame" was that Salidin had come through the family's village at one time.....Jezzine,Lebanon.

Phil Cattar

Being difficult and tough/brave are not mutually exclusive.It is certainly anecdotal but years ago there was a Syrian/Kurdish middleweight boxer named Mustafo Hamsho.................He was incredibly tough and strong.Other world class fighters would comment on his toughness...................

Pacifica Advocate

Thanks for that, outthere. Big fan of Adam Curtis, here. Will definitely be checking it out.


ISIS might now get some breathing room to regroup and fight another day... looks like defeat has been snatched from the jaws of victory here.

If the Americans take a step back and leave it hands off between the Iraqis and the Kurds then those two could well be evenly matched and grind each other, with no oil going anywhere. On the other hand, if the Americans take sides and settle this then which way should it be settled? Bashing the Kurds would make the US look not much better than Saddam all over again, but if the Americans support the Kurds then Iraq will be almost guaranteed to join forces with Iran (although maybe that's inevitable at this stage).

Ugly situation, best thing would be find a way to get Baghdad back to negotiations and give the Kurds some bones to feel good about. Seems unlikely.


"Since these two historic actors have mutually exclusive and deeply held goals and desires, that was a very foolish thing for the US to do."

Worked for a little while.

Don't start telling me about all the brilliant strategic plans that were coming out of Washington before this singular blunder.


Haralambos, that's an interesting idea. Are you a linguist?



"Yet they stood standfast against Daesh several years ago when the Iraqi Army ran in panic."

actually when Daesh attacked they took the opportunity to seize undefended iraq government territory


b, SST members, I admittedly did not ever pay attention on Özalan. ...

Yes, I find the cult around him repellent too. But "anarcho"-maxists makes me wonder? ...

while neighboring Salafi Kurds have joined ISIS to then kill the neighbouring Yezidi Kurds.

Haven't heard about that. Links, hints? Context? Location?


Meanwhile, a person who exposed the CIA-Azerbajan connection in supplying ISIS with Ukrainian, Bulgarian and such arms was murdered by car bomb: https://www.rt.com/news/406963-assange-reward-caruana-galizia-death/
She was the only truly courageous journalist in Malta and one of the most courageous persons in the European Union. For her courage and honesty she was branded a "terrorist" by the EU bureaucrats.

English Outsider

Lemur - I agreed with you instinctively when I saw your comment. With of course the proviso that Kurdish mafia bosses shouldn't be allowed to walk off with Arab oil fields, but nevertheless it seemed that your way - our way - of looking at the question was the only right way. Now I'm not so sure.

This is key to how we in the West sees the Kurdish issue - "Even one expression of Kurdish identity is entitled to pursue statehood. "

That is the underlying Western assumption - that an ethno-nationalist group or subgroup should be organised as a separate national unit. How that could work in the ME, where it's a patchwork of groups and sub-groups and those often quite distinct, I can't imagine, but I would tentatively suggest that our underlying assumption that it ought to work, even that it's the only way it can work, is erroneous.

In Western Europe ethno-nationalism is not much to do with DNA or race. You can have within a nation a job lot of different groups, all with their own often fierce local loyalties, but all feeling that there is something above those local loyalties that they as members of their national units have in common. As the comment above yours may indicate, national "armies and navies" are important, primarily for survival, but also because there's nothing like fighting the other lot to forge a sense of common identity. Just perhaps, we're seeing that happening in Syria at present - the various tribes and confessions are finding that life is more secure if they hold to wider loyalties than the purely local. But for a certainty in Western Europe ethno-nationalism is in practice not a question of who you are, where you come from, or how long you've been there, but whether you feel you belong. If enough believe they belong then you have an ethno-nationalist group and in Western Europe, whether we admit it or not, we assume ethno-nationalist groups are better off as nations. That is how we think. As you put it - "Even one expression of Kurdish identity is entitled to pursue statehood."

This "belonging" way of looking at Western European ethno-nationalism is at variance with the usual "DNA test" way of looking at it but I believe it is more realistic and I also believe that it underlies our thinking in real life in the West as a whole.

The functional test of a working ethno-nationalism in our model is whether it binds the population to the ruling elite; and the ruling elite to the population. Where there is not that two-way bond our sort of ethno-nationalist unit has to rely on repression to stay a unit or it fails.

We see this in Ireland, where there was never a true ethno-nationalist unity with England although by the end of the nineteenth century custom was beginning to forge what might have become such a unit. But in truth the seeming unity was founded on repression - conquest and then subjection - and remained essentially founded on repression until the end. The Irish national myth was never the English national myth. There was little bond between the ruling elite and most of the population. Therefore it was natural - natural in the way we think - for the unit to fall apart even though in economic terms the Irish were doing quite well out of the association towards the end and would probably have done better in economic terms had they remained in it.

The fissiparous tendencies in Western Europe at present are I believe to do with the fact that the bonds between the ruling elites and their populations are weak. Increasing numbers of people feel that the ruling elites are out for themselves and not for the nation. That resentment comes to the fore when there is, for many, less money around. Therefore when there's an alternative national myth to fall back on, an alternative ethno-nationalism on offer, that alternative is seized upon almost by default. That may be just swapping one set of cronies for another, as I think might have been the case in Scotland recently had they voted the other way, but at least they'll be "our" ruling elite and even if it's an illusory hope there's still the hope that the new lot will be in it for us as well as for themselves. Ethno-nationalism is so natural to us now that we always think in those terms.

I think this is, however, a very European way of looking at ethno-nationalism and the formation of national units. It's also quite recent in some instances. Even after the defeat of Napoleon, for example, the fate of the people of Saxony was not determined as a result of any Wilsonian consideration of where those people saw themselves as belonging. Ethno-nationalism wasn't a factor. The property rights of the King of Saxony were the issue and his people were regarded, even spoken of I believe, as so many "head" of people who were included in those property rights like cattle. Long before then the link between ethno-nationalism and the national unit was evolving to become the main link, but it's only today that that link is regarded by all of us in the West as the proper and if necessary legally enforceable determinant of who should be in what nation.

I do not believe it is safe to assume that such current Western notions and intuitions can be transferred lock stock and barrel to the ME. I believe that to assume they can be is as dangerous as the assumption made after the Iraq war. It was assumed as a matter of course by many then that once we'd removed the tyrant, the "nation" of Iraq would fall naturally into what we're used to in Western Europe. The parallel was explicitly drawn with 1945. We were locked into our own way of seeing the world and could conceive of no other.

So here, our concepts of ethno-nationalism, - and those are the concepts we're using when we look at the Kurds - our intuitive notion of how the relationship between the people and the ruling elite works, our hard and fast belief that the ethno-nationalist model is the natural model for a nation unit - all this gets in the way of recognising that the ME is a different place and they do things differently there. We are unconsciously parochial in our thinking. My automatic agreement with the seemingly self-evident truth you assert in your comment falters when I realise that although we know very well intuitively how our own society works, we can't have that good an insight into how other societies do.

In fact we in the West are now starting to grapple with the problem of how to run, not the ethno-nationalist model we've evolved over the centuries, but the "patchwork" model that's been the norm in the ME for ever. WE are the beginners here. We're not doing very well. We're attempting to "integrate" our various minorities by repression or indoctrination, and insisting they should "become like us". They must join our ethno-nationalist unit, like it or not. That's pretty crude and will lead to trouble, but we have no other way of thinking. The ME's been doing "patchwork" for millennia, not just a few decades. We should look at how they approach the job, not unconsciously attempt to impose our intuitions and our way of thinking on them.


You don't even have to use Scandinavian as an example. Just use Denmark. The regional language differences have been strong. I simple cannot understand Jutlandic Danish if spoken traditionally. But the differences are rapidly disappearing due to radio & television. Standard Danish (created from the dialects spoken in Copenhagen and Malmø) has become the norm.


An text example:
English: I'm on the island in the creek

standard Danish: Jeg er ude på øen i åen

Southern Jutlandic: A æ u o æ ø i æ å



I am currently reading Secret Affairs - Britain's Collusion with Radical Islam by Mark Curtis, and it is telling the history of the middle east through the lens of how Britain sought to contain secular nationalism by any means necessary. Anyway - Yemen keeps coming up again and again. Seems it has always been a chessboard for outside powers.

I think the Houthis in the north are at least tacitly allied with R+6 and thus the more natural ally for the Russians.


Croesus -

Thanks for the musical link.

Is that loose un-rosined horsehair on the bow of that stringed instrument?


Mike you should tell us what you think it happened in Kirkuk yesterday, if i were you wouldn't put much hope in Aden for being a big help getting Kurdistan it' independence. Sounds like Barazani and his advisers from Israel, France' Jean-Paul and our own think tanker in chief Khalilzad did not figure out this one out.



Hellas was the Ancient Greek word for Greece. They did not call themselves "Greeks." They all considered themselves Hellenes, though they were divided into four distinct ethnic groupings. There were large Hellenic populations on the islands and coast of what's now Turkey and Syria, as well as smaller ones throughout the Mediterranean basin.

The "Greeks" lived in independent or semi-independent city states that warred with one another on a regular basis. They typically kept their cities at a smaller scale, and one reason they are so spread out is that when a city-state reached a certain size, a select group of citizens would colonize another spot. The resulting city-state was independent with some ties to the parent.

Greece and Pontus are geographical descriptions in the ancient world, not countries or nationalities. Pontus is the area to south of the Black Sea. I think what you're referring to is Ionia, or the west coasts and adjacent islands of what's now Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon.

 Ishmael Zechariah

The last name of the kurdish fellow you and b are referring to is "Öcalan". The following link contains is a reasonably truthful summary of his activities so far:

If you read the following link you can see why the salafists might not care for Yezidis:

Ishmael Zechariah


Russia is refusing to shut down its consulate in Erbil. That despite the demands by Baghdad for all diplomatic missions in the KRG to shut down. The US consulate alos stays open. I have not heard about the French, British and Germans shutting theirs down. It appears the Turks are the only ones to knuckle under. Maybe the Iranians have shut down their consulate in Suleimani, but if so I would bet they are keeping open an unofficial diplomatic mission with the PUK.



Lawrence Davidson writes about Kurdistan, including some history back to Sykes Picot.
can Iraq be reestablished as a viable state? Putting the question more informally, in 2003 a rather stupid American president — working under the influence of Zionists, witless neoconservatives, and Iraqi nationalists bearing false witness — knocked the Iraqi Humpty Dumpty off its precarious wall. Can it be put back together again? The answer is, well, maybe – but there seems to be only two ways to do this. One is a near-genocidal war waged by regional powers against the Kurds. Alternatively, Iraq might be resurrected if the Kurds are willing to settle for half a loaf in the form of being an autonomous part of a confederated state.
. . .
The Kurds are now closer to independent status than at any time since the near-miss days of World War I. Their best strategy is to make the best (if not the most) of that status within a confederated Iraq and end their interaction with Israel. This has to be better than a near-genocidal war in which they would be the victims.

The Thwarted Dreams of Kurdistan
October 17, 2017

Davidson cites Jonathon Cook

How Kurdish independence is central to Israel’s plans to reshape the region
2 October 2017


From your linked article:

"Those urging Trump to scrap the deal include Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister. He is at odds, however, with most Israeli experts in military intelligence, the Israeli Defence Forces, Mossad, the Foreign Ministry and the Atomic Energy Committee who all say that Iran has not violated a single clause."

Looks like someone is heading for a fall.


Remarkable long interview with Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson:
We will, as we did to Saddam Hussein. I know, I was there, I helped. We will manufacture Iran's going for a nuclear weapon if we have to. If we feel that it is necessary to manufacture the intelligence, even if they are not going for one, we will do so, and we will go to war with Iran. That's the purpose of the people like Nikki Hayley and John Bolton and others who now, said to say, have regained access to the Trump administration.
. . .
Let’s just look at this for a second. If anyone in terms of terrorism is sponsoring it from one end of the globe to the other, it’s the Saudis. If there’s anyone who was responsible for 9/11, and 3000 dead Americans, that was a state at that time, it’s Saudi Arabia. If there’s anyone who’s deeply responsible as an outside power for the civil war, the conflict as it were, in Syria, it’s Saudi Arabia.

If there’s anyone responsible for destabilizing the Gulf Cooperation Council, it’s Saudi Arabia. If there’s anyone responsible for waging the most brutal war on the planet right now, with our support I’m sad to say, in Yemen, it’s Saudi Arabia. And yet, the United States can’t seem to break away from Saudi Arabia, but it can find in its heart of hearts, hatred for the Persians. This is inexplicable.

Unless you understand how deeply lashed up with the Saudis are the Clintons, the Bushs, and almost any other wealthy family in the United States, how deeply lashed up we are with the Saudis because of our dependence for them for such a long time on black gold, oil, or how deeply lashed up we are with the Saudis for their buying of our armaments to the tune of billions and billions of dollars. Otherwise, you have no explanation for this relationship which is totally inimical to the national security future of the United States.
. . .
I see all this developing in much the same way I saw the Iraqi WMD situation developing in 2002, and early 2003, and I saw the war that occurred thereafter. That’s what these people want. We have to go all the way back to the philosophy of the neoconservatives at the very beginning, Bill Kristol, and Richard Perle and so forth.

I saw evidence of this when I was in the Pentagon in 2001 and 2002. They want Syria, they want Iran, they want Iraq, they want the entire South West Asian area free of the kinds of leaders and the kind of regimes that they felt were inimical to the interests of Israel, and ultimately to the interests of the United States. They succeeded in Iraq, however you want to measure that success. Iran seems to own it now.

They failed in Syria, but they haven’t given up there yet, and they feel, I think that if they do Iran, then the others will collapse of their own weight, especially now that Iran has managed to insinuate itself into both Syria and Iraq so significantly. So, it’s all kind of wrapped up in Iran now. They don’t have to think about Syria and Iraq, because if Iran goes, those two go.

This is crazy. This is crazy what we’re allowing to happen. Now, we’re allowing it to happen through what can I say? A 10 year old brat, reality TV star, occupying the Oval Office and thinking that through what he’s doing basically for domestic politics, he’s protecting America. While these neocons are running circles around him.

Whether he told Bolton to get out of the White House is irrelevant. They’re running circles around him, and we’re developing the same kind of scenario leading the war for this country, Iran, that we did for Iraq several years ago.
lots more here:



I told Wilkerson at the time that he was selling out his country in support of his bromance with Powell. He just waved me off. He continues to exploit his perfidy. pl


LeaNder -

Ansar al-Islam was a group of Arab vets of the Afghan wars who recruited Iraqi Kurds and Arabs and took over a district next to the Iraqi/Iran border in the Kurdish mountains. They were taken out by a coalition of Kurdish and American Special Forces in 2003. There were approximately six to eight hundred. About 250 to 300 were killed, the remainder were captured or fled. Some to Iran or more probably some fled to Zarqawi, the godfather of Daesh.



Kooshy -

I'll wait until the dust settles in Kirkuk before attempting to tell you what the Kurdish media is saying what happened.

I put no hope in Aden being a help to Kurdistan. Did you really think that is what I was thinking with that comment??? Unbelievable. My communication skills are getting rusty. I only posted that remark because I saw the Catalan and Kurdish flags among the old DPRY Yemeni flags at the Yemeni independence demonstration. I wish the south Yemenis and Catalans and Kurds well and hope they all get some measure of independence. Biafrans too, they are demonstrating now for independence from Nigeria. That was another country whose borders were bungled by the British. Like in Kirkuk, oil played a big part in the reason the northern Nigerians crushed Biafra's earlier bid for freedom, killing millions in the process back in the 1960s.

Barzani has no advisers from Israel. You need to separate the legitimate aspirations of the Kurds from the Israeli agitprop that they are deliberately using to get inside the heads of Muslims to stir up hate and discontent and war.


James T. -

Thanks, I'll try to get a copy. Was that British collusion with the radical Islamists during what they called the Aden Emergency in the mid 60s?

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