Iraq Has Consistently Failed To Maintain Partnership Agreements With The Kurdish People

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Barzani: Iraq Failed to Maintain Partnership with Kurds

Iraq

Erbil– The head of Iraq’s Kurdistan region, Masoud Barzani, reiterated his adherence to hold an independence referendum on September 25, noting that Iraq “has failed to maintain a true partnership with the Kurdish people.”

During a meeting on Wednesday with Kurdish Muslim clerics in Erbil, Barzani said: “The Kurds have long tried to establish a federal state in Iraq,” adding that since 2003, the Iraqi government has violated around 55 articles of the Constitution, which was adopted by the people.

He also stressed that Kurdistan would never represent part of Iraq, “if Baghdad continues to violate the Constitution,” revealing that in 2004, the proportion of Kurds in the Army was 40 percent, while “today it is zero”.

“The independence referendum is not the property of one person or one party, but belongs to the people of Kurdistan and all the Kurdish parties,” Barzani said, adding that “the Kurdish people have been subjected to genocide since the establishment of the Iraqi state in the 1920s.”

Meanwhile, Barzani’s media advisor, Kifah Mahmoud, told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the Kurdish leader has stressed that the decision to hold the referendum was not biased or personal, in reference to those who claim that the decision was solely made by the president and the Kurdistan Democratic Party.

Mahmoud pointed out that Barzani “realizes the important role of religious scholars in support of the independence referendum, which is equal to the role of media, teachers in schools, and politicians.”

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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The U.S. And Their ‘Alliance’ (Except For The Kurd’s) Need To Leave Syria Right Now!

 

Any time that a person or more so a military, are in or flying above another Nation without the permission of that Nations government then you are an illegal intruder and you have declared war on that Nation. Syria’s President Assad has made it very clear that he considers the U.S. and their Alliance partners to be in his Country illegally and that he does not want them there. Even though I am an American citizen I cannot condone our actions in this Syrian Civil War nor with Syria’s inner-border conflict with the terrorist group called ISIS. We were never invited to step into this conflict within Syria’s borders and we should never have gone into that country, we have no right to be there. I will try to keep this article as short as I can yet I will do my best to explain my thoughts/beliefs as to why I believe as I do, for your consideration.

 

As I have written a few times before on this site that history shows within the Islamic world that it appears that about the only way to not have total chaos is if a rather brutal dictator rules their country. I personally do not like anything to do with brutality or with dictators, I am merely expressing an observation. I know that Syria’s President Assad is both of these elements yet I believe that the people of Syria as a whole were far better off six years ago than they are today. In Islamic countries there has been a civil war raging for about 1,400 years now between their two main sects and this hatred of each other still shows no sign of ending, ever.

 

Just like in Afghanistan the U.S. is in an Islamic country with our military and we have no exit strategy, as is the case in Syria. In Afghanistan the American tax payers have spent well over a trillion dollars to help bring peace to this tribal war-torn land and we have spilled the blood of many of our soldiers, and for what? In the long game our government has been trying to get the Taliban and to sit down with the very weak Government in Kabul to form a ‘sharing’ government, so why are we there? Unless a person is totally ignorant of reality they must know that once there is a ‘sharing’ government and the U.S. pulls out of the country that the Taliban will simply murder the civilian government people and everything will go back to the Taliban like it was 15 years ago. So, all of that gold and all of that blood spilled, for what? With all of this money the American government has spent in this country it is estimated that 90% of the civilians there only have one set of clothing, our occupation time there could have been spent in more productive ways.

 

Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, all far away countries that in the long run where our blood and gold have really accomplished very little to nothing. There is always one ‘positive’ to these military campaigns and that is the jobs provided by the ‘war-machine’ industry and of course the billions of dollars that go to the corporations leaders and to the people who are able to afford stock in these companies. To many government leaders in to many different countries seem to believe that their infrastructure must have a very strong weapons export economic base. People in these ‘second and third’ world nations (economically) need safe housing, schools, clothing and food. They need an infrastructure, roads, bridges, hospitals and jobs. I am sure that you noticed that these items I mentioned are the same exact things that the people of the economic powers also want and need, in most respects all people need and wish for the same things. The ‘Western Powers’ have a long history of setting up ‘war lords’ to rule small countries, then sell them a lot of weapons whom they use against their own citizens and then we wonder why their people hate us so much.

 

Now, back to the main line of thought, the situation in Syria. The Syrian President Mr. Assad has many economic and security issues within his borders and hundreds of thousands of people have died because of this Civil War that has been raging for the past six years. Back in the first term of U.S. President Obama when he had Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State the so-called Arab Spring started. Mrs. Clinton pushed Mr. Obama into trying to ‘help’ fire up the civil war in Libya to over through their dictator, look at the total mess that Libya still is. Egypt came next where we helped to over through their dictator then we got the Muslim Brotherhood who had to be over thrown by the Egyptian Army before Egypt became another Libya. Then Hillary set her eyes on removing President Assad from power in Syria, now look at what a disaster Syria has become.

 

The U.S. encouraged the Syrian citizens to revolt against President Assad and we have spent several billion dollars on training and supplying weapons to ‘moderate Islamist’ whom Assad calls terrorist, if the situation were reversed would we not call them terrorist? As we all know when we decided to pull out of neighboring Iraq we opened up a vacuum along their western border which made a very weak Iraqi government even weaker. We should have stayed longer just doing border control help while the government soldiers and police tried to keep the peace in the cities and the country’s interior. Our governments failures helped open up the eastern part of Syria and the western part of Iraq (both Shiite Islamic nations) for a new Sunni military army to step in and form their own government in these two countries. ISIS is a result of our governments ignorance of reality in this part of the world. We say we are in Syria to fight against this group of mass murderers and that we are not at war with Syria itself but that is an obvious lie. If we are training and supplying groups like the ‘Free Syrian Army’ who are fighting to bring Assad’s government down then we are in an ‘undeclared’ war with the Syrian government.

 

The Syrian government has many allies to help them fight the different intruders trying to over through them. Russia of course is their most powerful ally but they do have several more including other Shiite countries like Iraq, Iran and basically Lebanon through their proxy Hezbollah. The ethnic people know as Kurd’s are also fighting against ISIS but their case is a bit different because several hundred thousand Kurdish people have lived within these borders for thousands of years so in a sense they are fighting against ISIS and to a degree against the Syrian government in an attempt to keep and to achieve their own Nation. The recent episodes where we have shot down a Syrian jet fighter and a couple of Iranian drones has brought the U.S. closer to direct war with Syria, Russia and Iran. These events would not be a reality if we simply weren’t there. Some will say that we have to be there to fight ISIS but this is not true. The American people have spent our own money and blood in a Nation who has not attacked us or declared war on us and whom does not want us there. If the U.S. and our ‘Alliance’ partners were not there then Syria’s allies would have and could have taken our place with their bombers and their soldiers. But the real question is why are we doing what we are doing there? My question is, is it because of the trillions of dollars in war materials our economy produces and of course the jobs this creates for our economy? Could the reason partly be because of the friends our politicians have on the Boards of these companies, or is it because of the stocks that our Senators, Congressmen and women and also this President own in these companies?

 

 

 

 

Iraq, Syria and the Kurdish Fingerprint

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

Opinion

Iraq, Syria and the Kurdish Fingerprint

We reap what we sow. Many countries did not pay attention to the fact that maps need constant maintenance to prevent them from aging and rotting, and that relations between entities should be continuously repaired as well.

The first condition of maintenance is to prioritize the notion of citizenship and to build a state that deserves to be called as such; which means a state of law and institutions, a state that guarantees equal rights and duties.

Discrimination against citizens creates a hole in the map; a hole that allows the infiltration of winds and foreign influence. The ruler believes that power can silence the people forever. He has forgotten that the balance of power can be distorted and twisted and that the oppressed can grab any opportunity to take revenge. Grievances can make them jump out of the map.

The ruler commits a fatal error when he gives power the last say and when he refuses to listen to people’s complaints or demands. He believes that he has an endless ability to silence them and that fear can make the wounded and the disadvantaged forget their injuries and the injustice against them.

The worst scenario of all is when the ruler regards a group of citizens as a foreign body that was planted by destiny inside the map, and when he believes that the solution is to abolish the features of this group, separate it from its heritage, weaken its language and force it to gradually relinquish its identity.

The call for holding an independence referendum in Iraq’s Kurdistan region on September 25 has ignited the Kurdish issue. Baghdad opposed the call. Iran rejected it. Ankara saw it as a huge mistake. The reactions of those parties are not surprising. Countries that have scattered Kurds across their maps following World War I, including Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey, can disagree over anything but on the necessity to abort the Kurdish dream of having an independent state.

Masoud Barzani is aware of this truth. It is clear that the referendum will not lead to immediate measures. Lessons have taught Barzani to differentiate between dreams and illusions. He understands that rushing to completely leave the Iraqi entity could make the province an easy prey for major players in the region.

It is widely believed that Barzani is hopeless over the future of Iraq as a whole, especially in the wake of the ongoing rivalries between the Sunni and Shiite entities.

However, Barzani knows well that reviewing the borders involves major risks unless it is achieved under an international umbrella that sponsors a process of such size and nature.

ISIS’ invasion of Mosul has accelerated the dismantling of the Iraqi entity. It has intensified conflicts between the Sunnis and the Shiites. It has also increased the distance between Erbil and Baghdad.

ISIS attempted to invade the Kurdish province to fortify its presence in its mountains and take advantage of its location on the border of three countries. The Kurds engaged in a fierce battle to defend their region. They paid heavy prices. The Kurdish leader has once again concluded that the Sykes-Picot entities are artificial and not endlessly viable. He considered that “new maps are drawn with blood.”

Barzani knows that a Kurdish state in northern Iraq is a quasi-impossible dream. Yet, perhaps he is trying to consolidate the right to independence, even if it was not possible to be achieved in the near future. Some people believe that he is ready to accept a less-than-a-divorce formula. A formula that is based on confederate states that would save Erbil and Baghdad from being entangled in complex relations.

However, such formula needs a dance partner. It needs a realistic partner in Baghdad. Without the presence of such collaborator, Baghdad might be pushed towards a new conflict following the fall of ISIS: a conflict that can be triggered in “disputed areas”, beginning with Kirkuk. Some people do not exclude an upcoming confrontation between the Peshmerga and the Popular Mobilization Forces, with all the consequences that may imply on the Iraqi and regional levels.

While talking about Iraq, one should not neglect the deep transformations taking place in Syria. Syria’s Kurds today are different from those who were living there six years ago when the war broke out. Syria’s Kurds did not rush to engage in the country’s uprising. They took the role of spectators and were preparing for the worst. ISIS’ insistence to target their areas has offered them several opportunities. Their victory in Kobani has given them a much longed-for legitimacy. The Democratic Union Party, led by Saleh Muslim, succeeded in militarizing a society that felt threatened.

It was widely believed at the beginning that the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) has not cut its relations with the regime, and that the latter was able to manipulate it at the right time to suit its own interests. Nonetheless, the Kurds proved to be coherent forces at a time when the Syrian opposition was being struck on several sides. Syria’s Kurds have found a major role in fighting ISIS. They received training and arms. Washington was betting on their role, despite Erdogan’s anger and warnings.

It is true that the Turkish Army succeeded in preventing geographic communication between Kurdish areas, but this did not keep the YPG from changing the landscape in several Syrian regions.

Saleh Muslim says that the Syrian regime has practically collapsed. He means the single-party regime. He also says that it was impossible to revert to the pre-war situation in 2011. He notes that the Kurds will live in self-administered zones. The role of the Syrian Democratic Forces in Raqqa reinforces the belief that the Kurds will not have a marginal role.

In the past century, maps were sketched on the detriment of the Kurds. It looked like they were confined inside the borders. Abstaining from treating the Kurds with equity while preserving our maps has led us to the explosion.

It is clear that the Kurdish fingerprint will be seen when drawing the future of Iraq and Syria, which raises the fears of Turkey and Iran.

Ghassan Charbel

Ghassan Charbel

Ghassan Charbel is the editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

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Is China’s Economic Policy A Copy Of Wal-Mart’s Economic Policy?

 

When I was in college a decade ago I learned that in the U.S. that Wal-Mart, (Sam’s Club) (Lowe’s) (Walton family) had one dollar out of every nine dollars going through their hands each year according to the GDP. This is great if you are a person that holds a whole bunch of Wal-Mart stock, or is it? That would depend on if you are a person who loves this country, or if you are a person whom does not. I learned back in the mid and late 1980’s that the Wal-Mart slogan of them only selling American made products was a total lie. Back then I drove a truck for a living and when trucks going into the docks of North New Jersey to pick up loads going to Wal-Mart Distribution Centers it was a normal thing that the material we were to pick up would be staged on the docks waiting to be put onto the trailers yet we would have to wait for several hours to get it loaded. The reason was that the dock employees first had to remove all of the stickers saying where the products originated, like China, and then put on stickers saying “made in the U.S.A..” In my opinion Wal-Mart grew the way it did through lies, deceptive marketing, and fraud.

 

I really liked radio commentator Paul Harvey a lot, I really liked listening to his stories, the only trouble I had with him was that he was very naive. He used to talk about how we couldn’t have a better neighbor than when your community got a Wal-Mart store in their town. We the people and the small business people of these towns knew better. When a Wal-Mart store moved into a town pretty much all of the small store and all of the ‘Mom and Pop’ store quickly got put out of business. When this happened then the town’s people pretty much ended up having to shop at that Wal-Mart store or travel long distances to places that didn’t yet have one. Do you remember how it used to be a normal thing for a new Wal-Mart store to be built across the street from a K-Mart store and how then most of those K-Mart stores went out of business? Wal-Mart did finally quit the lies about only buying made in America products as we the people learned that we were buying items laced with poisons, they didn’t have American companies to blame it on, they had to come clean to the public about where the products really came from. In most cases it was coming from China. This poison was in may things, like baby food, pet food, and the pain on children’s toys. Many other U.S. companies are guilty of these actions as it is they whom closed their factories here in the States and Canada so that they could reap higher profit margins by using the much cheaper labor markets in Asian countries like China. If you noticed when a company moved their factories to a cheap labor market when those products showed up on store shelves here in America the prices did not go down for the consumers. The game is all about profit margins.

 

As companies here in North America put our workers on the unemployment lines destroying our own country, China started to boom. Wal-Mart had multiple half a billion dollar cargo ships (made in China) built that are too large to go through either the Panama Canal or the Suez Canal. These ships were built to sail from China to the west coast ports of North America. For Wal-Mart it is a win-win situation as they do not have to pay other companies to haul their freight for them. Just like they are phasing out their own truck drivers and started contracts with the lowest bidders, it is about maximum profits, period. Folks, when we buy products that are made in China we are putting money into the Chinese coffers and raising our dept to them. How much longer will it be until the Chinese Government calls in the loan on the 13 trillion dollars we owe them? How much longer will the dollar be the world standard-bearer? How much longer until the world currency is China’s Yuan (Renminbi (RMB))? Have you ever went around your local stores and checked where the products were made? Is it any wonder that now the U.S.Congress is trying to pass a bill making it where the people aren’t even allowed to know where the meat they buy comes from? Wal-Mart years ago got rid of the grocery packers forcing the customers to load their own groceries. Then they started putting in self checkout isles for the purpose of getting rid of the register checker employees. Last evening on the news I heard where they are now going to be replacing almost all of their office people with computers and robotics. If you have no employees you have higher profits, not lower priced products!

It is no wonder to me that as the U.S. is declining and that China’s military power along with their Leaders arrogance is increasing. Yesterday in China at the G-20 conference did you see how disgracefully and how arrogantly our President and his personnel were treated by the Chinese Government and their Officials? President Obama and those with him were treated as enemies, not as trading partners or as friends or even as someone they hoped to have as a friend someday. Yesterday the Chinese Government, (and you know damn well that their President Mr. Xi Jinping okay-ed those actions, they treated our President and the people of our Country as though He (President Obama and Us) did not deserve any courteousness. Yesterday the Chinese Government basically took a piss in the face of our President and our Nation!

 

Folks, every time you or I buy an object here in the U.S. (OR ANY PLACE THAT IS NOT IN CHINA) we are putting bullets in their guns that they will use against the U.S. and against the rest of the world. For years their policy has been to make things for the foreign markets as cheaply as possible. The ideology is simple, play on the greed of the people and companies in the open world markets. This gives work and wages to their own people while taking jobs away from other countries, closing up their factories and their industrial center capabilities. This also takes tax revenues away from other Nations making it impossible for other countries to afford to buy or build weapon systems even for self-defense. Just like with Wal-Mart ideology of putting everyone else out of business so that they rule where people can buy any product and what that price it is allowed to be, China is using that same philosophy. Pretty soon China will enforce its domain over the South China Sea and they will give Taiwan the option of surrender or be blockaded from all outside trade and revenue. They will do this as Russia weakens NATO’s resolve to their west, just like Turkey (a NATO country) is dividing NATO via courting Russia, the EU, and the U.S. concerning the Kurdish people. How many fronts are the people of the U.S. willing to go to war with? Russia believes they can break NATO and China believes that the U.S. does not have the will to go to war with them. As China makes the U.S. weaker economically, they believe they make the will of our people to go to war weaker. Unfortunately I believe that these actions will come about in less than one decade. Wal-Mart has used China well, or, is it that China has used Wal-Mart well?

Has President Erdogan Of Turkey Gotten His People Into A War With Everyone?

 

This past Wednesday a car bomb went off in the Capital of Turkey that was directed toward a passing bus of military personnel.  The death toll last I heard was at 28. On Thursday their President Mr. Erdogan was warning President Putin that (he) Turkey would hold Russia responsible for any acts of terrorism within Turkeys borders. On Friday a splinter group of a Kurdish fighting force claimed ‘credit’ for those people’s deaths. It seems that there are several different Kurdish fighting forces of which it seems President Erdogan is at war with all of them even though about 20% of the Turkish population are Kurdish. Today the Turkish Prime Minister Mr. Ahmet Davutoglu called on the U.S. for unconditional support against the Kurd’s in Turkey’s fight against terrorism. Both Turkey and the U.S. are members of NATO yet the reality is that the Kurdish people have endured heavy losses in their fight against ISIS even though Turkey and Russia have bombed their fighters. So, now a Kurdish group has unfortunately enraged at least 28 families in Turkey. Whom is it in the region that President Erdogan hasn’t ticked off? Syria, Iran, and Russia are at war with Turkey, ISIS, the Kurd’s and Shiite Islam, did I miss anyone? Sometimes it seems that President Erdogan is simply jealous of Russia’s President Putin and wants to get into a shoe-size measuring contest. Dictators, Kong size ego’s, and religion based murders can make a whole region go boom, big time. Why have war when we could all have peace, or, is it why have peace when you can have war? It is just my outside view looking in and I can only go by what I see and hear on the different news programs but it does seem that President Erdogan through his aggression policies are in the process of tearing the beautiful country of Turkey apart at her seams.