October 14, 2007

The Case for Kurdistan

Azure magazine just published a long essay I wrote in early summer where I make the case for an independent American-backed Kurdistan in Northern Iraq on moral and strategic grounds. At the time I was slightly more pessimistic about the prospects for Iraq as a whole than I am now, but I still think something like this may be a viable Plan B if the surge fails or if the American public tires of fighting in Iraq before the country is stable.

Here is a brief excerpt from the second half of the essay:
The United States will possibly withdraw from Iraq before the fighting is finished. American public opinion may well demand it. But if that should happen, the war will simply rage on without the Americans, and the Iraqi government might not survive the post-withdrawal scramble for power from insurgents, militias, terrorists, and their foreign patrons. And if the government falls, there probably won’t be another.

Iraq may end up resembling other regional weak-state anarchies, such as Somalia, which exist solely as geographic abstractions. Or it could go the way of Lebanon in the 1980s and divide into ethnic and sectarian cantons. Perhaps it will be invaded and picked apart by Turkey, Syria, and Iran, all of which have vital interests in who rules it and how. Iraq could even turn into a California-size Gaza, ruled by militants who wear black masks instead of neckties or keffiyehs.

But one certainty, at least, is that if Kurdistan declares independence and is not protected, one of two possible wars is likely to begin immediately. The first will involve Turkey; after all, few things are more undesirable to Ankara than Turkish Kurdistan violently attaching itself to Iraqi Kurdistan. The second will be about borders: Iraqi Kurdistan’s southern borders are not yet demarcated. If Turkey doesn’t invade, the Kurds will want to attach the Kurdish portions of Kirkuk Province, and possibly also Nineveh Province, to their new state.

Even if Kurdistan doesn’t declare independence, there may still be more war on the way. “We believe if the Americans withdraw from this country there will be many more problems,” Colonel Mudhafer said. “The Sunni and Shia want total control of Iraq. We are going to get involved in that. Iran is going to be involved in that. Turkey is going to be involved in that. Syria is going to be involved in that. The Sunni and Shia fighting in Baghdad will pull us in. We are going to be involved. Turkey and Iran will make problems for us. It is not going to be safe. All the American martyrs will have died for nothing, and there will be more problems in the future. Americans should build big bases here.” For obvious reasons, the idea of the American military garrisoning its forces in Kurdistan is wildly popular among the Kurds.
Read the whole thing in Azure magazine.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at October 14, 2007 09:34 PM

Comments

Michael,

I remember sitting with you two years ago discussing the war in Iraq. You were worried that we were going to pull out because civilians at home were losing their will. I was confident we could win because our military abroad had good morale and were making good changes.

We were both right. Fortunately we stayed long enough to put the enemy to the test. Hopefully we'll be able to choke them out.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at October 15, 2007 12:00 AM

You were worried that we were going to pull out because civilians at home were losing their will. I was confident we could win because our military abroad had good morale and were making good changes.

As much as I have lost respect for the man due to a feckless approach to actually governing, and of course due to his seeming failure to slap his military commanders about the head and shoulders in 2004-2006, I suggest that the prime reason the whole thing did not collapse in the face of a corrupt, mendacious, and clueless media, and a morally bankrupt opportunistic opposition party was and is GWB.

Only a very principled (or VERY stubborn) man could have or would have withstood the pressures exerted upon him for the past 3 years.

Whatever his other flaws, I think he has stayed the course about as well as anyone possibly could . He has bought at least another full year of unhindered activity, and that is no small feat.

If things go 'well' he will deserve a lot of credit which of course he will not get. If things go 'badly', he will deserve a lot of blame, which he will receive in full measure. Takes some kind of character to be sanguine when facing that prospect.

Just saying.

Posted by: dougf at October 15, 2007 05:11 AM

A great re-read, MT. About the only practical problem I can see with setting up in Kurdistan is access. If Iraq goes in the toilet, and Turkey goes ballistic, the only way would be by air. Of course, the political situation would be in a state of wild flux for years in that case, so who knows what the long term would bring.

But the prospect is just as attractive as you paint it.

Posted by: Brian H at October 15, 2007 05:27 AM

Dougf-

That's about the most level-headed comment I've heard regarding GWB. I probably rate him higher than you do in a category here and there, but then again I didn't say mine was necessary more level-headed.

Posted by: Joe at October 15, 2007 05:55 AM

It's too bad that Turkey will soon be destroying this Kurdistan.

Posted by: Dan at October 15, 2007 06:26 AM

Dan,

The Turks are jerks. But the word "destroying" is a bit much here. They aren't going to do to Iraqi Kurdistan what they did and are doing to Turkish Kurdistan unless they want to be thrown out of NATO.

In Turkish Kurdistan the word "destroy" almost applies. That place is an utter catastrophe, one of the worst I have ever seen.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 15, 2007 08:29 AM

What are the prospects that Turkey could combine economic sabotage with limited but damaging military incursions, greatly hindering Kurdistan's development while preventing diplomatic isolation?
Frydek-Mistek

Posted by: Frydek-Mistek at October 15, 2007 09:09 AM

Economic sabotage would be severe if they closed the border at Zakho.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 15, 2007 09:11 AM

Somehow I get the feeling that the whole of Middle East would just love it if all of American's troops were over there.

More there, less secure here.

I wish you all the luck in gaining success.

Coonsey's View
http://www.freewebs.com/coonsey/

Posted by: Coonsey at October 15, 2007 09:41 AM

It's too bad that Turkey will soon be destroying this Kurdistan.---Dan

The Turks are jerks. But the word "destroying" is a bit much here.--MJT

As I have said before I don't know how some people manage to be so consistently 'simplistic' (and I am being EXTREMELY kind here), and others manage to be so 'understanding'.

It's a mystery, by gosh. Just a mystery.

ps-- But I must say that IMO the PKK does deserve a serious ass-kicking, and that the Kurdish sort-of-State would do well to more fully denounce them. I understand that the Kurds don't want to try to root out these TERRORISTS from their mountain bases as it would be a nightmare without real benefit, but Turkey will not allow the current situation to continue forever. Something must at some point be done. Just because the PKK are Kurds is not relevant. They are a continuing threat to the Kurdish People. They need to go.

pps-- The Kurds are friendlier, and more pro-American, than Canadians. ---MJT

And he ain't just demonstrating a point here folks. But unhappily, they don't have to be all that 'friendly' to rate the 'friendlier' designation.

Posted by: dougf at October 15, 2007 10:25 AM

The Turks are jerks.

I can't really agree with that. Most of the Turks that I talked to (in the very secular enclave of Istanbul) had a better understanding of the need for separation of church and state than most Americans.

Since most European nations have a state religion, these Turks are way ahead of the Euros. They're probably more pro-American than Canadians, but as dougf said, that's not saying all that much.

Istanbul was very secular and very high-tech. Despite their recent election, Turkey has always been an ally.

The Kurds are allies too. If our diplomatic branch had any brains or sanity, they'd be working overtime to get both of them to put aside their differences and work together. Yes it would be difficult, but that what diplomats are for.

But our "diplomats" have been working overtime to alienate our allies and stir up old resentments. Condi Rice says or does something stupid one day, then she outdoes herself the next day. Her minions follow suit.

The long term effects of this will probably be more conflicts in the Middle East, more anger from Russia, more pressure from the Democrats to leave Iraq and more conflicts between the Turks and the Kurds. When that happens, I won't blame the Turks. I will blame our 'diplomats'

Posted by: mary at October 15, 2007 10:49 AM

And yet our Congress sees fit to fan the flames with a meaningless resolution to an event that happened almost 100 years ago. If I were a conspiracy theorist I'd think that the Dems are doing this to provoke Turkey instead of pandering to a rather small political action group of American-Armenians in an effort of showing just how much more sensitive to genocide they are. And people have the audacity to blast Bush and his admin on bad foreign policy choices. Funny, haven't heard much about this resolution except for one interview this weekend on Fox and of course the reports that Turkey recalled its ambassador BEFORE it has even been voted on. Am I the only one smelling a strong odor of stupidity?

Posted by: Kevin Schurig at October 15, 2007 10:50 AM

Coonsey: Somehow I get the feeling that the whole of Middle East would just love it if all of American's troops were over there.

Are you serious? Which countries would want American troops? Some (not all) Iranians want them, but I can't think of any other place where this is true. Certainly not Syria, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 15, 2007 10:58 AM

Mary: Most of the Turks that I talked to (in the very secular enclave of Istanbul) had a better understanding of the need for separation of church and state than most Americans.

Yes. I meant the Turks are jerks in the context of the Kurds, probably including all those you talked to.

Did you ask Turks what they think of Kurds? You're in for a shocking dose of nastiness if you do.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 15, 2007 11:00 AM

Dougf: But I must say that IMO the PKK does deserve a serious ass-kicking, and that the Kurdish sort-of-State would do well to more fully denounce them. I understand that the Kurds don't want to try to root out these TERRORISTS from their mountain bases as it would be a nightmare without real benefit, but Turkey will not allow the current situation to continue forever. Something must at some point be done. Just because the PKK are Kurds is not relevant. They are a continuing threat to the Kurdish People. They need to go.

Agreed. Echoes of Israel and Lebanon here.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 15, 2007 11:02 AM

What's really interesting is that an independent Kurdistan would almost certainly be a socialist nation.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 15, 2007 11:23 AM

DPU: What's really interesting is that an independent Kurdistan would almost certainly be a socialist nation.

One of the two major parties is the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, which is part of the Socialist International.

The other party, though, the Kurdistan Democratic Party, is mostly an old world Barzani family-run enterprise. Tribalism is largely finished in Suleimaniya, but not in Erbil.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 15, 2007 11:32 AM

Did you ask Turks what they think of Kurds? You're in for a shocking dose of nastiness if you do.

I did hear what Turks had to say about Islamists, and it was pretty nasty. I also saw Turks protesting outside of an Iranian-sponsored Islamist organization.

And I have been reading about our state department's support of the Islamist Chechen rebellion - and Condi's support for Abbas and demands for a Palestinian state in the West Bank. I can imagine what the Turks think of that.

I didn't ask them how they felt about the Kurds or the Greeks. The Turks can be jerks towards both of these allies. Skillful diplomacy (and a serious effort to do something about the PKK) could downplay those issues, but that's not what I'm seeing.

Posted by: mary at October 15, 2007 11:47 AM

DPU,

What's really interesting is that an independent Kurdistan would almost certainly be a socialist nation.

Just because you can get booze at most streetcorners in Suliamaniya doesn't mean that they are all drunk, all the time!

Seriously, both the KDP and the PUK have looked at the gaping maw of socialism and gotten positively Freedman-ish in their economic policy. They are actively seeking investment towards building the entire economy of the Kurdish Region. Simply put, there is not enough oil in Iraq to fully fund a socialist state in Kurdistan. There needs to be independent sources of prosperity outside the oil economy for Kurdistan to survive.

They will make socialist noises to attract European political support, but they are going to be a lot more like Dubai in the economic policy.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at October 15, 2007 12:18 PM

The other party, though, the Kurdistan Democratic Party, is mostly an old world Barzani family-run enterprise.

...and, like the PUK, is a member of the Socialist International.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 15, 2007 12:20 PM

They will make socialist noises to attract European political support, but they are going to be a lot more like Dubai in the economic policy.

Oh, they're just pretending to be Socialists. What a cunning plan.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 15, 2007 12:22 PM

dpu: Oh, they're just pretending to be Socialists. What a cunning plan.

Well, sort of. The PUK used to be a radical left Socialist International party. They still belong to the SI and use socialist language and imagery, but capitalism is alive and well in Suleimaniya.

There is nothing remotely leftist about the KDP. Leftism of just about any variety short of communism would improve it. It's a one-family party, basically a benign but corrupt mafia.

I'm not saying it's an evil party. By Iraqi standards, or Middle East standards in general, it is terrific. Compared to the leftist and non-communist parties of the West? Not so much.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 15, 2007 12:35 PM

DPU,

Oh, they're just pretending to be Socialists. What a cunning plan.

Fooling a socialist is easily one of the lowest hurdles for a developing nation. It is helped a lot by the socialists fooling themselves. Parade some young people wearing Che shirts in front of the visiting Scandinavians and you're halfway home. Show them some people waiting in giant lines for public health programs and you're golden. I've seen both these things in Iraqi Kurdistan, so they must be socialists!

Pay no attention to the new hotel construction... Look, there's an Cultural Center being built! A National Theater! Oil contracts with the Hunt family...real communist Iranian revolutionaries!

I really love the Kurdish people and am constantly impressed with the sagacity of their leadership. But they are seriously interested in international corporate investment and have structured their laws to support that effort. They would probably love to remain true to their socialist roots, but they really want to survive a lot more.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at October 15, 2007 12:40 PM

They still belong to the SI and use socialist language and imagery, but capitalism is alive and well in Suleimaniya.

As it is in most socialist nations. Hell, even a few communist ones.

There is nothing remotely leftist about the KDP. Leftism of just about any variety short of communism would improve it. It's a one-family party, basically a benign but corrupt mafia.

Again (and it surprises me that I have to say this), that isn't something that would make it any less socialist in nature.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 15, 2007 12:43 PM

Michael,
a very eloquently argued essay.

I would also add that if the Turks fear 'their' Kurds, they have primarily themselves to blame for oppressing them so brutally. Iraqi Kurds should not be made to pay the price for that. You are correct: we do owe them.

Posted by: Dean at October 15, 2007 12:44 PM

Fooling a socialist is easily one of the lowest hurdles for a developing nation.

And how clever of them to be socialists for such a long time before they actually needed to trick the stupid European socialists.

But they are seriously interested in international corporate investment and have structured their laws to support that effort.

You say this because socialist governments are never interested in foreign corporate investment?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 15, 2007 12:47 PM

DPU,

And how clever of them to be socialists for such a long time before they actually needed to trick the stupid European socialists.

You are apparently unclear on how much money was pumped into supporting socialist causes in the last century. They've only needed to trick the European socialists, and their own true believers, recently because they've only had to run their own economy for the last 16 years. Luckily for us, the bottom fell out of the socialist revolutionary business at the same time the KRG came into existence.

I know, never let facts get in the way of a good snark.

You say this because socialist governments are never interested in foreign corporate investment?

They surely don't act like it. Would you start a new business in France? Belgium? Denmark? How many hundreds of thousands of Euros would you have to spend to clear the paperwork? How many unions would you have to beg or bribe to get workers? Afterwards, how much of the business would you be able to own outright? What parts of the business would you be able to sell? What about firing non-productive and counter-productive workers?

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at October 15, 2007 01:03 PM

Luckily for us, the bottom fell out of the socialist revolutionary business at the same time the KRG came into existence.

I think you're confusing socialism with Marxist-Leninism.

Would you start a new business in France? Belgium? Denmark?

The last time I checked, France was a nation run by a right-wing conservative government, and has been for at least the last five years. Belgium has been run by a liberal party for decades. And Denmark has been run by a liberal party for six years.

Why are you thinking that these are nations are socialist?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 15, 2007 01:11 PM

turkey can do no shit about iraqi kurdistan, let them first recognize 20 million kurdish people in turkey ,give them their rights,then there will be no kurdish insurgency, but instead recognizing kurdish people existence,turks are preparing themselves for another fruitless kurdish war, because kurds will fight united front against turkish aggression,that is north and south kurdistan together. and a note for USA too, if they really want their middle east project work , they really have to control two evil which are ,turkish fascist militarism and fascist arab chauinism which are very much nearing hitler nazism,japon impreial madness. unless these two evils are not destroyed internally by kurds and externally by international community,we will be on edge of our seat,watching oil price up and middle east in flames. so chill up turkey, first face the genocide you committed at the beginning of century.note: a joke. how to drive a turkish general crazy, just say KURDISTAN three times with high voice, he will run for the nearest phsychiatric ward.

Posted by: kurdistan at October 15, 2007 01:20 PM

Isn't it a bit silly to describe France as socialist? They have a large welfare state, but the state doesn't own the means of production. The PUK, when it was formed and decided to be socialist, thought the state should own the means of production. They no longer think that. Instead they just take a cut from all the businesses, and only occasionally run a business themselves. (The Duty Free and the Suli Palace Hotel.)

The second time I went to France was on my way home from Libya. Libya is a country where real actual socialism is alive and well, and capitalism is pretty much non-existent.

After spending a week in Qaddafi's Worker's Paradise, France looked like the most extreme capitalist country in history.

European socialism is brand-name socialism. If you want the real deal, go to Cuba where Fidel takes socialismo or muerte seriously.

Paul Berman summed up European socialism nicely when he said it has finally evolved into what it should have been all along -- an ethical orientation rather than an economic how-to manual. We need a new word to describe this kind of socialism.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 15, 2007 01:22 PM

I would urge the Kurds, in Iraq and Turkey both ... to apologize for the Armenian genocide.
And blame it on the Ottoman, now Turkish Empire.

And ask the US Congress to support a referendum in Turkey on Kurdish secession. I'm a bit surprised there isn't more about 'Turkish occupied' Kurd land, and the need for the EU to support a split.

Czechoslovakia split peacefully; the USSR a bit less so (but FAR more peacefully than I expected); and Yugoslavia not so peacefully at all.

Flanders & Wallonia might well let Belgium become a former place. The 15-20 mil. (?) or so Turkish Kurds deserve the human rights of self-determination, if they're willing to peacefully protest to get them.

The US should be building a big airbase there, if it's agreeable to the democratically elected local Kurds. Probably most Sunni wouldn't disagree so much.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at October 15, 2007 01:31 PM

Tom: I would urge the Kurds, in Iraq and Turkey both ... to apologize for the Armenian genocide.

How about we have the Turks do that instead?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 15, 2007 01:36 PM

MJT: "Which countries would want American troops? Some (not all) Iranians want them..."

I think the only "Iranians" who'd want US Forces on Iranian soil live for the most part in California (and the past).

Posted by: Microraptor at October 15, 2007 02:09 PM

Michael,

What's the point of emulating Cuban or Libyan socialism? Both of their economies are so far in the tank that they can contribute nothing meaningful. Chavez is doing so to lock down his power base, but the Kurds don't need to engage in that kind of populist extremism.

France declared themselves socialist the moment they nationalized the Rothschild bank in 1981. They still have a ways to go to make up for that mortal sin. The pandering to unions and the month of August are strong indicators of socialism, but the appalling lack of accountability really nails them on that account. They lost eight times as many people for a heat wave as we did in Katrina and its aftermath combined, but their government didn't even declare new elections.

What the Kurds need politically is legitimacy, and the European intellectuals can give them that. What the Kurds need economically is investment, and the people who can give them that are not interested in putting money in a welfare state. You've seen the open contempt the unions in Kurdistan are held. The Kurds are going to make the choices that keep them alive and viable, and right now that means making euro-socialist noises and free-market capitalist decisions.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at October 15, 2007 02:25 PM

If you want the real deal, go to Cuba where Fidel takes socialismo or muerte seriously.

Again, I think that this is confusing Marxist-Leninism, a single branch of socialism that tends toward heavy authoritarian state control, with the more broad umbrella term of socialism.

We need a new word to describe this kind of socialism.

We already have several. Democratic Socialism and Social Democracy are two of them.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 15, 2007 02:28 PM

They lost eight times as many people for a heat wave as we did in Katrina and its aftermath combined, but their government didn't even declare new elections.

If an intense heatwave over a broad section of the US kills that number of Americans, will you be calling for snap US presidential elections, Patrick?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 15, 2007 02:31 PM

France declared themselves socialist the moment they nationalized the Rothschild bank in 1981. They still have a ways to go to make up for that mortal sin.

In 1981, France was run by a socialist government. But Russia declared themselves Marxist-Leninist in 1917. Do you still call them that?

I think this is spin to cover an error.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 15, 2007 02:36 PM

DPU,

If an intense heatwave over a broad section of the US kills that number of Americans, will you be calling for snap US presidential elections, Patrick?

If we had a parliamentary system of government and our emergency services were under national control and the national government failed to take action and the elderly most stricken were also failed by a national medical and geriatric care system and... The circumstances are not the same. You are comparing apples and pork belly futures.

In the US, old folks have a lot more power than they appear to have in France. For some reason, they also get treated a lot better in the main. There certainly are horror stories of elderly treatment enough to go around, so we don't need to go into the worst examples.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at October 15, 2007 02:41 PM

DPU: We already have several. Democratic Socialism and Social Democracy are two of them.

Right. Momentary brain lapse, sorry.

Patrick: What's the point of emulating Cuban or Libyan socialism?

None, obviously. I just think it's beyond silly to slap the same label on both France and Libya. You would surely agree if you visited both at the same time like I did.

I don't mean to single you out for this. Lots of people, possibly including DPU and surely many people in France, refer to the country as socialist. But the French economy is far more like America's than it is like anything anti-capitalists have wanted to implement. France has a capitalist economy, after all, with occasional socialist elements (such as their hospital system). Shoe factories, etc., are not owned by the state.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 15, 2007 03:10 PM

How about we have the Turks do that instead?---MJT

Or better still let's just let a clueless, pandering, moron who just happens to be the current Speaker of the House allow a vote of censure on this century old issue. That will solve all the problems.

Not enough problems already in the World of geo-politics. War not going as badly as hoped. Not a problem. We'll just create some more conflict by doing something COMPLETELY meaningless, but yet offensive to a valuable sort-of-ally in order to pander to some potential voters in our districts.

Although Churchill said that , "Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried," most times I just have the unpleasant feeling that someone has not been trying nearly hard enough.

And he also said --- "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." Still true today, with the modern proviso that since things are now 'speeded-up', it no longer takes the full 5 minutes.

Posted by: dougf at October 15, 2007 03:14 PM

DPU-

I don't think Patrick or Michael are having trouble mistaking Marxism-Leninism (Communism) with Socialism, rather you are.
Marxism-Leninism (Communism) is but one subset of the larger Socialist movement.
So Michael is not confusing them at all. If a country has a Marxist-Leninist (Communist) government, it means they are Socialist as well.
If a government is Socialist, it does not necessarily mean it is Marxist (in fact, today Socialism exists much more so in forms without Marxism/Communism and as a part of a mixed economy with both capitalist and socialist borrowings).
It gets confusing. There are many who have trouble distinguishing the difference between Socialism and Communism (to put it in its most overly-simplistic form, Socialism is a type of economy while Communism is a type of governing). And the real life examples are usually complex with shades of different ideologies mixed in with their primary ideology. It's a brave new world out there :-)

Posted by: Joe at October 15, 2007 03:23 PM

Michael,

I do not consider Libya socialist in any meaningful fashion except as an excuse for their derangement.

I disagree with you in that socialism does strongly tend towards central government control of numerous aspects of the economy. Your experiences in France specifically do not include negotiating with union officials or managing recalcitrant union workers. Central government interference in the labor market impacts the viability of their economy. This is overwhelmingly done under the auspices of socialism.

France is still French, despite the efforts of their recent artists to eradicate anything positive associated with that culture. Part of being French for the last several centuries is a strong fondness for spectacularly bad economic and political choices.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at October 15, 2007 03:26 PM

So Michael is not confusing them at all. If a country has a Marxist-Leninist (Communist) government, it means they are Socialist as well.

Of course, but what was said was "If you want the real deal, go to Cuba... in reference to socialism. But Cuba's socialism isn't the real deal, it's merely one type of socialism, and not representative of other forms, like Social Democracy. If Kurdistan becomes a nation, and that nation is socialist, as is likely, then it will probably be a social democracy, not a Marxist-Leninist state.

Well, one would hope.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 15, 2007 03:28 PM

Joe: Socialism is a type of economy while Communism is a type of governing

That's one way of putting it.

The old school definitions are these:

Communism: Workers own the means of production
Socialism: The state owns the means of production
Capitalism: Investors own the means of production

Krushchev famously promised his Soviet subjects that they would see communism within their lifetimes. It was understood by all that they were still living with socialism and hadn't yet made the transition to communism.

Patrick: I do not consider Libya socialist in any meaningful fashion except as an excuse for their derangement

It is socialist in every possible way -- its slogans, its imagery, and its economy. The official name of the country is The Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. It was deliberately modeled after Ceausescu's regime in Romania.

It makes no sense whatsoever to claim that France is socialist while Libya isn't.

The woman who took my passport photo when I applied for my Libyan visa is from Romania. She said she knew all about Libya. She studied that country in school as a child because it was an Arab copycat of her own.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 15, 2007 03:37 PM

The old school definitions are these:

Communism: Workers own the means of production
Socialism: The state owns the means of production
Capitalism: Investors own the means of production

To take it up to the next highest level, socialism could be said to be the belief that society works better when people cooperate through mutual aid, while right-wing political philosophies believe that society functions better when individuals seek to satisfy their own needs.

And I would disagree with the definition of socialism as "the state owns the means of production". There have been many socialists who don't believe that. Mikhail Bakunin, for one, most social democrats for another.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 15, 2007 03:49 PM

Oops. Let's try that again.

---------------

The old school definitions are these:

Communism: Workers own the means of production
Socialism: The state owns the means of production
Capitalism: Investors own the means of production

To take it up to the next highest level, socialism could be said to be the belief that society works better when people cooperate through mutual aid, while right-wing political philosophies believe that society functions better when individuals seek to satisfy their own needs.

And I would disagree with the definition of socialism as "the state owns the means of production". There have been many socialists who don't believe that. Mikhail Bakunin, for one, most social democrats for another.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 15, 2007 03:51 PM

Patrick:

As long as a given socialist economic policy is established and maintained in a state by democratic means, I don't understand why you get so wound up about the issue? It seems that you and I both agree that the more a state is involved in owning the means of production (or in imposing excessive market regulation), the more globally uncompetitive a state's econmomy will become. Over the long haul, this will result in less wealth creation by the ciitzens of such an inefficient state.

In this context, what is wrong the French electorate deciding to embrace a system were optimum eficiency is traded off for the perception of the creation of greater social or economic equality? After all, if the French freely choose percieved equality over efficiency through the ballot box, they have also made the choice to suffer the consequences.

To my mind, one of the advantages of the establishment of a relatively large number of democratic nation states is that there is enough idealogical flexibility amongst them to allow divergent economic policies to be simultaneously subjected to the harsh test of competition in the the "real world." Hopefully, the electorates and economists of the various democratic states take note of, and learn from, both the succeses and the failures of those other states. Given all of this, why not ease up on the French?

Posted by: Mark-In-Chi-Town at October 15, 2007 04:24 PM

Krushchev famously promised his Soviet subjects that they would see communism within their lifetimes. It was understood by all that they were still living with socialism and hadn't yet made the transition to communism.

The definitions are a bit off. In this case, "communism" was defined as the ideal state envisioned by most socialists - a classless, stateless society in which people used wealth as they needed and produced wealth as they were able, and in which all wealth was owned communally.

Marxism-Leninism always defined the dictatorship of the proletariat as a temporary situation that was a necessary stage before reaching a condition of pure communism. The stage just lasted a bit longer than predicted, I guess :)

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 15, 2007 04:25 PM

It seems that you and I both agree that the more a state is involved in owning the means of production (or in imposing excessive market regulation), the more globally uncompetitive a state's econmomy will become.

If that were the case, then China would not be doing as well as it is.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 15, 2007 04:26 PM

Michael,

I'm curious to know if you've heard of this.

http://www.tnr.com/blog/the_plank?pid=151780

There are strong theories that the Anbar Awakening Council was responsible for the death of a Washington Post reporter.

Posted by: Astroninja at October 15, 2007 05:07 PM

DPU,

If that were the case, then China would not be doing as well as it is.

Unless a whole lot of people in the Chinese government were extensively bribed...but that would never happen!

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at October 15, 2007 05:36 PM

Michael,

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

How socialist were they?

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at October 15, 2007 05:42 PM

DPU:

While China may be authoritarian as to politics, it was China's massive deregulation of its labor markets (from its prior condition of 100% state employment), opening its economy to foreign investment, and its lax environmental standard enforcement, which created the staggering production cost advantages that have lead to its impressive economic rise. As I am sure you are aware, production facilities in China are far less burdened by labor regulations, labor costs and environmental standards than in they would be in located in any developed western country. I would suggest the quickest way to reverse China's economic gains would be to re-nationionlize the means of production, effectively enforce a "democratic socialist" minimum wage law and strictly enforce stringent environmental standards. After all, it was China's huge labor cost advantage that persuaded many companies to abandone relatively low labor cost production facilities on the Mexican side of U.S. border in favor of Chinese plants.

Turning to political definitions and economic policy, isn't it fair to say that most social democrats believe that the achievement and/or maintenance of acceptable levels of social equality within a capitalist system requires substantial state intervention to protect the interests of workers and the poor.

On the other hand, the capitalists at the far right end of the political spectrum, believe that some level of state intervention in the economy is necessary, but they strive to reduce it the minimum they believe is necessary for order, efficiency and to tamp down the amplitude of the invetitable business boom and bust cycles.

Between these poles lies the majority of the U.S. electorate, which continually struggles to find what it believes to be the proper balance between economic efficiency and social fairness. In the post-war period, the electorate has alternately adjusted the balance rightward and leftward in response to economic and political conditions in the country.

Posted by: Mark-In-Chi-Town at October 15, 2007 05:50 PM

There are strong theories that the Anbar Awakening Council was responsible for the death of a Washington Post reporter.--Antonia

Well first of all you should have pre-warned that this was a link to the New Republic which I refuse to even visit until they 'fix' their little Beauchamp Problem. I have the Twelfth of Never pencilled in as a tentative date.

And secondly, if you consider this unsubstantiated drivel as representing 'strong theories', then I have some excellent news for you regarding a very large currency account that I hold in Nigeria which I will be more than pleased to share with you if you can just provide some initial financial support to demonstrate good faith.

Let's see if I have the gist of this breaking news from Beauchamp Central. He was working in a Shiite neighbourhood infested by rogue elements of the Mahdi Army and residents of that neighbourhood pointed fingers at the army units there who they said were allied with the Mahdis.

But the corrupt Mahdi infested police force on the scene says it was Anbar Council men who just wandered into this Shiite cesspool where strangers were sure to be noticed in about a hour and a half, and then murdered a journalist. And then wandered off back to Anbar. And they did this because the Sunni reporter was working in a Baghdad Shiite area and they wanted a challenge. And because they like to swoop down and pick off Shiites whenever they feel like it because now they are with the 'Americans'.

Iraqis tend to lie like rugs when they are not driven mad by conspiracy theories, and as MJT fully described, many of the 'police' are dubious in the extreme.

This is certainly a 'theory', but I think it lacks a little something in the 'strength' department.

No-one will likely ever know what happened to this guy. For all we know he simply fell afoul of one of the criminal gangs that still run amok in Iraq. But to seriously propose that Sunnis would risk going into a Mahdi infested Shiite area to 'get' a Sunni reporter based out of Tikrit is frankly more than outlandish.

Even for Iraq.

Posted by: dougf at October 15, 2007 05:57 PM

Doug: credit where credit is due, you make some good points about the WaPo killing.

Mike, I one hundred percent agree with this article. Bases in Kurdistan are fine and good, in fact probably achieve positive good ends - why the heck are we building giant permanent bases in Anbar when this option is available? It doesn't make any effing sense!

There's no need to coddle the Turks, and those who complain about the genocide resolution are allowing themselves to be intimidated pointlessly. Situations like this - situations involving your supposed 'allies' are exactly the situations where we need moral clarity. We have a lot more leverage with Turkey then we do with Iran. It's an oversimplification to call Turkey "good guys" or bad guys - they have good values and bad values. The bad values - the wild militant nationalism and ethnic chauvinism need to be eradicated by refusing to tolerate them. This genocide resolution is a good start.

Frankly, if they close off our access through Turkey, I think we can move quite a lot of things through Jordan. Not to mention, that should drive us further into the arms of the Kurds. And if one outcome is a need to reduce forces - you're right, I wouldn't cry too many tears. But the genocide resolution is right on the merits. The Turks have come a long way from their fairly barbaric phase, but they have a ways to go, and we need to be prodding them every step of the way.

We don't make excuses and snivel about this stuff from Japan. Turks need to get used to being judged by Western standards. That's all there is to it.
Where's the conservative defense of human rights ideals now?

Posted by: glasnost at October 15, 2007 06:19 PM

glasnost,

Where's the conservative defense of human rights ideals now?

I just came from my annual physical and my doctor limited me to one windmill per day.

Seriously, I am unclear on the criticality of the Armenian Genocide resolution, especially compared to the importance of soundly defeating Al Qaeda. Why do we need this right now? Conservatives like to joke about leftists questioning the timing...but why the sudden need to pick a eighty year old scab?

I suppose that this is the best kind of genocide, one that complaining about harms the Bush administration but which is too far gone to do anything about.

Can somebody tell me what good imminent action accomplishes on this? Is that end worth the means? What is the rush on this, and why should we trust Nancy Pelosi?

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at October 15, 2007 06:43 PM

And if one outcome is a need to reduce forces - you're right, I wouldn't cry too many tears--glasnost

Well thanks for the nice words on the WaPo thingy. Appreciated and classy.

But surely you can see that by this one statement alone, the asinine Pelosi 'sense of the Senate' crappola stands convicted of sheer stupidity. If her pandering nonsense were to lead to a a need to reduce forces prematurely ,thus impacting the Iraq effort, that could well be a disastrous turn of events.

I don't care which side ot the issue one is on, there is NO EXCUSE possible for deliberate meaningless stupidity that negatively affects a National Effort. You might well not like the National Effort in question but your opinion or mine does not excuse the STUPIDITY. Imagine a situation where YOU were invested in an important project and Congress in a fit of more than usual cluelessness did something tangential but disastrous to seriously harm or perhaps destroy that project. You would and should be pissed at the cavalier denseness displayed.

Hey I frankly give a rat's ass about the Turks and their 'feelings'.They probably should just 'growup'. Personally I haven't liked them all that much since 'Lawrence of Arabia', followed up with a dose of 'Midnight Express', but that is neither here nor there.

However, they are if not absolutely essential, very 'useful' to the current effort and the useless and corrupt US Congress should not be cluelessly(or perhaps worse) damaging the WAR EFFORT in the service of pandering to a 90 year old grievance. This has come up before and Pres. Clinton asked Hastert not to bring it to a vote because it would harm US National Interests. And he didn't. I think that speaks volumes about the relative merits of the ditz from California.

For selfish reasons I almost hope that that putrid Pelosi actually does pass this foolish resolution. If you think the 'stab in the back' motif has been trotted out now against the perfidious press, wait until you see how this moronic lead balloon goes over. Even with those who are tired of the War.

I can write the headlines now.

Posted by: dougf at October 15, 2007 07:54 PM

a) the effect on the war is inconvenient, but that's about it

b) Frankly, if we really needed the route, we have a lot of ways to all but force Turkey to give it to us.

c) Doug, I think there are too many US forces in Iraq with an ill-considered, counterproductive, nearly impossible mission, and American interests will be better served by a smaller footprint and mission. Most of America agrees with me. I'm going to cheer quietly if this act constitutes pressure on the Admin to draw down the mission, and so will, again, most of America. As for what the right thinks and what they scream about - don't much care. Thanks anyway.

Whether we draw down from a veto override, a funding cut off, simple persausion, a law, or the closing down of the Turkey logistical route - sure , I'd aesthetically prefer Congress forcing the administration to acquiesce, frankly, but the details don't matter.

I can't relate to your dismay, because you withdrawal is a bad thing and I think it would be a good one.

I doubt that anything like that is going to materialize, though. Turkey has nowhere else to go in the world, geopolitically, and whatever petulant gestures they make will be only ones we've decided we can accept.

Posted by: glasnost at October 15, 2007 08:20 PM

Hey dougf, why don't you tell us what you REALLY think.lol
What use is the genocide resolution? As I recall we sat on our hands afraid to call what happened in Rwanda a genocide, WHILE it was happening. This is nonsense. The Armenian genocide happened so long ago it's highly unlikely there is anyone still alive who even remembers what had happened. There have been many chances to pass this resolution over 25 years its been around. So the question remains, why now? Can any type of reparations be paid to the survivors? Let's face it, if Bush wasn't in office this wouldn't even be an issue with Congress. The timing just smells rotten. It's waited 25 years to be passed, it can wait some more.

Posted by: Kevin Schurig at October 15, 2007 08:51 PM

Hey dougf, why don't you tell us what you REALLY think.lol --KS

Hey Kevin ,you have no idea how difficult it is to describe a situation that is fairly begging (almost by definition)for the use of 4 letter words and I have tried to remove them from my vocabulary.

I guess I could have just used the words of that famous philosopher portrayed so well by Mr .Hanks

Stupid is as stupid does . --- :-)

Who knew that he would have become so apt.

Posted by: dougf at October 15, 2007 09:24 PM

Off-topic: Mike, since you're quite tolerant of contrary viewpoints on your blog, I suggest you could spark some fantastic debate by linking to this:

http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20071022&s=bergen102207&c=3

I often dislike TNR and am lukewarm towards Bergen, but he's written a fantastic summary of a 'liberal realist' critique of Administration GWOT grand strategy.

Posted by: glasnost at October 15, 2007 09:29 PM

dougf:
Yes I can. I have restrain myself everyday. Besides, I have little ones in the house.lol

Posted by: Kevin Schurig at October 15, 2007 09:43 PM

"It's a one-family party, basically a benign but corrupt mafia.

Again (and it surprises me that I have to say this), that isn't something that would make it any less socialist in nature."

So you're saying socialism is like a benign but corrupt Mafia? OK.

Posted by: Gary Rosen at October 15, 2007 10:23 PM

dougf: This is certainly a 'theory', but I think it lacks a little something in the 'strength' department.

What he said. It's a dumb theory, and if I heard that in Iraq I would only print it to hold it up as an example of the stupid theories swirling around the Arab world at all times.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 16, 2007 12:40 AM

Pelosi's behavior on this point is either ditzy or devious. But you know what? Glasnost is also right here. If the Turks are going to sandbag us over it (even if Pelosi is doing it on purpose and won't admit it) it will only make our alliance with Iraqi Kurdistan all the more critical and obvious.

If we have to choose between the Turks and the Kurds, I say choose the Kurds. They are much more reliable, and they won't screw us or threaten to screw us as Turkey keeps doing.

Turkey has been a fantastically unreliable ally lately, and as I write this they are gearing up to invade Iraqi Kurdistan. Screw 'em. Move Incirlik to Erbil Province and let the Turks do what they will. A Kurdistan base would be far more useful for dozens of reasons.

And I say this as someone who really likes Turkey a lot.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 16, 2007 12:51 AM

What surprizes me is the total lack on the part of the Kurds of their own responsability. They added a lot to the plight of the Armenians at that time.

Also the officer in the article is totally unaware of the land grabbings by Kurds at the expenses of the Assyrians and other groups in the region at different times. Assyrians are rarely mentioned in the Armenian-Turkish equation. Strange.

Iraqi Christians might find a safe haven in some parts of Iraqi Kurdistan, in some parts not: My guess.

Posted by: Czechmade at October 16, 2007 01:35 AM

Patrick: Unless a whole lot of people in the Chinese government were extensively bribed...but that would never happen!

Sorry, I have no idea what that means. You mean that if there is bribery in government then the economy is more regulated? Less regulated?

Patrick: Michael,

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

How socialist were they?

You are being especially cryptic in this thread. Does this mean that you think that the USSR was socialist? Yes, they were. Was there a point there? Was the implication that they were socialist instead of Marxist-Leninist? Or what?

Maybe spend a few extra seconds on these comments please? It'll make your intent far more clear.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 16, 2007 08:11 AM

MJT: If we have to choose between the Turks and the Kurds, I say choose the Kurds. They are much more reliable, and they won't screw us or threaten to screw us as Turkey keeps doing...And I say this as someone who really likes Turkey a lot.

Personally, I'm sympathetic to the Kurds and annoyed by Turkey's behavior. But in all fairness, they're concerned with their vital interests here, i.e. having half of their country ripped away by secessionist Kurds.

They're in a really tough spot and that's why they're being such "unreliable" allies. As a NATO ally, I'm sure they're pretty solid. As a help-us-build-a-thriving-Kurdistan ally, I can't imagine they'll be very good. But put yourself in their shoes.

There's a point at which it becomes impossible to pressure a country diplomatically unless it's backed by the threat of severe sanctions or military force. I have a feeling that Turkey will be absolutely rigid on the Kurdistan issue and won't budge under any circumstances.

Unless the U.S. threatens them, which of course won't happen.

Posted by: Edgar at October 16, 2007 08:14 AM

Personally, I'm sympathetic to the Kurds and annoyed by Turkey's behavior. But in all fairness, they're concerned with their vital interests here, i.e. having half of their country ripped away by secessionist Kurds.

Let's also keep in mind that Turkish military forces are being repeatedly attacked by a guerrilla organization that retreats into Iraqi Kurdistan for refuge, that the Kurdish government does not seem inclined to do anything about it, and the Iraqi government won't even label the PKK a terrorist organization for fear of damaging the governing coalition.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 16, 2007 08:55 AM

Mike,

Since you drew a parallel to the situation in Lebanon with Hizballah, what's your opinion on the responsibility of the Kurdish people vis-a-vis the PKK? Are they able to boot them out?

In absolute terms, I suspect the PKK is slightly more powerful than Hizballah in terms of membership ("hardcore" Penthouse members vs. "softcore" Playboy supporters). But at the same time, I can't imagine they can hold the Kurdish population hostage in the same way that Hizballah can the Lebanese.

Posted by: Edgar at October 16, 2007 09:36 AM

But at the same time, I can't imagine they can hold the Kurdish population hostage in the same way that Hizballah can the Lebanese.

And then there's the possibility that there's a lot of sympathy and support for the PKK, and that's why there isn't much being done about them on the Iraqi side of the border. I don't know the likelihood of that possibility, but given Kurdish history, I'd think that quite a few Kurds could care less if the Turkish military were being attacked in Turkish Kurdistan.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 16, 2007 10:24 AM

Regarding the Awakening, here's a slightly disturbing blog post, quoted in this Economist article.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 16, 2007 10:35 AM

When the Kurds say "When surrounded by enemies, don’t go fighting each other", they're right. Before we jump into a war, we probably should figure out who our enemies are and who our friends are. We didn't do that the last time and look what happened.

So who are our enemies, the Turks or the PKK? If the answer is the PKK, who is supporting the PKK? Apparently the Kurds aren't supporting them, so who is? The most obvious choice would be China, Russia or some smaller leftist group..

From your article: Colonel Mudhafer said. “The Sunni and Shia want total control of Iraq." Getting America's allies to fight each other would be a good way of doing that. The Saudis have a history of starting fights, then rushing in to solve the problem to show us how 'useful' they are. Their al Qaeda branch has already murdered hundreds of Kurds in recent terrorist attacks.

If America does support Kurdistan against Turkey, have any oil rich Sunni or Shia nations offered to very quietly help us in our efforts? If they have, we may have found the source of the PKK's support.

Whoever is funding the PKK, from what I see here it seems that they are the problem. We should fight our enemies, not our allies.

Posted by: mary at October 16, 2007 10:42 AM

Apparently the Kurds aren't supporting them, so who is?

Why would Kurds not support a Kurdish group fighting the Turks for a homeland?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 16, 2007 10:52 AM
This Canadian government report on the PKK indicates that while there has been some foreign support for the PKK (notably from Syria), there is a great deal of Kurdish support for them:
Several articles contend that the government's methods of combatting the PKK have produced significant anti-government sentiment, which in turn has resulted in the PKK "increasingly ... gain[ing] legitimacy and support even among Kurds who disagree with its violent methods" [...] Several sources report that the PKK has also received support and backing from various neighbouring countries [...] A 1994 report states, however, that most of the PKK's support has come from within Kurdistan and from the Kurdish diaspora worldwide.
So as of the 1990s, it would appear to be a situation in some ways similar to support for the IRA -- even though the group was Marxist and quite violent, the perceived effectiveness of their fight against the British trumped objections to politics and methods. Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 16, 2007 11:03 AM

It's all too easy to over-simplify what is going on in Turkey.

First off, the (officially) Islamist party which has been running the country for the past few years has acted much more like a modern Western party than the (officially) secularists who ran things before. Women's rights improved substantially. Speaking Kurdish became something other than an automatic imprisonable offense. The legal system (while still short of what we might think ideal) is vastly closer to what the European Union mandates than it was before.

Meanwhile, the generals (who see themselves as the defenders of Mustafa Kemal's secularist legacy) have three complaints:
- they don't like the Islamists' on principle, regardless of what has been going on.
- they don't like the constitutional changes being proposed (at least in significant part because they are necessary to meet EU requirements), because they would reduce the generals' power
- they are not getting all the freedom they would like to strike back at the PKK.

The government, like all governments in democratic countries, is going to have to make compromises and trade-offs in the course of governing. One of which may be to allow the generals to strike at PKK bases in Kurdistan. If that is the price of reducing the generals' power, and continuing to convert the Turkish legal system into something an American or European would think reasonable, then it may be a price worth paying.

Note that that is not the same as saying a Turkish invasion of Kurdistan would also be a price worth paying. But shutting down the PKK would be a good thing, however it happens.

On a related note, Turkey has been undergoing major changes the last few years. As in all countries or cultures in the midst of major changes, people get twitchy. And they get especially twitchy about outsiders telling them things that they don't want to hear. Even if it is a non-binding US Congressional resolution. If you are the governing party in that situation, you are going to have to at least make a show of responding -- even if it is mostly rhetoric of the same actual impact as the resolution you are responding to. And so the Turkish government is.

Whether Turkey will also make substantive changes in direction remains to be seen. Certainly I would not like to see them attacking the Kurdistan (as opposed to PKK) military, or cracking down on Kurdish (or Armenian) Turkish citizens. But so far, all sides seem to have focused on posturing. It's easy to denigrate politicians' "mere posturing". But it is vastly preferable to them actually doing something stupid.

Posted by: wj at October 16, 2007 11:42 AM

DPU,

Why would Kurds not support a Kurdish group fighting the Turks for a homeland?

If the Canadian Sheep Diddler's Collective started fighting in Montana for a homeland, how much support would you give them? When they started detonating police stations and churches in Butte, how much support would you give?

The character of the group matters, as does the actions the group undertakes.

Having said that, a lot of my Kurdish friends cheerfully support the PKK, the PJAK, and any other group that yells "KURD" and gets press. They are trading long term problems for recognition, and I'm not positive they are entirely wrong.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at October 16, 2007 11:51 AM

When they started detonating police stations and churches in Butte, how much support would you give?

If the US had historically treated Canadians the way that Turkey has treated the Kurds? Take a guess.

Having said that, a lot of my Kurdish friends cheerfully support the PKK, the PJAK, and any other group that yells "KURD" and gets press.

Then why are you presenting paradoxical scenarios? Reflexive contrarianism?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 16, 2007 12:06 PM

Patrick: They are trading long term problems for recognition, and I'm not positive they are entirely wrong.

Now it's your turn for a brain lapse.

Remember what Abdulla Mohtadi said about them.

-

Mohtadi: The problem with the PKK…I mean, the Kurdish toilers have every right to fight for their rights and their freedom. But the PKK as an organization is not reliable. They are very fanatic in their nationalism. They are very undemocratic in nature. They have no principles. I mean, they can deal with Satan. They can fight the Kurds.

MJT: They have fought the Kurds.

Mohtadi: Yes, they have fought the Kurds. They have fought the Kurds much more than they have fought the Turks. When you study the history of the PKK, you find out that they have been against every single Kurdish movement in every part of Kurdistan. At the same time they have had good friendly relations with all the states where the Kurds live, where the oppressed live.

They have been friends with Hafez al-Assad [in Syria]. They have been friends with the Khomeini regime. And they supported Saddam in 1996.

MJT: So, really, Turkey is the only country they haven’t had good relations with.

Mohtadi: Yes.

Lasswell: But they’ve used everyone else to maintain their power.

Mohtadi: Yes. They are very greedy.

Lasswell: The people down the road [referring to the estranged and unreconstructed Communist faction of the Komalah Party] said the PKK has a lot of money.

Mohtadi: They do.

MJT: Where do they get this money? Do they get it from these other regimes?

Mohtadi: The Kurdish-Turkish community in Europe is a huge community, unlike the Iraqi Kurds who are a few thousand or tens of thousands. They are millions. And they tax people. They impose taxes on people, on every business that Kurds have in Europe. They cannot fail to pay.

MJT: So it’s basically a mafia now. In Europe.

Mohtadi: I think so, yes. Unfortunately, they are. They also have bases on the border between Iran and Turkey. They help people smuggle drugs and they tax them. It is a huge source of raising money.

PKK ideology is a mixture of Stalinism, Kurdish tribalism, patriarchalism.

MJT: I thought they were opposed to tribalism.

Mohtadi: They exploit the tribal culture. They have mobile phones, walkie talkies, satellite stations, but I don’t consider them to be a modern party in the real sense of the word. Like the mafia. The mafia was modern in a sense, but they exploited the medieval culture that was there in Italy, the family connections, the family loyalties. The PKK did not start the struggle against Turkey until they had eliminated other Kurdish groups and achieved a monopoly of the Kurdish movement.

MJT: Do you have any relations with them at all?

Mohtadi: We had. We supported them in a sense, but we always had reservations. At some times they were under pressure by Iraqi Kurds. We tried to mediate between them. We even helped them in some respects. But we found out that they are unreliable. They have no principles, no friendship, no contracts, no values. Perhaps it’s a harsh judgment I’m making, but…

MJT: Well, I agree with your judgement. So I’m not going to say it’s harsh. It may not be kind, but I think it’s true.

Modarresi: They never believed in pluralism.

Mohtadi: In the name of the Kurdish movement, they eliminate everybody.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 16, 2007 12:12 PM

Michael,

If there is no future for the Kurds except through recognition, the bombers are not without a point. I think there is a good future for the Kurds, except when I realize that they are to some degree dependent on people like Pelosi. I am 99.999% sure that the bombers are wrong in all instances, but the idiocy of my elected representatives in giving concessions to violence accounts for that 0.001% uncertainty.

I have spent a lot of time discussing this on the Kurdish forums and I better understand their support for violent actions, even though I still disagree with them. Violence gives the State sanction to respond crushingly. Organization in a civil fashion forces the State to become the barbarian. I absolutely prefer the decisions of our friends in the social democrat Komala. Regrettably their integrity is costing them recruits and supporters.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at October 16, 2007 12:21 PM

Then the question remains, why doesn't the Kurdistan leadership declare them a terrorist organization and act to get them out?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 16, 2007 12:23 PM

DPU,

For most of the same reasons the Lebanese government has never declared war against Hezbollah.

The PKK's stronghold in Iraqi Kurdistan is, from what I have been told, the same location the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga used in their war against Saddam. It is all but unassailable except from the sky.

And Turkey is seen as the bigger enemy in the grand scheme of things, which I think is at least half-way reasonable despite my absolute loathing of the PKK and my limited support for Turkey's point of view.

The Turks could turn this around if they would, for example, recognize the KRG and stop threatening to invade if Kirkuk Province votes to join the Kurdish Autonomous Region.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 16, 2007 12:30 PM

The Turks could turn this around if they would, for example, recognize the KRG and stop threatening to invade if Kirkuk Province votes to join the Kurdish Autonomous Region.

Could the situation be defused by the Iraq government (with approval of the KRG) giving permission to the US to deal with the PKK in Iraq?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 16, 2007 12:47 PM

DPU: Could the situation be defused by the Iraq government (with approval of the KRG) giving permission to the US to deal with the PKK in Iraq?

Probably.

The Baghdad government has no authority in the KRG area, though. The US would need permission from the KRG only.

The KRG would likely grant it. They would much rather have friendly Americans doing the job than unfriendly Turks.

This would probably be the best solution for now.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 16, 2007 12:59 PM

DPU: Could the situation be defused by the Iraq government (with approval of the KRG) giving permission to the US to deal with the PKK in Iraq?

Permission is not needed. Troops/mercenaries are. And they don't got `em.

Posted by: Edgar at October 16, 2007 01:02 PM

DPU: Regarding the Awakening, here's a slightly disturbing blog post, quoted in this Economist article.

That's Diyala, not Anbar, but yes it is disturbing and unsurprising.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 16, 2007 01:08 PM

Probably.

Then as this is a solution, I would have to wonder why it hasn't been done.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 16, 2007 01:15 PM

DPU: Then as this is a solution, I would have to wonder why it hasn't been done.

Again, maybe because they're already stretched a bit thin, and Sunni insurgents are a bigger security problem than the PKK?

Now, if they could only get the insurgents to fight the PKK somehow...

Posted by: Edgar at October 16, 2007 01:51 PM

Again, maybe because they're already stretched a bit thin, and Sunni insurgents are a bigger security problem than the PKK?

Yet there is talk of attacking Iran? The PKK is much smaller than the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 16, 2007 02:32 PM

So Michael, let me ask you this:

1) Is PKK a terrorist organization? (Based on your previous comments, it is)
2) Is PKK, to say the least, tolerated there? (Again, based on your comments, it is)
3) Does PKK acquire its logical support from the region? You've said that PKK is located in "the same location the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga used in their war against Saddam. It is all but unassailable except from the sky." Even if it's so, no organization can last for years without logistic support.
4) Similarly, how does PKK acquire weapons? Since it's not likely there's a Walmart to buy them in such an impenetrable and inaccessible location, one suspects they have means within Iraq to get them.
4) Can you tell Kurds have done to hamper PKK? Have they restricted its activities? Have they arrested any members of it? Have they even expressed their will to do so? Have they ever condemned PKK's activities in Turkey (and presumably other places)?

So, what we have here is an organization which has been able to support itself in Iraq, acquire weapons in Iraq, operate freely in Iraq without fear of repercussion, launch attacks to Turkey and retreat back to safety and a government which has done nothing so far to limit its activities. Do you honestly believe if US negotiates between Turkey and Kurds and flushes PKK out, PKK will simply cease to operate in Iraq? Can you trust people who has turned a blind eye to their "brothers" so far to start acting against PKK now? Or since Turks are jerks in this issue, let's just screw 'em?

Posted by: Fzl at October 16, 2007 02:35 PM

here is my solution to all of this war talk.PARTITION; Lets start from iraq, split it into three pieces namely, kurdistan,shialand,sunnistan, it works ,it worked in former yogouslavia, now they are all peaceful and behaving. look at russia ,after taking its fifteen repuclics[colonies] now it is smaller ,less threatening, i guess you can take another 10 little states from it like chechnya,daghestan etc. my point when the countries lose colonies,they lose resorces,population , get weaker in process. look at gulf states. they are all small,behaving like lambs, the same can be applied to iran, in this case it will be five new states, kurdistan of iran,khuzistan oil rich arabic province, natural gas rich balouchistan, southern azeirbaycan, and ethnic persian state, then we will never hear about iran or nuclear IRAN problem. then comes turkey, either it becomes a turkish-kurdish federation or it can join iraqi kurdistan to form a indepent kurdistan,giving the iraqi kurdistan part enough land and population to survive in the rough neighbourhood, then we will never turkish saber-rattling which is nearing paranoia whenever something related to kurds happen. what will USA get out of this,cheap oil, new markets, build the infrastructure of the newly formed countries, the same thing it got out of soviet empire liquidation.

Posted by: kirkuk-is-kurdistan at October 16, 2007 03:04 PM

Dougf - I agree with your initial comments about GWB. And I never voted for him. They say, when you find yourself in the majority it might be time to evaluate your positions. I was vehemently anti-war in 2004 and beginning in 2005 I began reading about the previous 30 years in Iraq rather than concentrating on a few utterances made in 2002 / 03. This culminated in my visiting Iraqi Kurdistan in late 2006 (inspired in no small part by our host's writings) and saw for myself the reverence that the locals had for my president.

It has been a daunting ride, but his steadfastness in the face of this particular challenge, Iraq, baring of course the year or two following in the invasion when he simply wasn't aggressive enough, has been nothing short of miraculous.

All right, let's see what other posters have written & what kind of backlash I might be submitting myself to.

From an otherwise silent watcher of this blog...

-Scott

Posted by: Scott Moshen at October 16, 2007 04:02 PM

KirKukisKurdistan: Lets start from iraq, split it into three pieces namely, kurdistan,shialand,sunnistan, it works ,it worked in former yogouslavia, now they are all peaceful and behaving.

It's kind of like when you divide a cake. Sounds like a good idea until you realize one of the other kids gets most of the cool stuffing and the other will get the best topping.

So you end up putting one in a powerful crucifix hold and get the other in a leg-lock. Then you try to steal their portions.

Not workable. You need authoritarian parents to make it work.

Posted by: Edgar at October 16, 2007 04:03 PM

"It's kind of like when you divide a cake. Sounds like a good idea until you realize one of the other kids gets most of the cool stuffing and the other will get the best topping.

So you end up putting one in a powerful crucifix hold and get the other in a leg-lock. Then you try to steal their portions.

Not workable. You need authoritarian parents to make it work."

I don't know about that.....

I've taught Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and frankly, crucifix holds aren't that usefull. Leg locks are good, but only from top position. Anytime you gor for them, you leave yourself exposed to strikes. I favor a good Key-lock from side control or North/South.

Posted by: astroninja at October 16, 2007 04:17 PM

I don't know about that.....</i.

Put him in a crucifix hold, Edgar.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 16, 2007 04:21 PM

Why would Kurds not support a Kurdish group fighting the Turks for a homeland?

For the same reason we wouldn't want to rain nukes down on Moscow, for the same reason we shy from using biological warfare. First because terrorism is a horrific weapon and second because it's difficult to control. It's difficult prevent the effects from spreading to allies or to the attacker.

If you'd visited Ireland during the '80s, you'd know that. Look at the Palestinians.

That doesn't stop anyone from using it, but I was assuming the Kurds were smarter than that. From what they said in Michael's interviews, it seemed that they were.

Posted by: mary at October 16, 2007 05:36 PM

Great article, Michael!

Posted by: Iraqi Mojo at October 16, 2007 06:52 PM

First because terrorism is a horrific weapon and second because it's difficult to control.

Which is why the IRA died from lack of support, right?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 16, 2007 10:45 PM

kirkuk-is-kurdistan,

USSR and Yugoslavia fall apart from within. Which is not exactly what you are proposing.

If Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, ... will decide to do that on their own - all power to them.

What you are suggesting was done before. We are dealing with results of it today.

Posted by: leo at October 17, 2007 05:18 AM

Which is why the IRA died from lack of support, right?

During the 'troubles' of the 70's-90's, the IRA and other terrorist groups killed, tortured and maimed more Irish than Brits. That's one reason why there were massive demonstrations against them.

The IRA was also supported by people who weren't in Ireland, and who didn't have to deal with terrorist thugs everyday. Their donations to help the "widows and orphans" created more widows and orphans.

The Brits rewarded the IRA for their efforts by giving them political power. The IRA 'won', but the Irish people in Northern Ireland didn't. Fortunately the rewards of Euro-capitalism have smoothed over a lot of political mistakes.

Terrorism sometimes benefit terrorists, just as bio-warfare would be a boon to anthrax. That doesn't mean it benefits a society.

Posted by: mary at October 17, 2007 10:17 AM

During the 'troubles' of the 70's-90's, the IRA and other terrorist groups killed, tortured and maimed more Irish than Brits. That's one reason why there were massive demonstrations against them.

My point is that being bad people does not rule out that they will receive support from people who perceive that the group's overall goals are more important than their methods. In the same way, the PKK is likely to receive support from people who think that their effectiveness in fighting Turkey for a homeland is more important than the methods that they use.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 17, 2007 10:51 AM

In the same way, the PKK is likely to receive support from people who think that their effectiveness in fighting Turkey for a homeland is more important than the methods that they use.

They're also likely to receive support from people who know how destructive terrorism can be; people who don't like the Kurds or the Turks, and who understand the value of "Let’s you and him fight"

No matter who is supporting them, if we want to prevent a huge mess in the area, our first priority should be to dismantle the PKK

Posted by: mary at October 17, 2007 11:56 AM

I have to agree with DPU. If you truly believe your people are the victim of a cruel and powerful enemy, you're not likely to condemn the people fighting them.

Believe is the key word, though. I think many Muslims are reluctant to condemn certain groups (like Hizballah) as terrorists because they truly believe the U.S. and Israel are trying to undermine Islam in some way.

In the Kurds' case, though, believing that Turkey is working against them isn't really such a crazy idea.

Posted by: Edgar at October 17, 2007 11:56 AM

If you truly believe your people are the victim of a cruel and powerful enemy, you're not likely to condemn the people fighting them.

I was raised to believe that Ireland should be united and that Britain was the source of all evil in the world, but even when I was a kid I knew the IRA were jerks. How can you not condemn an organization that blows up little old ladies in a bus station?

I can see why the Kurds would support a genuine war against Turkey in the future, but I don't think they'd be successful at this point in time, with or without our help. It's definitely not in our interests to take sides right now.

The current situation seems to have been created by the PKK. If we just made some visible effort to do something about them, we could diffuse tensions. But we're not even doing that...?

Posted by: mary at October 17, 2007 12:49 PM

How can you not condemn an organization that blows up little old ladies in a bus station?

We can tsk tsk IRA supporters until the cows come home, but the point is that they did receive such support, a lot of of it, from expatriate Irish.

It's definitely not in our interests to take sides right now.

Who's taking sides? We're discussing your remark that the PKK is not receiving Kurdish support.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 17, 2007 01:02 PM

The problem is not the PKK. the referrandum in kirkuk is about to commence, thats the real reason,turkey is trying to prevent that from happening. Look at the timing.

PKK are killing Turkish solidiers yeah? Yes they do but we have people high up in the military in turkey conducting terrorist attacks against turkey itself to pressure the government to react. Just like the final fantasy movie where the general shuts down the city's shield and lets deadly creaters walk in, because he wants to pressure the council to give him all the access he wants to the miltitary hardware. He scares the people and the council into thinking he has to use all the hardwares there is to save them.

this is the same game turkish generals are playing. 90% of the attacks are PKK yes I admit but the rest is turkish secret services doing it to scare the people.

Turkey is asking us (kurds) to attack pkk. they are nato's second biggest army, since 1992 they have made 23 full incursions into Kurdistan and they were not able to take out the PKK, now do they expect the peshmerga to do that? the peshmerga cannot and will not. if the peshmerga can't dont even think about the iraqi army, as they don't even know how to hold a gun properly yet. they can't fight insurgents in their own homes let alone fighting the PKK in the hills and mountains where they have being living for decades.

Turkey doesn't want to see an independent kurdish state thats why they are doing this. If they were democratic the PKK would not be able to exploit the kurdish people like that and convience them to join them.

I would like turkey to try to invade. its about time someone taught these people that they are not owner of earth and they should learn to live in peace with other people.

kurdistan might recieve damages but turkey will experience hell.

Posted by: Shvan at October 17, 2007 01:27 PM

Turkey doesn't want to see an independent kurdish state thats why they are doing this. If they were democratic the PKK would not be able to exploit the kurdish people like that and convience them to join them.

Of course, and they are using the PKK attacks as a casus belli. So why not remove it as an excuse? Or, if not possible, the threat of US air strikes against the PKK might get them to either move or cut back on attacks.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 17, 2007 01:33 PM

2nd Part:

As soon as turkey attacks, it means their country is at war and their weak economy will go down the drain. They will be causing trouble for USA and this time USa won't give them billions of dollars to buy new tanks and helicopters. whatever they come out with at the end of the war will be the only equipment they are going to have left for the rest of their days.

they will proove themselves unreliable to the united states and that is a big mistake. USA has being paying turkey billions and billions and giving them free weapons equipment all these years and then USa needed turkey for once they refused to help. am talking about when usa wanted to use their bases in turkey.

now usa is thniking why feed a poor country like turkey, why give them all those stuff and have then they won't help in any situation. they are like a babe, they watch USA to do all the dirty work for them. this is no longer acceptable by the USa because the cold war is over and someone needs to awaken the generals there and tell them that.

turkey is not an US ally, if they were they would help usa in the fight against saddam, they would let use soldiers to use their country to attack saddam, they would offer usa all sorts of support in any way usa may need it.

but instead they sitting at home talking crap about how usa doesn't solve their problems which infact is a problem the turks themselves have created.

how much more proof does USA need to be convienced that the turks are not a friend of americans. all they want is america's money and when america asks for help in return they say no. we have sent over 10,000 kurdish peshmerga to assit the usa and remove the huge pressure on them. we provide security in diala, baghdad and many other places where the iraqi army should have being instead. but we do it because usa asked us to, we do it because we feel like we owe the usa somthing.

of usa gave us half of the guns and money they give turkey,. we would clear the middle east of terrorists for good, we can't fight with ak47s and toyotas, we need humvees, blackhawks, tanks and f16s. give us that and we will finish the jov for you.

a colonel in the US army once said give me 50,000 peshmerga and afew teams of special forces and i will clear iraq of terrorism within months.

I read that somewhere on the web the other day. it shows how powerful we can be, how much more supportive we can be if we had the right stuff.

Regards,
Shvan

Posted by: Shvan at October 17, 2007 01:42 PM

[i]Of course, and they are using the PKK attacks as a casus belli. So why not remove it as an excuse? Or, if not possible, the threat of US air strikes against the PKK might get them to either move or cut back on attacks[i]

We can't. the kurds of turkey and some kurds in iraq will be angry, and at times of war the enemy of your enemy is your friend. give us helicopters , f16s and tanks and gaurntee that turkey won't attack us and we will drive out the pkk in no time. just like we drove out the ansar al islam thugs.

Posted by: Shvan at October 17, 2007 01:45 PM

Who are you kidding? Do you honestly think that PKK terrorist receive no support from the current regional government? How does PKK get it logistic support? How does it get its weapons? You may ask these questions to PKK members who are frequently appearing on Barzani's own TV channel.
People who are harboring terrorist amidst themselves have no right to refuse action. Either cut their support or face the consequences.

Posted by: Fzl at October 17, 2007 01:48 PM

We can't. the kurds of turkey and some kurds in iraq will be angry, ...

This would indicate PKK support within Kurdistan.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 17, 2007 01:56 PM

a lot of of it, from expatriate Irish.

DPU - Yes, I agree. They were stupid.

Who's taking sides? We're discussing your remark that the PKK is not receiving Kurdish support.

I'm not talking about you - I'm saying that it's not in America's interests to choose one side over the other in this current conflict.

Posted by: mary at October 17, 2007 02:09 PM

[i]This would indicate PKK support within Kurdistan[i]

so why not go and attack iran, pakistan, and all the arbian countries ha? they all sypahtise with alqaida atleast secretly? ofcourse no matter what you are, there are people who will support you.

[i]Who are you kidding? Do you honestly think that PKK terrorist receive no support from the current regional government? How does PKK get it logistic support? How does it get its weapons? You may ask these questions to PKK members who are frequently appearing on Barzani's own TV channel.
People who are harboring terrorist amidst themselves have no right to refuse action. Either cut their support or face the consequences[i]

the only side who pays heavy prices for this invasion is turkey. if it dares to attack.

turkey's currency has already gone down, without a single shot fired yet, let alone going to a full war.

Posted by: Shvan at October 17, 2007 02:11 PM

kurdistan might recieve damages but turkey will experience hell

Both sides would experience hell. From what I've read on Michael's blog, Kurdistan is a growing, prosperous place. This conflict would change that..

the enemy of your enemy is your friend

No, sometimes they're not.

The Bush administration has learned something from their old mistakes (like assuming the enemy of your enemy is your friend). We'll see what they do here.

Posted by: mary at October 17, 2007 02:13 PM

yes i agree maybe not all the time but sometimes. am no politician no an amry guy so i cant say how this is going to turn out but whatever happens, turkey is not going to benefit from it.

talking of supporting terrorist organisations, why the hell is USA not dismantling and destroying the al mujahiding al xaliq. they are in thousands and they are fully armed inside iraq. they fight against the iranian government and who dares to even mention them? no one.

but every one talks about pkk because they have no powerful countries backing them.

I fully supporting usa, am fully against pkk but fully against turkey too so dont get me wrong i dont like the pkk, infact i hate them but we cant do much about them. the situation has made them untouchable for now.

if you think kurdistan supports pkk with weapons and things let us not forget that the puk and kdp bouth fought against pkk in 1994 and later on.

Posted by: Shvan at October 17, 2007 02:22 PM

so why not go and attack iran, pakistan, and all the arbian countries ha?

I'm not sure I follow that logic. I'm suggesting that the best way to deny Turkey a cause to go to war would be to remove the PKK from Iraqi Kurdistan.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 17, 2007 02:22 PM

if you think kurdistan supports pkk with weapons and things let us not forget that the puk and kdp bouth fought against pkk in 1994 and later on.

They also fought each other, so that doesn't mean much.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 17, 2007 02:24 PM

"I'm not sure I follow that logic. I'm suggesting that the best way to deny Turkey a cause to go to war would be to remove the PKK from Iraqi Kurdistan."

I agree with you on that, thats what am trying to say all day but we can't do that because we do not have the military means. you need bombers and helicopters and cruise missles to fight people in mountains and we are a long way from having them, maybe we will never have them. we have the same guns the pkk has and they are on a higher ground. they cant be beaten.

Posted by: Shvan at October 17, 2007 02:35 PM

I agree with you on that, thats what am trying to say all day but we can't do that because we do not have the military means. you need bombers and helicopters and cruise missles to fight people in mountains and we are a long way from having them, maybe we will never have them.

But the US does have them, and nearby. I suspect that even the credible threat of US military action against the PKK would be enough to get them to move or cease action.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 17, 2007 02:36 PM

"They also fought each other, so that doesn't mean much"

it does because they were supported by the turkish army back then. i personally saw jets and they were claimed to be turkish jets helping the kdp.

it does again because it means we did try in the past to kick them out, it didnt work. you cant fight gurellas. its not as easy as fighting a professional army, they dont stand and wait for you to shoot them.

at the end i do agree with what you are saying though.

Posted by: Shvan at October 17, 2007 02:37 PM

"But the US does have them, and nearby. I suspect that even the credible threat of US military action against the PKK would be enough to get them to move or cease action"

yes they do you are right on that, and i too wonder why the usa isnt doing anything about it. maybe they know better than us? maybe they have some plans for the pkk?

why did they help us root out the ansar al islam why not do the same with the pkk? they won't do that for some unknown reason. i guess they dont like turkey as much any more, and they want to have something in their hands to scare turkey with from time to time, and use turkey to scare us from time to time. works both ways.

Posted by: Shvan at October 17, 2007 02:40 PM

Shvan: why did they help us root out the ansar al islam why not do the same with the pkk?

Probably because the U.S. is busy in the rest of Iraq with what they think is a higher priority.

The PKK looks like a low priority for the US today because they are no threat to us, but if Iraqi Kurdistan is thrown into chaos the US may regret that decision.

But if the Turks bomb the mountains, will that really throw Iraqi Kurdistan into chaos? I don't know. Unlike Hezbollah in Lebanon, the PKK isn't embedded in urban areas.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 17, 2007 03:00 PM

I think all of us as kurds in iraqi kurdistan don't mind turkey bombing the mountains IN WHICH THE PKK IS BASED. but any invasion using armoured and infantry force and entering towns/cities is not acceptable.

at the moment they bomb places where there is no pkk atall. the pkk is based in qandil, they can go there bomb them there, fight them there. but they cant come into the cities, bomb outr infrstructure and economy in the name of the pkk. they couldn't careless about the pkk. what they want is kirkuk.

i do agree the US might be busy with iraq for now, but they also dont want the pkk to vanish. they know they will need the pkk at some point, because turkey is not like israel or any other ally, they could turn against america if they smell something better somwhere else.

Posted by: Shvan at October 17, 2007 03:10 PM

Shvan: i do agree the US might be busy with iraq for now, but they also dont want the pkk to vanish.

I seriously doubt it. Turkey is part of NATO, and the US is not going to support a Marxist-Leninist terrorist army against a NATO ally. This just is not done.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 17, 2007 03:13 PM

PKK is a gaurntee for america to keep turkey under USA's control. whenever turkey threatens the usa, they could threaten turkey with encouraging the kurds there to rise up against the turkish government and join the pkk.

USA also knows military actions dont solve everything. they know they need to be friends with the kurds, they dont want to be hurting the feelings of the kurds in turkey by attacking the pkk.

USA at this point is staying nutral.

Posted by: Shvan at October 17, 2007 03:14 PM

turkey is a nato ally by words. where were they when usa asked for their help during the start of the war? thats not how alliance works.

Posted by: Shvan at October 17, 2007 03:16 PM

where were they when usa asked for their help during the start of the war?

Turkey followed through on their NATO commitments in Afghanistan, but there was no NATO commitment regarding the Iraq invasion. Most NATO allies were not involved.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 17, 2007 03:19 PM

turkey is a nato ally by words. where were they when usa asked for their help during the start of the war? thats not how alliance works

France is also an unreliable NATO ally, but the US wouldn't use extreme measures (like a Marxist-influenced terrorist group) to intimidate them either.

Posted by: mary at October 17, 2007 03:27 PM

Actually, come to think of it, I think that the US has NATO treaty obligations to do something about the PKK because of its attacks on Turkey.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 17, 2007 03:34 PM

france isnt like turkey, they are not opressing another nation, they are not muslims, and they are in europian union. france isnt vliolent as a country/people/nation, turkey is. france isnt threatning any other country with war turkey is.

wars cost money and turkey's wars are paid by america, and i think america is getting tired of having turkey spend money and equipment on useless wars.

am not saying america will take pkk's side, well not infront of the media, but they dont mind them that much either. am sure usa could send an extra 10000 soldiers and some extra helicopters to help turkey in destroying the pkk while making sure that turkey does not over reach. but since they dont let that happen am guessing they have something else on their mind.

besides the turks are not stupid, they are infact very very smart. probably one of the smartest in the middle east, they know how they handle things so am guessing what they are doing is in result of something they know which we don't.

Posted by: Shvan at October 17, 2007 03:38 PM

by the way am not against all turks, i do apologize if i sound offensive. am sorry i wrote that quickly and it if sounds wrong, am sorry i didn't mean it like that. what i tried to say was thye turkish government is violent, not the people.

Posted by: Shvan at October 17, 2007 03:42 PM

From my reading of events, my guess is that the primary focus of Turkey at this point is to threaten military force in an effort to have the situation handled within Kurdistan.

If that doesn't work, then I suspect they will follow through with a limited invasion, and set up a security buffer zone.

I can think of several reasons why the follow-up would be a bad thing, so let's hope that things don't go that far.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 17, 2007 03:46 PM

Both sides would experience hell. From what I've read on Michael's blog, Kurdistan is a growing, prosperous place. This conflict would change that..--Mary

I rather think not. Unless the Kurds decided to 'intervene' on behalf of the PKK which would be a completely disastrous move.

The Turkish State is giving out very clear signals that any action taken(and that is not at all a certain thing) will be 'targeted' small-scale incursions designed to inflict damage on the PKK where they can be found. This area is far from the Kurdish areas of population density, and as long as there is some form of 'consent' involved, I frankly don't see this as that big a deal.

The Iraqi spokesman already said yesterday that he was fully aware that the PKK was a ' terrorist' structure and that they were using Iraqi bases to attack Turkey without justification. He said it was Iraq's duty to not allow such actions.

That seems to me to be at least half the battle there. Now all that is required is some 'face-saving' framework wherein Turkish forces can operate in Iraq in small operations to inflict damage on the PKK. I saw a BBC news report on the border area involved and while it was of course very selective the 'geography' looked much like a barren wasteland. Nasty fighting to be sure but as MJT says hardly a built up civilian area where many can be hurt by military action.

Something has to be done about the PKK. That is fully obvious. And the Turkish people are demanding ACTION. Basically what this now boils down to is a Kurdish Problem. Either the Kurds can act against the PKK (even if by proxy ) or they can 'defend' the PKK by being obstructionist.

One action saves their future progress; the other puts them in some serious present and future danger. Time for Kurdistan to 'grow-up' and act like the State it pretends to be.

Posted by: dougf at October 17, 2007 03:49 PM

Shvan, you're just going to have to trust us here: The US is not supporting in any way whatsoever a terrorist group against a NATO ally.

Turkey is not a very good ally, but it is an ally.

I know why it's hard to convince you. I run into this all the time when discussing international politics with Middle Easterners. People from that region, including yourself apparently, often assume Western countries act like Middle Eastern countries in international affairs, but it isn't true.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 17, 2007 03:52 PM

Dougf:Time for Kurdistan to 'grow-up' and act like the State it pretends to be.

For all we know, the KRG is quietly giving Turkey a green light to do this since they can't do it themselves.

I have no idea, it's just a possibility. It would be a logical move, and the KRG would need to do it quietly so the PKK doesn't lash out at them. I'm not saying this is what's happening, but we wouldn't know if it were.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 17, 2007 03:58 PM

I understand that. I agree with both of you here, but one more question please, because I can't seem to understand this.

why is the usa not acting against:

  • mujahiden al xaliq in iraq
  • why did they help alqaida against the soviots, am sure the cia can pridict whats going to happen in a 100 years or what i eat every day, they can know, but how comes they didnt know osama would turn against them.

anyway am not saying this to undermine your writings or anything like that, i just dont understand and would appriciate an explaination since you know more than me and you are an american yourself.

i also admit since i have grown up and seen the world, i have lived in and seen middle eastern countries supporting terrorist groups one against another, maybe that has confused me.

Posted by: Shvan at October 17, 2007 03:58 PM

...they can know, but how comes they didnt know osama would turn against them.

Bin Laden's group was never directly funded by the US, so I don't think this is a good argument.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 17, 2007 04:11 PM
For all we know, the KRG is quietly giving Turkey a green light to do this since they can't do it themselves.

I have no idea, it's just a possibility. It would be a logical move,..

I have to disagree. I would think that international recognition of Kurdish sovereignty is probably fairly crucial right now, and a Turkish invasion damages that quite badly. It would make far more sense to get the US to act on this rather than rely on an invasion by a neighboring power.

Unless, of course, that the KRG thinks that a Turkish invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan could be of use to the cause of Kurdish nationalism in Turkey and Iran, but that's well beyond my understanding.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 17, 2007 04:15 PM

Michael,

Shvan, you're just going to have to trust us here: The US is not supporting in any way whatsoever a terrorist group against a NATO ally.

Just for reference, somebody from the US has to have set up contacts with the PKK on a covert level, which is not to say that the person or group involved is competent or agenda compromised. (It is almost impossible to judge by publicly known effects when a covert action disaster is the result of incompetence or agenda compromise.)

Just because somebody from one of the many intelligence groups the US runs is in communication with the PKK does not mean that the terrorists are listening. The situation is by definition byzantine and the PKK suffers from the same attacks of agenda seizures.

Personally, I suspect that the Russians are keeping trouble going at their southern borders because stability in Turkey would threaten them. One way of looking more legitimate is making sure that everyone around you is a disaster by comparison. Putin's recent encouragement of the Islamic Republic to commit suicide by US intervention falls nicely in line with this theory. After all, Russia has been screwing with Iran and Turkey for centuries, even if land grabbing is less sanctioned these days.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at October 17, 2007 04:32 PM

Personally, I suspect that the Russians are keeping trouble going at their southern borders because stability in Turkey would threaten them.

If that is true, then even more reason for the US to consider dealing with the PKK.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 17, 2007 04:36 PM

DPU,

If that is true, then even more reason for the US to consider dealing with the PKK.

I'm trying to come up with logic that supports getting into a bidding war for the services of terrorist groups and I'm coming up with a blank. Where is the good here? How does this support our long term goals of defeating terrorism?

By every account I've heard from people who deal with the PKK, they are very well funded. They make so much money, allegedly controlling heroin distribution in Paris among other illicit activities, that they support subsidiary groups. This also means that they are likely in competition with various Russian and Ukrainian mobs on a regular basis. These people do not seem to be the kind of folks who embrace the rule of law.

Negotiating with the PKK is like wrestling with a pig, you just get dirty and the pig has fun.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at October 17, 2007 04:47 PM

I'm trying to come up with logic that supports getting into a bidding war for the services of terrorist groups and I'm coming up with a blank.

I think you must have skipped reading some of the messages in this thread. Well, skipped reading most of them.

"Deal with", in this case, meant "bomb". See discussion above.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 17, 2007 04:53 PM

usa is not dealing with pkk. is using the pkk for its own purposes. say like if turkey has no war to fight, then they won't listen usa as much as before. but if they have pkk to fight then they need usa's money which means they have to do what usa says or they won't get their money. basicly what am saying is usa uses pkk to control turkey while it limits pkk's activties to make sure that they dont grow bigger and grow out of usa's control.

they are not negotiating with pkk but the way they behaving with the pkk is controling.

its like you hand cuff a big guy and let a kid slap him once in a while just to annoy him. now you dont like the kid buy you think the guy needs a slap from time to time and the kid is the only way to do it.

may sound stupid but thats my theory

Posted by: Shvan at October 17, 2007 04:56 PM

"Deal with", in this case, meant "bomb".---dpu

Well, I Never ----- How uncivilized. Make Peace --- Not War.

You 'warmonger', you !!

I'll bet you even secretly cheer every time the evil Bushitler appears on TV.

NDP follower ----- As If. I'm telling Jack.

Posted by: dougf at October 17, 2007 05:04 PM

Shvan,

The US certainly will use circumstances to aid its diplomatic position, but I very much doubt that we have special forces teams operating with the PKK, which is the way we support armed groups we think we can do lasting business with.

I realize that from your position it is very easy to fixate on the US as a prime mover, but please keep in mind that just because something happens that benefits the US abroad, we are responsible for causing it. Given certain aspects of our State Department's culture, fortuitous circumstances can rarely be accurately blamed on our Foreign Service Officers.

DPU,

Bombing the PKK won't make it go away, they have metastasized into organized crime throughout Europe. I am unclear on why Interpol is unable to shut them down, but the lack of cultural understanding may be causing the problem. How many Kurdish officers do you think work for European police agencies?

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at October 17, 2007 05:09 PM

Shvan, the USA helped the "Evil Empire" of Stalinist USSR in WW II against the greater evil of National Socialist Hitler (a Leftist/ socialist even tho the anti-capitalists like to forget about Hitler socialism, because of his nationalist racism).

The USSR supported communism was, at the time, the greater evil -- and supporting any resistance, even evil resistance, was at worst support for lesser evil. Very Realpolitik.

Michael, you say: "How about we have the Turks do that" [apologize] -- I guess you mean you support the Pelosi resolution?

The reason to have the Kurds apologize, is to help the Kurds grow up. If even 10% of the Armenian genocide killers were Kurds, it would be morally good for the Kurds to apologize. I guess it was more like 50%, possible more --yes, upon the Turk orders, but Kurds pulling the triggers, Kurds doing the dirty work. (Do you have other info?) Apologizing for that fairly long ago past would allow the Kurds to gain some "victim" morality: we were killers because the Turks made us be bad.

Isn't that the Abu Ghraib complaint about Bush? That Bush/Rumsfeld made the US Army folk "be bad"?

The Kurdistan goal should be a Turkish referendum, in peaceful conditions, on a peaceful split. Does anybody in this thread believe the Kurds in "democratic Turkey" won't vote to leave, if allowed to?

History has been a history of empire. With capitalist victory in the Cold War against USSR (tho not against an increasingly effective National Communist/socialist China), we might have seen an end to such 'empire of war' history.

A huge victory for Bush, not yet widely recognized, is that US military victory results in democracy, not colonization/domination.

The US should be building a a big base in Iraqi Kurdistan, and a small base ... in the middle of PKK held territory, in support of Turkey and anti-PKK Peshmerga (if any). The US should oppose PKK terrorism, but support a peaceful, democratic referendum on a Turkey-Kurdistan split.

Democracy is compromise with those you disagree with.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at October 17, 2007 05:11 PM

I agree but the us government won't just ignore the pkk and say "let them be" or "screw 'em". am sure in a way they keep contacts with them for which i don't blame the usa.

the usa will not support pkk for what it is doing now and will not support it ever, it will stand against the pkk, but the usa will also not unleash turkey and let it do what it wants to do in that region.

what the usa needs to do is with the help of the peshmerga drive out the pkk and force them to go out of iraqi kurdistan, wherever they go thats gonna be the country's problem they reside in. then turkey won't have an exuse to invade.

Posted by: Shvan at October 17, 2007 05:16 PM

i understand that. if the usa faces two countries they dont like, they will chose the one they dislike less.

turkey needs to keep its cool and go back to the root of the problem. give kurds some rights. not independent no refarandum, just the same rights as the turks and pkk will be dead in no time.

let iraqi kurdistan be indepdenent and turkey can benefit from us.

the thing is they have pointed gun at our head and they say they dont wanna hear a word we have to say.

Posted by: Shvan at October 17, 2007 05:22 PM

Shvan,

what the usa needs to do is with the help of the peshmerga drive out the pkk and force them to go out of iraqi kurdistan, wherever they go thats gonna be the country's problem they reside in. then turkey won't have an exuse to invade.

I agree with this, but unless the Europeans start making Kurds part of law enforcement, neither of us is going to cut off the funds that make the PKK possible. It is very hard to grow integrity overnight or in European politics at all, but that is what is needed.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at October 17, 2007 05:40 PM

Well, I Never ----- How uncivilized. Make Peace --- Not War.

Don't tell me that after all the years of me explaining that I'm not a pacifist, and repeatedly trying to clear up the misconception that opposition to a stupid war means that one is opposed to all war, you still think that I'm a pacifist?

I've already said that I supported Gulf War I, the Balkans intervention, and Afghanistan. Why would you think that I'm a pacifist?

And BTW, my father-in-law was a member of the communist party, and served in the Canadian military for quite a long time. Left-wing does not necessarily equal pacifist.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 17, 2007 09:12 PM

Bombing the PKK won't make it go away, they have metastasized into organized crime throughout Europe.

I think that Turkey is more interested in the guerrillas based over the border than it is the European crime group, and that would be the group to threaten with military action. No one was talking about "making it go away", the point was to remove the casus belli for an invasion of Kurdistan by Turkey.

You really need to take a look at the earlier discussion.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 17, 2007 09:16 PM

Why would you think that I'm a pacifist?--DPU

Don't panic. I thought you would get the point without a smiley attached but evidently not.

So albeit in a tardy fashion ----- :-)

I have no illusions as to your 'values' and belief structures and yes I have read most of your prior dissertations of the subject.

I don't at all think you are a pacifist, but while we are at it, I do think you could find a better Political Party to represent your values than the NDP, which I submit IS uncomfortably closer to pacifism and fantasist 'otherwordliness' than you. A LOT closer.

But that's just me.

Peace Out ---

Posted by: dougf at October 17, 2007 09:50 PM

Yeah, I know it was a joke, but the premise of the joke was the assumption about pacificism. I already have enough trouble in that regard here, so I thought I'd clear that up.

I do think you could find a better Political Party to represent your values than the NDP, which I submit IS uncomfortably closer to pacifism and fantasist 'otherwordliness' than you. A LOT closer.

Except that foreign policy is just one small aspect of politics.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 17, 2007 10:02 PM

DPU:

"I'm not a pacifist"

We're not saying you're a pacifist. We're just saying you're only in favor of war when it's not against enemies of the US.

Posted by: Gary Rosen at October 17, 2007 10:37 PM

Mary said:

Since most European nations have a state religion, these Turks are way ahead of the Euros. They're probably more pro-American than Canadians, but as dougf said, that's not saying all that much.

ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS???? THE BEST SELLING TURKISH MOVIE OF ALL TIME (IN THE VALLEY OF THE WOLVES) WAS ABOUT A TURKISH SOLDIER KILLING AMERICANS AND INCLUDED ALL KINDS OF ANTI-AMERICAN AND ANTI-SEMITIC MESSAGES. Jesus Christ. Mein Kampf was a best seller there last year. The Turks are not pro-American, talk to your average Turk. Sure, they like your money, and your military alliances, but that's it, they don't like you. There was a time they did (back in the 50's), but now they've been dumbed down, unlike the Kurds or Iranians, who were tricked before but know better now.
The Turks are not our friends, just an ally of convenience, and barely that. Oh, and they killed the ancestors of one million Armenian Americans.

Posted by: Homie at October 17, 2007 10:52 PM

DPU: I would think that international recognition of Kurdish sovereignty is probably fairly crucial right now, and a Turkish invasion damages that quite badly.

Good point.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 17, 2007 11:07 PM

Tom Grey: I guess you mean you support the Pelosi resolution?

In principle, yes. Right now, no.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 17, 2007 11:11 PM

Dear Michael

Your case for the Kurds is very convincing. I wish to make two comments
1. The Israeli Kurd connection is far better established than you indicate. The name Mullah Mustapha barzani was a household name in Israel, and Israel sent many humanitarian and medical missions, mostly run by the IDF during the seventies. I suggest you look up Dr Michael Elkan at BGU Soroka medical center, he was in the mountains a number of times.
2. The parallel you draw between the Kurds and the Palestinians is entirely unfounded. a number of issues rankle. The Palestinians are not stateless, rather their state has been taken over by the Hashemite Dynasty, your typical Arab tyrant regime which has learned how to endear itself to Brits and Americans, but is nevertheless a brutal Shiekdom. As proof look for the demands Jerusalem be made the capital of Palestine prior to 1967, under Hashemite rule. There were none, because Jerusalem means nothing to the Palestinians, unless Israel holds sovereignty, and brutal sheikdoms do not allow rival tribes to establish a national Capital. As proof, when Yassir Arafat did try to establish a Palestinian entity where it belongs, the King brutally slayed hundreds if not thousands of Fatah members and their families, with Kissinger's blessing. Moreover the Palestinians are not a people in the way the Kurds are. There is no Palestinian language, no Palestinian culture prior to 1964, no history, no government, no currency, and virtually no presence in so-called Palestine prior to 1880. I suggest reading Rinaldi's book 1695, and Mark Twain "the innocents abroad", 1865, and Rob Roy on the Jordan, late 19th century. Arab presence in Palestine had been scanty until Jewish return to their ancestral heritage, as Ottoman census proves. In fact, if anyone is a Palestinian it is the Jews. My mother, my father, my wife's parents all carried a Palestinian ID because the only Palestinian Identity that ever existed was created by the British mandate 1922, which designated the West Bank of the Jordan as the Jewish National Home, assigning the East Bank to the Arabs
As a point of interest, the letter P does not exist in Arabic, so they cannot say the word Palestinian. Palestinian identity is a hoax produced by Soviet propagandists as part of the Cold War stratagem of Emerging Nations and anti-colonialism. Look up Farouk Kadoumy, and King Hussein of Jordan who freely admit as much. Kurds would be deeply insulted to learn their identity is a piece of propaganda invented by Soviet spy-masters.
Dear Michael. Your use of the Palestinian hoax actually undermines your argument concerning US policy vis-à-vis Kurdistan. Politically correct it is, factual it is not, and it would be far better if you dropped such outlandish parallels.

Yuval Brandstetter MD
The occupied West Bank, Beer Sheva
.

Posted by: yuval Brandstetter MD at October 18, 2007 02:34 AM

Shvan,

"[i]This would...stan[i]"

I see you are having problems with formatting your posts.

For ITALICS surround text with '<i>' and '</i>'

For BOLD surround text with '<b>' and '</b>'

You can use any combination/intersection/inclusion of those tags as well if you need.

Ex:
"BOLD+ITALIC" combined
"boLD And italic" intersected
"bold AND italic" bold included into italic.

PS. Just sharing. Please, do not take it as a snob.

Posted by: leo at October 18, 2007 05:29 AM

Yuval: As a point of interest, the letter P does not exist in Arabic, so they cannot say the word Palestinian.

Well, I'll be damned. Those sneaky bastards! It's bad enough to construct an artificial identity, but it takes a lot of chutzpah to give yourself a name you can't even say properly yourself.

I know what the next step is. Just like Prince (another word that can't be said in Arabic, by the way), the Palestinians are going to change their name to an unpronounceable symbol.

I wouldn't put it past them.

Posted by: Edgar at October 18, 2007 06:40 AM

We're not saying you're a pacifist. We're just saying you're only in favor of war when it's not against enemies of the US.

That can't be right, because that would make you a complete idiot. And you aren't a complete idiot, right?

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 18, 2007 07:11 AM

PS. Just sharing. Please, do not take it as a snob.

thanks leo, i appriciate that. I was going to ask but thanks for pointing it out.

Regards,
Shvan

Posted by: Shvan at October 18, 2007 07:20 AM

ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS???? ..The Turks are not pro-American, talk to your average Turk. Sure, they like your money, and your military alliances, but that's it, they don't like you.

Yes I am fucking serious and caps don't help your case.

I didn't say that the Turks are pro-American. I don't think all Turks are pro-American. If you'd like proof of that, note that I later compared them to the French.

Like France, Turkey doesn't agree with all of our policies. They're aggressive, often oppressive. They're allied with Israel, but often anti-Semitic. In many ways, they're equally nasty (ask the Rwandans or the folks in the Ivory Coast about how civilized the French can be). But they are both allies.

I said that the urban Turks that I talked to, and the urban Turks who wrote the newspapers that I read over there, understand the value of a secular government. They understand the value of the separation of church and state.

From conversations I had and from vocal protests I saw, it's pretty obvious that secular Turks are opposed to political Islamism in general. I doubt that they (unlike the American government) would want to support groups like the Chechen Islamists. On that point we'd agree. Otherwise, I don't expect every one of the millions of 'allies' we have out there to like me.

Posted by: mary at October 18, 2007 07:43 AM

We're just saying you're only in favor of war when it's not against enemies of the US.

The PKK terrorizes Kurds, Turks and anyone else who gets in their way. Are you saying that the PKK is not an enemy?

Posted by: mary at October 18, 2007 07:53 AM

DPU,

Come on, admit it. You're delighted when the U.S. gets a black eye and furious when it tries to defend itself from terrorism.

The thought of a democratic, prosperous Iraq makes you nauseous. The recent drop in attacks is giving you ulcers and making you lose sleep. You miss Saddam dearly, and think there were many positive elements to his rule.

You're a pacifist when it's time for the U.S. to attack someone. But when the U.S. is attacked, you become a militant hardliner--on the enemy's side.

(PS - If you get angry at this characterization that means you're being defensive - i.e. admitting it's completely true).

Posted by: Edgar at October 18, 2007 08:55 AM

Here I go to all the trouble of garroting kittens and puppies with the American flag, and Edgar leaves that out.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 18, 2007 09:03 AM

When DPU read Little Red Riding Hood he thought the little girl, as a human, was the true "aggressor" while the wolf was "misunderstood" and just doing what came naturally.

Posted by: Edgar at October 18, 2007 09:08 AM

-oops I should have mentioned that I was asking Gary Rosen this question..

[-The PKK terrorizes Kurds, Turks and anyone else who gets in their way. Are you saying that the PKK is not an enemy?]

Posted by: mary at October 18, 2007 09:38 AM

When DPU read Little Red Riding Hood he thought the little girl, as a human, was the true "aggressor" while the wolf was "misunderstood" and just doing what came naturally.

Dude. Little "Red" Ridinh Hood? C'mon, she's obviously representative of the innocent and oppressed proletariat, while the marauding and opportunistic wolf represents the predatory capitalist class.

All is put right, however, by the noble and strong woodsman, obviously a symbol for the vanguard of the working class, the communist party, swinging his mighty axe. Which is a symbol of, uh, hang on, the proletariat press? Pamphlets? Worker's council meetings?

Well, something communisty anyway.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 18, 2007 10:33 AM

DPU:
All is put right, however, by the noble and strong woodsman, obviously a symbol for the vanguard of the working class, the communist party, swinging his mighty axe. Which is a symbol of, uh, hang on, the proletariat press? Pamphlets? Worker's council meetings?

How about representing the glorious workers revolt against imperialistic capitalist repression?

Posted by: Kevin Schurig at October 18, 2007 01:34 PM

leo,

Thanks for posting the italics and bold.

Posted by: Kevin Schurig at October 18, 2007 01:35 PM

How about representing the glorious workers revolt against imperialistic capitalist repression?

You're thinking of Goldilocks.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 18, 2007 01:52 PM

You're thinking of Goldilocks.

No, that's Robin Hood. Goldilocks is feminist.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 18, 2007 02:18 PM

I , as an Iranian Kurd find Mike's Idea about Iranian Kurds very fair . In Iran just like Turky , Iraq and syria we kurds (like other non persians) have been brutality massacre .

Posted by: farid at October 18, 2007 03:31 PM

"That’s because Iranian territory is, in fact, what remains of the Persian Empire, which includes not only Persia but also Kurdistan, Western Azerbaijan, Balochistan, and the Arab region of Khuzestan. Iran, much like Iraq, is thus a nation state in name only. If Palestinians, Tibetans, and Chechens (to name just three examples) should have the right to self-determination, so should Kurds, Azeris, Balochis, and Iranian Arabs. True, there may be a case for the preservation of what’s left of the Persian Empire. But so long as Tehran is ruled by clerical tyrants, the case for American-supported Kurdish resistance may be the stronger one."

This is absurd. You as an American should realize the folly of equating ethnicity to nationalism. To think only Persians consider themselves Iranian is just plain wrong. The only thing that will happen with the US supporting fringe separatist elements in Iran will be the total collapse of any support for the US among the population and the deaths of many people in those respective communities.

Posted by: Nima at October 21, 2007 09:30 AM

Hi,

I kinda feel for Turkey. We wouldn't accept attacks coming from Mexico and Israel quite rightly didn't accept them coming from Hezbollah in Lebanon last summer.

If Iraqi Kurdistan is too week to dislodge the PKK iteslf, why not invite in the Turkish military to do the job, but only in the Northern mountains. Perhaps US troops could even parole a buffer area to make sure neither Turkish troops nor PKK militants seep into Kurdistan proper.

David

Posted by: David at October 21, 2007 11:42 AM

well i like to mention if anyone remembers when turkey invited Hamas on a state visit to turkey. so i ask, why does turkey speak to other terrorists but not the kurdish so-called ppk 'terrrorists'? why should the kurds be treated differently in turkey's eyes?

And turkey doesnt even recognise Hamas as a terrorist organisation but says that they are fighting for their rights. Hamas doesnt even recognise the state of israel, at least the ppk recognises turkey and wants to live ordinary turks but that its rights are also recognised.

there is also is call that the iraqi kurdistan government should deal with the pkk, which unfortunately we did in the past and saw no good. we even carried out the raids with turkeys might and to avail. The kurdish peshmerga and turkish army lost more lives than the pkk.

Why hasnt anyone asked why the pkk formed in the first place? it is because of the absolute poverty that kurds live in turkey and the little cultural rights they can exercise.

Just imagine, oppress a nation day by day, for years to come and if it wasnt for turkey to join EU, i dont think turkey would have ever granted some rights to kurds....so have you oppressed that nation enough....well if you have, you might have noticed a resistence coming from the people...in this case the pkk is born.

Posted by: rosh barzinji at October 23, 2007 06:53 AM

runescape money <a href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/runescape-

c-599.html">runescape gold runescape money <a

href="http://www.runescape2store.com">runescape gold wow power leveling <a

href="http://www.vgoldsupply.com">wow powerleveling Warcraft Power Leveling <a

href="http://www.vgoldsupply.com">Warcraft PowerLeveling buy

runescape gold buy runescape money <a

href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/runescape-c-599.html">runescape items <a href="http://www.runescapemoney-

runescapegold.cn">runescape gold runescape money <a

href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/runescape-runescape-accounts-c-599_988.html">runescape accounts <a

href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/runescape-c-599.html">runescape gp <a href="http://www.vgoldsupply.com/dofus-c-

1054.html">dofus kamas buy dofus kamas <a

href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/guild-wars-c-389.html">Guild Wars Gold <a href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/guild-wars-c

-389.html">buy Guild Wars Gold lotro gold <a

href="http://www.buylotrogold.org">buy lotro gold lotro gold <a

href="http://www.buy-lotro-gold.cn">buy lotro gold <a href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/lord-rings-onlineus-c-

975.html">lotro gold buy lotro gold <a

href="http://www.800millions.com">runescape money runescape power leveling <a

href="http://www.runescape2vip.cn">runescape money runescape gold <a

href="http://www.buydofuskamas.com">dofus kamas cheap runescape money <a

href="http://www.runescape4money.net">cheap runescape gold <a href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/hellgate-london-c-

1102.html">Hellgate Palladium Hellgate London

Palladium Hellgate money <a

href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/tabula-rasa-c-1107.html">Tabula Rasa gold <a href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/tabula-

rasa-c-1107.html">tabula rasa money lotro gold

buy lotro gold <a

href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/tabula-rasa-c-1107.html">Tabula Rasa Credit <a href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/tabula-

rasa-c-1107.html">Tabula Rasa Credits Hellgate gold

Hellgate London gold <a

href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/dofus-c-891.html">dofus kamas buy

dofus kamas 血管瘤 肝血管瘤 <a

href=http://www.nncbroadway.com>音乐剧 北京富码电视 富码

电视 富码电视台 7天酒店 <a

href=http://www.innhot.com/7daysinn>7天连锁酒店 7天连锁 <a

href=http://www.filt.cn>自清洗过滤器 过滤器 压力开关 <a

href=http://www.bf-rae.cn>压力传感器 流量开关 流量计 <a

href=http://www.bf-rae.cn>液位计 液位开关 温湿度记录仪

风速仪 可燃气体检测仪 <a href="http://www.wow-power-

leveling.net">wow power leveling wow powerleveling <a

href=http://"www.wow-power-leveling.net">Warcraft PowerLeveling Warcraft

Power Leveling World of Warcraft PowerLeveling <a href=http://"www.wow-

power-leveling.net">World of Warcraft Power Leveling runescape

power leveling runescape powerleveling
runescape money <a href="http://www.vgoldseller.com/runescape-

c-599.html">runescape gold wow power leveling 棕榈树


eve isk
eve online isk
eve isk
eve online isk

Posted by: runescape money at November 30, 2007 07:32 PM

Hey Michael fantastic job on your essay, very well written and constructed as always.

Some interesting points on this page, i'd like to add a couple.

As a Kurd myself, I "sympathize" for what they're going through and struggling for. I, however, do not approve of their methods used to reach their goals.

Turkey is doing limited operations against the PKK in Iraqi-Kurdistan, though I don't like it, I understand it, we simply don't have too much choice.

The Turks though, they DO have the choice to put an end to all of this.

Turkey needs to stop labeling every Kurd a "terrorist" when they ask for more rights. Michael your pictures of Turkish-Kurdistan proves without a doubt the brutal opression of the Kurds at the hands of the Turkish state.

Let's just review the Turkish treatment of it's Kurdish Citizens.....this is just the tip of the ice berg ladies and gentlemen.

1. Untill this very last election, there was no Kurdish parties in the Turkish parliament.

2. Speaking Kurdish is banned in public.

3. Kurds in Turkey get ONE hour of Kurdish broadcasting...per WEEK.

4. You cannot name your newly born kid a "Kurdish" name in Turkey.

5. Kurds were labeled "Mountain Turks" in the 1980's.

6. The word "Kurdistan" is officially banned in Turkey.

7. Thousands of villages have been eradicated and wiped from the map (see Michael's photo's)

8. Turkey's security apparatus have harassad the Southeastern Turkey since the Attaturk days, Kurdish woman being raped and subjected to all kinds of mistreatments is very common.

these are just the tip of the ice berg. Some of you guys and ladies make some very good points and offer very good solutions to the problem.....however, there is one huge problem some of you guys have missed (but i'm sure Michael is aware of) and that is Turk's attitude towards Kurds in general.

They hate anything "Kurdish". Their hate just goes beyond that, they're very RACIST towards the Kurdish people.

Let's for a moment say Turkey does put an end to the PKK (I personally highly doubted) with United States help. Do you think the real problem goes away? Do you think Turkey will actually treat it's Kurdish citizens as a first class Turkish citizen? Do you think Turks hatred of Kurdish just dissapears?

Everyone is forgetting one really, big, gigantic point in all of this mess. That very vital point is the SOURCE of the problem that created this mess in the first place.

Yes the PKK are well known for their terror tactics, but why did PKK took up arms? simple, because Kurds in Turkey don't have the basic, god given freedom or rights.

Everybody is concerned about the PKK and how it's causing the United States, Turkey and even the Kurds so much problem, well when the PKK is over and done with will the Turkish state step forward, admit it's errors and grant the Kurdish people it's rights? i'm not asking for a seperate homeland from Turkey, but Turkish Kurds getting their legitment rights WITHIN Turkey?

one can't clap with one hand, the problem is BOTH sides with the conflict aided by Turkish ignorance.

Will the world, and especially United States, stand up to the Turks and tell them......"OK....your PKK problem is over, we helped you and understood your cause, now its YOUR turn make sure those mistakes are not repeated"?

I personally think even if PKK is eradicated and defeated, the problem will still continue and another Turkish-Kurdish party will rise once again because Turkey will not do what is necessary to be done to make all this mess a mute point.

I'm from Kirkuk myself, I live in the States. I love this country just like the next guy, but United State knew what Turkey was doing in the 1980s and 1990's and didn't do squat about it. It was U.S. F-16's that destroyed thousands of Kurdish villages in Turkey.

United States likes to view herself as police of the world, the balancing power between good and evil, democracy preacher and protecter, if that's the case, United States has failed to stand up to Turkey and do something about it.

It's all politics....and that's it. And when it comes to politics and Kurds, we always get screwed at the end.

Our people have struggled for centuries against those barbaric powers in the middle east, but believe it, we will not give up untill the day a Kurdish flag is flown in United Nations.

We've sacrafised so much blood, no way we'll give up now and ride into the night quietly. Our time is not here yet, but it will one day.

Posted by: Shwani at December 24, 2007 08:46 PM

wow gold
wow gold
wow gold
wow gold
wow gold
wow gold
wow gold
World of Warcraft Gold
World of Warcraft Gold
wow power leveling
wow power leveling
wow power leveling
wow power leveling
wow power leveling
wow powerleveling
wow powerleveling
wow power leveling

wow power leveling
powerleveling
powerleveling
powerleveling
powerleveling
power leveling
power leveling
power leveling
power leveling
rolex replica
rolex
replica rolex
wow power leveling
wow power leveling
wow powerleveling
wow powerleveling
wow powerleveling
wow powerleveling
wow powerleveling
wow powerleveling
wow powerleveling
powerleveling
powerleveling
powerleveling
powerleveling
power leveling
power leveling
power leveling
power leveling

中高年 転職
アルバイト 求人情報
ブライダル
転職
競馬
FX
ダイエット
お見合い
競馬 予想
新築マンション
新築マンション
合宿免許
人材派遣
東京都 墓地
派遣会社
人材派遣
パチンコ 攻略
おなら

翻译公司
翻译公司
机票
性病
性病
尖锐湿疣
尖锐湿疣
蜗轮减速机
减速机
齿轮减速机
丝杆升降机
租房
租房
北京租房
北京租房
搬家公司
北京搬家
北京搬家公司
上海机票
上海机票
上海打折机票
上海打折机票
上海特价机票

上海特价机票
搬家公司
搬家公司
北京搬家公司
北京搬家公司
窃听器
窃听器
手机窃听器
手机窃听器
代孕
试管婴儿
捐卵
代孕
试管婴儿
试管婴儿
捐卵
捐卵
代孕
试管婴儿

Posted by: ccxvxcv at December 25, 2007 09:30 AM
Post a comment













Remember personal info?






Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Pajamas Media BlogRoll Member



Testimonials

"I'm flattered such an excellent writer links to my stuff"
Johann Hari
Author of God Save the Queen?

"Terrific"
Andrew Sullivan
Author of Virtually Normal

"Brisk, bracing, sharp and thoughtful"
James Lileks
Author of The Gallery of Regrettable Food

"A hard-headed liberal who thinks and writes superbly"
Roger L. Simon
Author of Director's Cut

"Lively, vivid, and smart"
James Howard Kunstler
Author of The Geography of Nowhere


Contact Me

Send email to michaeltotten001 at gmail dot com


News Feeds




toysforiraq.gif



Link to Michael J. Totten with the logo button

totten_button.jpg


Tip Jar





Essays

Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect

The Men Who Would Be Orwell
Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

Looking the World in the Eye
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

In the Eigth Circle of Thieves
E.L. Doctorow, The Nation

Against Rationalization
Christopher Hitchens, The Nation

The Wall
Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic

Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn