Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 13, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

TURKEY AND THE KURDS....A couple of people have been bugging me recently to pay more attention to Turkey and the Kurds, and they have a point. The background is pretty straightforward: There are Kurds in northern Iraq and Kurds in southern Turkey (as well as Syria and Iran), and Kurdish nationalist parties have long believed that ethnic Kurds from these countries should break away and form an independent Kurdish nation. Needless to say, though, the Turks are not excited about losing a big chunk of their country.

Sporadic fighting has been going on for years, with Kurdish separatists/terrorists (depending on who you talk to) crossing over into Turkey and Turkey fighting them off. What's brought it to a more feverish pitch than usual lately is something I've written about once or twice before: an election coming up later this year in Kirkuk, an oil-rich city in northern Iraq, that will determine whether or not Kirkuk becomes part of Iraqi Kurdistan. Turkey has made noises in the past about preventing Kurds from controlling Kirkuk (because the region's oil wealth could help fund the separatist movement), and on Saturday Iraqi Kurdish Provincial President Massoud Barzani issued an unveiled warning:

Turkey is not allowed to intervene in the Kirkuk issue and if it does we will interfere in Diyarbakir's affairs and other cities in Turkey.

Against the backdrop of a major Turkish counterattack against Kurdish guerrillas operating in southeast Turkey, Turkey's prime minister shot back: "They should be very careful in their use of words...otherwise they will be crushed by those words." Then the Turkish army escalated the rhetoric further:

Turkey's army chief called Thursday for a military incursion into neighbouring northern Iraq to hunt down Turkish Kurd rebels based there, despite US objections.

...."If you ask me whether a cross-border operation is needed, yes it is needed," said Buyukanit, though he added that it would require parliamentary authorisation.

"If the armed forces are given this mission, they are strong enough to carry out such operations," he said.

More background here. The upshot? Who knows? The United States would like Turkey and the Iraqi Kurds to work together to rein in Kurdish guerrillas, but that's not especially likely. It's also possible that the Kirkuk election could be postponed, but it's not clear if that's possible or if it would do any good anyway. For now, it's just worth keeping in mind that Baghdad and the Sunni triangle aren't the only places in Iraq where open warfare is a distinct possibility. As Judah Grunstein put it, "File this one under 'Things That Haven't Gone Majorly Wrong In Iraq But Still Could'."

Kevin Drum 1:10 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (161)

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Comments

Pelosi!!

Posted by: This Machine Kills Fascists on April 13, 2007 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

So, let's see now, if the Turks want to cross the border to attack terrorists who have been striking in Turkey, and then the US would say, no, you can't do that, you can't just invade any country you think is supporting terrorism.

Yeah, that'll work.

Posted by: serial catowner on April 13, 2007 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

They don't call the place MESSOPOTAMIA for nothing!!!

Posted by: GOD on April 13, 2007 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

In Daniel Fromkin's "A Peace to End All Peace" there's some good background on how this came to be. According to him, in one of the draft maps that the Western Powers fooled with, before they drew the final boundaries of the former Ottoman Emptire, there was a "Kurdistan" but somehow it disappeared.

Oh, the wonderful legacies of ignorant imperialism! Nice to know we'll be contributing our share to future nightmares, isn't it?

Posted by: thersites on April 13, 2007 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

A modest proposal: Why can't the Kurds trade a country (or highly autonomous region) in Iraq for their direct claims to land in Turkey, Iran, and Syria? If Kurds in those areas really, really want to live in a Kurdish country, then then move. If they don't, they stay put.

It would seem like a reasonable trade-off, surely far more likely to happen, and with less bloodshed, than the options of taking over parts of existing countries. That option could also include losing everything, including what they currently have in Iraq which appears to be an autonomous or semi-autonomous country.

The only sticking point I see are claims from Sunni and Shiite areas to oil in Kurdish areas of Iraq. But surely that could be handled through payments of some kind?

I've never understood the Kurdish issue as a maximalist issue. The elements of a compromise seem easily at hand. And the alternative seems to be bloodshed.

Posted by: Fred on April 13, 2007 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

This is exactly why I believe that all those plans that have been floated to redeploy US troops to Iraqi Kurdistan are doomed to failure.

Posted by: Disputo on April 13, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

"the Turks are not excited about losing a big chunk of their country."

Who says it is their country?

Posted by: Fred on April 13, 2007 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

WHy is this a big deal. I support Kurd's claims of automony, and if the Kurds in Turkey want to be free, they should be.

If they have to fight a war for independance, so much the better. Sometimes you need to break something to make it better.

Posted by: egbert on April 13, 2007 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

A modest proposal: Why can't the Kurds trade a country (or highly autonomous region) in Iraq for their direct claims to land in Turkey, Iran, and Syria? If Kurds in those areas really, really want to live in a Kurdish country, then then move. If they don't, they stay put.

Ah, but that would require negotiating with Syria and Iran, which the Commander-in-Chief of the forces occupying Iraq has firmly rejected.

Posted by: Disputo on April 13, 2007 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Turkey's prime minister shot back: "They should be very careful in their use of words...otherwise they will be crushed by those words.""

I take this to mean Turkey has given up on the EU membership.

Posted by: Fred on April 13, 2007 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Fred,

If only it were that easy. The problem is that the Kurds in Turkey don't want just a Kurdish country, but they want that country to include the land they are living on.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on April 13, 2007 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK
Who says it is their country? posted by: Fred on April 13, 2007 at 1:49 PM

Who says it isn't?

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on April 13, 2007 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Who say's its their country.

Oh, a thousand years of Turkish-Kurdish rule and a Turkish army does.

I find it rich the ignorant posturing of Lefty whacking at European colonialism and boundaries. The linguistic nationalism of the Kurds is itself a European (once thought 'progressive' to use that ridiculous little phrase the American Left seems to have adopted of late) idea.

Historically, the Kurds were very much part of a Turko-Kurdish military elite, lording it over others (you may have heard of Salah ed-Dine, Saladin). Why no Kurdish state? Well, linguistic border drawing over newly drawn ethno-linguistic identities to serve the petty interests of warlords and tribal confederations looking to engage in political entrepreneurism and make a nice little state for their own corrupt exploitation isn't as pretty as wooley headed leftist "rights" community has thought.

See, for example, the Balkans.

As for the charmingly naive view proposed supra, Kurds moving, so charmingly and foolishly American. The Kurds in other areas like living where they are, they have traditional ties to those lands, and the rest of the world is not America, land of the footloose.

Most of humanity seems rather attached to ancestral lands (of the past several generations, be not fooled by claims of time immemorial) and don't much care to move.

Naivete.

Posted by: The Lounsbury on April 13, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Some Democratic politicians have talked about keeping US troops quasi-permanently in the Kurdish north; such protection is only likely to encourage the Kurds to be belligerent, and risk direct conflict between Turkish troops (equipped with modern NATO weaponry) and US troops.

Posted by: Joe Buck on April 13, 2007 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Turkey's army chief called Thursday for a military incursion into neighbouring northern Iraq to hunt down Turkish Kurd rebels based there, despite US objections.

We are turning the corner in Iraq!

Posted by: Random Mouthbreather on April 13, 2007 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Why can't the Kurds trade a country (or highly autonomous region) in Iraq for their direct claims to land in Turkey, Iran, and Syria?

The Kurds already have a country. We call it Northern Iraq. They call it Kurdistan. It's highly autonomous, safe, very prosperous and growing quite rapidly probably having doubled in population since 2002 and poised to double again by 2013.

The other 20M or so Kurds living in lands that have been Kurdish for centuries, but due to gross European incompetence, are under the domination of Kurks or Iranians but also under the impression it's still their land and they should have self-rule. Imagine that?

The problem for both Turkey and Iran is that Kurdistan has been very successful in building a prosperous society and if current trends hold will become quite powerful economically and militarily. Kurdistan will be for the Kurds what Israel is for the jews. So far the Kurds have been quite shrewd in focusing on maitaining 20% economic growth, secure borders and growing their population as quickly as possible.

They could not possibly defeat either Turkey or Iran but they can make the cost of invasion by either catastrophic.

Michaeltotten.com has a good view of Kurdistan on his blog.

Posted by: rdw on April 13, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Yancey,

Yep. Every ethnic conflict I can think of is a conflict over who owns/governs what land.

Posted by: Fred on April 13, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Where others see a never ending spiral of violence, we at DeathCorp see profits. Both sides need weapons that we sell. We are glad to accomodate. Since their main weaponry is heading towards suicide bombers, we are teaming with Lands End to come up with some tailored suits that hide the plastics explosives better and give a fit, trim appearance. No one wants to blow up looking fat.

Posted by: DeathCorp Intl. on April 13, 2007 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

I'll just be over here smugly pointing out that I have been absolutely right about this, too.

Oh - and Mosul, in Ninevah, is not the paradise someone upthread implied.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 13, 2007 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

that would require negotiating with Syria and Iran, which the Commander-in-Chief of the forces occupying Iraq has firmly rejected.

If talking created peace Bill Clinton would have 18 Nobel Pece prizes. Instead Assad, Arafat and every other middle eastern leader humiliated him. The reason there is that highly successful fence in Israel is negotiations require two parties. Slick Willie probably still hasn't figured that out.

Warren Christopher made how many trips to Syria? And got what? Arafat was the most frequent visitor to the oval office from 1993 to 2001. And for that the infatada, Sharon and fence. Is that what Bill was negotiating?

Check out the Reuters headline on German support FOR Star Wars. GWB negotiated with Poland and the Czech republic for a Star Wars installation in their countries. He did not consult with the EU, France or Germany. The key to negotiating is knowing when and with whom. The Germans understand the train is leaving the station and they're coming to grips with the obvious fact Reagan was correct and the entire liberal world was wrong. They've tasted irrelevency and they don't like it.

Posted by: rdw on April 13, 2007 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

This is nothing that a little Armenian-sized genocide on the Turk's part can't cure. They can always issue an apology later. Turkey is not to be messed with.

Posted by: DeathCorp Intl. on April 13, 2007 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

This is nothing that a little Armenian-sized genocide on the Turk's part can't cure. They can always issue an apology later.

What apology? The official stance of Turkey is that the Armenians killed themselves in order to make the Turks look bad.

Posted by: Disputo on April 13, 2007 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Ah more bloody semi-literate ahistorical idiocy.

They call it Kurdistan. It's highly autonomous, safe, very prosperous and growing quite rapidly probably having doubled in population since 2002 and poised to double again by 2013.

Give me a bloody fucking break.

It's comparatively safe and prosperous, but its largely fucking tribal and hardly very prosperous, whatever that monolingual dupe Totten pisses on about as he's laps up his spoonfed agitprop

The other 20M or so Kurds living in lands that have been Kurdish for centuries, but due to gross European incompetence, are under the domination of Kurks or Iranians but also under the impression it's still their land and they should have self-rule. Imagine that?

The idiocy of this sort of writing illustrates why people who fuck all about a situation should try not to come to conclusions based on what might be best characterised as "Nationalist Myth as History."

The lands that are majority Kurdish speaking presently have had plenty of back and forth flow of ethnicities over the past couple centuries (and rather inconveniently, some good portion of those lands the Kurds knocked out Armenians and others from - history being an ugly thing).

The entire concept of the ethno-linguistic nation state is fucking alien to the history of the area, and "European incompetence" has fuck all to do with the present situation - other insofar as the term covers the gullible lapping up of nationalistic agitprop pimped by the various rentier elites to justify themselves.

Creating nasty little land-locked ethnic enclaves has a rather sordid history of producing nasty little ethnic dictators - although the Tottens of the world, trundling about being fed agitprop by the English speaking and knowing fuck-all about the history do a wonderful job of parroting simple minded new mythologies such as "oppressed Kurds..."

Michaeltotten.com has a good view of Kurdistan on his blog.

Totten is a dupe. A dimwitted dupe at that.

Stupid whankers quoting him are also dupes.

The Lounsbury.

Posted by: The Lounsbury on April 13, 2007 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

I was wondering when Lounsbury's authoritarian anti-self-determination shoe was going to drop.

(Self-determination is just another one of those wooley-headed Euro-liberal ideas after-all....)

Didn't I see you drinking with Hitchens last weekend?

Posted by: Disputo on April 13, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK
The problem is that the Kurds in Turkey don't want just a Kurdish country, but they want that country to include the land they are living on.

Ditto, of course, with the Kurds in Syria and Iran, which is why Turkey, Syria, and Iran have held joint discussions on how to deal with the problems they might experience if the Kurds in general (perhaps spurred by an ascendant or, in the event of a breakup, independent Iraqi Kurdistan) get too active in their pursuit of their desired homeland.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 13, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Turkey and Curds? Sounds delicious.

Posted by: absent observer on April 13, 2007 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: "They've tasted irrelevency and they don't like it."

Your entire comment is the epitome of irrelevancy.

You know, sometimes you actually start out with a fairly lucid (albeit ignorant and stupid) comment, but within a sentence or two, it invariably morphs into another demented, disconnected, incoherent rant about the world-beating greatness of the Great Conservative Heroes Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, the evils of Europe and Jimmy Carter, the great Liberal Plot To Destroy Capitalism With The Kyoto Protocol, and other nonsensical right-wing drivel that aside from being idiotic, has nothing to do with the subject at hand.

I guess that inevitable descent into gibbering incoherence is the mark of a true Reagan Conservative.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 13, 2007 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

The Kurds certainly have a penchant for genocide where the Assyrian Christians are concerned.

I honestly wonder what the exact drug combination is that some among us are enjoying right now.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 13, 2007 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Self Determination.

What does it fucking mean in the end mate?

Nice little wooley headed idea - "oh the people should decide for themselves."

Abstraction, fine abstraction.

Operationally, in a tribal environement, where the Zaims run things, it means that nasty dictators and tribal/ethnic lords manipulate fine sounding abstractions to sell fools the idea that "The People" want "X" - usually a nice little ethnic enclave state that very nicely ends up being the fiefdom of the rentier elite. Ah, but culturally and spiritually pure, why just look at Turkmenbashi's great achievements.

Don't be such a dumb fucking dupe. Authoritarianism has nothing whatsofuckingever to do with the question.

It's a matter of not being a dupe, and prancing around with meaningless abstractions that do fuck all in real improvement for the lives of the ordinary Mohammed. (Nor falling for mythologized histories)

Posted by: The Lounsbury on April 13, 2007 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Now, now, "The Kurds certainly have a penchant for genocide where the Assyrian Christians are concerned." don't be up-ending the mythologization of the Good Kurds, Bad Turks & Bad Arabs...

Things are so nice when there are Black Hats and White Hats.

And these same bloody Leftists whack at the cretins in the Bush Administration, but have just about as much of a fucking clue.

Posted by: The Lounsbury on April 13, 2007 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Here's some more background from the Asia Times:

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/ID14Ak02.html
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/ID14Ak06.html

There is another dynamic going on that nobody has mentioned: the upcoming Tukish elections. Erdogan wants to be president and the Kurdish issue is important to Turkish voters. In general, the Turks strongly oppose any thought of an independent Kurdistan and very much fear PKK terrorism. The Turks already have a lot of troops on the border (200,000?) and there have been some skirmishes with the PKK. Erdogan will likely take some further military action against the PKK to improve his election chances.

As for Egbert wanting another war in the region, all I can say is "wow". The Turkish army against the Peshmerga would be quite the battle. I wouldn't wish it upon anyone.

Posted by: fostert on April 13, 2007 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

The Turkish military is a professional force and not to be sneered at. Open warfare between the Turks and the Peshmerga would leave the U.S. with it's tail in a crack, as two *allies* go at it with total decimation in mind for one another.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 13, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

don't be up-ending the mythologization of the Good Kurds, Bad Turks & Bad Arabs...Things are so nice when there are Black Hats and White Hats.

Yes, in that part of the world there are only victims and victimizers. It all depends on who has the power.

The tricky question is...which would you rather be?

Posted by: DeathCorp Intl. on April 13, 2007 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

It's good to see that Norm's puppeteer has decided to change socks.

Posted by: Disputo on April 13, 2007 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

The Turkish military is a professional force and not to be sneered at.

They are to be feared, indeed.

Posted by: DeathCorp Intl. on April 13, 2007 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Leave it to egbert and rdw to take a difficult situation and bring forth the views of the dumbass faction. Not even the lunkheads in the WH are treating this situation as lightly as you infer.

Diplomacy isn't something that you just try. It's something you do constantly. No more troops need to die in this conflict because of some nonsense about diplomacy being for wimps. Clinton had Arafat here 18 times? Bush should have had him another 18. Instead, he has given up on Israel-Palestine. That's heroic? That's weakness. Diplomats should be all over Turkey and Kurdistan talking this down, at least until Iraq can really exist. Will that happen? Of course not.

Posted by: yocoolz on April 13, 2007 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

"The Turkish military is a professional force and not to be sneered at."

Very true, they are US-trained and conduct military practice operations with NATO and Israel. Their equipment is close to state of the art and mostly made by the US, with some Chinese and Israeli weapons as well. They could kick Europe's ass if they wanted to.

Posted by: fostert on April 13, 2007 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

They could kick Europe's ass if they wanted to.

They'd never make it past Vienna....

Posted by: Disputo on April 13, 2007 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

They would never get past the Vienna Boys Choir.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 13, 2007 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

The Lounsbury:

(you rock-jawed realist, you)

Who exactly are these Kurd-loving liberals and leftists you're hacking on?

I checked upthread and found only three posters taking the "Good Kurd" position:

Yancey Ward - regular rightwing contributor.

rdw - SecularAnimist summed him up nicely here.

egbert - possibly more stupid than George Bush.

You're steely-eyed grit might be more compelling if maybe you linked to some woolly-heads for us.

Posted by: skeg on April 13, 2007 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

skeg - virtually anyone proposing a partition is barking mad and courting disaster. And an element of every proposal for partition is a desire to protect the Kurds. Who have really done bloody little to deserve the devotion that has been heaped on them, simply by virtue of the fact Saddam Hussein treated them in an especially ruthless manner. Of course, they were engaging in tit-for-tat to the best of their abilities.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 13, 2007 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

The Kurds are the movers and shakers of that part of the world, natural born capitalists. YOu go to that part of the world and you can find them wheeling and dealing, making deals and building businesses. It is a gem and given its powerful turbines of economic growth will soon be propelling forth the whole region, sucking in immigrants and leaving the repressive, socialistic nations like Syria and Iran in the dust.

The success story is one part Kurdish knowhow and can-doitiveness, and one part American ingenuity. Rather than succuming to pressure and building a new vast government beuracracy, Bremer pushed the government out of the way to allow the markets to allocate based on prices. The results in Krudistan have been stunning. Kurdistan will be soon known as the Tiger of the Middle East.

This is what George W. Bush has in mind when he talks about the new Middle East.

Posted by: egbert on April 13, 2007 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if this planet/humanity will ever get to the point where a people don't really require a homeland, i.e., a bunch of dirt they can call their own.

Posted by: DeathCorp Intl. on April 13, 2007 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

I know this is tasteless, but the title of this post keeps making me sing "Turkey in the Straw."

Posted by: shortstop on April 13, 2007 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Well, perhaps I am not a connoisseur of the commentariat here. Whanking all around. The only person who seems to have decent idea of the situ is the Blue Girl, Red State.

Posted by: The Lounsbury on April 13, 2007 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

GOD >"They don't call the place MESSOPOTAMIA for nothing!!!"

And dude, it`s ALL your fault !

"Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it." - Mark Twain

Posted by: daCascadian on April 13, 2007 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK
Who says it is their country? Fred at 1:49 PM
My land is where my people are buried: Chief Joseph.
…Kurdistan will be for the Kurds…rightist dim wit at 2:06 PM
M-a-i-n-t-a-i-n-i-n-g Let's see, Israel is Palestine, so 'Kurdistan' must be Turkey. Yeah, that'll work. Economic growth? One word: oil. Secure border? not on this planet. The desperation of wingers to create a positive of the Iraq fiasco leads them to ignore the even greater threats to regional stability due to Bush. Posted by: Mike on April 13, 2007 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

BGRS (aka G.C.) >"They would never get past the Vienna Boys Choir."

ROFLMAO

Any more like you at home ?

"As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities." - Voltaire

Posted by: daCascadian on April 13, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

I presume this is parody:
The Kurds are the movers and shakers of that part of the world, natural born capitalists.

No, actually they're more known as warlords and farmers.

YOu go to that part of the world and you can find them wheeling and dealing, making deals and building businesses.

Queer, I find Armenians, Assyrians, Arabs, etc. also doing the same.

But what do I know, I only work on financing them, not mythologising them for ideological self-fellating.

It is a gem and given its powerful turbines of economic growth will soon be propelling forth the whole region, sucking in immigrants and leaving the repressive, socialistic nations like Syria and Iran in the dust.

This is sad and delusional.

It's a bloody land-locked little fiefdom with limited resources and capital, no natural routes for trade that do not pass through hostile and actually dangerous territory, and worse, it's run by feudal lords, who may soon get a chance at engaging in oil feudalism a la the Gulf, or perhaps more like Libya and Algeria.

None of these items are going to produce the little Dubai fantasy you've woven, you drooling git.

Even as a joke, a self-parody to tweak the whinging Leftists, this is harmful.

But then the Right Bolsheviks have drunk deeply from the same sort of cups of self-delusion and ideological self-fellating. Contemptible morons.

Posted by: The Lounsbury on April 13, 2007 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Totten is a dupe. A dimwitted dupe at that.

Not at all. and he has the pictures and video to prove it. Kurdistan is so propserous even the folks from 60 minutes had to do a positive story a month back.

In Tottens words Kurdistan is like Utah. There are nice houses, shopping malls, developments and building cranes everywhere. He took pictures and posted them.

We also know the region is quite safe with very little crime and zero terrorism. Many Iraqi's go to Kurdsistan on vacation to get away from the violence. Turkey won't be invading. The cost would be far too high.

Posted by: rdw on April 13, 2007 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton had Arafat here 18 times? Bush should have had him another 18. Instead, he has given up on Israel-Palestine.

Arafat was a fraud from day one as Thomas L Freidman will attest and GWB handled him perfectly. At the end he needed Sharons permission to take a dump. Can you imagine what i was like to have 150 men in that compound for so long without water for sewage?

Thanks to GWB and Clinton we now have the fence. Israel is averaging over 6% GDP growth and is the safest it's been since before 1992. The fence is in and it's permanent. Palestine is a disaster.
Every year Israel grows more prosperous and powerful and Palestine poorer and more backwords. Someday they'll figure it out and renounce terrorism but until then NO ONE will let them in.

The Fence will be one of GWBs top acheivements.

Posted by: rdw on April 13, 2007 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK
Kurdistan is so prosperous… rightist dim wit at 3:25 PM

Life in Kurdistan
…Corruption is booming in Kurdistan, and huge sums of money are either embezzeled or invested in dubious miniprojects that are never finished , without any obvious real change in the lliving standards of people in Kurdistan or in the appearance of major Kurdish cities.
The other piece of news was a new tragic terror attack in Hawler on 20 June 2005, when a suicide bomber detonated himself in the middle of the training ground of Hawler traffic police,…

Posted by: Mike on April 13, 2007 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the kind words Lounsbury, but my parents get the credit. I was expected to learn something about the history of the land and the people who hosted us, and show some respect. Had we ever been guilty of "Ugly American" behavior (and many base-brats were) my mother would have made a Singapore caning look pleasant, I'm sure, although I was never foolish enough to press her.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 13, 2007 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: "Many Iraqi's go to Kurdsistan on vacation to get away from the violence."

There's a word for "Iraqis who go on vacation to get away from the violence".

The word is "refugees".

There's a word for you, too.

The word is "idiot".

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 13, 2007 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

rdw wrote: "They've tasted irrelevency and they don't like it."

SA

GWB negotiated with Poland and the Czech republic for Star War sites in Europe without saying a word to the EU elites in Brussels, the French or the Germans. That is the definition of irrelevency.

Our Japanese partners are major contributers to Star Wars research,development, testing and deployment contributing money and manpower. There is no one from France or Germany involved in any phase of the project. That's the definition of irrelevency.

Posted by: rdw on April 13, 2007 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

The word is "refugees

Wrong. It's not easy for non-Kurds to immigrate. They go for vacation. Kurdistan is a beautiful country with many pristine lakes and an open economy developing a tourism industry. Obviously the safety factor is critical.

There are very few refugees from Iraq. Where wojld they go, Sunny Syria?

Posted by: rdw on April 13, 2007 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK


"Not at all. and he has the pictures and video to prove it."

Ah brilliant. Pictures.

I've got 20 million USD flowing out that says Totten is a gullible dupe, and you're one as well.

Posted by: The Lounsbury on April 13, 2007 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK
…….Every year Israel grows more prosperous and powerful and … …rightist dim wit at 3:31 PM
P-e-a-c-e, i-r-r-e-l-e-v-a-n-c-y, b-a-c-k-w-a-r-d-s, a-c-h-i-e-v-e-m-e-n-t-s The situation of Palestinians is due to oppression by the Israelis supported by the US. It is should be a disgrace to the civilized world as you are a disgrace to rational people.
GWB negotiated … rightist dim wit at 3:37 PM
c-o-n-t-r-i-b-u-to-r-s Star wars is Rayguns $100 billion dollar boondoggle and Bush only 'negotiates' with
…There are very few refugees from Iraq…rightist dim wit at 3:41 PM
w-o-u-l-d There are 2 million Iraq refugees in Syria, Jordan and other neighboring countries and almost 2 million displaced in Iraq, dumbass. Posted by: Mike on April 13, 2007 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Not pointed out so far in this thread is that there are populations who claim Turkish heritage living in northern Iraq. The Turks WOULD go to war to protect their kinsmen. This adds another layer of complexity. I know the Turks pretty well after having lived there for almost ten years (in the 70's). They are very serious about the Kurdish issue - make no mistake. It's not just Kirkuk and the oil.

Posted by: ExBrit on April 13, 2007 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

There are very few refugees from Iraq.

Oh. My. God. The ICRC report just released on Wednesday points up the fact of 2 million internal refugees and two million more who have fled the country entirely.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 13, 2007 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Corruption is booming in Kurdistan, and huge sums of money are either embezzeled or invested in dubious miniprojects that are never finished , without any obvious real change in the lliving standards of people in Kurdistan or in the appearance of major Kurdish cities

Corruption is a fact of life outside the USA. It's booming because everything is booming. You really need to visit Michaelttten.com to look at the pictures. The place IS booming. You can see for yourself.

That's the problem for libs. The net has video and search engines making it so easy to bypass the MSM script. They never cover Kurdistan because they're doing so well. Yet we still find out.

The Turks will not invade. The price would be daunting. Next year it'll be even worse and worse yet the next year. .

Posted by: rdw on April 13, 2007 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Man, rdw is better than Tolkien when it comes to fantasy. You'd have to go to Powerline to get any more delusional -- which, of course, rdw admits he does.

Posted by: Gregory on April 13, 2007 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

Where wojld they go, Sunny Syria?

Yes. And Jordan.

This has been our first edition of simple answers to obtuse questions.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 13, 2007 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

DeathCorp Intl. >"I wonder if this planet/humanity will ever get to the point where a people don't really require a homeland, i.e., a bunch of dirt they can call their own."

That is really THE issue isn`t it.

What we are experiencing these daze is the breakdown of the Treaty of Westphalia & the agreed assumption that only "legally" constituted nation-states have the "right" to the use of organized violence. Our technology has moved beyond those narrow lines and have led us to a perpetual State of Fear (see MAD, The End Times etc).

So the question is "What Now ?"

We are all being held hostage on our spaceship by a relatively small group of looney, mentally unbalanced humans that are only concerned with their EGO.

So "What Now ?"

The old ways no longer work and "Us vs Them" (of any kind) is a guaranteed path to extermination for ALL of us (crew & systems of our spaceship). Check out John Robb for where all of this is likely headed if some of us don`t make some changes SOON.

Time for a new perspective, a new way which is inclusive of all and has no externalities (in other words based on reality; the laws of biology, chemistry & physics). Everyone has a place & a voice.

NO EXCEPTIONS

Nation States are soooooo 19th century.

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." – Buckminster Fuller

Posted by: daCascadian on April 13, 2007 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

…Corruption is booming in Kurdistan, and huge sums of money are either embezzeled or invested in dubious miniprojects that are never finished , without any obvious real change in the living standards of people in Kurdistan or in the appearance of major Kurdish cities. (other deleted)
Posted by: Mike

Mike, did you see this other post by the same author? Live by the quote, die by the quote...

I thought that this indifference was unique only for Kurds, but after 40 years of misery under different dictators and in a stroke of turn of events, the American administration decided to free the peoples of Iraq from the ruthless regime of Saddam Hussein, who spared no section of Iraqi society from his tyranny and barbaric regime( although the Kurds and Shiites had the lion share of it!), the world this time decided not only to ignore Kurds but all the people of Iraq and they all turned out to be Anti-Americans and Anti-Iraqis supporting every act of sabotage and murder committed against innocent Iraqi civilians since the liberation of Iraq in April 2003. It`s astonishing that not only the neighbouring countries of Iraq like Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey are complascent about the daily carnage in Iraq, but almost the entire socalled Islamic world, all the media, governments and public opinion of westren Europe and the Democratic party supporters of USA, are almost sadistically enjoying it and blame the United States for caring to intervene against ruthless dictators, and relentlessly urging them to leave Iraq as soon as possible and let Iraqis die in their thousands without any support and deliver Iraq as a gift to the radical terrorists of the world. So I can say now That not only Kurds have only mountains as their friends but all the peoples of Iraq have only the mountains, the marshes and the palm groves as their friends. Dr Nazhad Khasraw Hawramany Switzerland
Posted by: DeathCorp Intl. on April 13, 2007 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone else see the very Iraq like shape of Kurdistan? It's just in the wrong place. If we can just move Kurdistan 200 miles due south I think we could resolve the Turkish dispute and our Iraq mess in one fell swoop. Brilliant!

Posted by: Patrick on April 13, 2007 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

A long time ago I tried to post, but failed, a link to the newly-found map TE Lawrence made for dividing up Mesopotamia and other parts of the Ottoman Empire. It was for a Kurdistan, Shiastan and Sunnistan, but Sunnistan included Syria.

I went on to suggest that we should give the whole of now Iraq back to the Turks, with the three pieces part of a United States of Ottoman/Omayyed or whatever they choose. The turks would lash the other back into behaving reasonably, in their own territories, there would be a chunk of land about the same size as Iran and Sa'udi as a balance weight, which would especially keep Iran in line, and Europe would not havr to go on dancing while the Turks wanted in!

With an expanded Kurdish piece in a self-governing federation, the Kurds and Turks would get on with each other a lot better.

Posted by: maunga on April 13, 2007 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, I forgot...... a dude called Sir Arnold Wilson wrote a very detailed report in 1920s explaining why it had been a terrible idea to create a territory containing Kurds/sunni, Sunni/Sunni and Shi'a, that it never had worked and never would work.

Shame Dumbya and his lads cannot read, isn't it.

Posted by: maunga on April 13, 2007 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

ideological self-fellating.

Don't I wish.

Posted by: beavis on April 13, 2007 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

The situation of Palestinians is due to oppression by the Israelis supported by the US

No, it's due to arab incompetence combined with liberal incompetence. You can't deal with terrorists. Arafat is just one in a long line of failures.

The reason Israeli per capita income is > $25K and Palestinians

Here's the facts. Israeli is growing > 6% per year. In 5 years that $25K will be $34K. That's a 34% increase. The Palestinians are in the middle of a civil war with mob rule. They'll still be less than $800.

Last month the US announced an upgrade to the predator drone shared with Israel. It's less than 10% larger but with 50% more power and load capability. That's a dramatic increase in firepower and electronic capabilities. Of course the electroni used in spying and targeting is always getting more powerful.

As Israel becomes substantially wealthier, rather quickly, they are also becooming more powerful rather quickly. The beauty of the fence is this increased capability makes them more lethal to terrorists yet safer begind the fence. It's another step in war becoming a video game.

When you put these facts and many others you can see just how disasterous it was for the Europeans and Clinton to support Arafat so strongly for so long. Now the Palestinains are condemmed to generations of misery because the current leadership was raised on terror, they've trained t heir kids to be terrorist and nothing else, yet they can't possibly succeed. Unless of course they use it in Europe.

Posted by: rdw on April 13, 2007 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK
The Turks will not invade…. .rightist dim wit at 3:46 PM
So also said Constantine XI, Constantine Palaeologus
Iraq have only the mountains, the marshes and the palm groves as their friends. Dr Nazhad Khasraw Hawramany Switzerland DeathCorp Intl. at 3:51 PM
True, isn't it? I hear the Saudis are funding Sunni groups, but where is support for peace and security? Posted by: Mike on April 13, 2007 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: "Kurdistan will be for the Kurds what Israel is for the jews."

That program on 60 Minutes sure suggested it strongly. They seem to have gone beyond violence and embraced progress. If they are smart, they will maneuver their way through the landmines around them. Good luck to them.

Posted by: Bob M on April 13, 2007 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

rdw --- drivel about Israel as ever.

the facts are that Palestine belongs to the Palestinians, not to a bunch of immigrants, most, nowadays, Russian thugs.

Let's have our trillions back Tomorrow, and give our economic colony no more money, and watch the economy tank.

Freeze their balances until they have fully complied with everty single UN Resolution we have helped them thumb their noses at...... watch the per capita income drop like a rock.

Remember rdw, there is no historic basis WHATSOEVER for the existence of Israel; it is a complete con, the OT being a work of fiction written about 630BC. Source? Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University; read all about it!

Anyway, this is supposed to be about Turkey and Kurds, so let's stick to the topic.

Posted by: maunga on April 13, 2007 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

But rdw, your facts go against you on the Palestinians. Israel is getting wealthier, OK. The Palestinians are getting poorer, OK. Who then has more to lose? It is a prob-lem. Problems need solutions. (Sorry. Don't have one.)

Posted by: Bob M on April 13, 2007 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

rdw admits he does.

And National Review and Instapundit and Timblair amd markSteyn and realclearpolitics and townhall.

I also of course watch Brit Hume and will listen to Bill Bennett, Michael medved and of course the great Rush Limbuagh. Soon I might add Dennis Miller.

You've got to give the boys at powerline some credit. They didn't discover the Dan Rather hoax but they sure popularized it. Some would say they got GWB his 2nd term and Dan Rather fired in disgrace.

Who will replace Imus? Where are Tim Russert, Chris Matthews, Howard Fineman and the other liberal activist going to go for airtime. Bennett has passed him in market share anyway.

It must just rub your ass conservatives have made such great use of the internet. Search engines are the best. The MSM has been caught in so mamy frauds it's increible.

As bad as Dan Rather was he wasn't the worst. The worst was Xmas in Cambodia. How is it possible he told that same dumb story for 20 years and not one MSM reporter could figure out Nixon wasn't President Xams of 1968 as kerry claimed? How could they miss something so obvious for so long?

Posted by: rdw on April 13, 2007 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK
…When you put these facts …rightist dim wit at 4:00 PM
d-i-s-a-s-t-r-o-u-s-, P-a-l-e-s-t-I-n-I-a-n-s, c-o-n-d-e-m-n-e-d When did you ever even recognize a 'fact?' Israel was founded in blood by terror and ethnic cleansing and was always better financed and armed than the people displaced. Without American military and financial support it would be a failed state. The fence is nothing more than another land grab built on occupied territory illegally. Another thread jacked by a winger loon Posted by: Mike on April 13, 2007 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

My dear Blue - Red girl:
Yes. And Jordan. This has been our first edition of simple answers to obtuse questions.

I presume actually merely baiting actually - but the numbers speak for themselves, in the millions.

Bloody rent went bonkers in Amman after the Americans started blundering about.

But as to maunga's suggestion, the Turks in general are very glad to be rid of the headaches. Anatolia is a nice, generally well-watered place, and reasonably manageable.

As to "Death Corp
I thought that this indifference was unique only for Kurds, but after 40 years of misery under different dictators and in a stroke of turn of events, .... That not only Kurds have only mountains as their friends but all the peoples of Iraq have only the mountains, the marshes and the palm groves as their friends. Dr Nazhad Khasraw Hawramany Switzerland

As a matter of act, sadly the entire Islamic world is not indifferent. Rather the carnage one sees on the ArabSats has fed into volunteers for the jihad against the alien occupiers. Were travel easier and funding easier, one would see more.

Khasraw is, it would seem to me, your typical secular intellectual. Blind to certain responses that he doesn't want to see.

But the issue of corruption in Kurdistan is very real.

Not that this is surprising. Anyone who's done business in emerging markets would be able to predict that the mythologized renditions a la the cretin Totten (whose linguistic illiteracy is only matched by the facileness of his commentary and general gullibility) are far off-base. The business & economic drivers for economic growth in the area just are not there. Further, of course, given that the actual political structure is tribal/clannish, and based on enclave ethnic nationalism, one can conclude from the start that rent-extracting Emirs (Talabani et al) will be skimming - all dressed up in fine words to dupe monolinguals like Totten who lap up anything anyone English speaking tells them.

I believe I cited on my own bloggy the fine experience I had working on a Kurdistan investment that my people pulled out of, after a bit of due diligence - nice that I actually speak the languages and don't have to lap up what the Talabanis spin for me - showed that the social housing development was actually an expropriation for the peshmerga. Classic siezure and development for the Security Forces / Clients of the Rentiers. Reminded me of Algeria come to think of it.

Dupes, all around dupes.
The Lounsbiury.

Posted by: The Lounsbury on April 13, 2007 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

watch the per capita income drop like a rock.

No chance. This is a highly diversified, technically advanced economy which in fact benefitted much from 9/11 due to the surge in demand for their security expertise and equipment. Israel is also a technical partner on Star Wars with a great deal of technology sharing.

The fence was an economic disaster for Palestine because they are not capable of generating jobs and now cannot get into Israel easily. Israel is so well diversified they were able to substitute foreign labor where necessary and export work to India, Poland, etc. to further ensure domestic safety and build deeper trade partnerships which we know leads to stronger diplomatic relations.

The good news is Palestinain incomes can't really drop. It's mostly welfare anyway. one of the oddest but typical events when Israel moved out ofthe settlements in Gaza was the Palestinain destroying everything including the entire infrastructure of a large and prosperous flower business. The dumb bastards lost > 300 jobs.

Posted by: rdw on April 13, 2007 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Well, linguistic border drawing over newly drawn ethno-linguistic identities to serve the petty interests of warlords and tribal confederations looking to engage in political entrepreneurism and make a nice little state for their own corrupt exploitation isn't as pretty as wooley headed leftist "rights" community has thought.

Nobody who writes a sentence like that should be prancing around this thread acting superior.

This is a comment thread. None of us are pretending to be experts. We come here to learn a little, see what others are thinking, find out what the news media isn't telling us. If we are lucky, a Jane or Jose Regular will surprise us with a genuine insight or someone with expertise will calmly explain what the rest of us are missing.

The narcissistic Lounsbury arrives with sneering grandiosity making blunderbuss assertions while offering nothing by way of enlightenment. He violates the unspoken premise I outlined above - just like any common troll.

W[h]anker, indeed.

Posted by: skeg on April 13, 2007 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

The Lounsbury >"...Dupes, all around dupes..."

Ah, yes you are. Solidly as you yourself admit in these postings.

Your pontification supporting corrupt financial systems built on extortion and greed sums up your ignorance in a nice tight package.

How does it feel to be a reality denying 19th Century colonial ?

Amazing the lack of learning capacity in those that know better.

“The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

Posted by: daCascadian on April 13, 2007 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

rdw: "Corruption is a fact of life outside the USA."

You must've been sleeping for the Republican-controlled Congress. Cunningham? Abramoff? DeLay? Ney? Apparently nobody told you about the Libby verdict, either. I suppose I'm just piling on if I mention the Attorney General, or the Department of Education.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on April 13, 2007 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

It is a prob-lem. Problems need solutions

It certainly is for Palestinians. They can't even manage a modern sewage system. Israel however is dramatically safer now than when Clinton left office as well as prosperous. The solution is very obvious. Renounce and punish terrorism. It's not hard. The folks in the West Bank and GAza were dramatically better off before Oslo and Clintons failed peace talks at Camp David. Bill was a disaster for them.

They're either going to renouce terrorism or not. As long as it's not its what you see is what you get. Israel is booming. It's not an Israeli problem.

Posted by: rdw on April 13, 2007 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

Corruption is a fact of life.

Fixed it for ya.

Molly Ivins had it right. You battle corruption with reform. Then you re-reform. I, like Molly before me, believe in perpetual reform.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 13, 2007 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

There's no use arguing with rdw. He started out as just another weak-minded, ignorant dittohead dupe, and now suffers from irreversible brain damage from constant exposure to Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and other right-wing extremist propaganda outlets.

That's why his comments always begin with repetitive, rote recitation of the scripted talking points that they spoon-feed him, and from there degenerate into blithering incoherence, bouncing around disconnectedly from one right-wing idiocy to another.

His brain is fried.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 13, 2007 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't Castro coin the idea of the perpetual revolution?

Posted by: Disputo on April 13, 2007 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

If they are smart, they will maneuver their way through the landmines around them.

They've been very smart in a very dangerous world. They understand they need continued economic growth and immigration to compete for security in that part of the world. Time is on their side. The longer they stay on track the less likely their enemies can threaten them. They will be strong allies of Israel for obvious reasons. They need Israeli technology and methods and israel needs markets and friends.

Posted by: rdw on April 13, 2007 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

They're either going to renouce terrorism or not

I presume you mean the Bush administration? Are they going to stop funding al Qaeda offshoot Jundallah?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 13, 2007 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Secular, what you describe is SCAMD, or Socially Conservative Authoritarian Mental Disorder.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 13, 2007 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

'The region is a minefield of historical Pandora's boxes filled with over a thousand years worth of gripes, complaints, insults, offenses- real and imagined - and title reports written on stone, parchment, paper and computers -- none of which agree with the others, but all of which claim ownership to the same pieces of blood-soaked sand.' - Stephen Pizzo - http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/4561

Posted by: MsNThrope on April 13, 2007 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

The fence is nothing more than another land grab built on occupied territory illegally

The Fence was brilliant tactical and strategic politics as well as militarily shrewd. The separation of the populace will have terrific longer term political advantages. The Palestinains inside Israel are already the freest, best educated, most liberated, wealthiest Arabs in the world.

Quite obviously the gap between the Israeli Palestinains and the West Bank Palestinains will grow exponentially. They will in effect become separate and very different societies.

The 34% increase in GDP is only after 5 years. Another 5 years of compounding brings it to 80%. That's just stunning. That 2006 per capital income > $25K will be > $45K in 2016. A Palestinian inside Israel will be making 50x's his cousin in the West bank with a considerably longer life expectancy. That's obscene yet liberals still support Palestine.

The fence has been nothing short of monumentally sucessful. Israel is safe and the differences between the two societies is incredibly stark.

Posted by: rdw on April 13, 2007 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK
Didn't Castro coin the idea of the perpetual revolution?

No, the "permanent revolution", at least in the Marxist context, was conceived of by Marx and Engels, and notably extended and revised by Trotsky.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 13, 2007 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, I think rdw might be Kristol, Finkelstein A., Ledeen or even Scooter Baby; he is certainly daft enough, and sufficiently "economical with the truth" enough.

Lounsbury --- when were you there? Are you stateside now?

Posted by: maunga on April 13, 2007 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl, Red State wrote: "what you describe is SCAMD, or Socially Conservative Authoritarian Mental Disorder."

In rdw's case it is more like advanced senile dementia, perhaps complicated by a sort of bipolar disorder (or maybe just episodes of excessive caffeine and sugar consumption).

Authoritarian social conservatives, whatever else may be said of them, are certainly capable of addressing a given topic in a coherent and lucid way. They are not necessarily prone to incoherent, disconnected, delusional ranting and an inability to stay focused on any one topic for more than a sentence before they trail off into compulsive, repetitive fixation on a string of irrelevancies.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 13, 2007 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

Sec An. Beautifully put...... You are describing, of course, Our Beloved VP; it's Dick, with his Blackberry on his way to shoot another pal, sorry, birds!

Posted by: maunga on April 13, 2007 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Not to rule out that rdw, in addition to suffering from dementia, may also be suffering from Socially Conservative Authoritarian Mental Disorder.

His gleeful reveling in the misery and brutalization of the Palestinians under US/Israeli military occupation is certainly characteristic of that mindset.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 13, 2007 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

"The problem is that the Kurds in Turkey don't want just a Kurdish country, but they want that country to include the land they are living on."

I don't know that anyone has polled South Eastern Turkey to see what the population living there actually wants. Last time I was in Diyarbakir (see Kurdish insurgency, center of) folks were telling me that they thought the Iraqi Kurds were wankers.

I don't see the Turkish Kurds achieving the kind of civil war that they had in the '80s. Personally, I think that the Russians were behind that just as they supported the Armenian insurgency in 1915.

A few other points:

National boundaries are usually defined by geographic markers, not ethnic ones. Unfortunately.

The Turkish army is the best in the region, despite being composed of conscripts. They could roll over Iraqi Kurdistan in a matter of days.

However, sane governments don't want to get into the mess of occupation. The Turks would be about as successful there as we are now.

The Turkish government/military is pit-bull-teeth-in-the-leg determined not to give up any more territory (see Cyprus).

S.E. Turkey is poor and arid. It is a desert with two big rivers running through it.

People in S.E. Turkey are poor and poorly educated.

Much of the power in the area is provided by warlords/mafia/landowners.

As a result of the previous three points, it is unlikely that Iraqi Kurdistan cares about it.

Also, the addition of so many new voters would upset the current political balance.

Given that, I doubt you would see a democratic Kurdistan that included S.E. Turkey.

Posted by: mcdruid on April 13, 2007 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Why is rdw talking about Israel the Palestinians? (oops strike the two last words)

This thread is about Turkey and the Kurds.

Go thou and troll elsewhere.

Posted by: mcdruid on April 13, 2007 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Strange how in a thread devoted to Turkey's relation to the Kurds, no mention is given to the fact that since the mid-eighties tens of thousands of Kurds have perished in Ankara's ruthless suppression of Kurdish nationalists, and another several million have been forced to flee their homes, which have since been razed.

Need I even mention that this genocide -- much like Israel's against the Palestinians -- has been subsidized by billions in U.S. military aid?

Posted by: smedleybutler on April 13, 2007 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

was conceived of by Marx and Engels, and notably extended and revised by Trotsky

Here's a great line from Reagan:

Communists are people who've read Marx and Engels. Anti-communists are people who understood Marx and Engels.

Posted by: rdw on April 13, 2007 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

Need I even mention that this genocide -- much like Israel's against the Palestinians -- has been subsidized by billions in U.S. military aid?

As much as it sucks, it doesn't even come close to real genocide. You diminish the meaning of genocide by applying it so freely. It needs to be in the millions, signifianct percentages of the population, to be a full-on genocide.

Posted by: DeathCorp Intl. on April 13, 2007 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

this genocide -- much like Israel's against the Palestinians

You've got it perfectly backwards. The fence was built to keep Palestinians from blowing up little jewish girls on buses or in malls. It's working and it will stay.

Posted by: rdw on April 13, 2007 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, the Turkish state has been ruthless and brutal in supressing Kurdish political and cultural aspirations.

This does not relieve us of the burden of understanding why the Turkish military will be willing to shed unimaginable amounts of blood to preserve their borders. A simplification: at the fall of the Ottoman empire, the great powers allowed a policy on the ground that would have given Greece all of Mediteranean Turkey with Istanbul as an International protectorate of sorts, with the Turkish speaking ethnic group left with a small circle of territory around Ankara. The Greek army of the time got greedy, pushed to far inland and were eventually soundly defeated by a Turkish (not Ottoman) nationalist army and driven out of the current Turkish mainland, leading to the eventual release of Istanbul to the Turkish Nationalists as well.

We have forgotten the history of a people who almost lost everything, but the Turks haven't, no matter how unjust their viewpoint might be regarding the Kurds.

It is a losing hand to expect the Turks to be "reasonable" or even rational when it comes to anything that looks like a forced loss of internal or border control. If the Turks in power view the Turkmen in Kirkuk as under this umbrella also, than this same calculus would hold true.

Posted by: mirror on April 13, 2007 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK
…modern sewage system…rightist dim wit at 4:26 PM
Your Israeli heroes have bombed and destroyed everything that the Palestinians have, including the International airport in Gaza. Just when you think that Doug Feith and Paul Wolfowitz are the two stupidest guys on the planet, you foul the atmosphere.
…The fence has been nothing short of monumentally sucessful. Israel is safe… rightist dim wit at 4:41 PM
s-u-c-c-e-s-s-f-u-l. Again, the fence is a land grab and illegally built on Palestinian land. The difference in societies is one steals the others land, water and resources, the other suffers in Ghettos. The way you revel in the sufferings of people and gloat over the perpetrators is really reprehensible but typical. Posted by: Mike on April 13, 2007 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

"ruthless suppression?" Which propaganda show are you listening to? There was a civil war, some 30,000+ killed. It pretty much ended when the leader was captured and asked his followers to observe a truce. In recent times, it has started to heat up again.

Posted by: mcdruid on April 13, 2007 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Why is rdw talking about Israel the Palestinians?

The obvious comparison for Kurdistan in the region is Israel. It's the only other free market democracy. Israel is what Kurdistan seeks to become, propserous and powerful. Israel is their model.

So far they've been shrewd in focusing on internal security and economic matters and dramatic population growth. They will soon exceed Israel in population and then double within a decade. If they can continue this 10%+ GDP growth it will be extremely difficult for either Turkey or Iran to sustain an attack. Their losses would be devastating.

Posted by: rdw on April 13, 2007 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

The Lounsbury: The linguistic nationalism of the Kurds is itself a European ... idea

By all means, let's restore the Holy Roman Empire. This nation-state stuff has got to go.

'progressive' to use that ridiculous little phrase the American Left seems to have adopted of late

I'll be sure to tell Teddy that you don't like the term.

Historically, the Kurds were very much part of a Turko-Kurdish military elite, lording it over others (you may have heard of Salah ed-Dine, Saladin).

Interesting that you mention, as an example of "Turko-Kurdish" solidarity, a fellow who broke away from the Seljuq Turk Empire.

Of course, if you think that that empire defines the "rightful" boundaries of Turkey, don't forget to include Syria, Iran, and most of Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. in those boundaries.

linguistic border drawing over newly drawn ethno-linguistic identities to serve the petty interests of warlords and tribal confederations looking to engage in political entrepreneurism and make a nice little state for their own corrupt exploitation ... See, for example, the Balkans.

Oh, yes, please do tell the Slovenians to rejoin Yugoslavia and give up their petty tribal warlordism. Perhaps even better would be to re-incorporate the whole area back into the Ottoman Empire.

Right Bolsheviks

That certainly sounds like an interesting group. Have they buried the hatchet and combined forces, or has one of them simply moved over?

Posted by: alex on April 13, 2007 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

The Lounsbury: As for the charmingly naive view proposed supra, Kurds moving, so charmingly and foolishly American. The Kurds in other areas like living where they are, they have traditional ties to those lands, and the rest of the world is not America, land of the footloose.

Within the American-protected areas, the Kurds have been conducting a democratic government. It may not last, but it may. The idea probably is naive, but some other migrations have been made to create nations, such as the Jewish migrations to Israel after they were forced out of Iraq and the other nations. The problem with knowing history is that it always(?) precludes creative solutions to long-standing problems. Granted, such solutions rarely work, but they sometimes work. How many liberals or conservatives of the 60s ever actually thought that Indonesia, Spain, Greece, Taiwan, and S. Korea would have democratic governments by now? Granted again that they are a little fragile, it is still true that unpopular governments have been peacefully voted out of office.

You mentioned the Balkans. Part of the problem there is that the individual nationalities were not permitted nationhood after WWI, but were consigned to Yugoslavia.

Incidentally, I am on other occasions and in letters to my congressfolks advocating a more rapid move toward American energy independence. I would like to see American withdrawal from the whole area, or at least a foreign policy not dictated by oil (which I think would lead to American withdrawal.)

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on April 13, 2007 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

rdw,
You may not take seriously the threat of a Turkish attack on northern Iraq, but, the Iraqi Kurds sure do: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L13287168.htm

As I said, upthread, this is a serious threat.

Posted by: ExBrit on April 13, 2007 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

I see there are still gullible fools who have drunk deep from the cups of ahistorical nationlist mythologies.

Salah ed-Dine & "Turko-Kurdish" solidarity,

Who the bloody fuck wrote solidarity, you fucking stupid cretin?

The reality is until the Europeans brought in this nice little idea of ethnolinguistic nationalism, such identity had fuck all to do with power politics and identity. The Seljuk state had plenty of Kurdo-Turkic elites, and Salah ed-Dine's Ayyoubi state had Turko-Kurdish military elites, the Ayyoubine having a fondness for Turkic mercenaries themselves.

The idiocy of Turkish-Kurdish tensions is a product of modern European ideas about nationalist ideologies appropriated by "ethnic entrepreneurs" as the charming phrase goes.

That ignoramuses like you lap such idiocies up merely speaks to your ignorance and gullibility, regardless of your clumsy idiocy with respect to the Austro-Hungarians (for all that the bloody disaster of the Balkans the great advancements in human rights that the quasi-fascist ethnic states delivered in the name of "self-determination" rather illustrate that one sin (imperial incompetence) does not justify another (ethnic dictatorships). Ordinary people suffer regardless from idiotic intellectual abstractions). Your Slovenian cherry picking after a century of bloodshed and misery for the majority aside.

That certainly sounds like an interesting group. Have they buried the hatchet and combined forces, or has one of them simply moved over?:

Buried the hatchet, I should think not. Sadly rather a portion of the Right has drunk from the cup of lunatic ideology that the Left was specialised in.

Airy intellectualised castles.

Posted by: The Lounsbury on April 13, 2007 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

The lounsbury: I believe I cited on my own bloggy the fine experience I had working on a Kurdistan investment that my people pulled out of, after a bit of due diligence - nice that I actually speak the languages and don't have to lap up what the Talabanis spin for me - showed that the social housing development was actually an expropriation for the peshmerga. Classic siezure and development for the Security Forces / Clients of the Rentiers.

Not unlike post-war Germany, post-war Japan, post-war Taiwan, post-war S. Korea, and the Confederacy during Reconstruction, and those turned out pretty well after a while. Everything good requires the long-term. We have corruption in the U.S., and in every other nation, including Syria, Turkey, and Iran. It doesn't seem right to judge the Kurds too harshly for a universal problem.

Unlike a few others above, I like your comments.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on April 13, 2007 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

"the Kurds have been conducting a democratic government."

They've also been engaging in some quiet ethnic cleansing and intimidation in an attempt to gain complete control of the oil revenue in Kirkuk.

Posted by: PaulB on April 13, 2007 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

Turkey is also a free market democracy - which is indicative of your accuracy in reporting.

In any event, merely noting that similarity is not an argument that Kurdistan will see the same growth - or lack thereof (I know from previous threads that I can't trust your figures). You do not provide any logic as to any other similarities between Kurdistan and Israel, and, in fact, seem to shy away from actually presenting anything other than pap about Kurdistan.

Suggesting that Kurdistan will be able to repel a Turkish attack again shows your ignorance. Much more informed people than you have already talked about the ability of the Turkish army.

Besides, the only countries that have managed to sustain a near 10% GDP growth have been communist.

Posted by: mcdruid on April 13, 2007 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Gullible fools, encore:

Within the American-protected areas, the Kurds have been conducting a democratic government.

Oh democratic.

Just as far as each tribal confederation allows. Bloody idiots, you are. Gullible bloody idiots. Dress up tribal confedrations and feudal lords in the right, English speaking dress, directly or via Western dressed spokesmen (as our nice little Feudal lord and Totten poster boy Harirri and Jumblatt) and bingo... democracy. You bloody simple minded dupes. It may not last, but it may. The idea probably is naive, but some other migrations have been made to create nations, such as the Jewish migrations to Israel after they were forced out of Iraq and the other nations.


The grotesque distortion that this involves almost makes me nauseuous, although it does illustrate how bloody gullible you are, and how easy it is to package ugly realities in pre-digested packages to sell to those who want their egos stroked.

A lot provincial cretins making global policy.

Posted by: The Lounsbury on April 13, 2007 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

BG/RS/GC: virtually anyone proposing a partition is barking mad and courting disaster.

There seems to be an implicit argument that putting Kurds, Sunnis, and Shi'ites together in Iraq was a disaster perpetrated by the Europeans; and that the only worse disaster would be to let them separate while there are sufficient Americans in Iraq to prevent wholesale reconquest of the area by one party.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on April 13, 2007 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

The difference in societies is one steals the others land, water and resources, the other suffers in Ghettos

The Israeli's made the land work for them and created their own prosperity. The Palestinains are a backward people. They wouldn't have toilets if they were not provided for them. Now they are killing each other because they are not capable of living in civilized society. There will be considerably more bloodletting before they realize terror has only been a disaster.

Unfortunately they are at least a full generation away. In the interim Israel will grow more propserous at a faster rate while maintaining their society behind the safety of the fence. The only other safe, free and prosperous Palestinians will be on the same side of that fence. We'll see the two cultures advance side and side and easily measure the success of each.

Posted by: rdw on April 13, 2007 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, internet trolling. I hope:
Not unlike post-war Germany, post-war Japan, post-war Taiwan, post-war S. Korea, and the Confederacy during Reconstruction, and those turned out pretty well after a while.

Shall I cite Central Asia, post-colonial Africa.

Never mind your facile idiocy re Germany, Japan, Taiwan and the like, which for whatever problems were well-situated with respect to trade ties, trade logistics, etc.

None of which is true re your fantasised Kurdistan - never mind Germany and Japan were in vastly different circumstances.

Everything good requires the long-term.

I invest hard equity in emerging markets, moron.

Don't tell me about long term. I also know the difference between an opportunity, and some moron whanking on based on politics and not real money.

It doesn't seem right to judge the Kurds too harshly for a universal problem.

It;s not "judging harshyly idiot boy, it's knowing where things are. Turkey has corruption, but the risk-benefit relationship, and level of corruption is manageable and reasonable. A rational, non-political whanker analysis does not say the same for Kurdistan.

But whank on as you like.

Posted by: The Lounsbury on April 13, 2007 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Matthew R Marler

Perhaps you could take the time to read back up the thread.... they were indeed put together when the Ottoman Empire was closed, as a result of the Sykes-Picot Agreement. A Controller, perhaps called Governor, Sir Arnold Wilson, wrote a treatise in 1920s saying it had been disastrous, had never worked historically, would never work! But then Americans seem not to follow the adage of the further back in history one looks, the further into the future one can see. Even Bush would not have gone there if he and his advisors had looked at a little history

And we do not have anything like enough soldiers there if they really get going, let alone if the Iranians come over the border. Look at a map.

Posted by: maunga on April 13, 2007 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Although a dyed-in-the-wool inhabitant of the left side of the house, I find myself in general agreement with Lounsbury. It is amusing to see that most of his ire is aimed at our conservative trolls.

I do find his language intemperate, however.

Posted by: mcdruid on April 13, 2007 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Have you ever had a pint with a brit in a third-world country? I have, and do not find his language intemperate in the least. I'm quite getting a thrill from all the pearl-clutching.

But I routinely dismiss people (like egbert, if that qualifies as a *people*) as "drooling mendacious fucktards" too, so maybe I am not the best gauge of what others might find intemperate.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 13, 2007 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK
There seems to be an implicit argument that putting Kurds, Sunnis, and Shi'ites together in Iraq was a disaster perpetrated by the Europeans; and that the only worse disaster would be to let them separate while there are sufficient Americans in Iraq to prevent wholesale reconquest of the area by one party.

What on earth makes you think there are sufficient Americans in Iraq (or in uniform at all) to prevent, rather than just to make it take longer and be bloodier on all sides (and much bloodier, of course, on the American side?).


Posted by: cmdicely on April 13, 2007 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

mcdruid wrote: "It is amusing to see that most of his ire is aimed at our conservative trolls."

It is amusing. Lounsbury screeches about "wooly-headed Leftists" but all the commenters that he attacks so ferociously (e.g. rdw) are actually right-wing extremist Bush-bootlickers. And the only commenter he's had a good word for is Blue Girl, Red State, who is a liberal. Go figure.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 13, 2007 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

Question: is "whanking" the authentic British spelling? Just wondering. I've never seen it spelled with an 'h' before.

Posted by: thersites on April 13, 2007 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK


Question: is "whanking" the authentic British spelling? Just wondering. I've never seen it spelled with an 'h' before.

The classier kind of Brit doesn't drop his aitches.

Most of what Lounsbury says isn't news to me, but what's his big point? The best thing to do is absolutely nothing and the best way to do it is to do absolutely nothing and absolutely nothing is the future we should dream of.

Posted by: cld on April 13, 2007 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

mcdruid >"...I do find his language intemperate, however."

Doesn`t seem that alcohol methamphetamine mixture is working so well for him.

And "real money" ? Not a chance Mr. 19th Century Colonial. Certainly not "hard equity" in any real sense of the term.

I do have a couple of bridges out in the middle of the Empty Quarter you might be interested in.

[Where do these looneytune folks come from, is there a school or something ?]

"...the West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion...but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do." - Samuel P. Huntington

Posted by: daCascadian on April 13, 2007 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

"Turkey has corruption"

It has been my (unwarranted) impression that corruption in Turkey has been declining over the past few years. Do you see that?

I am mixed about Turkey as a long term investment. I understand that their current account deficit is too high. But they have a young and vigorous population.

Posted by: mcdruid on April 13, 2007 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

Most of what Lounsbury says isn't news to me, but what's his big point?

His only point seems to be that neo-imperialist Anglo-elitists such as himself are best suited to determine which wogs should be allowed to control their own affairs, and which wogs have not yet achieved a level of civilization he deems sufficient to be allowed to escape serfdom. It's little surprise that he idolizes Turkish brutality.

I've met his type before, expats who were profiting off the misery of people they knew -- *knew* -- they were superior to by virtue of their control of greater resources. They usually end up getting stabbed in an alley by someone they didn't even realize they offended.

However, my guess is that he is really just another of the Norm sock puppets off on yet another delusional bender. In addition to his MO being a clone of Norm's, note that this is the only recent thread that Norm has not made an appearance. He certainly suffers from the same mental disorders.

Posted by: Disputo on April 13, 2007 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Lounsbury isn't a Norm sock puppet, but it might be the other way around.

Unless they have multiple personality disorder, one Brit, one American.

Posted by: cld on April 13, 2007 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely: What on earth makes you think there are sufficient Americans in Iraq (or in uniform at all) to prevent, rather than just to make it take longer and be bloodier on all sides

The last reconquest of the Kurdish and Shi'ite areas by the Sunni-Baathists after Gulf War I required the use of the large armored army, with its tanks, artillery, and helicopters. What remains of the Sunni military in Iraq can not do that. What's happening now is not as bloody as that reconquest.

As to the Shi'ite militias, the most powerful of them belonged to Moqtada al Sadr, and they couldn't even hold Najaf and Sadr City.

So who is there with sufficient power to reconquer all of Iraq, even with the military presence of America as small as it is? The most anybody can bring off is to blow up civilians here and there.

Dsiputo: However, my guess is that he is really just another of the Norm sock puppets off on yet another delusional bender. In addition to his MO being a clone of Norm's, note that this is the only recent thread that Norm has not made an appearance. He certainly suffers from the same mental disorders.

that's a good one.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on April 13, 2007 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

Matthew, I realize the pliant plethora of "goals" for the US in Iraq has probably confused you, but a s I recall there was a "as they stand up,we'll stand down" in there somewhere. Was it before or after the WMD surge protector? Anyway, there was a time that GwB wanted the Iraqis to take their place as a nation,able to defend itself and be an ally in the GWOT.
You make the point that no insurgent group has the ability (arsenal) to "reconquer" Iraq. You need to add the iraqi army to that list. For the simple reason that we fear they'll turn such an arsenal on our troops, we have been careful not to give them some standard arms.
The Iraqi army has one armored division using tanks donated by Hungary! They have no artillery, no air force(a couple C-130s and some traffic helos),no navy (a few patrol boats). Their trucks are old Soviet Naz and Gaz (and a bunch of Toyotas).
Not only could they not reconquer Iraq,they couldn't defend themselves from anyone in the region,and I include the Saudis and Kuwaitis.
Leaving Iraq is less feasible than staying. The only eventual change will be when we hunker down in the desert and get out of the cities.

Posted by: TJM on April 13, 2007 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK
…As to the Shi'ite militias…couldn't even hold Najaf and Sadr City…. MatthewRMarler at 8:22 PM
Neither can the US. The army controls only the ground it stands on. What's your point? Posted by: Mike on April 13, 2007 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

TJM >"...Not only could they not reconquer Iraq,they couldn't defend themselves from anyone in the region,and I include the Saudis and Kuwaitis..."

Ah yes, the hollow state trajectory. Stay ahead of things by following John Robb on his exploration of the probable near future. If you are new to his thought you should spend some time reading his past commentary. He isn`t always "dead on" but he is close enough.

On the other hand you can just sit there and wait for all this to show up on the broadcast Evening Noise reports & be shocked & surprised.

Your choice of course.

"It's difficult to get a man to understand something if his salary depends on him not understanding it." — Upton Sinclair

Posted by: daCascadian on April 13, 2007 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

You make the point that no insurgent group has the ability (arsenal) to "reconquer" Iraq. You need to add the iraqi army to that list.

Neither can the US.

That's why I think that a partition of Iraq is not necessarily a bad idea.

"as they stand up,we'll stand down"

It looks like, for a time, the "clear and hold" strategy depends on the Iraqis holding, after Americans and Iraqis clear.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on April 13, 2007 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

If:
1) No military can stabilize Iraq.
2) Al Queda's goal is to undermine the recognized powers that don't support it.
3) The unity govt is a hollow state, as per daCascadian's link.

Then:
Shouldn't America seek to eliminate the unity govt and send all power to local community leaders. E.g., turn all of Iraq into the kind of feudal warlord state that Kurdistan is becoming, and hope those warlords don't need Al Queda's "help".

Posted by: absent observer on April 13, 2007 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody wants to conquer all of Iraq, just the oily bits.

Posted by: mcdruid on April 14, 2007 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

Sock puppet?

His only point seems to be that neo-imperialist Anglo-elitists such as himself are best suited to determine which wogs should be allowed to control their own affairs, and which wogs have not yet achieved a level of civilization he deems sufficient to be allowed to escape serfdom. It's little surprise that he idolizes Turkish brutality.

Your reading comprehension needs a rather large amount of work.

I don't pretend that anyone in particular is suited to "choose" anyone's leaders.

Above ignoramuses idealising the various parties.

As for "sufficient culture" I rather find that your reading betrays your prejudice. I said nothing of culture. It is merely the facts of the societies in place. Pretending they are what they are not (as many would like to imagine Kurdistan to be other than the quasi-Feudal place that it is) leads one to make rather mistaken conclusions.

Nor have I "idolised" Turkish "brutality."

Stating facts is not idolising. I am neither in favour of the Turkish military, nor against it really. I certainly am not a Lewisesque fool who worships the Attaturk Military Secular State.

I've met his type before, expats who were profiting off the misery of people they knew -- *knew* -- they were superior to by virtue of their control of greater resources.

You've seen fuck all, asshole.

Misery, only feudal lords profit off of misery. Rentiers, like the Talabani. Or like Sadaam.

They usually end up getting stabbed in an alley by someone they didn't even realize they offended.

Amusing, amusing in a sad way, your fantasy.

He certainly suffers from the same mental disorders.

Queer habit, to accuse those of bringing a modicum of reality to you to be mentally ill.

The Lounsbury
Aqoul.com

Posted by: The Lounsbury on April 14, 2007 at 5:57 AM | PERMALINK

Question: is "whanking" the authentic British spelling? Just wondering. I've never seen it spelled with an 'h' before.

My personal spelling. I like to spell it with an H so I do.

Posted by: The Lounsbury on April 14, 2007 at 6:01 AM | PERMALINK

Memo to the U.S.

Let Turkey intervene militarily against PKK in Northern Iraq. This intervention may take place with Washington?s consent, cooperation, reservations. It can be limited in geographical scope, duration and type of force used. Turkey must show utmost care not to harm the civilian population... Otherwise, if Turkey is forced to intervene without US cooperation and ?permission?, the relationship may suffer very seriously.

Restrain Iraqi Kurds? aspirations for independence. Make them understand that they will be a kind of strategic liability. Tell them that the only future they have is inside Iraq. Also make them understand that any hint of interfering in Turkish domestic politics is not acceptable. Make them understand that they cannot gurantee their security if they persist in giving PKK a free hand, making threatening statements against Turkey, treating Turcomans in ways less than ....

Kirkuk. Apart from the historical identity of the city or who has the majority now or how that majority came into being, one thing is certain: Almost half of the people in Kirkuk do not want to be part of the Kurdish region. A kind of special status for Kirkuk is the only option that will prevent instability, large scale violence and perhaps outside intervention. US should understand that Northern Iraqi oil may be out of market for a long time if they insist on holding the referendum. There is no democratic, military or practical base for insisting on the referendum. US should also be more attentive to the rights and preferences of Turcoman population in Northern Iraq.

Clarify your intentions regarding future military presence in Iraq. Be sure to consult Turkey intensively about any plans for having a permament military presence in Northern Iraq. Will the US ask Ankara?s opinion, cooperation and permission regarding such future military presence?

Make PKK?s presence in Iraq a little tougher. Harass them. Voice from the highest levels displeasure of their presence in Iraq. Cooperate with Turkish military and intelligence regarding the PKK. Why not coordinated reconnaisance flights over the PKK camps, for instance? Joint counter-propaganda activities, cutting the logistics, apprehending a few PKK leaders, pressuring the Iraqi Kurdish groups more to take action against PKK, these will not require much more manpower, time and money. They are also not risky because PKK cannot afford to attack US forces. Turkey in return should look its election system again. Limited and conditional amnesty may be possible in case PKK terrorists gave up their arms en masse.

Iraq, Iraq, Iraq – Iraq is the source of almost all that went bad in the relationship.
Without some kind of understanding on Iraq, all the other successes may not be enough to salvage the relationship. Iraq is an existential problem for Turkey and it is the biggest US political-military project in at least a generation. Turkish and American declared objectives in Iraq are very similar (unified, democratic, peaceful, prosperous). But when it comes to the nuances, instruments, timing and priorities differences surface.


http://www.avsam.org/fpr
Daily collection links on Turkey, US foreign policy, Middle East and Beyond

Posted by: turcopundit on April 14, 2007 at 6:24 AM | PERMALINK

You may not take seriously the threat of a Turkish attack on northern Iraq, but, the Iraqi Kurds sure do:

I didn't say it wasn't serious. Further the Kurds know they must aggressively defend all of their borders or they'll not keep their new homeland. They must take everything serious. The lessons liberals have never learned is that it's weakness that invites attacks. Consider Jimmy CarterI think the threat from both Turkey and Iran are very serious.

What I said is there won't be a largle scale invasion. There will be small scale border crossings in pursuit of insurgents but the cost of a full scale attack is far to great. Besides dashing any chances of EU membership and other economic setbacks the cost to the Turkish Army in attacking a well armed, well trained, well defended Kurdistan would be great.

The obvious challange for the Kurds is to keep the Turks away as long as possible and focus on economic and population growth. It's very possible by 2012 Kurdistan will have 2x's as many people and 2x's as much GDP. That'll make for a much bigger army with many more toys.

Every year the cost to Turkey or any other threat becomes larger. Every year Kurdistan becomes more secure. The Kurds know what they need to do.

Posted by: rdw on April 14, 2007 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

Suggesting that Kurdistan will be able to repel a Turkish attack again shows your ignorance. Much more informed people than you have already talked about the ability of the Turkish army.

The Kurds have been repelling Iraqi attacks for decades and others for centuries. The question isn't whether 70M Turks could defeat 5M Kurds but would the costs be worth the benefit? With the Kurds holding the defensive positions, very well armed and trained, the Turks would pay a very heavy price in any attacks and would then face serious bleeding in staying. That doesn't begin to address the economic sanctions from the West.

They would incur very heavy military and economic losses to do what, repeat the soviet experience in Afghanistan?

Posted by: rdw on April 14, 2007 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

Your Israeli heroes have bombed and destroyed everything that the Palestinians have

No, It's Palestinians killing Palestinian. It's a civil war. These were backwards people long before Israel was formed and they've never created anything on their own. Israel is by far the most advanced nation in the region because they are the most advanced people. Most of the Islamic world remains mired in the 12th century.

If nothing else the fence represents an interesting social experiment. We have two different cultures living side by side. One following the European/socialist model and the other following the anglo/capitalist model. While it's already clear which side in more advanced we're going to also see the devastating effects of compounding.

In just 5 years Israel will add as much as 35% to GDP which in turn would add at least $5B to annual defense and security spending. That amount by itself would dwarf the aid Palestine receives from the EU for arms and terror. In fact given the increasing welfare state demands in Old Europe support for the terrorists will almost certainly drop.

Just as in Kurdistan the key element here is time. GWB has made time a conservativwe virtue. Kurdistan grows stronger every day. Israel grows stronger every day. Japan becomes more assertive every day. The EU elites become more irrelevent every day.

You did note last week Angela Merkels suggestion last week discussion of the Star Wars platforms scheduled for deployment in Poland and the Czech Republic take place within NATO. Heretofore the EU, NATO, France and Germany have been totally irrelevent on the most important military advancement of this age.

GWB has wisely taken the long view. Just as Reagan buried socialism GWB will defeat our enemies.

Posted by: rdw on April 14, 2007 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

I do so hope this is self-parody for if the writer believes it, he is a moron:
The Kurds have been repelling Iraqi attacks for decades and others for centuries.

On the first, the Kurds were able to set up a seperatist government without Iraqi central rule largely due to the no-fly zone.

The Turkish army proved quite capable of crushing Kurdish guerillas in its own mountains in the past. If the Turks, whose army is a real and serious one not in any way comparable to the faction riven politicised mess that the Iraqi army was (and is).

As for the centuries, that is profoundly retarded.

The entire region of the Kurdish speaking areas was under Ottoman rule for centuries, and in fact the Kurdish speaking tribes historically provided key support to the Ottomans, not to mention substantial portions of the various military groupings in Ottoman territories.

This idiotic and naive projecting of modern Kurdish nationalism back "centuries" is at once senseless and pitiful.

The question isn't whether 70M Turks could defeat 5M Kurds but would the costs be worth the benefit?

The Turkish army certainly believes so, as they see their core interests threatened.


With the Kurds holding the defensive positions, very well armed and trained, the Turks would pay a very heavy price in any attacks and would then face serious bleeding in staying.

The Peshmerga could hardly hold off the Iraqi army, which was pitiful, it's laughable to pretend the Turkish Army, which is by every account capable of taking on any modern army, and has less scruples than Euro-American units, is unlikely to face serious issues in a military sense. Nor would they likely stay. Smashing the guerillas and installing some pets would do well enough.

Of course such events would be a disaster all-around, but then so has the American incompetence in Iraq. That seems not to provent continued delusionalism.

Posted by: The Lounsbury on April 14, 2007 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

GWB has wisely taken the long view. Just as Reagan buried socialism GWB will defeat our enemies.
Posted by: rdw

Typical sycophantic boot-licking gibberish from Chairman of Morons for Bushit.

Founder of the Froot-Loop School of History and Political Economy.

Posted by: MsNThrope on April 14, 2007 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

The Turkish army certainly believes so, as they see their core interests threatened.

Well that explains how the Kurdish army got wiped out in the invasion! Oh, wait a minute. They're still there aren't they? Hmmmmmm? Hmmmmm? So when did this invasion happen? I missed it!

Posted by: rdw on April 14, 2007 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Of course such events would be a disaster all-around,

Well now, if they would be a disaster all around then why would Turkey undertake the effort? You cut your own stupid argument down. You define twit.

but then so has the American incompetence in Iraq.

The American military has been brilliant again establishing itself as the finest force in the history of man. What we see now in Iraq is certainly a mess but it's an Islamic mess with Muslim slaughtering Muslim further destroying what little civilization they have. Saddam has walked the green mile and terror has been bottled up within the middle east with a few incidents in Europe.

Our sophisticated betters on the continent surely know what they're in for if they are not nice. They will appease. It's all they know. 60 years of American protection has eroded their ability to defend themselves. Iran threatens Berlin and Paris for the sport of it all knowing there's nothing to fear. It's rather comical watching the French and Germans argue the front in th war on trror is in Afghanistan and pledge their support. As long as of course, no French or Germans are within 500 miles of battle.

The favor will be returned. If you are wondering why the folks in Brussels, Paris and Berlin were so far out of the loop on Poland's decision to install missle defenses look no further. They are irrelevent.

Posted by: rdw on April 14, 2007 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Typical sycophantic boot-licking gibberish

Of course not. Look at the record. When asked what our plan was for the Cold War Reagan answered, "We win they lose!" Simple, Elegant and as we saw in 1989, quite accurate. The USA quickly became, and remains today, the worlds lone superpower.

Look it up!

Posted by: rdw on April 14, 2007 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Founder of the Froot-Loop School of History and Political Economy.

Oh Please! It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see what's happening economically. Capitalism crushes socialism and anglo-saxon capitalism crushes the European version.

Israel's economic health is critical to it's security. Kurdistans economic health is critical to it's security. Israels fence has been critical in restoring it's economic health and devastating for Palestine's economy, not much to begin with. Just trend out the next 5, 10, 15 years.

Bill Clinton was a disaster for both Israel and Palestine. Without Bill Clinton there's no Sharon. Without Bill Clinton there's no fence.

Today there's little incentive for Israel to even think about negotiating with their neighbors. Even forgetting the obvious fact Arafat was never going to negotiate there isn't anyone to replace Arafat nor much they might have to offer.

Israel is correctly focused on increasing prosperity and becoming more technologically advanced. Muslims can steal technology but as we've learned over the last 500 years they are not capable of developing it.

Bill Clinton left an infatada. GWB is leaving a safe, prosperous and strong Israel. Economics is key. In the next decade Israel will increase GDP 80% as well as their defense budgets. Just trend that out.

Posted by: rdw on April 14, 2007 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder why I bother when it seems abundantly clear this rdw is merely playing a game.

But for the record:
Of course such events would be a disaster all-around,

Well now, if they would be a disaster all around then why would Turkey undertake the effort? You cut your own stupid argument down. You define twit.


Twit?

Hardly mate, just capable of joined up analysis.

Lots of things taken in narrow-military national interest end up being disasters all-around, and yet they were done anyway.

Germany invading Poland, etc. etc.

Your delusional little story about the Turks suffering military defeat or the like from Kurdistan bears no resemblance to any reality.

The Turkish army is quite capable of crushing the Kurds, and unlikely to occupy Kurdistan proper. It would be a bad result all around, but that does not mean that the Turkish military command may not view not doing anything as a worse situation, from their position.

Indeed, they give every sign to be close to concluding that the negatives of not intervening are starting to exceed the negatives of intervening.

Intervention, then, my simple minded fool, would be disaster all around, but nevertheless, the Turks are capable.

No contradiction, it merely requires being able to distinguish between like and unlike thing.

but then so has the American incompetence in Iraq.

The American military has been brilliant again establishing itself as the finest force in the history of man.

Non sequitor, leaving aside meaningless jingoistic bleating.

Posted by: The Lounsbury on April 14, 2007 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

rdw reminds me of myself when I was 15. I don't think I was so dogmatic, but I was certain of things, even when more experienced and wiser folks said otherwise -especially those who have been to the area and do business there. Maybe rdw will grow out of it when he gets out of high school.

A couple of points: according to the UN, Palestinians saw positive growth between 2003 to 2005. Israel hit 3.3% percapitaGDP growth in 2005, slightly higher than 2004 and not anywhere near the recent peak of 5.8% under Clinton in 2000. One wonders how much of Israel's growth since then is a result of inflows from the US and the taxes they are stealing from the Palestinian Authority. Standard and Poors foresees Israel averaging 4% GDP growth for the next fine years, so rdw's 35% estimate is a figment.

rdw's arguments are little more than uninformed assertions. Since he ignores anything that falls outside his already firmed worldview, he can not even respond to rebuttals. He has added nothing but distraction to this thread.

Posted by: mcdruid on April 14, 2007 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Indeed, "meaningless jingoistic bleating" pretty much summarizes all of rdw's writings.

Posted by: mcdruid on April 14, 2007 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

The Kurds of Morthern Iraq have effectively got their independence. They are part of Iraq in name only. Reasonably enough, they would like to see Kurdish lands in Turkey become a part of independent Kurdistan. Why not?

Likewise, the Mexicans should see their land reunited. Currently, and ever since the presidency of Mr Polk, much of northern Mexico has been annexed and occupied by the Americans. California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, cities such as Los Angeles, San francisco, Sacramento, Las Vegas, all are rightfully Mexican. And they shall be again. Mexicans can outbreed the Gringoes, and immigration will drive out the Gringoes.

Posted by: mex on April 14, 2007 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

[Repetition of oft-refuted bullshit annoys me]

--tinkerbell

Posted by: rdw on April 14, 2007 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

[Repetition of oft-refuted bullshit annoys me]

--tinkerbell

hooray!

Posted by: mcdruid on April 14, 2007 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

"they would like to see Kurdish lands in Turkey become a part of independent Kurdistan. Why not?"


Easy, because the Turkish Kurds are desparately poor and vastly outnumber the Iraqi Kurds.

Two choices: Democratic or non-democratic.

Democratic: The Turkish Kurds vote to take the oil money away.

Non-democratic: Kurdistan has to support a large area of land and a population that will increasingly wonder why they got a better deal from Ankara.

Posted by: mcdruid on April 14, 2007 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

mcdruid Are you sure you're not another incarnation of rdw - who I won't bother talking to as he's merely a distracting fool.
To frame this discussion as democratic vs. non-democratic is unbeatably irrelevant. There is no stability to indulge in a 'democracy' and anyone following the progress of events in Iraq knows that anyone resembling an imaginative, motivated leader will be singled out for removal.
The U.S. is fomenting terrorism while destroying any vestiges of the traditional U.S. fighting force devoted to - in the eyes of the gullible - truth, democracy and the 'American Way'. The whole thing is nothing more than a gigantic 'black ops' scam in which inconvenient persons are encouraged to off each other with malice aforethought.

Posted by: opit on April 15, 2007 at 3:02 AM | PERMALINK

rdw: Bill Clinton left an infatada.


if clinton was so bad...

name one thing gwb changed in fighting terror..

BEFORE 9-11...

Posted by: mr. irony on April 15, 2007 at 5:43 AM | PERMALINK


more money?

beefed up intell?

more troops?

name one...

Posted by: mr. irony on April 15, 2007 at 5:45 AM | PERMALINK

[Repetition is not refutation, Mr. feedback-loop.]

Posted by: rdw on April 15, 2007 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

[See above.]

Posted by: rdw on April 15, 2007 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

[deleted]

Posted by: rdw on April 15, 2007 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

just name one...

Posted by: mr. irony on April 15, 2007 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

[Give it up]

Posted by: rdw on April 15, 2007 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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