On To “Kurdexit”

Remember last year the big mash up over the “Brexit”….that referendum where the UK would leave the EU?

Well there is a similar thing happening in the Middle East…..on 25 Sept of this year the Kurds will vote on a referendum to leave the country of Iraq……

It was an eventful summer, especially in the Middle East. It all began with the Qatar kerfuffle on June 5, followed soon thereafter with a change in Saudi Arabia’s line of succession. Then came violence and protests over security measures at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem. Mosul and Tel Afar were liberated in Iraq. The American-backed Syrian Defense Forces marched on Raqqa, the self-declared Islamic State’s “capital.” Yemen descended further into a humanitarian disaster with 600,000 cases of cholera and imminent famine. Morocco exploded in protest over the death of a fishmonger last fall at the hands of police. Iran continued to consolidate its power around the Middle East. The Trump administration withheld or delayed about $300 million in military assistance to Egypt over “geopolitical and human rights concerns.” Turkey’s massive purge continued. And prosecutors in Israel edged closer to indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for corruption.

There was another story of potentially enormous consequences that received scant attention, however. Throughout the summer Iraqi Kurds prepared for a referendum on independence that will be held on Sept. 25. For the better part of a century, Iraq’s Kurds have been trying to undo what the League of Nations did under British pressure in 1925 when it attached the former Ottoman province of Mosul to Iraq. Their incorporation into Iraq has been an unhappy experience for the Kurds, to say the least.

Source: Is the world ready for “Kurdexit”? Referendum among Iraqi Kurds has Middle East on edge – Salon.com

There are very few people that see this referendum as a good thing for Iraq or the larger Middle East…..that is with the exception of the Israelis…..

The president of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Masoud Barzanion Tuesdayrejected an Iraqi parliament vote authorizing Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi “to take all measures” to reject the Kurdish independence referendum and preserve Iraqi unity. Speaking in Kirkuk following the vote, Barzani vowed that the referendum would still go ahead on September 25. Abadi has threatened that Kurds will lose all their political gains if they proceed with the vote and instead urged them to come to Baghdad for a dialogue. While the referendum has little international support, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahureaffirmedTuesday that Israel “supports the Kurdish people’s legitimate attempts at self-determination.”

The predictions of the aftermath are dire…..that the violence is far from over even with the defeat of ISIS…..plus they see the Kurds expanding to all parts of the Middle East….Syria, Turkey, Iran, etc…..none will be good for the well being of the region.

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The Vote That Could Change Everything

It is September and the battle for Mosul and against ISIS is slowly winding down…but a new wrinkle is about to pop up that could start Iraq down a whole new path of conflict.

September 25, the Kurdistan Regional Government in Erbil will hold a binding referendum on whether or not to secede from Iraq. It will almost certainly pass. More than a decade ago, the Kurds held a non-binding referendum that passed with  99.8 percent of the vote.

No one knows what’s going to happen. Iraq is the kind of place where just about anything can happen and eventually does.

Kurdish secession could go as smoothly as a Scottish secession from the United Kingdom (were that to actually happen) or a Quebecois secession from Canada, were that to actually happen. It could unfold like Kosovo’s secession from Serbia, where some countries recognize it and others don’t while the Serbs are left to stew in their own juices more or less peaceably.

Source: The Kurds Are About to Blow Up Iraq | World Affairs Journal

If the Kurd vote to cede from Iraq they will be tearing the heart out of the nation….and the rest of Iraq will not go quietly into this good night.

Experts often question the degree to which the Kurds of Iraq and their various peshmerga groups are united politically. The Kurdistan Region is split between the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). These parties fought a civil war against one another in the mid-1990s and have since maintained separate military and security forces. Despite recent moves toward integration, separate KDP- and PUK-aligned forces continue to predominate the peshmerga. These political armies add another layer of complexity to the already Byzantine mix of territorial struggles, hydrocarbon disputes, and militia politics playing out in the Kurdistan region. Complicating things further, the KDP and PUK have since fractionalized, most dramatically with the emergence of the Gorran (change) movement in 2009, which claims to disavow the entrenched and corrupt politics of the two traditional parties.

New conflict….new problem in the Middle East…..and the US will have to be ass deep in this conflict as well….after all they have been our allies for decades.

From Kabul to Baghdad

WE have been fighting and dying in the Middle East for almost 17 years….I try to keep my readers up to date on these wars but it is difficult at times….mainly most Americans do not care how long we have been fighting and dying.

This is a personal trip for the writer of this op-ed…it is a good read and informative if that is what you are looking for information….but if you prefer slogans then this will mean little to the reader.

 

 

 

Closing Thought–14Aug17

More US Deaths!

With all the news about Virginia and North Korea and the White House drama there is always some news that will fall between the cracks….but the death of American soldiers should NEVER fall through….

Over the week more US troops met their death while fighting in Iraq….

The Pentagon has confirmed two US soldiers were killed and five others wounded today in “combat operations” in Iraq. Details of exactly what happened remain unclear, with the Pentagon not offering any formal details beyond “combat.”

The Pentagon appeared to be vague on this, however, saying they don’t think the deaths were due to “enemy contact,” despite saying the deaths were in the course of combat operations. This brings the number of US soldiers confirmed killed in the ISIS combat operations to seven.

(antiwar.com)

Our sympathies go out to the families for their loss…..

My day is all but over…..I need to decompress a bit….been a helluva day.

Be well, be safe……..chuq

Kurds Step Up

Note:  This post was a draft for the time before the Kurds have their independence vote….but the news is not good for them in Syria which will play in Iraq and Turkey as well…..so I jumped the gun……

Today is 01 September….not a big deal except to the Kurds.

You see this month the Kurds will be voting on an independence referendum….a vote as the first step to an independent Kurdistan in the Middle East.

For over a century the Kurds feeling betrayed by the Sykes-Picot Agreement, have longed for their own homeland…but there is more to it than that, right?

Iraqi Kurdistan’s upcoming independence referendum on Sept. 25, 2017 will determine, among other things, the borders of an emerging Kurdish state in that region. With this determination would likely come border conflicts for an independent state squeezed between several volatile flashpoints.

Presently, the borders of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region are not clear-cut. Baghdad and Erbil both lay claim to “disputed territories.” Under Article 140 of the Iraqi Constitution, a referendum should conclusively resolve the status of these territories. Yet Iraq never implemented this article and has stalled on doing so for a decade.

Source: An Independent Kurdistan Would Begin With a Clash | War Is Boring

There are Kurds in Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran…but the referendum is only being voted on in Iraq.

It seems to be popular in Iraq but not so much in Iran, who has a substantial Kurd population….

International bodies, regional powers and Baghdad are not alone in objecting to Iraqi Kurdistan’s independence project. Feylis, who are Shiite Kurds, are also fundamentally opposed to Kurdistan’s possible secession from Iraq.

Immediately after the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on June 7 announced its intention to hold a referendum on independence, most of the parties and forces concerned about Iraqi developments expressed their opposition, in part out of concern that it will lead to an escalation of regional crises. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi laid out the Iraqi government’s official position June 18, stating, “The Kurdistan Regional referendum on secession is illegal, and the federal government will not support it, fund it or participate in it.” The United States and Iraq’s neighbors, including Turkey, Iran and Syria, oppose the country’s territorial division.

Iraq: The War To End A War

The last “big” story out of Iraq was that the Iraqi military has called the battle for Mosul as won….that all that is left of ISIS is some wandering bands of fighters looking for leadership……

If indeed ISIS is defeated then we should expect a peace to now prevail, right?

Only an uneducated dolt would think that the conflict in Iraq is coming to an end.  Believe me there is a wealth of uneducated “experts” when it comes to foreign policy.

Now we wait to see if Iraq can win the peace……or an op-ed in USA Today is saying……

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi waved his national flag in a devastated Mosul last week and with good reason. He was celebrating the hard-fought victory of his U.S.-supported troops over the stubborn Islamic State terrorists who held Iraq’s third-largest city for more than three years. But Abadi was candid about the challenge going forward: “We have another mission ahead of us — to create stability.”

Source: Winning the peace in Mosul

Stability?  Really?  Sounds like spin to me.

ISIS has been routed from the Iraqi city of Mosul. Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi has declared that this signals “the end and the failure and the collapse” of ISIS.

But according to two Iraq War veterans writing in a paper published by the Small Wars Journal in April, the victory in Mosul will be short-lived.

Source: Iraq War Veterans Warn: Mosul Victory Is Prelude to Iraqi State Failure | Alternet

September will be the start of the after conflict conflict…..why September?

That is when the Kurds have scheduled a vote of an independence referendum.

Depending on the outcome…I do not see that as an event that will bring peace.

This has the possibility of becoming uglier and a lot more messy before there is an end to these hostilities.

One Living–Another Dead

Awhile back there were several reports that the leader of ISIS, al-Baghdadi, had been killed….and the peasants dance…..now someone has rained on that parade….

A top Kurdish counter-terrorism official said on Monday he was 99 percent sure that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was alive and located south of the Syrian city of Raqqa, after reports that he had been killed.

“Baghdadi is definitely alive. He is not dead. We have information that he is alive. We believe 99 percent he is alive,” Lahur Talabany told Reuters in an interview.

Source: Exclusive: Islamic State leader Baghdadi almost certainly alive – Kurdish security official

I question since this came from the Kurds is it just a story to keep the money and arms flowing before the “independence” referendum in September?

This would not be the first time a terrorist leader was declared dead and not being so…..

Then far miles away in Afghanistan….

The head of ISIL in Afghanistan, Abu Sayed, was killed in an attack on his headquarters in Kunar province earlier this week, the Pentagon said on Friday.

Spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement on Friday that other members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, known as ISIS) were killed in the raid on Tuesday.

“US forces killed Abu Sayed, the emir of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) – in a strike on the group’s headquarters in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, July 11,” White said in the statement, referring to ISIL’s other acronym.

Source: ISIL leader in Afghanistan ‘killed in US raid’ | ISIS News | Al Jazeera

Once again it is…..Another he said….they said…..

Many “leaders” over the years have been pronounced dead…only to re-appear healthier than ever…..