Showing posts with label Kurdistan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kurdistan. Show all posts

January 20, 2018

Turkey is now alone, thanks to its erratic alliances

    Saturday, January 20, 2018   No comments
by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*

This map, produced by pro-gov. Syrian group, hints
to Syria's claim over most of Hatay province, could explain
the strategy for dealing with Idlib.
There are historical and political reasons for Turkey’s determination to prevent the formation of an autonomous Kurdish region in Northern Syria. However, Turkey’s government might be nervous not just because of the Kurdish separatist aspirations, but also because of its long territorial dispute with the Syrian government, which considers most of Hatay province (Iskenderun) Syrian territory. Looking at the military strategy the Syria government has put in place since the start of its military campaign to regain lost territory, it would appear that the Syrian government wants to address its sovereignty claim over Iskenderun in the context of this armed conflict, in which Turkey has been deeply involved politically and militarily. Turkey, on the other hand, given its erratic decisions related to the Syrian crisis and given its fickle alliances, finds itself alone, abandoned by old allies, Saudi Arabia and the US, and untrusted by its new one, Russia and Iran.

October 1, 2017

A Kurdish referendum, now, is counterproductive

    Sunday, October 01, 2017   No comments
There is no doubt that the Kurdish people, like any other ethnic and linguistic community of their size, have a legitimate claim to self-determination. The Kurdish people in all five countries where they have a sizable population and in the diaspora, are more than 35 million people. Were they able to form a nation of their own right after the end of the colonial era, their country would have been the third most populous country in the region. But the powers to be did not allow that to happen. Their claim to nationhood still stands as a legitimate one.

September 7, 2017

“No Place for Assad” is not a Plan

    Thursday, September 07, 2017   No comments
Syrian troops who took part in Deir Ezzor battle against ISIL
The so-called Syrian opposition and their Arab and Western governments’ backers are responsible for the failure in realizing a political transition towards broader representative governance. Now that even the strongest armed militant groups are facing defeat, the possibility of seeing these various opposition groups and personalities exert any significant role in shaping the political future of Syria is non-existent.

April 27, 2017

What went wrong with Turkey’s referendum?

    Thursday, April 27, 2017   No comments
Ayla Gol*
Turkey has missed an historical opportunity to prove that liberal democracy could work in a Muslim country. On Sunday, the 16th of April, over 50 million people voted in a public referendum and approved a constitutional change leading to a stronger presidency with extended powers. The voters had two options in the ballot boxes for an executive presidency (Cumhurbaşkanlığı sistemi): Yes or No. Results released by the state-run Anadolu Agency were that 51.4% voted ‘yes’ to change Turkey’s political system from a parliamentarian democracy to a presidential one.

July 28, 2016

Could the Cessation of Hostilities help U.S. and Russia overcome their differences on Syria?

    Thursday, July 28, 2016   No comments


by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*
 
ISIL fighters
It is evident at this point that Syria’s war is not a civil war. It is a world war and now the two superpowers, the U.S. and Russia emerged out of the shadows of their regional allies to take charge. Early this year, the two countries reached an agreement called Cessation of Hostilities (CH), initially effecting select cities but open to be applied across Syria.  The Cessation of Hostilities is simply a bilateral understanding between the U.S. and Russia. It is not a peace accord nor is it an armistice. It is something in between necessitated by the complex map of groups fighting the Syrian government. This CH automatically excluded any and all groups labelled terrorists by the UNSC, including the self-proclaimed Islamic State and its offshoot, al-Nusra Front. In theory, any armed opposition group can be party to this deal provided its members--or a representative thereof--contact monitoring centers staffed by Russian personnel, since Americans are not authorized by the Syrian government to be on Syrian soil, overtly at least. The deal worked in bring some calm to some areas and gave many Syrians some hope.

May 26, 2016

Kurds One Hundred Years after Sykes-Picot

    Thursday, May 26, 2016   No comments
by Mohammad Ali Dastmali*

About one hundred years have passed since the conclusion of the Sykes-Picot Agreement and now neither Sykes is alive nor Picot.

Britain’s Sir Mark Sykes and France’s François Georges-Picot started a saga through conclusion of a short and apparently simple agreement, which later on affected the lives of many peoples and nations in the Middle East and became a turning point for determining the fate of Turks, Kurds, Arabs, Palestinians and other people in the Middle East.

October 14, 2015

Why is AKP - led Turkish government punishing Kurds and leftists for ISIL suicide crimes?

    Wednesday, October 14, 2015   No comments


When ISIL suicide bombers killed more than 32 people at a cultural center in Suruç, near Kobani, the AKP led government unleashed waves of airstrikes against PKK fighters in southern Turkey and northern Iraq, instead of launching punishing trikes against ISIL. When two suicide bombers targeted a peace coalition activists, mostly Kurds and leftists, killing more than 96 people, Prime Minister Davutoglu, blamed “the Islamic State, Kurdish militant factions, or far-leftist radicals.” 


Just one day after the attack, Turkish warplanes struck PKK targets in northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey, killing “some 30-35 PKK guerrillas on Sunday alone.” No reported strikes against ISIL. Which brings us to the obvious question: Why is the AKP government punishing Kurds for crimes committed by ISIL?

October 12, 2014

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ought to be tried for crimes against humanity

    Sunday, October 12, 2014   No comments



by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*
 
ISIL attacks Kobane
Earlier this month, Vice President Joe Biden angered some Middle Eastern leaders by making a true statement. Speaking at Harvard, Biden said that the U.S. allies were determined to overthrow Bashar al-Assad from power so they “poured hundreds of millions dollars, and tens thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against al-Assad, accepted the people who would be in supply for al-Nusra and al-Qaeda and extremist elements of jihadists coming from other parts of the world.” Known for his blunt statements, Biden flatly admitted that U.S. “biggest problem is our allies. Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks… the Saudis, the Emiratis, etc...”

October 1, 2013

Syria's Kurds, hopes and fears: The civil war in Syria has put great strains on the country's Kurdish population. The Syrian Kurds' most powerful politician, Saleh Muslim Mohammad, talks to Vicken Cheterian about their position and future

    Tuesday, October 01, 2013   No comments
by Vicken Cheterian*
Saleh Muslim Mohammad is the head of the Partiya Yekitiya Demokrat (Democratic Union Party / PYD) and the most powerful politician among the Syrian Kurds. The party - founded in 2003, and closely linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a longstanding armed campaign in the Kurdish-majority regions of eastern Turkey - itself has a well-disciplined fighting force of several thousands among the Kurds of northern Syria. During a recent visit to Geneva to meet international organisations, I ask him for his assessment of the Kurds' situation in light of Syria's evolving war.

August 28, 2013

Mass slaughter of civilian Kurds in Syria ignites heavy clashes and mass exodus

    Wednesday, August 28, 2013   No comments
by Rozh Ahmad*
 
Kurdish civilians escaping for their lives in Syria
The al-Qaeda linked “Jabhat al-Nusra” (al-Nusra Front) in Syria, has been held responsible for having instigated a sectarian racist war against civilian Kurds in Syria’s northern Kurdish region, the outcomes of which recently led to the massacre of hundreds of Kurdish women and children, “some of whom were raped and beheaded by jihadists”, says Syrian opposition officials, witnesses and victims.
Human rights activists in Syria’s Kurdish region have confirmed that 450 Kurdish civilians, “mostly women and children, were slaughtered indiscriminately inside their homes at the hands of jihadists of the al-Nusra Front in Tal Abyad, Tal Hassil and Tal A’ran areas of Syrian Kurdistan from July 28 – August 2, 2013.”

February 21, 2013

Between the Kurdistan and Syria crises lies Turkey’s moral and legal dilemma

    Thursday, February 21, 2013   No comments
by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*

Casualties of Syria's war
Turkey’s zero-problem with its neighbors foreign policy doctrine did not survive the Arab Spring test. At first, Turkey’s Justice and Development Party leaders took a cautious position regarding the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings. Their confliction was especially on display during the Libyan armed rebellion when Turkey, a member of NATO, refused to take part in the military action led by that organization. But all that caution disappeared when the Syrian uprising began in March 2011. The Turkish regime, represented by its foreign minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, effectively gave Assad, a leader of a sovereign nation, a fifteen-day grace period before Turkey went all out offering refuge, training, and support to Assad’s opponents. Perhaps they calculated that, given the success of the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, Assad, too, will quickly fall and this time Turkey should not be on the wrong side of history.

January 20, 2013

News: Attacks on Kurdish neighborhood in Ras al-Ain, Syria

    Sunday, January 20, 2013   No comments
According to activists affiliated with the Syrian Monitor of Human Rights and the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria, a number of armed groups crossed over from Turkey to attack Kurdish neighborhood in Ras al-Ain/Sere Kaniye in north Syria. The attackers were identified as the brigades of Ahrar al-Umma, Ahrar Gowayran, Mishaal Tamo, Ghoraba’ al-Sham, Ahfad al-Rasul, Abna Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas and other groups linked to the military council of the Free Syrian Army. More than 33 people had died in the past 48 hours.

The statement claimed that the armed groups also attacked and looted public buildings “which do not now represent the regime and which are the property of the people.” They forced most of the families in the city to flee, leaving their homes and properties which were looted by the above-mentioned brigades. The People’s Protection Units (YPG) are now arming themselves and digging tranches around the towns. According to other reports, more Islamist fighters crossed from Turkey with three operational tanks. They used the tanks to fire on civilians in the Kurdish areas.

In other news, a Syrian activist, Haythem Abdullah, who is affiliated with the Damascus Military Council claimed that a pilot refused to carry orders to bomb civilians, and instead, bombed positions of the regime's troops. This claim was not independently confirmed. 


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November 23, 2012

Top News Story: Turkey’s troubles are directly linked to the trouble of its neighbors

    Friday, November 23, 2012   No comments
Kurdish Fighters

Turkey found a formula for success, and then it lost it. When the Justice and Development Party took power in 2001, they promised economic growth at home founded on zero problems abroad. They were right in linking peace and stability in the region to economic development. That formula worked and it nearly brought them to ending the crisis with the Kurdish people.

All that promise of economic development and peace are now threatened. They are threatened because Turkey abandoned that formula and embraced war making instead of building peace. It is becoming clear that Turkey cannot go on labeling its Kurdish subjects terrorists and killing them while criticizing its neighbors for fighting what they call terrorists. This week, the contradiction was apparent.

Violence in the Turkish eastern region is on the rise. In addition to soldiers and Kurdish fighters clashes, on Thursday, a group (believed to be associated with Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)), broke into a school in the eastern province of Van and set fire to classrooms.

On the legal front, a Turkish court sentenced three members of the PKK to life in prison for their involvement in a 2007 attack on a military outpost in Dağlıca, Hakkari province.

On same day, speaking to journalists aboard his plane as he was returning from a visit to Pakistan, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that his government might take steps to make it possible for “terrorist” Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) members to take shelter in other countries on condition that they lay down their weapons. He stressed that “as long as weapons remain in the hands of the terrorists, they may be shot at… The moment the terrorists lay down weapons… [they] go to other countries.”

Kurdish Population Areas
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Syrian opposition fighters associated with the Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood attacked the Syrian Kurdish city of Raas Al-Ayn. When Kurdish Neighborhood Protection committees resisted, Turkey inserted its tanks and Special Forces to support fighters from Jabhat Alnusrah and Ghurabaa Alshaam. In response, Kurdish fighters from inside Turkey sent fighters to help their Kurdish brethren on the Syrian side.

In Iraq, the Iraqi army is threatening Kurdish militia and putting the Kurdish regional government under pressure for entering into oil export deals with Turkey. The Iraqi central government insists that border control and national resources management such as oil expert, fall under the jurisdiction of the central government alone, not the regional ones. Turkey is siding with the Kurdish regional government and that is adding fuel to sectarian tension in the region.

The deployment of Patriot missile systems along the Turkish-Syrian border brought Russian condemnation and military reaction. It was reported Friday that Russia is sending several battle ships to the Mediterranean Sea. All these developments are adding to tension in the region and creating a heavy social and economic cost to Turkey and its neighbors. In the end, the Syrian conflict and Turkey losing sight of the foundation for success might enable the Kurdish people to gain some of the rights.

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April 23, 2012

What is happening in Iraq?

    Monday, April 23, 2012   No comments


As soon as the last American fighting solder left Iraq, the government of Nouri al-Maliki hinted that it will work for reconfiguring the government from one that is coalition based to one that is majority based. He also encouraged some lawmakers affiliated with al-Iraqiyya to break away, some did. In the meantime, a court issued an arrest warrant against Tariq al-Hashimi, the Sunni Vice President, on charges of ordering over 150 terrorist attacks against civilian and military targets.


Al-Hashimi and his family are now under Turkish protection after escaping via Kurdistan>Qatar>Saudi Arabia. Allawi is also out of the country and refuses to return unless al-Maliki steps down. A Kurdish leader, Mas`ud al-Barazani visited the U.S. and Turkey in the last several weeks. On Monday April 23, al-Maliki started a two day visit to Iran.

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