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  #1  
Old 07-24-2015, 05:38 PM
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Default Did we just sell out the Kurds?

I made a brief mention of the recent change in policy of Turkey in Southpaw's Iran Rapprochement Rant Thread, but it was lost amidst the Beauty and the Beast analysis, and frankly what is happening there is unsettling enough to perhaps be deserving of its own thread. We have obviously long sought to convince the Turks to join the fight against ISIS, or to at least allow us to use Incirlik, which they now have, but had been unable to do so, as they clearly have been if not quietly supportive of ISIS, at the least so much more hostile by contrast towards both Assad and the Kurds (both at home and abroad out of a paranoia of a potential Kurdistan) to have decided that ISIS was useful. The recent suicide bombing in Suruc, murdering 32 peaceful Kurd activists, seemed to catalyze a shift. But it's still unclear whether ISIS was really behind the attack, or at least behind it without complicity within Erdogan's govt. Certainly the PKK (the Kurdish Workers' Party) believe as such, and recently killed two Turkish police officers who they claimed had collaborated in the attack. And while the Turks have started to take part in some bombing missions against ISIS positions in Syria yesterday and today, they also did this:

Quote:
Jets also carried out strikes against camps of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, according to media reports and a PKK spokesman.
and this:

Quote:
Members of the youth wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and of a far-left group, the Marxist Revolutionary People's Liberation Party Front (DHKP-C), were also detained.
Have we really sold out our only reliable ally in the region, or are we just too naive to see what it is that the Turks and Erdogan really want? This seems a very heavy price for access to Incirlik.

If nothing else it is truly disturbing how far Turkey has fallen in the decade since the rise to prominence of Erdogan's AKP Party. Amazing to think that this was once, and not long ago, a nation that seemed destined for inclusion in the EU. It certainly has gone about as far in the opposite direction as possible.

Here's the article that I pulled the two above quotes from:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33654021

Last edited by Kimon; 07-24-2015 at 05:41 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-24-2015, 10:19 PM
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Why do the Turks hate the Kurds?
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Old 07-24-2015, 10:36 PM
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Why do the Turks hate the Kurds?
I think that they were all part of the ottoman empire.

When that went south a lot of the individual countries/people reformed their own nation.

The kurd's could not do this. As a result the kurds living in Turkey have been trying for year for some sort of autonomy. This has led to the being persecuted as the turks do not wish to "give up" a part of their land...

This is a very simplified version of events but might give you an idea...
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Old 07-24-2015, 11:26 PM
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Why do the Turks hate the Kurds?
There are a lot of Kurds in Turkey. According to wikipedia, who unfortunately has inexact census numbers, there are somewhere between 11 and 15 million Kurds in Turkey. They make up about 15-20% of the total population of Turkey, but are mostly in the mountainous periphery along the borders with Syria, Iraq, and Iran. There are another 5.9-7.9 million in Iran, 4.6 to 6.5 million in Iraq, and 1.3 to 3 million in Syria. They were never given their own nation after the fall of the Ottoman Empire when the Brits drew new lines on the map, but they want one, and that wanting is making Turkey very nervous. They worry far more about the PKK than they do ISIS. After all ISIS and the PKK hate each other. The enemy of my enemy...
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Old 07-24-2015, 11:58 PM
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This is also in the news in the netherlands. We just have to wait and see how the world reacts to it and hope its a one time " error"
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Old 07-25-2015, 03:22 AM
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Jets also carried out strikes against camps of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, according to media reports and a PKK spokesman.
The USA promised to protect Iraq. So why didn't US fighters confront and drive off (or shoot down, if necessary) those attacking Turkish planes?


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Why do the Turks hate the Kurds?
According to Turkish nationalism, everyone in Turkey is a Turk. Thus, legally, there are no Kurds. The Kurds disagree, and this has been a point of trouble ever since the days of Kemal Ataturk.
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Old 07-25-2015, 10:21 AM
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I really wish the State Department would at least make some subtle condemnation of Turkey's attack on the PKK. There had been a ceasefire between the PKK and Turkey since March of 2013, after which the PKK moved most of its forces from Turkey in Northern Iraq, to help the fight against ISIS. Then in Turkey's parliamentary elections in 2015, the HDP, essentially the political wing of the PKK, won 80 seats - there are a total of 550, so not an insignificant proportion. This struggle against ISIS would have seemed an ideal chance for Turkey to show their Kurds that they actually care about and will protect them, both at home and abroad. Give them a sense of connection to the state, rather than seeing the state as the enemy. How does attacking PKK, who is actively fighting ISIS dissuade the Kurds from wanting independence? This is incredibly counterproductive, and stupid. Not that I'm surprised. Erdogan and his AKP Party both have long demonstrated that they are feckless thugs.
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Old 07-26-2015, 09:52 AM
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This is a pathetic response:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33667427

Quote:
The US has called on both sides to avoid violence, but stressed that Turkey has the right to defend itself against attacks by Kurdish rebels.
Brett McGurk, the deputy special presidential envoy for the coalition to counter IS said on Twitter: "We urge de-escalation and that both sides remain committed to the peaceful 'solution process' for a just and sustainable peace."
He added: "There is no connection between these airstrikes against PKK and recent understandings to intensify US-Turkey cooperation against ISIL."
Why is it that we insist on sabotaging any chance to stop ISIS? There have been only two forces that have been helpful in this struggle - Iran and the Kurds. With Iran, half our govt wishes to undermine any chance at rapprochement, and seems to consider any dialogue with Tehran is tantamount to a betrayal of Israel. With the Kurds we have first refused to give them their own state, both out of a fear of permanently fracturing an already irreparably broken Iraq and out of fear of antagonizing Turkey, and now, in exchange for access to a useful, but unnecessary airbase, have seemingly turned a blind eye to Turkey sabotaging the mission by prioritizing the destruction of our only real ally in this fight.

Southpaw, if ever there was an issue you (and your lot) should really get behind, it is this, not all that other pointless crap you (and they) keep trying to shill.
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Old 07-26-2015, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Kimon View Post
Why is it that we insist on sabotaging any chance to stop ISIS?
ISIS is an American creation. It is the ultimate reason why GWB decided to invade Iraq. It is what thousands of US soldiers (and many times more other people) died to promote. ISIS (the implementation of Saudi ideology, remember) is what the USA has wanted all along.

That may not be what people want to admit, but it fits the facts far better than the idea that the USA is really opposed to ISIS.

Question: is there actually a conflict between ISIS and Israel, or not? So far, they've mostly avoided each other, when on the basis of their rhetoric they should be big enemies.
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Old 07-26-2015, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by GonzoTheGreat View Post
ISIS is an American creation. It is the ultimate reason why GWB decided to invade Iraq. It is what thousands of US soldiers (and many times more other people) died to promote. ISIS (the implementation of Saudi ideology, remember) is what the USA has wanted all along.

That may not be what people want to admit, but it fits the facts far better than the idea that the USA is really opposed to ISIS.
I hope you're just being facetious. There is a vast difference between intent and incompetence.

Quote:
Question: is there actually a conflict between ISIS and Israel, or not? So far, they've mostly avoided each other, when on the basis of their rhetoric they should be big enemies.
Israel is a bit far afield. If Syria and Lebanon both fall, then there will be, but for now why would there be? ISIS is not a proxy for either Mossad or the CIA. If they work in congress with any foreign govt, it is clear that Turkey is the most likely candidate.
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Old 07-26-2015, 10:51 AM
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I hope you're just being facetious. There is a vast difference between intent and incompetence.
Yes, there is. But even now, it still isn't clear to me which of those explains the way in which the Iraq invasion was done.
I'll admit that Bush and his crew tried to pretend that none of them had a more-than-two-digit-IQ, but there is a lot of circumstantial evidence to suggest that they were actually smarter than at least the average human. Was I fooled by the latter, or were you fooled by the former?

Either way, if the American voters knew in advance that GWB and company were that incompetent, then the blame for the whole mess lies with those who voted for them. If something lasts long enough, then it becomes quite hard to claim that no one had a clue that things were going wrong.


Quote:
Israel is a bit far afield. If Syria and Lebanon both fall, then there will be, but for now why would there be? ISIS is not a proxy for either Mossad or the CIA. If they work in congress with any foreign govt, it is clear that Turkey is the most likely candidate.
The only reason why Israel is far afield is that ISIS has been steering clear of them, and Israel has avoided confronting ISIS at the same time.
Israel and Syria share a border; Israel currently occupies part of Syria*. ISIS is very active throughout Syria and in the wider region, but it hasn't done much against Israel. The most is a couple of rockets fired from Gaza by people claiming to be part of ISIS. But if Greenpeace declared war upon Israel, some of the rocket launching people in the Gaza Strip would suddenly claim to be tree-huggers, so I am not really convinced that those Palestinians are ISIS operatives. Israel has fairly frequently bombed targets in Syria, but it hasn't bothered doing that with ISIS.

Yes, both may be avoiding the other because of tactical considerations only. But Israel keeps calling for harsher sanctions against one of the most effective opponents of ISIS (Iran), which is at least somewhat suspicious. ISIS at the same time is busy fighting against Hezbollah, which supports Assad.

I don't think ISIS is a proxy for any foreign government (not even for my own, though that would definitely be an interesting development), but there are a number of such governments that aren't nearly as displeased about them as common sense would suggest they should be.

* And a bit that according to Syria and Lebanon belongs to Lebanon but which Israel claims it is stealing from Syria.
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Old 07-26-2015, 11:21 AM
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Yes, there is. But even now, it still isn't clear to me which of those explains the way in which the Iraq invasion was done.
I'll admit that Bush and his crew tried to pretend that none of them had a more-than-two-digit-IQ, but there is a lot of circumstantial evidence to suggest that they were actually smarter than at least the average human. Was I fooled by the latter, or were you fooled by the former?
People of above average intelligence can still be dangerously naive and ignorant on certain critical matters. I think they trusted Chalabi too much, and never really understood the underlying tensions in Iraq enough to recognize just how difficult it would be to hold the country together after Saddam was removed. And, while they clearly cooked the books, I don't think you should take that to mean that they weren't true believers. I think that they were too blinded by economic interests and bad intel, and forgot the lessons of WWII (the aftermath, and the need to co-opt defeated enemies) and Vietnam (the difficulty of fighting against a guerrilla force).

Quote:
Either way, if the American voters knew in advance that GWB and company were that incompetent, then the blame for the whole mess lies with those who voted for them. If something lasts long enough, then it becomes quite hard to claim that no one had a clue that things were going wrong.
No disagreement there.

Quote:

I don't think ISIS is a proxy for any foreign government (not even for my own, though that would definitely be an interesting development), but there are a number of such governments that aren't nearly as displeased about them as common sense would suggest they should be.
I doubt Israelis are shedding any tears watching Muslims kill each other, but they should be nervous about ISIS. The threat for them just isn't as immediate. It is far more immediate, and actual, than one from Iran, but then it is often difficult to overlook a deep-seated hatred, even if it blinds you to a newer and more dangerous threat. The same is true apparently of Turkey. They hate the Kurds too much to seemingly care about the threat posed by ISIS.

Last edited by Kimon; 07-26-2015 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 07-26-2015, 01:19 PM
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Are there still Americans fighting with the Kurds? I know a few went to help on the Turkish border (weren't there a couple in Kobani?), and the American public (when they care at all) support them more than any other group (with the possible exception of the FSA, but Americans love a winner, and the Kurds win). I kind of doubt even Erdogan will be so careless that he bombs any group of Kurds with American fighters present. A no-fly zone might accomplish the same thing, but less politically realistic (did we really need that airport that badly)?

In any case: what is Erdogan really worried about? Kurdistan will in all probability be carved from Syria, not Turkey. Assad looks to be ready to abandon Damascus, so a new (hopefully FSA, but I'm not holding my breath) government can step in and claim legitimacy, and draw new borders. The Druze will probably need to flee west (I don't imagine they'll receive any sympathy or protection from any new government, but the Israelis will probably informally guarantee the safety of any living close to their border), but the Kurds and the FSA are fighting very specific wars against very specific enemies. I don't imagine either will be eager to start another war against the western holdouts (especially when it would almost certainly entail fighting Hezbollah and Israel at the same time).
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Old 07-27-2015, 08:35 AM
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Are there still Americans fighting with the Kurds? I know a few went to help on the Turkish border (weren't there a couple in Kobani?), and the American public (when they care at all) support them more than any other group (with the possible exception of the FSA, but Americans love a winner, and the Kurds win). I kind of doubt even Erdogan will be so careless that he bombs any group of Kurds with American fighters present. A no-fly zone might accomplish the same thing, but less politically realistic (did we really need that airport that badly)?
Not sure, but sounds like the answer is still probably yes.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/06...n-isis-battle/

As for how likely Erdogan would be to target the YPG (the Syrian Kurds) due to this, I'm not sure that Erdogan isn't just targeting them, and is just claiming that these targets are ISIS.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33675760

Quote:
The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the main Syrian Kurdish party (PYD), said that Turkish tanks had shelled the Kurdish-held village of Zormikhar inside Syria late on Sunday evening.
It added that, an hour later, one of its vehicles had come "under heavy fire from the Turkish military east of Kobane in the village of Til Findire".
Quote:
In a statement on Monday, the YPG said: "Instead of targeting IS terrorists' occupied positions, Turkish forces attack our defenders' positions. We urge [the] Turkish leadership to halt this aggression and to follow international guidelines."
A Turkish government official said its military operations sought "to neutralise imminent threats to Turkey's regional security" and was targeting IS in Syria and the Kurdish separatist PKK in Iraq.
"We are investigating claims that the Turkish military engaged positions held by forces other than [IS]," the official said.
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Old 07-27-2015, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by GonzoTheGreat View Post
ISIS is an American creation. It is the ultimate reason why GWB decided to invade Iraq. It is what thousands of US soldiers (and many times more other people) died to promote. ISIS (the implementation of Saudi ideology, remember) is what the USA has wanted all along.

That may not be what people want to admit, but it fits the facts far better than the idea that the USA is really opposed to ISIS.

Question: is there actually a conflict between ISIS and Israel, or not? So far, they've mostly avoided each other, when on the basis of their rhetoric they should be big enemies.
Did Southpaw hack your account? He's usually the only one with an opinion this downright stupid.
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Old 07-27-2015, 09:43 AM
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Did Southpaw hack your account? He's usually the only one with an opinion this downright stupid.
I know very well that if they lived up to their own propaganda, then ISIS and Israel would be at each other's throats, each attempting to eliminate the other (one for religious reasons, the other because of the religious reasons of the one). But they aren't. That much is blatantly obvious; we just do not hear about thousands of ISIS fighters storming the Israeli positions. Nor do we hear about Israel even considering that possibility; instead Israel objects to the main force in the anti-ISIS coalition.

I think that ISIS knows that attacking Israel wouldn't bring them the power they want, and would instead bring them far more trouble than they would like. So they don't.
I think that Israel knows that ISIS is not a serious issue for them, so they don't worry about it too much. But if that's true (and I do think it is accurate) then there actually is no real threat to Israel anyways, and all their military posturing is aggression, not defensive.
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Old 07-27-2015, 09:53 AM
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I know very well that if they lived up to their own propaganda, then ISIS and Israel would be at each other's throats, each attempting to eliminate the other (one for religious reasons, the other because of the religious reasons of the one). But they aren't. That much is blatantly obvious; we just do not hear about thousands of ISIS fighters storming the Israeli positions. Nor do we hear about Israel even considering that possibility; instead Israel objects to the main force in the anti-ISIS coalition.

I think that ISIS knows that attacking Israel wouldn't bring them the power they want, and would instead bring them far more trouble than they would like. So they don't.
I think that Israel knows that ISIS is not a serious issue for them, so they don't worry about it too much. But if that's true (and I do think it is accurate) then there actually is no real threat to Israel anyways, and all their military posturing is aggression, not defensive.
Why do you assume that they think?
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Old 07-27-2015, 10:01 AM
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The PKK guerilla is a terrorist organisation. To call them allies is pushing it, is it not?
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Old 07-27-2015, 10:05 AM
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The PKK guerilla is a terrorist organisation. To call them allies is pushing it, is it not?
Keep in mind we also designated Iran and Cuba as terrorists. The designation is sometimes mostly political. As for whether or not they are allies, that is beyond question. They, and all the other Kurds, have been the most reliable allies in this war. Turkey attacking them helps ISIS.
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Old 07-27-2015, 07:43 PM
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Keep in mind we also designated Iran and Cuba as terrorists. The designation is sometimes mostly political. As for whether or not they are allies, that is beyond question. They, and all the other Kurds, have been the most reliable allies in this war. Turkey attacking them helps ISIS.
The PKK are a bit iffy, no? And we need them less than the other Kurds. While I think Erdogan could have used the threat of ISIS to get a meaningful and lasting peace with them (maybe brokered by the Syrian kurds), the line between terrorist and non-terrorist is substantially less blurry here than it would be for Cuba. The main problem, IMO, is that both the Kurds and Turks might ignore distinctions between various Kurdish groups, except as a purely technical matter.
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