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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Kurds: More Dubious Than Presumed

Story of the Kurds fits quite comfortably inside the missing piece of that large 'bad guys' puzzle.

Source of map:- Wikipedia
(Attribution) By PANONIAN - Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54996333

Kurds in Syria currently:

Syrian Kurds have strong disagreements with the Syrian National Council (political wing [of sorts] of FSA). Yet, as the YPG works in partnership with the US coalition, it also cooperates with FSA. The scenario isn't only an evidence of Kurdish-NATO connivance but a clear evidence that the Kurds will collude with any crook or cutthroat to achieve their political goal.  Needless to mention, FSA carries an ideology identical to all AlQaeda groups including ISIL whom Kurds have been fighting. FSA has systematically served as a conduit for foreign arms and money to AlQaeda factions inside Syria and has been responsible for inflicting mass brutalities on Syrian civilians.   Kurds have long been linked with US intelligence to promote ethnic dominance in the Kurdish region. From 2014 onward, they've been regularly providing feedback to US officials on the activities of Syrians and Iraqis. They are officially cooperating directly with FSA.

                              Image source:  Quora

Taking up arms against ISIL is little or no reason to count on the Kurds as one of the groups that stand for the betterment of the Syrian Republic. Their ideological approach is perceptibly as destructive as AlQaeda's and their animosity towards the Syrian Government just as intense. Syrian Kurds have simplified the plan of foreign powers to dismember Syria, assisting to make the mess still messier. Presence of the Kurds has further popularized the plan of partitioning Syria.   

They make up approximately 10% of the Syrian population. They have been claiming the Syrian northeast since end 2013 declaring it an autonomous zone. That was the time when ISIL fighters began proliferating across Syria and Iraq, getting stronger than their US financiers would appreciate. Washington was fully focused on curbing the strength and power of ISIL, retaining the terror group as a standby, but only strong enough to serve US interest. Back then, American officials thought little or nothing on forging an alliance with the Kurds and the zeal of Kurdish nationalism went largely unnoticed. It was as late as the fall of 2014 when the Kurds kicked out ISIL from Kobane, that they became adamant on "federalism in Rajova." PYD insists it isn't interested in an independent Kurdish state within Syria but acknowledges that it wants to be a part of "future democratic federal Syria." It rejects speculations that it's on Assad's side, asserting it's fighting Assad as well as ISIL. But there are regional differences within the Kurds which might, at some point, play to the advantage of the Syrian Government. Iraqi Kurds (KRG) are in no mood to support independence of Syrian Kurds as that could put them on a collusion course with Turkey;  KRG isn't willing to take the risk. Even the Americans are wary on that issue. At present Washington is handling quite a balancing game, utilizing the support of the Kurds taming ISIL and simultaneously not going too far pampering the Kurds that could annoy Turkey.  But hidden Western policy is more vividly exposed by retired diplomats who have been quite candid about their appreciation of Kurdish independence, namely citing the visit of Peter Galbraith and Bernard Kouchner to Qamishli in November 2016. 

 President Bashar al-Assad.  Ara News, October 2016.

In October 2016, President Bashar al-Assad discarded the idea of "federalism" in Hasakah Governorate (northeast Syria) without a referendum as the majority in Hasakah are Arabs. It goes without saying that in an autonomous "Rojova" controlled by Kurds, ethnic discrimination and persecution of non-Kurds would be too rampant for the rule of justice to prevail.  But all Kurdish movements stand staunchly for federalism, interpreting it as "end to the dictatorship of the Arab majority."   You may recall, during Obama's regime federalism was 'plan B' among the suggestions of John Kerry for the break-up of Syria.

Kurdish fighters fire machine gun mounted on a truck with FSA  flag, Kobane 2014.  Daily Mail.                                          

All Kurdish factions in Syria have abandoned waving the 2-green-star Syrian flag, replacing it with the Kurdish flag in the northeastern towns like Qamashli, Manjib, Afrin etc.  The Kurdish National Council has rejected the 'Syrian Political Solution' issued by the UN in early March 2017 as it mentions of Syria as "one people," seen by the Kurds as an oversight on the aspect of "ethnic diversity."

Kurds celebrating nauroz in Qamishili, Hasakah Province, northern Syria, waving the Kurdish flag.  Image: Ara News.

Kurds of ISIL:
May sound bizarre but it's real;  it exists. 
Paraphrasing below a quick summary from Foreign Affairs on the lengthy history of Kurdish extremism and its links to AlQaeda. 
One may presume that Arab extremist groups have not been popular within Kurdish circles. But truthfully, radical groups claiming to be 'jihadists' have existed among Kurds too, and in large numbers.  IMK ("Islamic" Movement of Kurdistan) was the first such group established in mid 1980s by a bunch of Iraqi Kurds based in Halabja fighting Saddam Hussain.  Most IMK members were trained in Afghanistan (apparently by the US) during the Soviet invasion of the country.  Reportedly IMK received help from Saddam's enemies throughout the 1990s.  At the end of the Kurdish civil war - that waged between Kurdistan Dem Party (KPD) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in late 1990s - some members of IMK decided to join Iraqi Kurdistan's secular regional government (KRG) or Hukumat Iqlim Kurdistan.  That left the radical elements of IMK furious, forming into several small Kurdish Salafist groups.  The most active among them was Jund al-Islam in Halabja (probably in 1998) with ambitions of a Salafi-led revolution in Iraq which never materialized.  In 2001 it changed its title to Ansar al-Islam and established links with AlQaeda.  When AlQaeda infiltrated into Iraq in 2003 (as did the US forces),  Ansar al-Islam became a loyal partner of Abu Musab Zarqawi's Jund al-Sham.  Kurdish radicals and AlQaeda joined to make a common front and were responsible for carrying out numerous terrorist attacks against Iraqi civilians. 

This aspect also explains why and how many Kurdish commanders at present are well acquainted with AlQaeda's tactical warfare.  According to Kurdish officials, there are hundreds of Kurdish-ISIL sleeper agents either in KRG or within ISIL ranks.

Yes, it's worth reiterating that the participation of the Kurds in the Syrian war contributes generously to the dismemberment of the Syrian Arab Republic.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Raqqa (Syria): Start Of A New Nightmare

               Source Press TV Video Footage

Four hundred US marines have rolled into Raqqa in heavily armored vehicles to "fight"  Daesh.   The assault is expected to be launched within the next fortnight and quite certainly, hundreds more will arrive. 

Both US marines and ISIL will be fighting each other with US weapons.  The political irony is unbeatable!

Ken Stone, a member of the Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War, stated to Press TV,  “President Assad is absolutely correct in calling the US troops in Syria invaders because under international law foreign governments can’t station troops or build airfields in sovereign countries, they can’t overfly sovereign countries, they can’t level economic sanctions on their own without the approval of the UN Security Council, and they certainly can’t insert proxy armies to destabilize sovereign countries and try an effect regime changes.”   That's how much the "World's Policeman" respects international law. 

                             Above image Video Footage Youtube        

As Trump's plan of Syria begins to materialize, Tayyip Erdogan is getting sidelined as he neither gets along with the Kurds nor the SDF who are playing a vital role in helping the US coalition.  SDF has already said "no" to Turkish presence in Raqqa.  Yet there are no bright lights flashing at the end of the dark tunnel.  None of those occupied territories within Syria taken from Daesh by Kurdish forces or SDF (with the assistance of US coalition) will ever be returned to the Syrian Government.   Each of these ambitious entities have their own dreams they wish to realize.  Unity and independence of Syria under a single government isn't a priority.  Even Manjib wasn't returned to the Syrian Government.  Contrary to the rumors that the Kurds negotiated a deal with Russia agreeing to give back Manjib to Bashar al-Assad, senior Kurdish commander Shevran Derwish told the media on March 6 that they made no such promises.

It's no difficult guess that in the absence of the US coalition anytime in future, a multi-party war involving numerous AlQaeda groups, Kurds and SDF will be a long haul.  The nuisance value of Turkey will never diminish as long as AlQaeda remains in Syria.  The trail of mess looks endless and ugly.  This is the rosy side of the picture in this grim setting.  Worst case scenario could be potentially more scary.  It's the US coalition that will eventually call the shots.  If ISIL is defeated in Raqqa, its fleeing foot soldiers will neither be captured nor tried as terrorists and criminals.  They will smoothly and silently move out and join the ranks of "moderate rebels" elsewhere in Syria.  Chances are that the US coalition will not want the Kurds nor the SDF to retain Raqqa.  It will prefer handing it over to the "moderates."  If one is given a choice between the devil they know and the devil they know lesser, they will almost certainly pick the former.   Needless to say, that would be Erdogan's day;  a marvelous redress after a brief and low key pariah status. 

Vladimir Putin is in no hurry to play the advocate at the Oval Office for his Turkish counterpart and is quite unruffled over the recent developments in Syria.  His goal of confronting ISIL, but not all of AlQaeda, fits comfortably with Trump's plan.  In any case, the Russian leader is too powerless to disagree with Washington.

CNN is bubbling with deception.  According to US officials 50,000 ISIL fighters have been defeated, killed and their ranks reduced to 12,000.  This balderdash is intended to make the world believe that once Syria is purged of ISIL, AlQaeda is history.    ISIL is only a slice of AlQaeda.   During the past few months, most have fled, winnowed in different directions inside Syria without a care in the world. They have plenty of close friends who would love to hire them.   Even if ISIL was truthfully annihilated would make no difference.  Al-Qaeda network will remain in the Levant.  That's the cornerstone of the policy which Trump must continue after his predecessor.  As the new chapter unfolds, another 'brand name' has been released.  The term 'AlQaeda' has more or less vanished.  It has been replaced by "Sunni Arab rebels."

                                             Source of above image Press TV

The once free, progressive and peaceful Syrian Republic is now a carcass nibbled by scavengers - wild dogs, hyenas, coyotes, feral cats, vultures - all converging from different routes.

Many needless, unprovoked and heart-rending wars have been fought throughout the annals of history.  But there have been some where injustice and tyranny have prevailed in unforgettable and unforgivable proportions!  After the Battle of Karbala in the first millennium, you feel similarly lost for words to describe the acute tragic nature of the ones inflicted on Syria and Yemen in the third millennium.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Trump Mafia - The 2016 Inheritors

~  They are all in it together  ~

The geezer's phone conversation with the terror kingpin at Riyadh:  Source PressTV Video Clip

Focus carefully on the 90-day travel ban and 120-day visa ban on seven Muslim states.  Bush and Obama routinely bombed five out of seven countries which Trump recently banned because the scheme to topple all seven on  Trump's ban list was already in the pipeline years ago.  Accordingly Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Pakistan were excluded by Trump's con men, each of those three countries having a different political interest for Washington despite Trump's pre-election admissions recognizing Saudi Arabia as the prime financier of terror and Turkey a supporter of Daesh.

It's the failure of over-throwing Bashar al-Assad in Syria that helped delay the attack on Iran.  After six years of mayhem, Syria might be left at the mercy of Turkey, Yemen to Saudi Arabia while Big Daddy turns to Iran, the most powerful member of the Resistance.

Shortly prior to Trump's "notice," Iran dumped the US Dollar giving a major blow to an ever-sluggish US economy. Consequently, National Sec. Adviser Michael Flynn, a rabid anti-Iran warmonger, claimed Iran's ballistic missile test to be a violation and Press Sec. Sean Spicer LIED accusing Iran of attacking a US navy vessel in Yemen. The purpose of this depraved string of manipulations was to prepare  "legal" grounds for immediate re-implementation of sanctions that would win the support of the American people and those across the West.  The other bit of frustration came from the fact that during the past one month, Yemeni revolutionary forces had won a series of victories against their Saudi invaders.  That needed to be stopped too.

Trump administration is aware that military action against Iran will not be liked by majority around the world.  America needs plenty of deceit to build, what would appear to the international community, as a just and convincing case.  In the coming days or months, US is likely to propose a humiliating one-sided deal beneath a misleading facade of a fair offer showing equitability, peace and legitimacy as the consolidated goal pursued by the White House.  Iran's rejection of that deceit would be the perfect opportunity to portray her as an aggressive, combative party determined to go nuclear by ignoring an ideal option to avoid war.  The undertaking to comply with this pledge for organized crime at the behest of their Jewish masters was started by GWB at the dawn of the 3rd millennium, stoically continued by Obama, hailed by Clinton and exacerbated with pleasure by Trump.  Apart from  Israeli hegemony in the region being a top priority, the New World has sadly entered an era when it can only count on wars for upswing economy .. to whatever extent that's now possible.  America laments that it's a bit too late in the day to get hung up on ethics; it won't abandon those attractive resources of a specific Muslim block for the sake of preserving their sovereignty.

Trump, who hates Iran, says he wants cordial relations with Russia.  Russia has been an ally to Iran but is also elated at the prospect of having close ties with Trump's America, the enemy of Iran.  Considering that the new US administration (like its predecessor) has already started nagging Russia over the Ukraine issue, the goodwill of his US counterpart is more precious to Putin than ever before.  It's hard to guess where this intricate maze of relations may end up, but it certainly won't help to produce a favorable solution for Iran.  The situation puts Putin in a dilemma when, at some point, he will have to choose between the Islamic Republic and Donald Trump.    It's won't be easy for good relations to continue between Russia and Iran, and next to impossible to improve.

Last but not least, the latest post-Obama plans are also designed to drive a wedge between members of the Resistance.  Wrapped up with Iran, Trump's administration would probably have lesser time for tinkering with Syria compared to Obama, Clinton and Kerry .. and for a while Erdogan may need to walk on eggshells supporting his terrorist allies until he gains some more trust of those new guys at the WH.  That could provide some relief to Syria, at least temporarily.  For Iran it's the opposite.  But fortunately until now, this aspect has not been reflected neither by the governments of Syria nor Iran.  Since the past six years, Syyed Ali Khamanei has resolutely perceived the invasion of Syria as an attack on the Resistance.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Syrian Diaspora - 2011 to Present. They Never Asked for This.

                 Syrian refugees in Bute, Scotland.  Image source: Express UK

The pervasive proxy war against Syria hasn't only destroyed the country but has also facilitated an atmosphere of depressive isolation for many Syrians forced to leave home. 

On December 2015, fifteen young displaced Syrian families  were dumped (as refugees) in the secluded, lonesome and dismal Scottish island of Bute which has a population of 7,000 elderly traditional Scottish seniors from 75 and 95.  Most of these old retirees don't know a thing about the Syrian war.  They admit viewing the arrival of Syrian refugees in Bute as "them and us."  For the refugees, the glaring contrast from the vibrant and cheerful pre-war Syria couldn't be more heartbreaking!    Job opportunities are zero in a place like Bute.  There is no one to teach them English.  Apart from the emotional trauma and utter boredom, it's a colossal waste of talent for the young families. Quoting a 42-year-old Syrian and father of four, “I feel like I have one option now, to die here.  Only die here, nothing else.” The scenario isn't too different from the concept of punishments in middle ages by imperialist powers when they exiled dissidents to remote, uninhabited little islands like St. Helena, Devil's Island, Robinson Crusoe Island and more.

                 Syrian refugee family in Canada:  Image & story Yahoo News Canada.

A Syrian refugee family - parents and five children - living in a townhouse in the Canadian city of Langley, province of British Columbia, have their own woes.  Around the fall of 2016 there was a small fire in their kitchen above the cooker.  For safety purposes, renovation workers had to remove part of the ceiling, the drywall, laminated floor and the kitchen sink.  Apart from the inconvenience, that made the house frigid in sub zero December temperatures.  The family couldn't afford to move to a new house without government assistance.  It took a little while for Immigration Settlement Services to receive approval from the Federal government to find a new accommodation for them.  According to the family, Syria is cold too.  But in Syria they were ready to handle unexpected situations for they had the resources.  As refugees away from home, they don't.

So much of their lives is now just a bundle of memories.  The fragrance and flavor of Syrian cuisine .. the thick lentil soup and kanafah sprinkled with pistachios;  those traditional Syrian restaurants with waiters carrying large plates of shawarma and fried falafel;  the togetherness of Syrians and Palestinians during the month of Ramadan ... the traditional sahoor Ramadan drummers (the musaharatis) going around neighborhoods with their drums and songs.  After tarawih prayers, friends would meet in the evenings, chat, tell stories, sing, sip coffee .. and those traditional Ramadan sweets of Damascus!   All Syrians miss Ramadan in Old Damascus.  "Nothing compares to it" is the commonest comment.  In their cell phones, many of them carry Youtube clips of the adhan sounding from the minaret of the Ommayad Mosque in Old Damascus.  It takes them on a short free ride down the memory lane and back home; but only for a while until the rude awakenings start pouring into their difficult lives again.   Most elderly Syrians, despite the emotional trauma of foreign invasion and loss of their homes, were reluctant to leave.  In many cases their adult children literally had to grab their passports and bring them to the airport. 

This once incredibly happy and financially secure community is now scattered in groups of war-exiles in different continents with faltering economies, job shortages, debts, mortgages and impersonal neighbors. They are dispersed everywhere –  Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Australia, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Scotland etc.  It's a  tragic Syrian diaspora forced upon them.  One thing that follows ever Syrian refugee - old and young - like a shadow is homesickness. 

Slight Relief in Algeria:

The only place the Syrian exiles are comparatively happier is Algeria.  There are approximately 40,000 Syrians  living in Algeria at present, escaping the foreign invasion that has ravaged their beautiful homeland.  Fortunately, Algeria doesn't force Syrian refugees to live in camps like Jordan and Lebanon.  And unlike  Turkey, Syrians in Algeria don't need to fear the wealthy Saudi and Emirati predators hovering around  refugee settlements looking for young girls as war brides.   There's no racial discrimination, imprisonments nor derogatory treatment as in Europe.  Syrian children can attend school in Algeria and families are free to set up their own businesses.  There are a couple of problems however.  Algeria offers healthcare only for refugee children under age six.  Unlike Syria, there's no free healthcare for all.  Algerian government also does not allow refugees without documents to look for jobs nor to purchase property, compelling many to work illegally.  Most displaced Syrian families in Algeria have opened  traditional restaurants serving Syrian food that are doing fairly well.  Along the historical winding alleys of the kasbah of Algiers with its brick steps, it isn't unusual any longer to see Syrian sweet marts with comfortable sunken couches, Syrian decor, images of the Aleppo Citadel and shelves stocked with traditional Syrian desserts.  They can afford to rent houses or apartments. But it isn't the same as Syria for any of them.

                                                             Youtube Clip

                          Algiers kasbah neighborhood.  Image: Skyscrapper City.

Quoting an excerpt from Beirut's MashAllah News on Syrian refugees in Algeria:
Nour Derdar, carries a tray with lentil soup and hummus out to a table, then returns with empty plates piled on top of each other. She arrived in Algeria in 2015, not long before they began imposing visas, and lives with her mother and three kids in a house in Baba Hassan (a neighborhood in Algeria).  “Our situation is good, if I compare to Syrians elsewhere. There are no camps here, we can live better. My kids are in school. It’s taken a while to get used to the Algerian system, but they are doing alright,” she says.  Still, there is something sad in her eyes when she speaks. She left behind a life, a community, everything, only to start something new at a place she didn’t know. Baba Hassan, a suburb with long-standing ties to Syria, has many Syrian families who have lived here for generations. There are Syrian spice shops and date sellers, and small importers of clothes and fabric. But the story of Derdar and the other newcomers is entirely different: their migration was involuntary, pushed by force. And, for now, there is no going back.  “Most of all, I miss the hawa, the atmosphere of Syria,” says Abdallah at Bawabat Istanbul (a Syrian restaurant with branches in Algiers and Istanbul).  “There is nothing like it, even though there is generosity and great feelings towards Syrians here (Algeria).”

There's an old historical connection between Syria and Algeria that goes nearly 200 years in the past when Algerian freedom fighter and national hero, Emir Abdelkader,  led a struggle against the invasion of French colonialists resisting the French colonization of Algeria.  He eventually found refuge in Damascus after years of imprisonment in France.  The Emir loved Damascus and died in Damascus.  Many Algerians presently view the Syrian struggle against the foreign terrorist invasion financed by Western governments similar to what their ancestors faced in the mid-1800s. 


It's ironic to watch and read the frowns across Europe against the "wave of Syrian refugees."  These refugees are far more unhappy than their sulking hosts.  They do not enjoy living on charity abroad.  Pre-war Syria already had a fantastic welfare system - free education, free healthcare, interest-free loans, various family allowances and more.   They are homesick, separated from families and close friends, they feel lost culturally and they are struggling to learn foreign languages.  It's anything but any ideal situation.  They are not interested in the generosity of Western governments to let them in.  They do not want to be indebted to those granting them 'favors' who were squarely responsible for the catastrophe that created the problem of displacement.

"They (the Syrian people) don't need your support in your country; they need your support in our country (Syria).  They (western countries) need to stop supporting terrorists." - President Bashar al-Assad (interview with TG5, Italian channel, December 30th 2016).

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Unelected PMs of U.K. .. plenty of them

                                  Cartoon image from Gary Barker Illustrations

While UK's Theresa May is making big plans to be the first leader to meet Donald Trump, she forgets the most important aspect concerning her own political career. She has walked into 10 Downing Street as an unelected leader with no public mandate ... not a single popular vote cast to her credit. History tells us that this is nothing uncommon in the UK.   The fact-check list of a country that boasts the loudest about "democracy" shows half of all British PMs since the last one hundred years have sneaked into office unelected, using "parliamentary democracy" as the lame excuse.  Gordon Brown, John Major, James Callaghan,Harold Macmillan, the drunkard Winston Churchill and several more. None of them ever faced the British public at the ballot box. In 2007 May said about Brown "he has no democratic mandate." Today she is precisely in the same situation. Without the peoples' mandate she's made herself comfortable at Downing Street, constructing foreign policies and worrying about the legitimacy of the Syrian President, fairly elected twice by his people.

Where is the verdict of your people to assert the legitimacy of your incessant political prattling, Mrs. May?

Fact Check List:

(Click on the image below for full view) 

   Fact Check List Source.  Full Fact . org