Kurdish Referendum Roils the Mideast

The Kurdish referendum seeking independence from Iraq has created more uncertainty in the turbulent Mideast with Israel appearing to see value in the new chaos, reports ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke.

By Alastair Crooke

One week after Kurdish leader Masud Barzani held his referendum on Kurdish independence from Iraq (with both the referendum and independence being contrary to the Iraqi constitution), the blowback has been fierce, angry and almost universal.

A map showing how Kurdish “territory” spills over into several Mideast nations.

What may have been conceived as a clever ploy by Masud’s eldest son, Masrour, to bolster the Barzani family’s flagging popularity by posing as a nationalist leader looks increasingly like a misstep. (Michel Rubin of AEI, has noted that “some [U.S.] Congressional staff and leaders with whom [Masrour] has met, came away from their meeting convinced that Masrour sought independence more to be heir apparent, in what will become hereditary [Kurdish] leadership, than out of sincere nationalistic concerns.”)

And now, presidential and parliamentary elections — hastily called in the wake of the Oct. 3 death of former Iraqi President and Kurdish political leader Jalal Talibani — have descended into a mess. Rather than settle “the succession” upon his eldest son, Masud Barzani may instead have opened a wider struggle over leadership of the Kurdish people.

Yes, the KRG is reported as being a democracy, but in practice it is run, explains, Michael Rubin, as a (corrupt) family enterprise in which “both the Barzanis (and Talabanis) confuse personal, party, and public funds.” Rubin explains: “Masud Barzani is president and lives in a palace complex in a resort inherited from Saddam Hussein. His nephew, Nechirvan Barzani, is prime minister. His uncle, Hoshyar Zebari, was Iraq’s foreign minister and is now finance minister. Masud’s eldest son, Masrour Barzani, leads the intelligence service; and his second son, Mansour is a general, as is Masud’s brother Wajy. Barzani’s nephew Sirwan owns the regional cell phone company which, while purchased with public money, remains a private holding. Barzani’s sons are frequently in Washington D.C … [where] Masrour Barzani has acquired an $11 million mansion in McLean, Virginia”.

The referendum showed that Kurdish nationalism is an easy play among Kurds (but no one doubted that). Though perhaps, by rejecting the universal advice to cancel or postpone the provocative referendum, Masud Barzani in advertently has provided his opponents with just the rope they needed by which to hang the U.S.-Israeli “Kurdish project.”

While some in the West may see the Kurdish issue as one of justified national self-determination, that is not how it is perceived by neighboring states: It is seen, rather, as a deliberate “political” IED inserted into the most sensitive radial node of the Middle East, intended to explode the statehood of four major nations: Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey.

A Combustible Region 

This is an area so combustible to explosion precisely because ethnicities there are so diverse and because territorial claims on land — seized several times over in successive waves of ethnic cleansing — are almost impossible to resolve yet regaining those stolen lands remains a passionate objective for those who have been dispossessed.

Kurdish leader Masud Barzani. (U.S. government photo)

And it is not the case that the Kurds have been more sinned against (in respect to ethnic cleansing) than they are sinners themselves, as a “Seeking Alpha” business report explains: “the area [northern Iraq] used to be part of major ancient trade route … [which] over the centuries was settled by diverse populations. The last to settle were Turkic peoples during the Ottoman Empire … Kirkuk, in particular, is problematic as it’s claimed by Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen with the latter being the most likely to have a legitimate claim.

“The discovery of oil in Kirkuk in 1927 and the following boom, diluted the Turkmen population with migration of Kurds from the north and Arabs from the south. The [last] census of 1957 … showed at the governorate level that the ethnic makeup was 48.2% Kurds, 28.2% Arabs and 21.4% Turkmens, but that the city of Kirkuk was 37.6% Turkmens, 33.3% Kurds and 22.5% Arabs. These percentages changed significantly under [Saddam Hussein’s] regime which enforced Arabisation at the expense of Kurds and other minorities, but saw a process of reversal after 2003 with the return of some Kurds but not so much the Turkmen.”

Cui bono by stirring the pot of rival ethnic claims to territory (and 40 percent of Iraq’s oil resources), plus the potential fracturing of these four states?  Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Wednesday said plainly to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that, in his view, the United States is seeking to create a new “Israel” in the Middle East through the Kurdish secession bid.  (And Israel has made it pretty clear in ministerial comments that it welcomes and supports a Kurdish state and sees such to be in the Israeli interest).

Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq have been watching events closely, ever since the U.S. (and some European allies) started to set up the 11 semi-permanent U.S. military bases in northern Syria – in areas in which the Kurds are prominent but not necessarily a majority. However, with the conflict in Syria edging toward conclusion and with Syria resisting plans for a buffer zone along the Golan armistice line and exclusion zones along the Syrian Iraq border, these four states plainly would not be happy about another, even bigger, pro-Western “buffer,” inserted right in their midst.

Barzani, however, is not alone in wanting to reassert his leadership credentials, by playing the “nationalist” card: Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi faces crucial Iraqi parliamentary elections next year with former PM Nouri al-Maliki close behind and breathing down his neck. Abadi’s tough response to the Kurdish referendum has proved popular with his electoral base and has succeeded in putting some distance between the incumbent and Maliki. Remaining tough on the sovereignty of the state will be crucial to Abadi retaining the premiership.

Iraqi Retaliation

Reuters reports on measures already taken: “Baghdad retaliated against the referendum with an international flight ban on Kurdish airports, while Iran and Turkey launched joint military exercises with Iraqi troops at their borders with Iraqi Kurdistan. [The] Iraqi government has rejected a KRG offer to discuss independence. It demanded Kurdish leaders cancel the result of the referendum or face continued sanctions, international isolation and possible military intervention.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi.

“On Tuesday, Iraq’s central bank told the KRG that it would no longer sell dollars to four leading Kurdish banks and would stop all foreign currency transfers to the region, banking and government sources told Reuters … Earlier, the federal parliament in Baghdad raised the threat of excluding Kurdish members who took part in the referendum, on the basis that it was unconstitutional. The parliament decided to collect the names of those who voted in the referendum as a step towards their impeachment by the Higher Federal Court, Speaker Salim al-Jabouri told a news conference after the session.”

It is likely that the four states – now closely coordinating – will pursue a process of constitutional attrition against the KRG. Baghdad will seek to regain control of the international airports in the KRG (it already controls the airspace); the regional borders; the oil supply – and Kirkuk, overrun by the Kurds in the wake of ISIS’s seizure of Mosul. The four states will squeeze the KRG economically, until the pips squeak, should Barzani try to use the Peshmerga to retain control of Kirkuk and its oil fields.

The strategic shift here, from the past, is three-fold: All the KRG neighboring states are – for the first time – united in a common hostility to Barzani’s initiative (the KRG is landlocked, so this factor is significant).  Secondly, that whereas the Kurdish Peshmerga forces used to have a free run in northern Iraq, in the wake of the 2003 war and the subsequent U.S. occupation, now there has been a major mobilization and arming of the Iraqi Hashd al-Sha’abi (PMU) forces. These forces are ready, willing and able, to take on the Peshmerga (the Kurdish militia) militarily in northern Iraq; and thirdly, Russia – though keeping a low profile on the Iraqi Kurdish issue – does, by contrast, take a strong position on Syrian sovereignty.

Russia, since its arrival in Syria, has been in close touch with the Syrian Kurdish forces (that is to say, the external relationship to the Syrian Kurdish forces has never been a U.S. monopoly). Indeed, Russia has at times used its own forces to protect the Kurds from the Turkish army (i.e. at Manbij). And although Russia does not say publicly what passes between the Russian armed forces and the Kurds, it is a fair bet that the Russians are telling the Kurds to come to terms with Damascus or be militarily suppressed – should they try to interfere with the Syrian Army’s ongoing recovery of Syrian land (and its oil resources).

Bullied by Israel

So, the key question is how far will the U.S., bullied by Israel, go with this project? It seems that the U.S. government is divided on Kurdish independence – and as Michael Rubin suggests in his article, “Will Masrour Barzani be the CIA’s Latest Embarrassment” – and also is somewhat ambivalent about empowering a hereditary Barzani dictatorship.

President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at joint press conference on Feb. 15. 2017. (Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov)

Rubin writes: “What does this mean for the United States? Privately, both diplomats and intelligence circles seem to understand the dynamics of the Masrour-Nechirvan split and, if it is not too strong a term, the psychopathic trends within Masrour’s behavior.”

This refers to reports from international human rights organization of torture committed by Masrour’s security forces and of prisoners tortured and jailed when they refused to offer Masrour a percentage of their companies among other issues.

On the one hand, therefore, the Barzani “dictatorship” is problematic for the U.S.’s reputation, and Kurdish independence could threaten the break-up of Iraq (which the U.S. is hoping to use to “roll back” Iran). But, on the other hand, Centcom (the U.S. military command for the region) has fallen in love with the Kurdish recruits Centcom is training in Syria, while the State Department worries more about the big-picture alienation of NATO-member, Turkey. In short, there is no clear U.S. interest (beyond that of Israel).

And yet, events seem to fall into another, forming a pattern. Israel is concerned that it finds itself alone in the Middle East (its only sure ally, for now, being Saudi Arabia). Israel misplayed in Syria. It fears the consequential Iranian and Hezbollah presence in Syria, and doubts that either the U.S. or Russia will do – or can do – much to mitigate those fears. And so, the Israeli leadership is reacting by escalating its bellicosity (threatening to attack factories in Syria and Lebanon, which it says are manufacturing sophisticated missiles, or permanent Iranian military bases, or both).

Iran’s Supreme Leader’s identification of a putative Kurdish state as “another Israel”; Hezbollah’s warning that Zionists should now consider leaving the region; President Bashar al-Assad’s expressed intent to regain all of Syria, and Ayatollah Sistani’s influential ruling against Kurdish independence, all seem a part of this same pattern: one of escalated warning and of new rules of deterrence.

Essentially then, the Barzani “initiative” has become the peg around which a new deterrence paradigm is being set, and that his referendum ploy has already been quietly subsumed into this emerging regional stand-off.

Alastair Crooke is a former British diplomat who was a senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy. He is the founder and director of the Conflicts Forum.

57 comments for “Kurdish Referendum Roils the Mideast

  1. October 20, 2017 at 18:04

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  2. Abe
    October 12, 2017 at 14:15

    Interesting learning disorder:

    Cannot spell: psycopath [sic], onw [sic], Skaekespeare [sic], taht [sic]

    Can spell: chutzpah, Sheesh, equivocates, Virgin

    Excellent memory for names of leaders in Middle East

    Obsession with assassination attempts

    Understands that Turkey has ability to cut the pipeline that carries oil from northern Iraq to Israel

    Understands basic geopolitical calculus: No oil for Israel = No game.

  3. October 12, 2017 at 09:35

    Interesting article, thx!

  4. Panas Spec
    October 9, 2017 at 16:12

    I am sympathetic with the Kurds. They deserve to have a country as any other ethnic group, but their land has been parceled out to surrounding countries. Combining these areas into one state will cause all sorts of tension, confrontation and even bloodshed. The minorities in the new nation will be agitated by their neighbors. There is not much to be exploited here except POSESSION OF LAND and perhaps some oil that is losing its importance annually with all the efforts to replace the need for it. It is just human greed and self aggrandizement that will be exploited by unscrupulous individuals from all sides. I believe that setting up a UN committee to resolve this issue will be a very hard fought and time-consuming battle, but can eventually be crowned with success.

    • Abe
      October 10, 2017 at 15:50

      The Netanyahu regime in Israel is highly “sympathetic with the Kurds”.

      Israel’s support for an independent Kurdish state is solely motivated by geopolitical reasons:

      Israel wants to secure the flow of “perhaps some oil”.

      In 2015 alone, Israel purchased crude oil worth about $1 billion from the Kurds, amounting to a third of the exports of Iraqi oil from the Kurdistan region, and supplying three-fourths of the annual Israeli oil demand.

      The region’s production volumes represent 15 percent of total Iraqi output and around 0.7 percent of global oil production.

      There’s absolutely no sign that Kurdish oil is “losing its importance” to the Israelis.

      In addition, the “story” of the Kurds mirrors the “story” Israel tells itself about its successive land grabs and ethnic cleansing in Palestine.

      The nations of Iraq, Syria and Iran most definitely do not want a “second Israel” carved out of their territories.

      In recent years, Israeli politicians Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, and the late President Shimon Peres all declared themselves “sympathetic with the Kurds”.

  5. mike k
    October 9, 2017 at 11:28

    martin archer – I feel sure there is a job waiting for you as a neocon propagandist. You even almost seem to make sense, in spite of being totally wrong!

    • Seer
      October 9, 2017 at 13:40

      He states in such a way that it’s hard to tell whether it’s his position or that of what he sees happening. At any rate, the points made are the ones to concentrate on (message vs. messenger). As Derrick Jenson so astutely notes, the aim of those in power is to blow a premise by you such that you don’t question it. In the case of the “martin archer” post I can see a case where there may be the intent to blow a premise past folks (that the US HAS to meddle abroad): fortunately there’s a lot of very bright people here which are not going to get run over by such tactics.

  6. martin archer
    October 8, 2017 at 16:11

    This article sounds like it was written in response to a payment from the Ayatollah. In any event, t is disgraceful that the US, the UK, and the countries claiming to be democracies are not, and have not, supporting the Kurds with money and modern weapons and are, instead, trying to protect the territories claimed by Islamic dictators such as Erdogan, the Ayatollah, and Assad, who are determined to repress their minorities. Not supporting the Kurds will keep the middle east in flames as the dictators continue to do what they have done in the past – try to divert the militants among their Islamic constituents’ to scapegoats like Israel and the Kurds.

    The Kurds and Israelis will resist when they are attacked by those who want to take their lands, so It is almost as if the elderly generals and state department officials of the United States are trying to keep the middle east in flames so they will be important and retained.

    And what’s wrong with supporting the Israelis and Kurdistan and, in so doing, reduce the sizes and wealth of Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Turkey so they are weaker? Only an elderly army general still thinking in terms of fighting the last war or an unworldly state department official can believe that trying to appease dictators by opposing the Kurds will reduce tensions in the middle east and cause the Islamists to move towards peace and democracy.

    A new and viable Kurdistan would join Israel and be another splendid buffer between the western oriented countries and those with the terrorist-generating Islamic dictators – Erdogan, the Ayatollah, and Asad. If the US needs an air base in the area it can fly its planes to Erbil and base them there.

    It is particularly appalling that we have generals who are willing to send their enlisted men and junior officers into harm’s way to support the Islamic dictators. Begone you sad excuses for Americans, begone.

    • Seer
      October 8, 2017 at 16:45

      “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none.” — Thomas Jefferson

      Entangling alliances WITH NONE!

      “It is particularly appalling that we have generals who are willing to send their enlisted men and junior officers into harm’s way to support the Islamic dictators.”

      It’s US POLITICIANS. Generals are pawns.

      And the mention of US supporting dictators and signing off on nation-building (such as Israel) is well known. Worked well, hasn’t it?

    • turk151
      October 8, 2017 at 21:51

      This is all the makings of a monumental disaster for the Kurdish people.

  7. mike k
    October 8, 2017 at 10:30

    The War God was seeking a Fool to be His instrument for destroying Mankind. He has found that instrument in Donald Trump. It does not take a genius to destroy everything – it just takes a complete fool.

    • Seer
      October 8, 2017 at 12:38

      mike, it’s The System. As the System is predicated on the impossible (perpetual growth on a finite planet) it WILL, ultimately, collapse. Long ago, th expansion of “markets” was seen as necessary to keep things going. Now that we’ve basically achieved full penetration into all possible markets there is nowhere else to expand to. Soon it will be impossible to ignore the realities that there will be no more market expansion, we’ll have hit the “growth wall.”

      Derrick Jensen tells us what we can expect:

      “we’ve come to believe that our food comes from the grocery store and that our water comes from the tap, and that’s because it does. And that’s an extraordinary thing that the system has done, has been to interpose itself in between us and the real world, because if your experience is that your water comes from the tap and your food comes from the grocery store, you’re going to defend to the death the system that brings those to you, because your life depends on it. If, on the other hand, your water comes from a river and your food comes from a land base, you will defend to the death the river and the land base, because that’s what your life depends on.”

      Dick Cheney told the world what to expect: “The American way of life is not negotiable.” The entrenchment of the System and the programming of the masses is so pervasive that there is next to zero chance it can be turned around. Death comes…

      • mike k
        October 8, 2017 at 14:55

        Thanks Seer. Derrick Jensen is one of my best mentors.

        The System has been developing since we came down from the trees long ago. It is simply the ways the few have developed to control the many and exploit them. The simple and necessary cure for our situation is to create a system based on Love rather than Selfishness. Those who hold care for each other and all living beings higher than selfishness and power over others and nature, will not endorse or conform to a violent system of domination and violence. How to help people understand and create a Love based world system is the fundamental challenge for human beings. To fail to do this will guarantee our extinction in the near future. This Law holds for all intelligent life systems anywhere in the Universe. Love or perish. Intelligence without Unconditional Love for all Life is dangerous, and doomed to failure. Our possible extinction will not be due to some Divine Agency condemning us, but would simply occur as a result of our violating a simple, impersonal Law of Life in the Universe.

        • Seer
          October 8, 2017 at 16:14

          mike, I’ve always found that things are fine until resources start to become scarce. That seems to be the law of nature. I’m not a religious scholar, but I tend to think that all the religious texts provide cover for dealing with such conditions: giving “believers” the sense that since they are “true believers” that their actions will be forgiven by a creator. I really don’t have qualms with this, as it’s really about how humans can cope with impossible situations in the face of being driven by the sense of survival: if there wasn’t this drive then we probably wouldn’t be here today. For YEARS I have been trying to educate people on the issue of growth (Dr. Albert Bartlett’s presentation on this matter is bedrock). At some point, not matter how cooperative people are, growth will overtake the ability of the earth to provide, and at that point I cannot see how people will all become like martyring monks. I see this with the animals that I raise; they are all perfectly content UNTIL food gets scarce. Humans ARE animals, we are OF nature. Nature is deceptive, and humans have done a pretty good job of evolving deception (not so much by physical shape-shifting as in verbal trickery).

          A love-based world can only happen with ALL humans believing the exact same things AND all having access to resources: the former is “promised” by every major/mainstream religion. While a theory could be developed for this I’m afraid that w/o some conditionals as to a quantification of things (people and resource requirements) it’ll fail. The source of our failings was the original, incomplete instruction of: “Go forth and multiply” (on a finite planet).

          “The chief cause of problems is solutions.” — Eric Sevareid

          • mike k
            October 9, 2017 at 11:22

            Seer – You ask some good questions, too many to answer in one comment – so I’ll just respond to one. I took part a few years ago in a discussion between 20 or thirty top population experts. My participation after a couple of years reminded me of my years studying and being an activist in the anti nuclear movement; the issue was so obvious in it’s naked simplicity, that one had to marvel at how people had come up with so many ways to complicate and cloud the issue. We desperately need to eliminate all nuclear weapons, period. Also we desperately need to severely reduce the population of humans on Earth. Both of these needs can be met by simply not doing something. Do not engage in unlimited reproductive sex, and do not make or own nuclear weapons.

            The unconditional Love that I speak is not unintelligent – quite the opposite, it represents and embodies the deepest wisdom possible. We are living in the results of cultures that base their behavior on quite other standards, that justify war, unlimited human procreation, unlimited destruction of ecosystems and fellow beings on Earth, unlimited selfishness, violence, greed, etc.

            If we wish to survive as a species on Earth, we are going to have to decide which principles we are going to base our lives together on. The wrong paths we are presently engaging insure our extinction in the near term. It is time to try something else. The Love I speak of is simply sanity. Nothing special as Zen folks like to say. But this nothing special is absolutely essential.

  8. mike k
    October 8, 2017 at 10:22

    The oppression of the many by the few is a fundamental dynamic of our species history. Whether we can find an answer to this koan will be key to our survival as a species. How does good conquer evil? How does truth prevail over falsehood? How does Love triumph over hate? How does Peace replace war? We need to find out, and make it so – and soon.

    The God of War is becoming impatient to use His Nuclear Weapons……

  9. October 8, 2017 at 10:21

    I believe if there was a functioning justice system we would be arresting these war racketeers and putting them on trial. See link below for more info:
    March 18, 2017
    “The War Racketeers and Taxpayers Money”

  10. mike k
    October 8, 2017 at 08:37

    There have always been evil people seeking power over others, regardless of how many are hurt and destroyed by their obsession. The tragedy of America is how they have progressively taken over our nation and turned it into the curse on humankind it is now. Whether there is a way to prevent these twisted and insane people from destroying the entire human species is the basic problem now facing us all. It is very late now in this ugly affair, and the odds against us surviving get worse day by day. Getting people to look at the truth, as we are doing here on CN is a crucial part of this work. We must continue this project, like Diogenes carrying his lighted lantern through the streets of ancient Athens, seeking for those willing to see the truth of their world, which is plain as day for those with the courage and honesty to see it.

  11. Joe Tedesky
    October 8, 2017 at 02:02

    Read this article by Fredrick Kagan (sorry for that I know) but then read the comment section, and remember this is on FOX.


    Be sure and read the comment section.

    There are others out there, I tell you. Joe

    • Seer
      October 8, 2017 at 12:21

      Joe, yes, this is heartening.

      Folks need to just totally jump on US politicians every chance they can get. I’m thinking that it wouldn’t be too much different than the GOP hiding from going out in public (town hall meetings) pushing their silly health care plan: they will claim that it’s the other party stocking the crowds, but I highly doubt it.

      The juggernaut is the Pentagon. Exposing stuff like this will help:


      If only Pat Tillman were around.

      • Joe Tedesky
        October 8, 2017 at 14:47

        Seer isn’t that something how ‘patriotism’ has now become a purchased commodity in the NFL? It’s a strang way to honor our military, and I think that flys in the face of what patriotism should be all about, but that’s me.

        I see you read the comments below the article of Fredrick Kagan, and found it heartening. That’s encouraging isn’t it? To me, and for all of those who post here, I feel like we are stranded on a large island, and by seeing those other comment posters on FOX news of all paces gives one hope, that there are others on this island with us. This may be an indication that the corporate polls that we hear about all the time, are fixed around the corporate narrative, and that they are just ramming through more lies, on top of more lies. Remember how Hillary was a shoe in?

        We need to get our military involved into this public outcry against these wars of destruction. I do believe there is more citizens upset, than we may know of. If we people were to only have at least one leader, that would help, but leader or no leader these comment sections can become a center for public resentment to show through.

        Take care Seer, and hang in there. Joe

    • John Watwood
      October 11, 2017 at 14:26

      I read the article, what I could stomach, and the comments. Good for those whom jumped all over the article’s publisher. Except for one or two(mainly some one calling them self Zip or Zippy), knows what is really going on. I am surprised that Fox didn’t delete the ‘dissenting’ comments.

  12. nooraza othman
    October 7, 2017 at 20:23

    Saudi Arabia is no ally of ISrael but has to play some diplomatic manuevering in order to get some justice for the colonized Indigenous Palestinians!

    Zio Abadi just received proposal of $50 million loan from that warmongering pro-Zio Kurdish France/NA*O – what a sell out! No wonder the Kurdish TERRORISTS on ZioAJazee*a felt so arrogant to declare that they would not give up a single inch of Iraqi or Syrian land back after so-called ‘liberating’ it from their fellow mass murderer/robber/rapist/organ-tissue trafficker MOSSAD/CIA-created IS/ISIS/ISIL/Daesh!

    The Zio US/NA*O-puppet Abadi has shown his true colours; no wonder he has let the rogue and most evil Kurdish terrorist OCCUPPIERS, especially the most evil murderous PKK drug gangs, rapists and robbers and its branches, SDF/YPG/PYD/KDP/KRG; under the pretext of fighting IS; to carve out IMPERIALIST Zionist ‘Kurdistan’ by the MINORITY Kurdish population in Syria and Iraq – which they have been expanding 80% through illegal confiscation of land/property/regions of Syria-Iraq’s Indigenous Sunni-Shia Muslim/ORTHODOX Catholic Arab/Turkmen/Persian/Assyrian/Aramean (Syriacs)/Armenian peoples, for the last 13 years in Iraq, and also now robbing 17% land in Syria (this is why the Kurdish TERRORISTS, along with their collaborators, MOSSAD/CIA-created IS/ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, purposely destroyed all houses and buildings to pieces, in areas that they conquered, in Iraq and Syria, so it can be claimed subsequently, falsely as “Abandoned property/land”, to be confiscated by the Kurdish Terrorists for the expansion towards their illegal ‘Kurdistan’; just like savage colonial ISrael)!

    See – at The Myth of the Kurdish YPG’s Moral Excellence, By Stephen Gowans, What’s Left, July 11, 2017; at – Kirkuk to be made capital of so-called Kurdistan: Declaring oil-rich Kirkuk as the capital of so-called Kurdistan and forming a joint army with PKK terrorists were discussed during a meeting attended by American and Israeli officials, with the ultimate aim of dividing
    Iraq, Editor/Internet, Yeni ?afak; September 26, 2017; at – Barzani supports Daesh established by US, Israel: An Iraqi intelligence document dated from 2001 establishes that CIA and Mossad established the core of Daesh and Barzani supported this and met with Bernard Henry Levy, Editor/Internet ,Yeni ?afak, October 05, 2017; at – Kurdish PKK and YPG’s Hidden Notorious Crimes: Kidnapping, Murder, and Narcotics Trafficking, By Sarah Abed, Global Research, September 26, 2017; at – Ongoing Kurdish Terror Attacks Against Aramean Christians in Syria, World Council of Arameans (Syriacs); and at – Kurds Annexing Assyrian Lands in Iraq, By Matthew Barber, AINA News Posted 2017-10-01.

    These Kurdish Terrorists even kidnapped their own Kurdish and also Orthodox Christian children for child-soldiers, see – Kurdish PKK & YPG’s Hidden Notorious Crimes: Kidnapping, Murder, and Narcotics Trafficking (as above); and at – Assyrians, Armenians in Syria Protest Kurdish Confiscation of Property, by Orthodox Cognate Page, on November 4, 2015!

    • Abe
      October 8, 2017 at 15:29

      In fact, Western governments have working in concert with Israel and Saudi Arabia to arm the Kurdish separatist forces.

      Kurdish proxy groups are being directed to attack Iraqi, Syrian and Iranian state forces:

      “Kurdish fighters in Syria operate under the name of the YPG, which is ‘tied to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, a radical guerrilla movement combining [anarchist ideas] with Kurdish nationalism. PKK guerrillas [have] fought the Turkish state from 1978’ and the PKK is ‘classified as a terrorist organization by the European Union, Turkey and the U.S.’ […]

      “Washington has long wanted to oust the Arab nationalists in Syria, regarding them as “a focus of Arab nationalist struggle against an American regional presence and interests,” as Amos Ma’oz once put it. The Arab nationalists, particularly the Ba’ath Arab Socialist party, in power since 1963, represent too many things Washington deplores: socialism, Arab nationalism, anti-imperialism, and anti-Zionism. Washington denounced Hafez al-Assad, president of Syria from 1970 to 2000, as an Arab communist, and regards his son, Bashar, who succeeded him as president, as little different. Bashar, the State Department complains, hasn’t allowed the Syrian economy—based on Soviet models, its researchers say—to be integrated into the US-superintended global economy. Plus, Washington harbors grievances about Damascus’s support for Hezbollah and the Palestinian national liberation movement.

      “US planners decided to eliminate Asia’s Arab nationalists by invading their countries, first Iraq, in 2003, which, like Syria, was led by the Ba’ath Arab Socialists, and then Syria. However, the Pentagon soon discovered that its resources were strained by resistance to its occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, and that an invasion of Syria was out of the question. As an alternative, Washington immediately initiated a campaign of economic warfare against Syria. That campaign, still in effect 14 years later, would eventually buckle the economy and prevent Damascus from providing education, health care and other essential services in some parts of the country. At the same time, Washington took steps to reignite the long-running holy war that Syria’s Islamists had waged on the secular state, dating to the 1960s and culminating in the bloody takeover of Hama, Syria’s fourth largest city, in 1982. Beginning in 2006, Washington worked with Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood to rekindle the Brother’s jihad against Assad’s secular government. The Brothers had two meetings at the White House, and met frequently with the State Department and National Security Council.

      “The outbreak of Islamist violence in March of 2011 was greeted by the PKK as an opportunity. […]

      “Modern-day Syria, it should be recalled, is already the product of a division of Greater Syria at the hands of the British and French, who partitioned the country into Lebanon, Palestine, Transjordan, and what is now Syria. In March, 1920, the second Syrian General Congress proclaimed ‘Syria to be completely independent within her ‘natural’ boundaries, including Lebanon and Palestine.’ Concurrently ‘an Arab delegation in Palestine confronted the British military governor with a resolution opposing Zionism and petitioning to become part of an independent Syria.’ France sent its Army of the Levant, mainly troops recruited from its Senegalese colony, to quash by force the Levantine Arabs’ efforts to establish self-rule.

      “Syria, already truncated by British and French imperial machinations after WWI ‘is too small for a federal state,’ opines Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad. But Assad quickly adds that his personal view is irrelevant; a question as weighty as whether Syria ought to become a federal or confederal or unitary state, he says, is a matter for Syrians to decide in a constitutional referendum, a refreshingly democratic view in contrast to the Western position that Washington should dictate how Syrians arrange their political (and economic) affairs. […]

      “Kurdish forces are not only ‘retaking’ Christian and Muslim Arab towns in Syria, but are doing the same in the Nineveh province of Iraq—areas ‘which were never Kurdish in the first place. Kurds now regard Qamishleh, and Hassakeh province in Syria as part of ‘Kurdistan’, although they represent a minority in many of these areas.’

      “The PKK now controls 20,000 square miles of Syrian territory, or roughly 17 percent of the country, while Kurds represent less than eight percent of the population.

      “In their efforts to create a Kurdish region inside Syria, the PKK ‘has been accused of abuses by Arab civilians across northern Syria, including arbitrary arrests and displacing Arab populations in the name of rolling back Islamic State.’

      “Tip of the US Spear

      “For Washington, the PKK offers a benefit additional to the Kurdish guerrilla group’s utility in advancing the US goal of weakening Syria by fracturing it, namely, the PKK can be pressed into service as a surrogate for the US Army, obviating the necessity of deploying tens of thousands of US troops to Syria, and thereby allowing the White House and Pentagon to side-step a number of legal, budgetary and public relations quandaries. […]

      “The PKK has struck a bargain with the United States to achieve its goal of establishing a Kurdish national state, but at the expense of Syria’s efforts to safeguard its independence from a decades-long US effort to deny it. The partition of Syria along ethno-sectarian lines, desired by the PKK, Washington and Tel Aviv alike, serves both US and Israeli goals of weakening a focus of opposition to the Zionist project and US domination of West Asia.”

      The Myth of the Kurdish YPG’s Moral Excellence
      By Stephen Gowans

      • Seer
        October 8, 2017 at 15:55

        Here, pull my finger!

        Didn’t the Kurds learn anything after the US left them to dry after inciting them to rise up against Saddam?

        Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice… Here, pull my finger!

        • John Watwood
          October 11, 2017 at 14:48

          lol, right on.

      • John Watwood
        October 11, 2017 at 14:48

        Excellent article, very informative.

  13. Realist
    October 7, 2017 at 16:30

    “Syriangirl,” before Youtube revokied her channel as “hate speech” for presenting a Syrian perspective on the war, explained the objections of most of her countrymen to an independent Kurdistan in Syria. The Kurds do not constitute a majority, rather only a plurality, in the region they occupy, plus the area they plan to seize with the help of Washington is much larger than their home turf and makes up most of the oil fields of the country. She also says that, historically, the Kurds were strictly nomads, who did not live on fixed plots of land when the political entities called Iraq, Iran, Syria and modern-day Turkey were formulated from the old Ottoman Empire, which is why they were not assigned sovereignty in any location. Alastair Crooke makes essentially the same points about Iraqi Kurdistan in this piece.

    If demography around Kirkuk should decide possession of the lucrative oil fields the prize should go to the Turkmen, the largest group, though none of the three key peoples constitute a majority. Washington and Tel Aviv really care nothing about the aspiration of the Kurds to govern over their neighbors, they simply want to damage the interests of Iraq, Iran, Syria and, now, perhaps even Turkey. Anything to raise hell in the general area. The region had political stability despite the multicultural make-up of all the local powers for decades, until Washington decided that most of the countries needed “regime change” because they all “threatened” Israel–though none had ever invaded the Jewish state. The Kurds were first made a point of contention, in recent history, during the Iran-Iraq war which Washington fomented by supporting Saddam against Iran even as they subverted him against the Kurds. Iranians had dared to replace Washington’s puppet on the peacock throne and needed to be taught a lesson, even if the lesson cost the lives of untold numbers of Persians, Arabs and Kurds. Those are just people, just pawns in Washington’s great game of global “Risk.”

    • Joe Tedesky
      October 7, 2017 at 22:50

      Like I said, what Israel wants Israel gets.

      Great comment Realist, you never leave me down. Joe

    • Abe
      October 8, 2017 at 15:02

      Chemical scientist Maram Susli, a Syrian Australian, is the activist “SyrianGirl” who provides analysis and commentary on the geopolitics of conflict in the Middle East.

      Susli holds a Master of Science (MSc) degree from the School of Biomedical, Biomolecular and Chemical Sciences at the University of Western Australia (UWA) in Perth.

      In 2010, Susli’s PhD research activities at UWA in Perth were co-funded by The Danish National Research Foundation’s, Center for Materials Crystallography.

      In 2011, Susli’s research was presented in Acta Crystallographica, the peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr).

      Sulsi provided chemical science information that aided in debunking the false claims of self-appointed “chemical weapons expert” Dan Kaszeta and fake “citizen investigative journalist” Eliot Higgins concerning “chemical attacks” in Syria.

      Susli communicated with MIT Professor Theodore Postol during investigation of the 2013 chemical incident in Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria.

      In June 2014, Kaszeta retaliated by filing a defamatory false report to UWA alleging that Susli engaged in “terrorism” activity, attempted to produce a “nerve agent” in her organic chemistry laboratory, and advocated “violence against Jewish people”.

      Since 2013, self-appointed “chemical weapons expert” Kaszeta and “citizen investigative journalist” Higgins have continued to make claims about “chemical attacks” in Syria.

      Immediately following the the 4 April 2017 chemical incident at Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib Syria, Kaszeta was cited as a go-to “expert” by the BBC, UK Guardian, CNN, Time magazine, NPR, Germany’s Die Welt and Deutsche Welle, Business Insider, Popular Science, Asia Times and the Associated Press.

      Not content with merely quoting Kaszeta, BBC News online went so far as to publish an essay authored by Kaszeta titled “Syria ‘chemical attack’: What can forensics tell us?” At the end of his BBC News essay, in a furtive effort to quickly “tie the whole narrative together”, Kaszata mentioned that “In 2013, the chemical hexamine, used as an additive, was a critical piece of information linking the Ghouta attack to the government of President Assad.” This intriguing tidbit linked to a December 2013 New York Times article quoting Kaszeta’s own claims about the “very damning evidence” of hexamine.

      However, Kaszeta’s claims about hexamine were already debunked in 2014. Kaszeta continues to claim that Hexamine was used in the 2013 Ghouta attack, despite the evidence that Hexamine is not soluble in alcohols, making it ineffective for this purpose.

      Accurate analysis of all primary and secondary evidence relating to the 21 August 2013 chemical incident at Ghouta indicates it was carried out by Al Qaeda terrorist forces (Al Nusra Front or Jabhat al Nusra, also known as the Jabhat Fateh al Sham).

      Accurate analysis of evidence relating to the 4 April 2017 chemical incident at Khan Shaykhun indicates it was carried out by Al Qaeda terrorist forces (Hay’at Tahrir al Sham, the latest rebranding of Al Nusra).

      Higgins and Kaszeta have vigorously backed the narrative of an air-dropped chemical bomb in Idlib. However, none of Kaszeta’s articles on Bellingcat, nor any of the numerous citations of Kaszeta by mainstream media, address the complete absence of evidence of an aerial bomb.

      Higgins is a “non-resident senior fellow” with the Atlantic Council, DC-based interventionist think tank. Higgins attempts to discredit any reporting or analysis and documentation that conflicts with the “regime change” agenda of the Atlantic Council and Western interests.

      False and misleading claims by Higgins and Kaszeta continue to be debunked by independent investigative journalists.

      In addition to attacks on Susli and Postol, Higgins has attacked journalists Seymour Hersh, Robert Parry, and Gareth Porter.

      Porter’s detailed case that showing the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) based its overall conclusion of concerning the April 2017 Khan Shaykhun sarin attack on test results of biomedical and environmental samples that either could have been manipulated.

      Porter showed that OPCW failed to consider an alternative explanation that was consistent with the actual results of the chemical analysis.

      Porter recently reported at Alternet:

      “Higgins claimed to be scandalized that I would dare to assert that al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise authorities could have planted sarin in the environmental samples and fooled the OPCW’s test for IMPA in biomedical samples.

      “Higgins demanded to know from whom al Qaeda obtained the sarin. He did not make the same demand in regard to the IMPA, the availability of which can be easily documented.

      “The real issue is not whether we know from whom, where and when Nusra Front officials obtained sarin, but whether the OPCW test results represent incontrovertible evidence, as Higgins insists. OPCW itself has in the past taken the formal position that they do not and cannot rely on samples that could have been tampered with. As I documented in my report, the OPCW itself adopted a rule in 2013 that neither biomedical or environmental samples could be used as evidence for any conclusion about the use of chemical weapons unless the organization had a complete, reliable chain of custody for the samples — meaning that that the OPCW staff would have to be directly involved in the collection of the samples.

      “But in the case of Khan Sheikhoun, the OPCW collected no environmental or biomedical samples in Khan Sheikhoun, because it never set foot in the city. Instead it accepted environmental samples collected by the White Helmets — a civilian and de facto media arm of the Al Qaeda-tied rulers of Idlib — along with biomedical samples collected by the Idlib Health Directorate and a private pro-rebel Syrian-American organization that operates field hospitals in Idlib. The OPCW then reported on the positive results for sarin as evidence in support of its conclusion that a sarin attack had caused the deaths and injuries. In doing so, the OPCW massively and shamefully violated its most fundamental protocols, and nullified the validity of its conclusion.”

      Exposing a Shoddy Sarin Attack Narrative and Responding to NATO-Backed Critics
      By Gareth Porter

      • Realist
        October 9, 2017 at 03:52

        Thank you for adding all that information on Syrian Girl’s background. I knew she was living in Australia but did not know of her educational and professional history. Her collaboration with Professor Postol to ascertain the truth about the alleged gas attacks in Syria is most laudatory. Yet Washington and its vassals give knee-jerk credence to whatever characters like Higgins and Kaszeta concoct to produce the narrative it desires.

        Never heard of Kaszeta or Higgins before, but looking up Kaszeta’s history just now I see that, though his degrees from Texas Christian were in political science and international affairs, he was assigned duties in the Chemical Corps whilst in the U.S. military. He was later employed by the U.S. Secret Service. Now he is a private defense contractor. So, being a creature of the American Deep State, it is no wonder he provides narratives they want propagated.

        I’ve never worked with Sarin, but way back in 1970 I worked with related organic fluorophosphates (diisopropylfluorophosphate and phenylethane sulfonylfluoride) that, like Sarin, inhibit acetyl cholinesterase activity (they are nerve agents). As I seem to recall both were sparingly soluble in water so they were first dissolved in either methanol or isopropanol before dispensing into aqueous solutions. I’m assuming the Sarin in this hypothetical weapon was dispersed in oil and/or an organic solvent like alcohol or ether–you want quick evaporation. Hexamine (C6H12N4) is a highly combustible fuel, so I’m assuming that Kaszeta is alleging it was used as the explosive in a nerve gas bomb. Turns out hexamine IS soluble in alcohols, but why is that critical? Why need the Sarin be dissolved together with the hexamine? Why need the hexamine be in contact with any alcohol? It burns and explodes quite nicely by itself. I’ve never built a nerve gas bomb but wouldn’t the toxic agent be dispersed merely by being in the same vessel with the explosive when the canister ruptures under great pressure? And, wouldn’t the key ingredient to assay for in the immediate proximity be the toxic agent, i.e., the Sarin, which, as I recollect, Postol did and found totally absent. Maybe my memory is faulty on that. (I’m talking about the incident that served as a pretext for Trump’s missile attack on Syria.) I honestly don’t recall whether he tested for explosives, but didn’t he conclude the ruptured pipe bomb didn’t explode in that hole in the street, but was transported from somewhere else?

        Well, I hope the day comes when Syrian Girl can put her chemical expertise to use in a peaceful world and doesn’t have to contend with slander by American operatives trying to destroy her credibility (and maybe even have her dismissed from her degree program). It just stands to reason that if she wanted to build WMD’s for Assad, she wouldn’t be doing it in an Australian university… and she wouldn’t have (had) a high profile internet blog to attract attention.

        • LJ
          October 10, 2017 at 21:10

          Realist I sure hope you washed yer hands real good after you got done playing with all those evil chemicals. especially before you sat down at the dinner table. That is definitely not standard Consortium fare, a la mode.

          • Realist
            October 10, 2017 at 23:42

            Ha. That were nothing. Haven’t even talked about the massive doses of radiation played with daily during my younger daze of emulating Dr. Frankenstein and creating genetic monsters. I suspect that is why half my guts were left on the operating table about three years ago. But, hey, I’m just dandy these daze.

      • Abe
        October 10, 2017 at 15:16

        Realist, thank you for your comment and point of correction.

        To clarify the hexamine reference above:

        Susli contributed chemical science data on low solubility of hexamine in alcohols, debunking specific claims made by Kaszeta and Higgins concerning hexamine and sarin.

        Solubility, a characteristic properties of a substance, is the property of a solid, liquid, or gaseous chemical called solute to dissolve in a solid, liquid, or gaseous solvent. Solubility fundamentally depends on the physical and chemical properties of the solute and solvent as well as on temperature, pressure and the pH of the solution.

        Kaszeta and Higgins’ “hexamine is the smoking gun” claims lack a solid chemical science basis.

        Hexamine, a very common agent in chemical processes, is used in explosives and widely encountered in circumstances of military conflict.

        In short, contrary to the “smoking gun” claims of Kaszeta and Higgins, findings of hexamine provide no specific indication of who was responsible for chemical incidents at Ghouta in 2013, Khan Shaykun in 2017, and other events.

        Analysis of all evidence relating to the chemical attack in Ghouta on 21 August 2013:

        • Realist
          October 10, 2017 at 16:05

          I would still say that hexamine solubility in alcohols (which it IS) is totally irrelevant. Sarin must be synthesized in an anhydrous (and oxygen-free) environment which is isopropanol because its isopropoxy moiety is critically added to methylphosphonyl difluoride in the synthetic reaction, which also produces hydrofluoric acid as a by-product. A variant process generates hydrochloric acid. Hexamine is not involved at all in the process. Other additives, such as tributylamine, triethylamine, isopropylamine and diethylaniline have been used as stabilizers to protect against the corrosive, degrading effects of the acidic by-products, but hexamine is not listed as one. As I first said, hexamine is an energy-rich organic molecule often used in explosives (but more commonly in cooking fuel). It is also used in the synthesis of many useful products, but sarin is not one of them–at least not that I can discern from the literature. Hexamine might well have been used to explode a canister containing sarin, but that doesn’t prove who assembled and delivered such a device and the solubility of hexamine in alcohol has nothing to do with the price of tea in China or the answer to this question. It almost sounds like Kaszeta learned some big words while serving in the army chemical corps and likes to use them to serve his paymasters and fool the public.

        • Abe
          October 10, 2017 at 19:47

          In a “revised edition” of his Bellingcat bloviation on “amines”, Kaszeta used weasel phrases like “hexamine appears to have been incorporated” and slapped on a list of “references” that were “previously published in comments sections for other Bellingcat posts”

          So much for the ballyhooed “chemical weapons expert” cited by The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, Guardian, and all the rest of those “verification” aficionados at the First Draft coalition.

          Now about the chain of custody of those alleged “environmental samples” from Khan Shaykhun…

  14. October 7, 2017 at 13:09

    Are these criminals in “control”? More info at link below:
    February 23, 2013
    The International Community of Gangsters

    You can see them preening and posturing on the world stage, impeccably dressed. Feted and acclaimed by some of their partners in crimes,’ and lauded as “statesmen” and “eminent persons.” They give speeches at thousands of dollars a speech to some of those who have profited from their decisions. Some of them even write books on their roles in corrupting the world, only they don’t use the word corrupting. They use words like “bringing democracy” and “responsibility to protect.” I believe it is the people everywhere who need protection from these international gangsters who start wars based on lies and cause death and destruction world wide. These are the “respectable” war criminals to big to jail, too big too prosecute and too powerful to arrest because they run and control the system called “democracy.”…

    • Brad Owen
      October 8, 2017 at 09:18

      For a look into how these international gangsters were more plain-speaking and forthright era, go to Executive Intelligence Review (EIR) and type into their search box “Henry Luce” and read some of the articles that pop up. The empire of fascism article and the CCF article are the two most pertinent ones. And thanks for the grays info link.

      • Brad Owen
        October 8, 2017 at 09:24

        The CCF article is particularly damning, showing how we, “the marks” are being psychologically prepared for our own take-down with a carefully cultivated inability to defend ourselves or even recognize what is going on. There is the phrase “Concentration Camp without tears” and the drug culture comes with deliberate Malice Afore Thought.

  15. Abe
    October 7, 2017 at 12:31

    “both the US-trained and armed Kurdish SDF forces and ISIS are US proxies used now interchangeably to secure strategic oil and gas regions of Syria near the border with Iraq, where the Iraqi Kurds under the feudal despot, the US and Israel-backed Massoud Barzani, just voted overwhelmingly, by a reported 92% margin, to declare an ‘independent’ Iraqi Kurdistan, a move openly supported by Israel’s Netanjahu and behind-the-scene by Washington. Already in 2015 according to a report in the London Financial Times, Israel was importing as much as 77 percent of its oil supply from Barzani-controlled Iraqi ‘Kurdistan.’

    “Now the long-term Pentagon plan, first outlined in a 2006 US Armed Forces Journal piece, for a US-and-Israel-backed independent Kurdistan state carved out of territory of Iraq, Syria and even NATO-member Turkey and ultimately, Iran as well, is emerging into the sunlight. Until now it has largely been hidden in the darkness of more than six years of a US-sponsored and mainly Saudi-financed war to depose the legitimate elected government of Bashar al Assad, a prime obstacle to the planned balkanization of the region.

    “War against Terror or War with help of Terror?

    “The Pentagon lie that Washington has been fighting a war in Syria to destroy ISIS terrorists —a US aggression, by the way, illegal under international law as it is hostile invasion of a sovereign country against the UN Charter—is now fully exposed as just that, a lie. The Pentagon and CIA and its various killer-for-hire private mercenaries, as has been charged many times, created ISIS out of its Al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria in an attempt to topple Assad and take control of strategic oil and gas reserves and pipeline routes. At stake is the energy future of not only Syria but potentially of the European Union and of Asia.

    “This is no spur-of-the-moment idea of General ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis’ Pentagon to use Syrian Kurds to gain control of key energy corridors in Syria after their other options failed. The plan goes back at least to a 2006 article published in the US Armed Forces Journal by Colonel Ralph Peters. There Peters outlined a plan for radical redrawing of the post-World War I borders of the entire Middle East. In his piece, Peters argues, ‘A Free Kurdistan, stretching from Diyarbakir through Tabriz, would be the most pro-Western state between Bulgaria and Japan.’ He goes on to claim, ‘The most glaring injustice in the notoriously unjust lands between the Balkan Mountains and the Himalayas is the absence of an independent Kurdish state. There are between 27 million and 36 million Kurds living in contiguous regions in the Middle East.’ Peters even spoke of a probable independence referendum by the Iraqi Kurds in which ‘Nearly 100 percent of Iraq’s Kurds would vote for independence.’ It just took place, and the Soviet-style results were 92%, with reports of severe intimidation of voters voting no from the Barzani clan thugs, as in ‘vote yes or else.’ Barzani himself has amassed a fortune reported in several billions through corrupt practices he runs through family members. Since 2015 he has ruled as president with no legal mandate after the National Assembly demanded his departure.

    “This past summer before the Hamburg G20 summit, the US President announced he was cutting funding for the CIA and Pentagon war against jihadi terror in Syria and the Middle East. What now becomes clear is that instead of training what in fact were ISIS and other terrorists and sending them to battle Assad, a battle the Jihadi mercenaries were badly losing once Russia engaged in September, 2015, the US funds were being shifted to Kurdish military brigades of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

    “After Trump’s announcement, huge shipments of US-supplied weapons were sent to the Kurdish SDF, including heavy machine guns, mortars, anti-tank weapons, armored cars and engineering equipment. This past May Trump signed authorization to arm the Kurd SDF militias. By June some 348 trucks with military assistance had been passed to the group, the Turkish Anadolu news wire reported. According to the news agency’s data, the Pentagon’s list of weapons to be delivered to the group includes 12,000 Kalashnikov rifles, 6,000 machine guns, 3,000 grenade launchers and around 1,000 anti-tank weapons of Russian or US origin.

    “Now it’s clear those US arms shipments to the Kurd SDF forces was aimed at a new war against the Damascus Syrian Arab Army of Bashar al Assad, a war to prevent Assad’s troops from retaking their rich oil and gas lands around of Deir ez-Zor.”

    The Big ISIS and SDF Lies of the US: ‘Kurdistan’ and New Gas Wars
    By F. William Engdahl

  16. October 7, 2017 at 12:30

    Article of interest below:
    Has The Israel Lobby Destroyed Americans’ First Amendment Rights?
    By Paul Craig Roberts
    October 06, 2017 “Information Clearing House”

    • Seer
      October 7, 2017 at 14:29

      All laid out pretty bare!

      I’ll once again remind people that Israel has guaranteed medical/health coverage by right of citizenship, and that the US, as it shells out billions per year to Israel (effectively subsidizing their health care), does not. I think that this point need to be rammed down the throats of our politicians.

    • October 7, 2017 at 17:59

      Thanks Stephen J,…both Paul Craig Roberts & Giraldi articles very interesting and yes, Seer…the guaranteed health care in Israel does rub salt in the wound!

  17. October 7, 2017 at 11:58

    It doesn’t surprise me that there is considerable in-fighting among the Kurds and even within the Barzani clan. The question of “legitimacy” raised by the Seeking Alpha article is however of little relevance to the conflict as the region is a patchwork of different ethnicities. I believe it’s less a question of legitimacy than what would be the wisest move of all parties under the circumstances. Here again Russia is the key, having good relations with all parties concerned. All of Kurdistan’s neighbors have large ethnic or sectarian minorities and it seems likely any aggressive move militarily on their part could backfire even if coordinated. There is also the prospect of neocon/Israeli mischief. However, Iran appears to be the most vulnerable with its large ethnic minorities of not only Kurds, but Azerbaijani-Turkmen, Baluchis and Arabs, as well as a dissident educated elite. Putin’s warming relations with the Saudis may well be intended to put pressure on the aging mullahs not to do anything foolish to provoke an attack(apart from the oil production agreement). The situation is volatile and complex but not entirely hopeless in my opinion.

    • Seer
      October 7, 2017 at 12:29

      “Here again Russia is the key”


      The US’s interest lies in the fact that it’s decades-long aim of disabling Russia (the only real threat to the US’s hegemony) is failing. And keep in mind that a HUGE part of the strategy was to set up oil flows to Europe that were outside Russian control.

      ALWAYS, think “resource” flows.

      • October 7, 2017 at 13:21

        Seer,…yes, but while the U.S.-neocon/ Israel motives remain exploitive, I believe the Russians actually have an interest in implementing peaceful solutions in the region, quite apart from their concerns about the fluctuation in oil pricing.

        • Seer
          October 7, 2017 at 14:02

          Yes, I DO believe that Russia has more benign intents. The fact that they actually have legal standing to be in Syria makes their position much more, well, legit!

          Pretty sure that Russia understands physics, that eventually the shorter distances for energy transfers WILL win out. Neighbor-to-neighbor deals makes the most sense, so that’s how it’ll end up in the long-run. In the meantime Russia just has to hang on as the US empire goes through its dangerous death throes.

        • Dave P.
          October 8, 2017 at 02:54

          BobH, Yes, you are right. Also, from the steps the Russians are taking, they want to develop their economic future which is more diversified, and not so much dependent on Oil. Russia is a big country with many resources, it’s population very educated, and it has a good foundation in scientific and technological development. Russia will succeed in it’s endeavor.

  18. David G
    October 7, 2017 at 11:33

    I wonder why neocon Michael Rubin has gone into print with such a critical take on Iraqi Kurdistan under the Barzanis, thereby putting a lot of daylight between himself and Israel.

  19. David G
    October 7, 2017 at 11:29

    Looks like Erdogan is done playing Takfiri Avenger in Syria, having realized the obvious point that a disintegrated Syria would be a huge boon to separatist Kurds in Turkey.

    Given time, though, he’ll go off the deep end again. Trump may be the type specimen for malignant narcissism, but he doesn’t have a monopoly.

  20. mike k
    October 7, 2017 at 10:43

    Without reasonably objective articles like this one, a novice in Middle East affairs has little chance of figuring out what is going on there. When reading reports such as this one, I realize how slanted and woefully incomplete the versions offered by the MSM are. It encourages me to quit delaying my small but nevertheless important contribution to CN.

    • H.Trickler
      October 8, 2017 at 11:44

      I am not at all convinced that this article is objective.

      • Bart in VA
        October 8, 2017 at 14:26

        Rubin includes a lot of ad hominem comments about Barzani: He’s rich! He’s corrupt! Middle East saints are thin on the ground.

  21. Joe Tedesky
    October 7, 2017 at 10:35

    Whatever Israel wants Israel gets.

    • Abe
      October 8, 2017 at 10:55

      The bottom line:

      “the gloves will soon come off where Israel as the instigator of crises is concerned. Bibi and Trump meeting in Washington, the role of AIPAC in pressing for sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea, and the provocative geostrategic role the Netanyahu government has played equal overwhelming circumstantial proof of the tiny nation’s responsibility for Middle Eastern chaos. […]

      “the acute problem for the Israeli regime is not Assad anymore. Since the Syrian Army with Russian and Iranian assistance has nearly eradicated ISIS, Tel Aviv is worried about the aftermath of the Syrian mess. And about their precious Golan Heights. […]

      “Bypassing Russia and Iran, cutting Syria off as a gateway for delivering energy, destroying any semblance of resistance to Israeli power in the region, shoring up America’s dominance in the global scheme – these deals and strategies show tradeoffs that have created massive crises. And the Zionists that run Israel are smack in the middle of all of them. This is no longer arguable. The question remains, ‘What can we do about it?’

      “The answer to the question is not a positive one, for in the west the game is pretty much rigged. Citizens are either distracted by local crises, or they are uneducated and apathetic toward global geopolitics. In short, we’re ill prepared to do anything at all. This is one reason why we see globalist magazines like Foreign Policy, and even leading politicians, unafraid to simply lay out the plans. These revelations we are seeing are a consequence of our own indifference, and the solutions to Israeli or US encroachments are not easy for people to accept. Where Tel Aviv is concerned, the only mediation that will get its attention is force. […] until the international community (or Russia perhaps) slaps Israel down (and hard) these crises will only escalate. Israel had the key role in Arab Spring, and in the regime change targeting Assad and Syria. As a result, millions of people are now displaced or worse. It’s high time that these Zionist autocrats face the music. The alternative will be a cataclysm.”

      Israel’s Role in the Cataclysm to Come
      By Phil Butler

    • Abe
      October 8, 2017 at 11:14

      Israel, the Middle East’s sole nuclear power, is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

      In 2015, the US-based Institute for Science and International Security estimated that Israel had 115 nuclear warheads. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) maintains that Israel has 80 operationally deployed nuclear weapons.

      Outside estimates put the number of Israeli nuclear weapons anywhere up to 300 warheads.

      Israel’s nuclear activities came into sharp focus in 1986 when Mordechai Vanunu — a technician during the period 1976-1985 at Israel’s nuclear facility at Dimona — revealed overwhelming evidence of the country’s nuclear program.

      Vanunu provided Britain’s The Sunday Times with dozens of photographs, enabling nuclear experts to conclude at the time that Israel had produced at least 100 nuclear warheads.

      Charged with treason, Vanunu spent 18 years in jail and was released under very strict conditions in 2004.

      Israel maintains a policy of nuclear ambiguity, neither openly admitting nor denying that it possesses a nuclear program.

      • Joe Tedesky
        October 9, 2017 at 08:34

        Thanks Abe, your adding context to my post gives my posting a much better quality of knowledge. Joe

Comments are closed.