kurdish leaders

You may have seen reports about U.S.-backed forces liberating the city of Raqqa from Daesh. What no one has talked about is that those forces are the YPG/J, whom I’m writing a significant portion of my thesis on.

The ecologically sustainable, feminist, and democratic movement in Rojava [N. Syria], inspired by the imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan, and his transition from Marxist-Leninism to democratic confederalism in a tradition similar to the Zapatistas in Chiapas and based on theories on social ecology and libertarian municipalism of the late Murray Bookchin, should seriously be given more credit and celebrated more.

Biji Kurdistan, Rojava, Raqqa!

Elite Iraqi security forces have captured the Kurdish government headquarters buildings in the centre of Kirkuk with the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordering the Iraqi flag to be raised over Kirkuk and other disputed territories. An Iraqi Oil Ministry official said that it would be “a very short time” before the Iraqi military seized all the oilfields in Kirkuk province.

The century-old movement for Kurdish independence has suffered  a calamitous defeat as Iraqi military forces retake the Kirkuk oil province, facing little resistance so far from the Peshmerga fighters. Kurdish officials accuse part of the forces belonging to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), one of the two main Kurdish parties, of “treason” in not resisting the Iraqi assault.

Iraqi Kurdish dreams of achieving real independence depended on controlling the oil wealth of Kirkuk which is now lost to them, probably forever. Such autonomy as they did have will be curtailed, with Turkey announcing that it will hand over control of the border gate between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan to the central government in Baghdad.

The Iraqi government operation began early on Monday morning as troops swiftly seized two major oilfields and the headquarters of the North Oil Company. A convoy of armoured vehicles from Baghdad’s highly-trained and experienced Counter-Terrorism Force, which led the attack in the battle for Mosul, drove unopposed to the quarter of Kirkuk occupied by the governor’s office and other administration buildings.

Iraqi oil officials in Baghdad say that the Kurdish authorities of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) had tried to close down oil production by evacuating oil workers  but that output would soon be resumed. The Kurds seized Kirkuk city in 2003 at the time of the US invasion and expanded their area of control in 2014 when the Iraqi army in northern was defeated by Isis.

The streets in Kirkuk city were deserted in the morning as people stayed in their houses or fled to KRG territory further north. So far there has been little shooting as the Peshmerga abandoned their positions in what appears to have been a prearranged withdrawal. The city has a population of one million made up of Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen, the latter two communities hostile to Kurdish rule. A resident of Kirkuk said today that ethnic Turkmen were firing guns into the air in celebration of the takeover by government forces.  

Mr Abadi told his security forces in a statement read on state television “to impose security in Kirkuk in cooperation with the population of the city and the Peshmerga”. He called on the Peshmerga to serve under federal authority as part of the Iraqi armed forces. Coming after the recapture of Mosul from Isis in July after a nine-month siege, Mr Abadi will be politically strengthened by his victory over the Kurds whose commanders had promised to defend Kirkuk to the end.

The speed and success of the Iraqi military advance against negligible resistance so far is a blow to President Masoud Barzani who ignited the present crisis. He did so by holding a referendum on Kurdish independence on 25 September that was greeted with enthusiasm by Iraqi Kurds. But it was adamantly opposed by the Iraqi central government, Iran, Turkey as well as traditional Kurdish allies such as the US and Europeans, leaving Mr Barzani isolated in the face of superior forces.

The referendum is seen, even by many of those who originally supported it, as a disastrous miscalculation by Mr Barzani. Kamran Kardaghi, a Kurdish commentator and former chief of staff to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who died last week says that “the Kurdish leadership never expected that there would be such consequences to the referendum.” Omar Sheikhmous, a veteran Kurdish leader, warned before the referendum that it might turn out to be one of the classic misjudgements in Iraqi history, comparing it to Saddam Hussein’s decision to invade Iran in 1980 and Kuwait in 1990. He feared the referendum, guaranteed to alienate all the Kurds’allies, would turn out to a political error with similar calamitous consequences.

The withdrawal of part of the Kurdish forces is ultimately a reflection of deep divisions between the Kurdish leaders and their parties, whose rivalry has always been intense. The two main political parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) led by Masoud Barzani and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), founded and led for decades by Jalal Talabani, have always had separate armed forces, intelligence and political management. The KDP, strongest in west Kurdistan, fought a savage civil war with the PUK, based in the east, in the 1990s. Kirkuk was always considered PUK territory, though its PUK governor, Najmaldin Karim, has recently inclined towards support for Mr Barzani’s policies.

Part of the PUK, much divided since its leader Jalal Talabani suffered a stroke and sank into a coma, opposed the independence referendum as a manoeuvre by Mr Barzani to present himself as the great Kurdish nationalist leader. Ala Talabani, leader of the PUK parliamentary delegation in Baghdad, was shocked at the funeral of her uncle,  former Iraq president Jalal Talabani last Friday, to find that the Iraqi flag had been removed from the coffin and there was only a Kurdish flag.

The US has been closely allied to the Kurds in Iraq and Syria, but strongly opposed the independence referendum which it saw as provocative and divisive. Washington has called for “all parties to immediately cease military action and restore calm,” adding that Isis remained the true enemy of all parties in Iraq and they should focus on its elimination.  

President Trump’s denunciation of Iran when he decertified the deal over its nuclear programme last Friday could have energised Iran, traditionally a supporter of the PUK, to back an Iraqi government offensive in Kirkuk. The Iranians have always been worried about Iraqi Kurdistan becoming a base for US forces that could be used against us.

A simpler explanation for what happened is that the Kurdish leadership was more divided than expected and the Iraqi armed forces stronger, while Mr Barzani had alienated his traditional allies. A meeting of Kurdish leaders attended by Kurdish leaders on Sunday called for mediation and a non-military solution to the crisis, but by then it was too late.


Nelson Mandela spend 27 years in prison simply for asking for freedom for his people. And this is why he was called ‘terrorist’ by the West.
It’s for the same reason Kurdish leader Ocalan has been imprison ever since 1999. He too being called the same name as Mandela.

Assyrians in Urmia, Iran

The city of Urmia and many villages around it had considerable Assyrian population, many villages were 100% Assyrian. 

Many Assyrians were killed during the Assyrian genocide. Although the genocide happened in modern Turkey, many died in north western Iran, after Ottoman troops crossed into Iran and killed Assyrians and Armenians living there. 

The Ottomans were aided in north western Iran by some Kurdish leaders, including Simko Shikak who killed Assyrian patriarch, Shimun XXI Benyamin.

Massacres of Armenians in Van

Aram Manukian (1879-1919), political leader of Van’s Armenian population after the others were murdered days before the beginning of the massacres in Van.

April 19 1915, Van–Violence against the Armenian population of the Ottoman empire had been rapidly increasing. Forcible deportations had begun in Zeitun on April 8, which the local Armenian leadership had decided not to resist. In the vilayet of Van, the Turkish governor Cevdet Bey (brother-in-law of Enver Pasha) had apparently decided to take no chances and settled on eliminating the Armenian leadership ahead of time. In the wee hours of April 17, Nigol Mikayelian (known as Ishkhan) was killed by soldiers while on his way (at Cevdet’s invitation) to mediate after the Turks had arrested an Armenian teacher in the region of Shadakh. The next morning Arshag Vramian and many other local luminaries were summoned to meet with Cevdet; Vramian was detained, removed from Van, and killed a few days later. The remaining leader, Aram Manukian, had been warned by Vramian to stay away. On April 18, Cevdet ordered the Armenians to surrender their arms; Manukian, seeing what was happening, began to prepare a defense of the city. 

Meanwhile, Cevdet had been ordering attacks on the Armenian population. In front of a local American missionary, Dr. Clarence Ussher, he apparently ordered a colonel to “go to Shadakh and wipe out its people.” Fighting had already broken out in Shadakh, with a Kurdish attack on remote Armenian villages on April 15, followed by fighting breaking out within the town of Tagh after Turkish militia attempted to cut off the Armenian quarter. 

The massacres began in force on April 19 in villages throughout the province, after a few preliminary ones the previous day. In some, houses were burned, men killed and women raped while others fled. In others, men were rounded up, imprisoned, and later shot. Armed resistance was successful in one or two villages, but they were largely unable to resist for more than a day or two. In the region of Ercish alone, 45% of the population of over 10,000 was dead or abducted by the end of the day. 

The Armenian “worker battalions” often met similar fates. In the snows of the Pante Mahu gorge, over one thousand of them were killed in groups of twenty-five. A Kurdish leader who had attempted to save some of them was shortly thereafter poisoned. The city of Van itself was spared on the first day, perhaps due to the intercession of Dr. Ussher; if true, this gave Manukian valuable time to prepare the Armenians there for effective resistance. 

The Turks would refer to the events in Van as an Armenian “revolt,” and would of course use this as pretext for further depredations throughout the rest of the country. Cevdet’s predecessor, Tahsin Bey, had been forced out of office due to his moderate stance towards the Armenians, like many others. He would write the next month: 

There would have been no revolt at Van if we had not ourselves created, with our own hands, by using force, this impossible situation from which we are incapable of extricating ourselves, and also the difficult position in which we have put our army on the eastern front. After enduring this painful experience, we are, I fear, making the mistake of putting our army in an untenable position, like someone who has poked out her own eye while attempting to apply mascara to her eyelids.

Sources include: Raymond Kévorkian, The Armenian Genocide; Randal Gray, Chronicle of the First World War.

TURKEY, Sanliurfa : A Syrian Kurd child holds a glass of water after he crossed the border between Syria and Turkey near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, on September 20, 2014. Several thousand Syrian Kurds began crossing into Turkey on September 19 fleeing Islamic State fighters who advanced into their villages, prompting warnings of massacres from Kurdish leaders. Turkey on September 19 reopened its border with Syria to Kurds fleeing Islamic State (IS) militants, saying a “worst-case scenario” could drive as many as 100,000 more refugees into the country. AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC

Report: ISIS army is 7 times bigger than than previously thought

This information is coming from a Kurdish military leader who is on the ground fighting these animals, so I tend to give it weight.  Regardless, even if it’s not 7 times larger, we know for a fact that the Obama administration has downplayed ISIS’s power from the very beginning. 

from Independent:

The Islamic State (Isis) has recruited an army hundreds of thousands strong, far larger than previous estimates by the CIA, according to a senior Kurdish leader. He said the ability of Isis to attack on many widely separated fronts in Iraq and Syria at the same time shows that the number of militant fighters is at least 200,000, seven or eight times bigger than foreign in intelligence estimates of up to 31,500 men.

Fuad Hussein, the chief of staff of the Kurdish President Massoud Barzani said in an exclusive interview with The Independent on Sunday that “I am talking about hundreds of thousands of fighters because they are able to mobilise Arab young men in the territory they have taken.”

He estimates that Isis rules a third of Iraq and a third of Syria with a population of between 10 and 12 million living in an area of 250,000 square kilometres, the same size as Great Britain. This gives the jihadis a large pool of potential recruits.

Proof that Isis has created a large field army at great speed is that it has been launching attacks against the Kurds in northern Iraq and the Iraqi army close to Baghdad at the same time as it is fighting in Syria. “They are fighting in Kobani,” said Mr Hussein. “In Kurdistan last month they were attacking in seven different places as well as in Ramadi [capital of Anbar province west of Baghdad] and Jalawla [an Arab-Kurdish town close to Iranian border]. It is impossible to talk of 20,000 men or so.”

read the rest

Like I said before, I don’t know if 200,000 is completely accurate, but 31,500 doesn’t seem right either.  I tend to believe the guy on the ground actually fighting ISIS rather than the guy in the White House he doesn’t seem to care at all.