Author Topic: Middle East Wars  (Read 2455 times)

Solon

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Middle East Wars
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2016, 11:35:24 AM »
Apparently the evacuation is on again and the fighting has stopped with only occasional sniping.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38329461

Aleppo in context


Disposition of forces in Syria
On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.
...H. L. Mencken

Solon

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« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2016, 07:13:51 PM »
Turkey and the Kurds in Context.

The PKK--the Kurdish Worker's Party--has fought an off and on civil war with the government of Turkey in a quest for civil and cultural autonomy for the Kurdish minority estimated to be around 25% of the nation’s population during the last 30 years or so. The US along with NATO and the EU have labeled them a terrorist group since Turkey is a member of NATO. Lately, the political organization and its military wing have expanded their reach beyond Turkey (and Iraq where they have a presence in autonomous Kurdistan) and taken leadership of the Syrian Kurds renaming themselves the People's Defense Units or YPG. This group is the most determined and successful of the militias fighting ISIL. The US has given them arms and assistance as well as considerable air cover. They have taken Kobani, blocked an important route for trade and contact between Raqqua and Mosul, and are gradually moving in on Raqqa itself, the so-called capital of the Islamic State. As you may have observed by now, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

The PKK had begun peace negotiations with the Erdogan government in 2013, but they broke down this June when a Kurdish party gained parliamentary seats in an election that denied Erdogan a super majority (one that would allow him to change the Turkish Constitution so he could become an imperial President). Fighting began again and there have been deaths on both sides with the Turkish government resorting to air strikes on Kurdish/PKK sites.

To contravene the growing power of the PKK among Syrian Kurds, the Turkish government became involved in the training of non-PKK Kurds in Iraq to assist them in the capture of Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq and presently under the control of the Islamic State. Although this had been ongoing for a while, the Iraqi government suddenly raised hell publicly and at the UN about this “violation of Iraq’s sovereignty”. After initial belligerence, the Turkish government withdrew troops from northern Iraq and expressed its desire to cooperate with the Iraqi government.

Since these events, the US has increased its commitment to the Kurds in Syria as they move in on Raqqa at the same time that Kurdish terrorist actions have increased in Turkey. Just this week...
Quote
Turkish authorities arrested at least 291 officials and members of a major parliamentary opposition party on terrorism charges Monday, following a deadly twin bomb attack in Istanbul that killed at least 44 people.

The arrests marked the continuation of government reprisals against the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (known by the Turkish acronym HDP), which controls the third-largest bloc in Turkey’s parliament. The arrests come in the context of a broader crackdown on critics of the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has moved to shore up his own power after surviving a deadly military coup attempt last July.

The pair of bombings outside Vodafone Arena in central Istanbul on Saturday night killed dozens of police officers and several civilians, including a medical student and a minibus driver. The blasts were heard miles away, rattling Turkey’s largest city just an hour and a half after the conclusion of a match at the stadium. A splinter group of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) called the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons said that it carried out the attack.
http://time.com/4598362/istanbul-stadium-bombing-kurdish-party/

Today (Dec. 17) another terrorist attack killed 13 Turkish soldiers and wounded another 56. It appears to be the work of the PKK or its offshoot.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38350662

This is a serious complication for the US, given its support and close cooperation with Kurds in Syria and Iraq against the Islamic State, and its frayed relationship with its NATO ally, Turkey. Erdogan is demanding the expulsion of a Muslim leader he accuses of being the principle instigator of the coup attempt. Obama has refused until the Turkish government presents evidence to implicated the mullah.

In Iraq the Kurds are essential to the capture of Mosul as the attack continues to progress and US air power is being employed to protect and assist them.

What Trump will do remains a complete mystery, and his advisers are likely to be at odds with each other given their past positions. The complex and sometimes opaque alliances that exist in the conflict between militias opposing the Assad regime, the regime itself, Turkey, the Islamic State, Kurds in Syria, Kurds in Iraq, the US, the Iraqi government, Sunni tribes in iraq, the Iranian government, Iranian militias in Iraq, Hisbullah, and the Russians make this a Gordian knot that cannot be cut or disentangled in the foreseeable future regardless of what the Trump administration attempts.

Even the fall of Aleppo, while it is a victory for Assad, Russia, and Iran, only intensifies the war in other areas. It solves nothing.
On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.
...H. L. Mencken

Solon

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Middle East Wars
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2017, 12:46:26 AM »
The Trump administration has launched approximately 60 cruise missiles at the Syrian air base from which a chemical weapons attack was launched last week. The Syrian action came after Assad and the Russians had claimed to have removed all such weapons from the country in 2013 in an effort to forestall military action from the Obama administration. I think the US had no alternative but to react decisively to this violation of international law and its slap in the face to the US and Russia. If the Russians were complicit, they deserve to suffer consequences as well. It may be, however, that they were embarrassed by this action. Since the sarin gas attack, they have consistently denied that it took place. Either this was an effort to save face or a effort to cover Syrian criminality.

Only a few days ago, Secretary of State Tillerson stated that the Syrian people would decide the fate of Assad. Those comments left the impression, as had previous comments by Trump, that the US was not prepared to take any action against Assad. This policy of indifference may have led Assad to launch the chemical weapons attack as some observers have suggested, believing he could do so with impunity. If so, this policy incoherence has had an unpredictable result. It led Assad to show his hand and, possibly, that of Russia. Trump's  attack is entirely justified. We do not know what the response of both Russia and Syria may be, but we must be prepared to deal with them.

We are told that a number of friendly countries were notified and approved of the attack. Russia was also contacted so that we could avoid killing any of their personnel. The objective was to send a message and destroy the air field. We will know soon enough if the message was received.

http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-1491533682-htmlstory.html

Tiillerson stated tonight that Russia was either dishonest or incompetent in its claim to have overseen the elimination of all chemical weapons in the possession of the Assad regime. Their response has been to condemn the US and call for Security Council action. Such behavior suggests culpability in the sarin gas attack given that they had personnel in the air base at the time the strikes were launched.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 01:09:53 AM by Solon »
On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.
...H. L. Mencken

Solon

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« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2017, 08:47:55 AM »
Russia has shown its hand. By condemning US action, denying that the chemical weapons attack took place, and  pulling out of an agreement to minimize the risk of in-flight incidents between U.S. and Russian aircraft operating over Syria, Russia is clearly complicit in Syria's crime against humanity. As part of the deal with the Obama administration, Syria signed the UN pledge never to use chemical weapons. By violating that pledge, Assad has earned the condemnation of the world. That Russia would attempt to shield the Assad regime from Security Council sanctions adds to its complicit behavior.

There has been a real fear that Trump was going to attempt to emulate Russia's authoritarian regime and tolerate its vicious campaign against the Ukrainian and Syrian people. Last night's action suggest that national interests may come first. Only time will tell if that is true. There are still too many conflicts of interest, kleptocratic, and nepotistic elements in Trump's government to overlook. Trump's actions last night have won him support from many of his critics temporarily at least.  

Russia condemns U.S. missile strike on Syria, suspends key air agreement
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/russia-condemns-us-missile-strike-on-syria/2017/04/07/c81ea12a-1b4e-11e7-8003-f55b4c1cfae2_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_russiasyria-3am%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.d94d4bc7538c


« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 09:10:00 AM by Solon »
On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.
...H. L. Mencken

RealConservative

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Middle East Wars
« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2017, 08:55:05 AM »
Quote from: cubsfanbudman;416
those countries are gonnna always fight because it is easier for them to fight than it is to get along.


Thats quite an elementary statement to make. As for we could "easily wipe ISIS off the map"; you can't be serious. They are not home-based, they are not soundly infrastructured, and they recruit all over even in the black web and social media all over the world. Its a long battle, and the nomination of General Mad Dog Mattis was a GREAT one! Also, a troubling thing about the Trump administration is that he did NOT extend the ban on Saudi Arabia (the home of Bin Laden and breeding grounds for global terror) and he has had personal business ties with that nation.

Solon

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« Reply #20 on: April 07, 2017, 05:40:42 PM »
Bruce Bartlett‏ @BruceBartlett  

Quote
They told me if I voted for Hillary we'd be at war in Syria in 6 months. I voted for Hillary and we were at war in Syria within 6 months.

Just saying...

Reuters Top News‏
@Reuters

Quote
JUST IN: Syrian warplanes take off from air base hit by U.S., carry out strikes in Homs countryside - Syrian observatory for human rights

I spent 60 million dollars and all I got was a lousy pothole? Hmmm...let's see those after strike photos again.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2017, 05:51:54 PM by Solon »
On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.
...H. L. Mencken

Solon

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« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2017, 11:01:50 AM »
This Sunday is an important day in Turkish history. Therefore, it is an important day in the history of NATO, and the US position in the Middle East. I wrote in some detail on the old forum about the termination of the peace talks between Erdogan's government and the Kurdish PKK. I won't repeat the lengthy background, but some explanation is necessary.

The Kurds are an important minority in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. The Kurds sought, were promised, and ultimately denied an independent state in the post WWI Treaty of Sevres, a component of the Peace of Paris, that created the territorial and political conditions for the end of the war in the Ottoman Empire. The failure of Sevres led to further fighting, primarily between Greece and Turkey, resulting in a successor Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.

The Kurds in Turkey, led by a Marxist revolutionary party, the Kurdish Worker's Party known as the PKK, began a low grade resistance to the harsh secular nationalism of Kemal Ataturk's successors over thirty years ago. The PKK abandoned its Marxist origins along the way and its leader, isolated in a Turkish prison in recent years, has called for negotiations with the Erdogan government for the right to use the Kurdish language in schools and a degree of cultural autonomy, but not a separate state. Other Kurds have organized a successful political party, the People's Democratic Party (HDP), that won a significant number of seats in Parliament with the support of many non-Kurds. In an election two years ago it won enough seats to deny Erdogan the referendum he will have on Sunday. The referendum seeks to transform Turkey from a legislature-centered government into an executive-centered government. Current polls are inconclusive about the outcome.

When Erdogan lost his bid for the referendum two years ago he terminated talks with the Kurdish PKK, relaunched the internal war against the Kurds, and attempted to sabotage the non-PKK political party. He blamed the Kurds for his failure. Now, after the failed coup, the imprisonment of thousands of political opponents and the firing of as many as 100,000 civil servants from teachers to policemen, Erdogan is in a position to seek the constitutional changes that would essentially give him the dictatorial powers he needs to legitimate his personal rule. The president would have the power to dissolve Parliament at will, the prime minister position would be eliminated, and Erdogan would legitimately remain in office until at least 2029.

Erdogan will react violently to a rejection which probably means a more severe crackdown on political opponents and a wider war on the Kurds. However, it will also show that his best efforts to isolate, imprison, or wage war on his political enemies has been insufficient to validate his quest for personal dictatorship. It will show a residual support for democratic government, in spite of the personal popularity Erdogan has enjoyed since 2002.

If he wins, it is possible that Erdogan will seek a return to peace talks with the Kurds and relax his harshness towards his own bureaucracy. In the short run it will mean a milder exercise of power. In the long run it will result in the imposition of a legalized dictatorship.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 11:04:02 AM by Solon »
On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.
...H. L. Mencken

Solon

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« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2017, 10:20:31 AM »
By a vote of 51.4% Turkey chose an Erdogan dictatorship...or so the Turkish electoral commission determined. The opposition protested that there were some significant irregularities as in the acceptance of unverified ballots. Election monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said the "referendum process was held on an 'unlevel playing field', with campaigning restrictions and late procedural changes" that disadvantaged those opposed to Erdogan's grab for power. With such a disputed result, Turkey will remain discontented and many people there and abroad will view Erdogan's victory as tainted and illegitimate.  

The US and its NATO allies will not look favorably on this turn of events. The European Union will no longer consider Turkey a legitimate candidate for membership.

The US airbase at Incirlik, which has been crucial to our attacks on ISIL in Syria, makes Turkish cooperation valuable. Close cooperation between US forces and Syrian Kurds, especially in the ongoing campaign to take Raqqa, however, has angered Erdogan. With his status more firmly in place, he may feel even freeer to move Turkey closer to Russia now that he occupies a political position more like that of Putin than the US president. Speculation aside, we will know soon enough what to expect from the dictator of Turkey.

Turkey referendum: Campaign on Erdogan powers 'unequal'
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39622335
On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.
...H. L. Mencken

Solon

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« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2017, 10:30:50 AM »
According to Reuters via NY Times "Monday Briefing"

Quote
• The consequences of Turkey’s turn toward a more authoritarian rule are already felt overseas.

The authorities in Germany, which is home to Europe’s largest Turkish diaspora, have accused some imams sent by Ankara of spying on critics of Mr. Erdogan.
And a day before Sunday’s vote, a prosecutor in Turkey opened an investigation into prominent Americans, including a former C.I.A. director, accusing them of fomenting last year’s failed coup.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2017, 10:36:14 AM by Solon »
On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.
...H. L. Mencken

Solon

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Re: Middle East Wars
« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2017, 11:22:21 AM »
The Iraqi PM, al Abadi, is in Mosul to congratulate the Iraqi army on its successful conquest of the last great stronghold of ISIS in Iraq. The Sunni terrorists still control a small amount of territory, but the so-called Caliphate has been shattered.

The dispersal of 900,000 residents, the near complete destruction of buildings and infrastructure, and the remaining bitterness between the Sunni survivors and the Shiite government pose a challenge no Iraqi government has had to meet before. The last time the Sunni areas were pacified, the al Maliki government abused the leadership and the population leading to the rise of ISIS. Will history repeat itself under even more difficult conditions for the government to manage?

The role of the US has been decisive. The Obama administration was instrumental in the appointment of al Abadi to replace al Maliki and the retraining of an Iraqi army decimated by corruption and incompetent sectarian leadership. The retrained army has proven resilient in extremely difficult fighting. US air power has been a vital part of the victory. Ironically, given the Trump administration's open hostility toward Iran, a battlefield tolerance has been practiced between US forces and Iranian-backed militias who participated in the conquest. Some measure of continued tolerance will be necessary for Iraq to heal its wounds.

The Trump administration has expressed a general hostility to foreign aid, but walking away from Iraq now would put at risk the success of the moment. Mattis is well aware that continuing the policies of the Obama administration was critical to defeating ISIS, so it is possible, dare one hope--probable, that he will see to it that the US does not walk away from Iraq and allow a third Sunni uprising with its terrorist foundation to occur.


« Last Edit: July 10, 2017, 10:09:23 AM by Solon »
On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.
...H. L. Mencken

Solon

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Re: Middle East Wars
« Reply #25 on: July 12, 2017, 10:05:16 AM »
David Ignatius has a column today that claims the US has found the formula for winning in the Middle East after the success in Mosul and the imminent fall of Raqqa. It is definitely worth a read, but with certain caveats I cite below.

Quote
The collapse of the caliphate tells us that the United States can succeed militarily in the Middle East if ó and probably only if ó it works with local forces who are prepared to do the fighting and dying.
America can succeed militarily in the Mideast. ISISís defeat in Mosul tells us how.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/america-can-succeed-militarily-in-the-mideast-isiss-defeat-in-mosul-tells-us-how/2017/07/11/ed51d51a-6668-11e7-8eb5-cbccc2e7bfbf_story.html?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-a%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.be20a899ebe2

It should be recalled that we succeeded in destroying al Qaeda in Iraq when we had a much larger military presence because we allied with Sunni tribes that had turned against the foreign-dominated terrorists back in 2007. The key is remaining close and coordinating with motivated locals, regardless of the size of the force. Doing that, however, can mean limiting the objectives and reach of American power. Another example on a grand scale was the successful war George H. W. Bush fought to drive Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait in the Gulf War. Later American leaders decided that preserving the government of Saddam Hussein, a condition for cooperation with area Sunni governments, was not acceptable.

The lesson is not new, despite Ignatius' miraculous discovery. The problem is that sometimes American leadership has other objectives that override the limitations imposed by cooperation with locals or the continued military presence that such a strategy requires. More than that, a motivated local force may be a rare and difficult group to find. It has taken the most dire of circumstances to produce such groups.
On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.
...H. L. Mencken

Solon

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Re: Middle East Wars
« Reply #26 on: September 28, 2017, 02:37:31 PM »
The US and the Kurds have a long-standing relationship. It was the US and its allies that protected the Kurds from Saddam Hussein after the Gulf War by maintaining a no-fly zone in northern Iraq. I posted in the old forum extensively about that and the valuable alliance between Kurdish forces in Syria and the US. That continues today. I also discussed the PKK conflict within Turkey and Edogan's manipulation of the conflict with Kurds to achieve the constitutional revamp to increase his own power.

Today the Kurdish position in Iraq seems more dangerous than ever, and it is a self-induced crisis. The Kurdish government which is under some duress internally because of the delay in elections by an authoritarian leader, chose to distract his opponents with a referendum on independence. The KRG, Kurdish Regional Government, exists thanks to the US war on Iraq, but it rejected US efforts to prevent the vote. Not only Iraq, but Iran and Turkey, are also openly hostile to the referendum because of its effect on their own Kurdish minorities. Only Russia and Israel openly supported the Kurds. Russia to create disorder in the region and Israel to weaken its Arab and Iranian enemies.

The Monday referendum reported a 92.5% vote in favor of independence. The KRG does not plan to pursue independence at this point since the referendum was non-binding, but that does not alter the provocative threat it represents to the unity of Iraq and neighboring states.

As the Islamic State recedes from focus in Iraq, the groups fighting them are turning to face each other. Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis must now confront their relationship without a common enemy and it is not an easy one to manage.

Quote
The Iraqi government escalated its confrontation with its northern Kurdish region on Wednesday, threatening to send troops and seize oil fields there and taking steps to shut down international flights to and from the region.

The moves came in retaliation for a referendum on Monday in which the region, Iraqi Kurdistan, voted decisively to seek independence from Iraq. Kurdish officials announced Wednesday that nearly 93 percent of voters approved the referendum, which aims to create an independent state for the Kurds, an ethnic minority in Iraq.

The Iraqi government escalated its confrontation with its northern Kurdish region on Wednesday, threatening to send troops and seize oil fields there and taking steps to shut down international flights to and from the region.

The moves came in retaliation for a referendum on Monday in which the region, Iraqi Kurdistan, voted decisively to seek independence from Iraq. Kurdish officials announced Wednesday that nearly 93 percent of voters approved the referendum, which aims to create an independent state for the Kurds, an ethnic minority in Iraq.

Iraqís Parliament asked the countryís prime minister on Wednesday to deploy troops to the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, one of several disputed areas held by Kurdish troops but claimed by Baghdad, and to take control of all oil fields in the Kurdish region

Iraq Escalates Dispute With Kurds, Threatening Military Action
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/27/world/middleeast/kurdistan-referendum-iraq.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fworld&action=click&contentCollection=world&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=8&pgtype=sectionfront

 
On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.
...H. L. Mencken

Solon

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Re: Middle East Wars
« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2017, 07:38:07 PM »
Has civil war begun in Iraq...again? The Iraqi army took control of Kirkuk city in a military assault which the Kurdish peshmerga chose not to contest. There were reports of military engagements on the margins, but no reported fighting in the city itself. Kirkuk city lies in the heart of a rich oil producing area and was once heavily populated by Kurds. Saddam Hussein expelled or killed many of its Kurdish and Turkmen residents and imported regime supporters, primarily Sunni Arabs. Shiites also have a presence there. The city has been a disputed area since the overthrow of Saddam in the US-led invasion. Although it has a history as a Kurdish city, it lies outside of today's Kurdistan Regional Government, and that has complicated its claim. The city was the center of a hot dispute after the first Iraqi government was formed in the wake of the inept Coalition Provisional Government headed by Kissenger epigoni, Paul Bremer. A proposed referendum to determine control of the city was never held. After the Islamic State routed the Iraqi Army, Kurdish peshmerga seized the city.

The Kurdish proclamation of independence triggered the invasion. It seems a particularly inopportune time for the Kurds since their political divisions are acute. The two major parties have been at odds and accused each other of facilitating the Iraqi government takeover. This show of weakness may be strategic with each party hoping the other will suffer from engaging the Iraqi army. But that is only speculation. It is entirely likely that the KRG has no desire to threaten its stability by launching a civil war. Kirkuk may no longer be necessary to its ability to thrive  Besides, the peshmerga has been courageous in fighting foes of any persuasion. 

The US has relied on the Kurds in Iraq and Syria both as a stabilizing force during the occupation and a reliable and potent enemy of the Islamic State. In opposing the referendum, the US hoped to avoid what has just occurred. The current effort at mediation is also proving ineffective.

The next step is up to the Iraqi government. If its objectives are limited to control of Kirkuk, the civil war may be avoided. On the other hand, the Kurds may be biding their time to see what kind of deal, if any, they can work out with the Iraqi central government. After all, the KRG is still technically a part of a united Iraq. Despite the vote for independence, the government stated that the referendum vote was non-binding and the KRG did not intend to establish an independent government at this time. 

Iraqi forces enter Kirkuk as Kurds flee
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-41641563
« Last Edit: October 17, 2017, 04:17:34 AM by Solon »
On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.
...H. L. Mencken

Common Sense

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Re: Middle East Wars
« Reply #28 on: October 16, 2017, 08:23:12 PM »
"Despite the vote for independence, the government stated that the referendum vote was non-binding and the KRG did not intend to establish an independent government at this time. "

Whats the timeline before they do? Thats got to be the next step. And soon. What do you think?
"It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something." - POTUS #32

Solon

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Re: Middle East Wars
« Reply #29 on: October 17, 2017, 11:09:40 AM »
Raqqa has fallen. The capital city of the Islamic State has been captured by a US-backed force of Kurds and Arabs. The Syrian city was made the capital of the Caliphate in 2014 as ISIL spread over Sunni-dominated areas of Iraq and Syria. There was something of a contest between Syrian government forces and the Kurdish-dominated militia backed by the US in the effort to take the capital. The early report on the victory of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) did not address that issue. Recently there were clashes between the forces.

Turkey has intervened along its border with Syria to prevent the unification of two swaths of territory controlled by the Syrian Kurds. This Kurdish-led victory will not sit well with Erdogan in Turkey or Assad in Syria, although Erodogan has supported the effort to overthrow Assad. The link between the Syrian and Iraqi Kurds appears to be limited by the different circumstances of their separate national struggles. Erdogan, however, claims that the Syrian Kurds are supporters of the PKK, an organization of Turkish Kurds who are engaged in a civil war with the Turkish government. The organization's fighters frequently escape into the Iraqi KRG, despite the supposed links between the PKK and the Syrians.  US support for the Syrian Kurds has led to increasing tensions between the US and its NATO ally. Last week the US and Turkey engaged in a spat over the issuance of visas, one of many irritants since the attempted coup in Turkey. Erdogan claims an imam living in the US was the instigator of the attempt to overthrow him and has demanded his extradition to Turkey, although he has produced no proof to back his demand. 

With the prospect of more clashes in Iraq between the KRG and the Iraqi government, the US is caught between its strongest allies in the battle against ISIL--the Kurds, and US-allied governments in Turkey and Iraq.

The odds favor the US eventually abandoning the Kurds in favor of the Turkish and Iraqi governments. The Kurds are a nationality without a nation and remain one of the tragic stories in the modern Middle East. As the Islamic State gradually disappears, the fate of the Kurds grows ever more fraught.



Raqqa: IS 'capital' falls to US-backed Syrian forces
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-41646802
On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heartís desire at last, and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and a complete narcissistic moron.
...H. L. Mencken