FTAC: America’s Foresight Capability, Environmental Protection, Endangered Species Act, Another Russian Nuclear Accident, Earth and Human Survival



Inspiration for this post —

Friedman, Lisa. “U.S. Significantly Weakens Endangered Species Act.” The New York Times, August 12, 2019. Lead:

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Monday announced that it would change the way the Endangered Species Act is applied, significantly weakening the nation’s bedrock conservation law and making it harder to protect wildlife from the multiple threats posed by climate change.

The new rules would make it easier to remove a species from the endangered list and weaken protections for threatened species, the classification one step below endangered. And, for the first time, regulators would be allowed to conduct economic assessments — for instance, estimating lost revenue from a prohibition on logging in a critical habitat — when deciding whether a species warrants protection.


For juxtaposition:

ABC News, August 12, 2019.

From The Awesome Conversation (FTAC) on the Social Network

A constituency at any point in time hasn’t mastery of the future. Our nation has nonetheless extraordinary programs conceived, established, developed by its elected officials who took the long gaze forward to establish principles for generations to come. Should we wish to see the genius of their ideas eroded?

Back in another day, this hoary old American fixture led the way in the conservation and protection of natural resources:


American men who intended that their children’s children and grandchildren would enjoy the same recreations as themselves.

I’m not a “Moscow Progressive”, and regret that the term has been “coinable” since the first era of Company v Labor disputes in which the Party (there really should be just the singular Soviet one referenced that way) and American Mafia figured out how to skim pretty good money from much needed human rights activism and representation, but I am progressive about Foresight and the necessity of changing human behavior as well as the wild earth (that was Yesteryear’s problem) in service to human and natural survival.

Our Founding Fathers designed our System far out ahead of their own positions through the writing of the Constitution. It turns out that America hasn’t been “stuck with Obama” — and it won’t be “stuck with Trump” either: what is will do is incrementally correct itself through the better efforts of the educated and reasoning (God willing).

I think the better position here with Energy and Environmental issues is to encourage what are inherently Progressive American Processes (not that “Mafia and Moscow” stuff that has gotten into the bloodstreams of the nation’s more partisan-to-extreme adults, and so many of them, Left or Right, “Know-Nothings” or “Know-Not-Enoughs”.

I have a couple of Mark (P) Mills pieces now, and he too seems fierce about hurrying ourselves into extinction by doing what we know how to do (minus getting a handful of colonists to Mars and cooperatively “terraforming” it inside of an environmental bubble. The sentimental American Left may be correct as regards both environmental concerns for the generation one-hundred years out: what can be done now in anticipation of emerging challenges?

I’ll leave “mass de-population” to Moscow in consideration of its fine demonstration for support of that pursuit in Syria and its continuing expression of competence with anything nuclear that can explode.


Related Online

Mills, Mark P. “Inconvenient Energy Realities.” Economics21, July 1, 2019.

Mills, Mark P. “The ‘New Energy Economy’: An Exercise in Magical Thinking.” Manhattan Institute, March 26, 2019.

Thomas Berry and the Great Work


Middle East Conflict – Post-Soviet Bridging – Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi and Yossi Klein Halevi


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Top: Horovitz, David. “When an ex-Fatah Palestinian ‘neighbor’ took up a Zionist author’s challenge.” The Times of Israel, June 12, 2019, picture taken in the TOI office in Jerusalem, May 2019.
Bottom: Bergman, Ronen. “The KGB’s Middle East Files: Palestinians in the service of Mother Russia.” YNet News, November 4, 2016.

The above juxtaposition may be found the BackChannels reading page — the page on which the editor shares part of his daily news feed — at https://www.facebook.com/BackChannels/ .

BackChannels believes history unified: when all has been truthfully reported, the parts may be found to fit all the way through. The greater public will with time dismiss lies and liars alike, and clarity and peace may emerge and prevail.

For the sake of having a conversation, both Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi and Yossi Klein Halevi chose to trim their respective and once absolute positions.

Was that wise?

Well, for the sake of realpolitik, perhaps it is better to have walked on to the bridge than to have continued throwing mud balls from opposite banks.

More than likely, and in light of basic necessary Israeli-Palestinian cooperation (as with COGAT), interaction (growing, voluntary, social), and trade, peace will well up from beneath the headlines to essentially drown the conflict in modern Palestinian doubt, fair-mindedness, humanity, and indecision — and appreciation and love. New ideas and information may do that. The once-Soviet Era poison as installed will slowly evaporate as light works its way into and through the community.

Related on BackChannels

Oppenheim, James S. “FTAC: Palestinian Integrity: Palestinian Liberation.” BackChannels, May 18, 2019.


The Burden of Memory — From Pakistan, the Story of One Story


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As told to BackChannels —

Tirah Valley, Khyber Agency, Pakistan, Around 2013-2015 — The operation had started against so-called militants in the valley. The army had only a little bit earlier ordered a general evacuation in advance of the fighting, so all who were not Taliban were still leaving their animals, businesses, and homes in a hurry.

The Taliban were there and would stay to fight the army.

I don’t know how many Taliban or army soldiers died in that fight, but there was an old man above 70, older than usual for the region, who told me that most were strong enough to cross the mountain but due to having less energy or power, he had thought he might be unable to cross the mountains with his daughter who could not walk. Still, he would try. He would carry her on his back.

The old man continued, “I took her on my back and started climbing the mountain, but after reaching some height, I had to stop.

She knew what was happening — or what was going to happen — and she started to cry.

“– Baba, don’t you know what the army or Taliban will do to me?

“What do you want me to do?

“–Shoot me.”

The old man started crying.

“I buried her in the mountain.”

It was cold the day the old man told me his story. He had no jacket or socks.

Tirah Valley, Khyber Agency, Google Earth Screen Capture, August 3, 2019.

BackChannels would suggest that memories live in aural and visual and other sense-based impressions, i.e., what we most remember are moments, not the day and hour of their making or what we had for breakfast in proximity to them — and then what makes a “moment” a long-term memory may be its elevated emotional aspects, and that made so by ethical, moral, or sensual experience.

The Tirah Valley has seen more than its portion — however God may determine these things — of conflict violence. Because the day and hour were indefinite in the memory of the blog’s source, BackChannels may place it (as a suggestion) around March 25, 2015 in light of The New York Times headline, “Pakistani Army Begins Offensive to Drive Militants from Tirah Valley” (Ismail Khan). However, Pakistan Armed Forces fighting with the Taliban in association with the Tirah Valley predates the 2015 offensive.

Shinwari, Wali Khan. “In Pictures: Pakistan’s troubled Tirah Valley.” Al Jazeera, July 9, 2014.

The New Humanitarian. “Fighting in Pakistan’s Tirah Valley displaces 40,000 people.” April 1, 2013.

For those living with peace, security, and perhaps some prosperity, there may be “good war stories”, ever courageous, inspiring, and noble, but, really, there are no good war stories that are not also deeply tragic and frequently disturbing — but that’s why we read them and, perhaps, choose to evolve.


M. Zuhdi Jasser, Western Conservative Summit, July 13, 2019


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AIFDtv, July 26, 2019.

M. Zuhdi Jasser has long — and long before 9/11 as he reminds in the above video (8:44) — advocated for a moderate Islam, or approach to Islam, compatible with American democratic principles, broadest popular participation in governance, and authentic religion and religious freedom.

You’ll see even individuals like this man in the center, Siraj Wahaj, who when I was in a Navy uniform in 1995 held up the Qur’an at the Islamic Society of North America that it is his mission as a Muslim to make America into an Islamic state and replace the Constitution with the Qur’an. I went to the mic at a conference larger than this and said, “This is sedition. I reject your values” – and this is in ’95, just to tell you I’m not a post-9/11 activist in this issue and also to tell you that this man is still on boards of many major Islamic organizations, and yet I show pictures of that New Mexico compound where his children and grandchildren were established, terror compounds, and yet he disavowed himself of violence.

As stated in the above YouTube video.

Mentioned: American Muslim Jurists Assembly

While Jasser defends and encourages American Muslim patriots, he recognizes the weird admixture of Islamist and Left/Far Left attitudes and beliefs that has produced a movement critical of conservative values and frequently associated with anti-Semitism. Those who follow BackChannels know that the blog would assign that tired pairing of neo-socialists and Islamists to Moscow and its “Active Measures” that encourage or promote Far Left / Far Right extremism in the United States, a coupling goes back to the Soviet Era and has been brought forward to contemporary domestic and foreign affairs. Essentially, the forces responsible for the abdication of the Shah of Iran (February 11, 1979) are today part of the American political landscape with no apparent shortage of under-informed followers.

Regarding the Far Left’s assault on America and its covering or ignoring the post-Soviet sphere of socialist experiments and, alas, criminal enterprises, Jasser reminds BackChannels of “Accusation in a Mirror” (referenced on BackChannels December 12, 2012; available online via Loyola University’s LAW eCOMMONS).

” . . . and we take them on by recognizing that American Muslim identity is something we need to engage . . . . ” (11:30).

Mentioned: Muslim Liberty Project, American Islamic Forum for Democracy

BackChannels cannot but imagine that the Left and affected portions of the Ummah are becoming conscious of the role Moscow has played in the . . . encouraging of Islamic violence, other absolutism — the planting of the old medieval world in the modern one goes far beyond religion — and corruption and kleptocracy.

From time to time, BC circulates this piece about Ayman al-Zawahiri‘s arrest and stay in Russia: Schindler, John. “Exploring Al Qaeda’s Murky Connection to Russian Intelligence.” Business Insider June 10, 2014.

Of course there’s a profound difference between whispering in someone’s ear and their independently flying airplanes into buildings. Still, John Schindler’s 2014 report intrigues while lending sense to the apparent reversion to a seemingly medieval polarization in politics in the heretofore modern American democracy.

Related on BackChannels

Ordered chronologically —







FTAC: A Comment on Colonel President Emperor Putin’s Course


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It’s a wrap, all of it.

https://conflict-backchannels.com/coins-and-other-terms/anthropolitical-psychology/malignant-narcissism/ | https://conflict-backchannels.com/coins-and-other-terms/anthropolitical-psychology/paranoid-delusional-narcissistic-reflection-of-motivation/

Putin was once a brave KGB man in service to the Soviet while in East Germany. He stood off a maddened crowd with a bluff and bought time for the further destruction of KGB records in that Soviet satellite. He may be admired for his extraordinary bravado, courage, and wiles.

When he moved Russia off the pro-democracy track, he inherited an effectively lawless state, one that had transferred the wealth of the Soviet to the Soviet nomenklatura in a fire sale of state assets. Opposition like Khoderkovsky came out of that transfer that had been planned in the mid-1980s (reference: Karen Dawisha, RIP). In effect, Putin inherited the challenges posed by the Vory and assorted gangsterism on a scale unknown to the west (and western naivette about that helped waste billions (I think) in capital that would never be recovered. The mafia state was born.

The Capo de capos, the Boss of bosses, has now to look inward and consider the future of the now old Viking state that he has looted. He could retire to Spain, where he has a house, and watch the cocaine traffic moving up from Africa — just look out his window and know the ships and smile — or he could turn around — this would be a good time — and address Russia’s under-development outside of the Agricultural, Defense, and Energy sectors. He could revert to rule-of-law in Ukraine and apologize, at least, for the bombing of so many hospitals –he’s leveled him — in Syria.

Judging from his behavior, he appears to believe his mission has been to revive the glories of the medieval world and the idolatry associated with political absolutism, i.e., unquestionable authority.

I, not alone, believe he should reconsider that mission.

He has produce what he has promised the world: a “New Nobility”.

But he should look around at what now lies at the feet of that circle: atrocity, mayhem, murder, and the self-inflicted wounding of the image and global acceptance of Mother Russia.

A change of course would be more helpful to him than his staying with old habits past their expiry.

Has one party or personality or other to always play the “bag guy”? The Bond villain? The head of the worst of the worst?

Vladimir Putin has children who will one day and in the natural course of living will look back on their father with an accuracy and perception beyond the public’s ken and the best of the world’s intelligence agencies. When he’s gone, whatever he was, they will know in ways beyond knowing.

For a glimpse at what his state has done at his behest: Idlib today. Here is some recent background involving Russian participation — missile strikes (got to about 7:15 on that)– in Assad’s scorched earth pursuits.

Published to YouTube by The Docterr, July 28, 2019.

Al Jazeera English, July 28, 2019.

Aside: what the Assad Regime did to the Yarmouk Palestinian Camp —

Channel 4 News, May 29, 2018

Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad, and much of the world of analysts and journalists know how “Assad v The Terrorists” took off.

Now you do too.

Fathers must wonder right to the end how their children will remember them.

VOA, Suppression of protests associated with Putin rival Navalny’s hospitalization with strange symptoms. Posted to YouTube July 28, 2019.




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Rule of the Ruthless — And We Did Next to Nothing

AFP, July 26, 2019.

“Assad v The Terrorists” – A KGB Theater Presentation

Barrel Bombs, Chemical Weapons, “Red Lines” — The United States chose to sponsor pro-democracy forces against the Assad regime while repeatedly failing to apply force itself to ending the atrocities and injustices meted by that regime through the long course of now eight years of continuous destruction, depopulation, and horror.

Last week, Canada’s National Post published “Terry Glavin: Russia and Assad are butchering Syrian civilians again. No one seems to mind” (July 24, 2019) — and no one seemed to mind.

Perhaps the west has become inured to mindless sadism after experiencing so many images and so much footage recording Assad the Tyrant’s infinite obscenities. Either way, and whatever our reasoning or weaknesses otherwise, it appears evil has prevailed in Syria.

Talmud 7:16 as Quoted by Rishon Rishon in 2004
Qohelet Raba, 7:16

אכזרי סוף שנעשה אכזרי במקום רחמן

Kol mi shena`asa rahaman bimqom akhzari Sof shena`asa akhzari bimqom rahaman

All who are made to be compassionate in the place of the cruel In the end are made to be cruel in the place of the compassionate.

More colloquially translated: “Those who are kind to the cruel, in the end will be cruel to the kind.”

Online Source: http://www.rishon-rishon.com/archives/044412.php

Rule by the Rich — Trump’s Tax Cut Legislation Largest Contributor to $4.1 Trillion Added to the National Debt

The biggest contributor to the $4.1 trillion that will be added to the national debt through 2029 is the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This signature tax cut legislation signed by Trump in 2017 single-handedly increased the debt by $1.8 trillion, according to CRFB.

Marcellus, Sibile. “Trump adds $4.1 trillion to national debt. Here’s where the money went.” Yahoo Finance, July 26, 2019.

Is our governance — the governance of the United States of America — modern?

Is it representative, responsive, responsible?

Rule by the Vicious — Trump’s Remarks Sting West Baltimore

Screenshot – https://twitter.com/JS_Oppenheim – July 27, 2019

President Trump applied to “West Baltimore” one of his favorite words for those places not up to his standards (and perhaps not likely to be helped by him either): “infestation”. He applies it in proximity to people — or how he imagines people — he doesn’t particularly like as well. In this instance, he called Rep. Elijah Cummings, Democratic head of the House Oversight Committee, a “brutal bully” — and in the words of The Wall Street Journal — “for criticizing conditions at the Southern border and declared his district—which includes a large part of Baltimore—as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” (https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-portrays-baltimore-district-of-democratic-rep-cummings-as-rodent-infested-mess-11564248241 – July 27, 2019).

Fairly, a personal source suggested that Baltimore has become the heroin capital of America, but still the President’s vitriol was neither matched nor softened by any offer of greater Federal assistance or support in the addressing of the problems besetting Rep. Cummings’ district.

Baltimore fought back.

Off the headlines —

Dubbed the “heroin capital” by the Drug Enforcement Agency, there are estimates that put the rate of drug addicts in the city as high as 1 in 10 residents. Baltimore is now designated a High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area by the federal government so that local police receive more funding to try to combat the issue.


Despite the better and more practical relationship between “West Baltimore” and the Federal government, the impression made by the President’s belittling and contemptuous mouth for all who are not his nor his adoring base would seem to be paving the way for the ascent of the vicious (and surreal) in American politics.

CNN, Victor Blackwell, July 27, 2019.

Rule by the Immune?

Rep. Ken Buck (R) Colorado: Could you charge the President with a crime after he left office?

Robert Mueller: Yes.

Buck: You believe he committed . . . you could charge the President of the United States with obstruction of justice after he left office?

Mueller: Yes.

Who says the President has to leave office (ever)?

The true test for Americans would seem to be that of appreciating the Constitution and supporting its intents and its work in the creation and sustaining of the nation’s so far authentic and fully working democracy. Bullies, demagogues, malignant narcissists were not meant to last long in power in this nation, but where such do or may, one might suggest that the constituents themselves allowed that to happen.


FTAC: MEC: A Comment on Palestinian Intellectual Liberation


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Fred Maroun, a frequent blogger for The Times of Israel as well as a writer for the Gatestone Institute (2016), stated within the confines of The Awesome Conversation (on Facebook) that the Palestinians ” . . . saw the Jewish state as a colonialist invasion.”

The response to that statement by this blog’s editor follows:

That has been the power of Soviet / post-Soviet propaganda and one of the more basic features of misguidance on the Left. “Colonialism” — horrific and true enough in the age of the Grand Game — lost its legitimacy as the empires got the native boot and, with time, local political forces reestablished their claims and writs to the point, which one might suggest is about now, where the finger cannot be pointed at other than themselves. British power and European kingdoms have not gone missing, but they are not what they once were.

The Soviet engaged in two egregious behaviors throughout its tenure: it whipped resentments into small conflicts that it could then manage to its own advantage; and through the this-and-that “liberation” movements, it produced piratical dictatorships that would become centers for the promotion of ideology and the worst kinds of mischief.

Here’s a BBC report on how the Soviet urged Somali militia to war against Ethiopia, and just as they were winning back their land turned and sold arms to their enemy: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03pk9c1“The Ogaden War” (aired April 7, 2016).

For how Cuba and Venezuela turned out, I would recommend looking up both at the InSight Crime website.

The creation of Arafat and the PLO (along with the courting of Arab power) follows the Soviet / KGB template, and the fact that the movement persists with the Soviet long gone only to be replaced by an autocratic mafia-type (and mafia-associated) regime tells of a modern take on the thuggish history of mankind — but it also leaves the Palestinians trapped between a defunct political era and a more cooperative, idealistic, and higher-integrity modernity.

Why should the Palestinians now be kept from authentic critical historical scholarship?

The Soviet duped everyone.

The KGB would use the term “framing” to describe how it positioned events and persons psychologically. Indeed, the propaganda became the perception but because of its baseless qualities — and in the way of Potemkin — the Palestinians may stand up and look brave (which they do) but there’s nothing really beneath them and there won’t be until they acquire the power to pursue independent inquiry with integrity in their own right.

Related Online

Regarding post-Soviet Cuba and Venezuela

With regard to Soviet / post-Soviet influence, BackChannels had the following in mind in relation to its suggestion to have a look at Cuba and Venezuela via the information window provided by InSight Crime.

Dickey, Christopher. “How Cuba Helped Make Venezuela a Mafia State.” Daily Beast, June 2, 2019.

Having checked the look-see, things look a little different (and more complex) for Cuba at that location.

Regarding Venezuela

InSight Crime. “Venezuela: A Mafia State?” Seven-part series, May 16, 2018 to May 25, 2018. Full report: InSight Crime. “Venezuela: A Mafia State?” Report (PDF): 1) “7 Reasons for Describing Venezuela as a ‘Mafia State’”, Mary 16, 2018; 2) “Drug Trafficking Within the Venezuelan Regime: The ‘Cartel of the Suns’”, May 17, 2018; 3) “The Devolution of State Power: The ‘Colectivos’”, May 18, 2018; 4) “The Devolution of State Power: ‘The Pranes’,” May 20, 2018; 5) “Colombia and Venezuela: Criminal Siamese Twins,” May 21, 2018; 6) “Honduras and Venezuela: Coup and Cocaine Air Bridge,” May 23, 2018; 7) “Dominican Republic and Venezuela: Cocaine Across the Caribbean,” May 24, 2018; 8) “Venezuela and El Salvador: Exporting Aid and Corruption,” May 25, 2018.

Regarding the Shenanigans of the Soviet KGB

BackChannels. “A Short Page Referencing Works by or Associated with Ion Mihai Pacepa”. November 26, 2016.

BackChannels. “Palestinian KGB”. October 3, 2016.

BackChannels has long featured a get-you-started (got the editor started) library page titled, “Russian Section“. It’s a worth a look (but ageing right along with the editor who may wish to start over with that focus).

Regarding the KGB and the Palestinians

Bergman, Ronen. “The KGB’s Middle East Files: Palestinians in the service of Mother Russia.” YNet News, November 4, 2016.

Intellectual Re-Basing

One among many Soviet cartoons distributed in the Middle East (this one from the 1970s) to leverage “the masses” into the Soviet camp.

What if one awakes from a dream or nightmare one morning with the knowledge that much of what one has been taught to believe has turned out simply . . . not true?

The Earth has been proven round, not flat.

Does one go on as before without change in aspirations, beliefs, routines?

One may.

Or one may have a fresh look around at a world wildly different from that which one had for so long imagined on the basis of falsehoods and deliberate misguidance fashioned by the powerful and powerfully corrupt.


PKK – A Few Impressions and Notes on the Kurdish Struggle for Autonomy and Unification


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Kurdish defense elements may represent an amalgam of Kurdish interests largely beneath the authoritarian semi-socialist umbrella of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK). Conceived in the Far Left zeitgeist of the 1970s, an era saturated in and partially shaped by agent provocateur, disinformation, and money pouring off of Russia’s “Active Measures” programs, the PKK appears to have followed the pattern known to other Soviet-associated “liberation fronts” in relation to ruthless consolidations of power, funding through criminal means, and the launching of violent revolutionary actions against forces impeding organizational ambitions, concepts, and ends.

Be that as it may, the PKK has had also unquestionably repressive or even genocidal foes in the states in which the Kurdish community had been divided and politically diminished in power, but none were perhaps as awful in their intent to destroy Kurdish culture as Turkey (reference, for example: Wikipedia: “Human rights of Kurdish people in Turkey”). In the recruitment of Kurdish forces to fight ISIS, that issue has been well recognized —

In 2013, Erdogan promised to recognize Kurdish identity and language, and increase Kurdish liberties. A truce followed, but hostilities resumed in 2015. Erdogan said he was responding to PKK terrorism. The PKK claimed Erdogan destroyed the ceasefire by building dams and security stations in Kurdish regions. In either case, a war was on. Erdogan attacked with helicopter gunships, artillery and armored divisions, murdering thousands and displacing 335,000 mainly Kurdish citizens. A UN report described destroyed villages as moonscapes.

https://www.newsweek.com/turkeys-erdogan-kurds-opinion-1050039 – 7/31/2018 – Wachtel, Jonathan and Albert Wachtel. “Turkey’s Erdogan Wants to Crush the Kurds and Recreate the Ottoman world | Opinion.” Newsweek, July 31, 2018.

The recruitment of mixed Kurdish forces to fight ISIS necessarily involved diplomatic magic as some best trained and experienced in the business of fighting were to become those fighting Assad’s idea of “The Terrorists” — ISIS.

Here’s a section representing one starting point — the American State Department’s continuing designation of the PKK as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” — and both the required finesse to shift popular impression plus an expression of America’s intent to defend its Kurdish allies (and front line) in the effort to defeat Islamic State —

The Department of State has reviewed and maintained the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) designation of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended (8 U.S.C. § 1189). The PKK was originally designated as an FTO in 1997.

. . . .

Today’s actions notify the U.S. public and the international community that the PKK remains a terrorist organization. In addition to its continued status as an FTO, the PKK has also been designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224 since 2001.

https://www.state.gov/state-department-maintains-foreign-terrorist-organization-fto-designation-of-the-kurdistan-workers-party-pkk/ – 3/1/2019 – U.S. Department of State. “State Department Maintains Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) Designation of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, March 1, 2019.
Posted to YouTube by R&U Video January 25, 2017.

BackChannels refers often to the “Phantoms of the Soviet”, a mixture of KGB-Era ideas, methods, personalities, and relationships that have for about 26 years outlived the Soviet Union. Wherever cultivated, the same have fairly suspended geopolitical space in the barbarism and political repression best associated with feudal / medieval political absolutism.

The PKK’s role in potential Turkish-Russian escalation should be viewed through the lens of Moscow’s deep historic ties with the group — and with Damascus. In the 1970s, the PKK was established with Soviet support in the Beqa Valley of Syrian-occupied Lebanon. As one of two NATO countries boasting a land border with the Soviet Union, Turkey was considered Moscow’s soft underbelly during the Cold War, providing Washington with numerous assets such as listening bases capable of intercepting communications across the Black Sea. The Russians saw the PKK as a means of undercutting a key U.S. ally.

The PKK also enjoyed support from Bashar al-Assad’s father, Hafiz, who cast his regime as the champion of Turkish Kurds despite oppressing Syria’s own Kurdish community. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan lived in Damascus while his group ran training camps in Lebanon and used Syrian territory to attack Turkey.

Moscow’s support for the PKK eventually dissipated with the end of the Cold War and the emergence of pressing political and economic problems at home. Syria ended its own support in 1998, after Ankara threatened Damascus with war for supporting what had become a terribly destructive PKK campaign throughout Turkey. As part of this abrupt shift, Hafiz al-Assad expelled Ocalan.

https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/the-pkk-could-spark-turkish-russian-military-escalation – 5/25/2016 – Tabler, Andrew J. and Soner Cagaptay. “The PKK Could Spark Turkish-Russian Military Escalation.” The Washington Institute, May 25, 2016.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) emerged from the radical ferment that swept the Western world in the 1960s. It was founded in 1978 as a Marxist-Leninist organisation infused with Kurdish nationalism and a cult of personality around its leader, Abdullah Ocalan. The PKK spent much of this period attacking other Kurdish and left-wing groups, and its own dissidents – hundreds of whom would be killed over the years – in an attempt to monopolise the support base for its ideas.

http://henryjacksonsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/3053-PYD-Foreign-Fighter-Project-1.pdf – 2017 – Orton, Kyle. “The Forgotten Foreign Fighters: The PKK in Syria.” PDF. P. 5. The Henry Jackson Society, 2017.

While BackChannels happily and humbly defers to The Henry Jackson Society’s wizard of political science, Kyle Orton, it recognizes inherent value in the Kurdish community as singular among the worlds ethnic and tribal cohorts and with that equally inherent rights to autonomous self-determination and dignity — in defense terms: freedom from cultural and religious persecution.

BackChannels, being neither international organization or potent state, however may best demur to an analyst closer to the issues and altogether more experienced — in this instance, Michael Rubin of The American Enterprise Institute:

More importantly, PKK tactics have changed: There remains low-level military insurgency, but gone are the days when the PKK targets Turkish civilians (alas, the reverse is not true with regard to Turkish forces and Kurdish civilians, as the residents of Cizre, Nusaybin, and Sur can attest). Certainly, breakaway factions of the PKK such as the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK) have claimed attacks, but such factionalism is common when former terrorists come in from the cold. That was the case with the “ Real IRA ” which emerged after the IRA entered into a peace process in Northern Ireland.

http://www.aei.org/publication/its-time-to-acknowledge-the-pkks-evolution/ – 1/25/2019 – Rubin, Michael. “It’s time to acknowledge the PKK’s evolution”. American Enterprise Institute (AEI), January 25, 2019.

A little more than six months ago, BackChannels published “Moscow as Medusa with All the Snakes Attached” (January 2, 2019), and what it had had in mind was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s leveraging of arrangements involving leadership in several EU / NATO states fit for the flattering of an emperor. He had President Erdogan apologizing to him for shooting down two MIGs overflying Turkish air space (and, lo and behold, the “Turkish Stream” energy project got back on its feet) and, later (about now), purchasing Russian air defense technology suited to knocking NATO air power out of the sky . . . .

Elsewhere in EU / NATO, the “New Nationalism” responded to what BackChannels believes to have been manipulated “Islamic Terrorism” and — most certainly forced — mass migration from the Syrian Civil War: Viktor Orban (and family) had their premise for handling Hungary as an increasingly family-based enterprise; in France, Marine Le Pen had a (Moscow-sponsored) mission (she lost her run at the Presidency — and later the “Yellow Vests” appeared); and in the United States, an autocratic and reactionary conservative Donald Trump rose to power above a cloud of innuendos, lies, and improprieties involving foreign interference in the 2016 elections (for an introduction, see the film Active Measures) as well as an assortment of other and frequently sordid business.

So here with the above in mind is reference to “east-west” and “medieval v modern” conflict that continues to validate the idea of the presence of the “Phantoms of the Soviet” and their generally impeding progress toward modern governance in the near and middle east:

The Kurds have historically played an important role in Russian efforts to exert its influence in the Middle East. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union used the Kurds to bypass America’s containment strategy in the region.

Shortly after World War II, Moscow supported the creation of the Kurdish Republic of Mahabad in Iranian Kurdistan to increase its influence in the region. After the Iranian army crushed the Kurdish forces, the fighters led by Mustafa Barzani took refuge in the Soviet Union.

https://warontherocks.com/2017/12/why-is-turkey-silent-on-russias-cooperation-with-the-syrian-kurds/ – 12/19/2017 – Tol, Gonul. “Why is Turkey Silent on Russia’s Cooperation with the Syrian Kurds?” War on the Rocks, December 19, 2017.

Political analyst Gonul Tol appears in the third video featured in the next section, which presents another set of impressions having to do with the Kurdish struggle for Kurdish autonomy and unification.

Posted to YouTube by i24NEWS English December 26, 2018.

Posted to YouTube by Vox, March 12, 2018.

Posted to YouTube by the Middle East Institute, January 22, 2018.

Related Online

BBC. “Who are Kurdistan’s Workers’ Party (PKK) rebels?” November 4, 2016.

Cagaptay, Soner. “Syria and Turkey: The PKK Dimension.” The Washington Institute, April 5, 2012.

CNN Library. “Kurdish People Fast Facts”.

Orton, Kyle. “The Forgotten Foreign Fighters: The PKK in Syria.” PDF. The Henry Jackson Society, 2017.

Orton, Kyle. “The PKK Roots of America’s Ally in Syria.” Terrorism Monitor, 17:12, The Jamestown Foundation, June 14, 2019.

Orton, Kyle. “The Problems With the West’s Partners Against the Islamic State.” Kyle Orton’s Blog, May 10, 2017.

Rational Wiki. “Communalism”.

Rubin, Michael. “It’s time to acknowledge the PKK’s evolution”. American Enterprise Institute (AEI), January 25, 2019.

The Kurdish Project (Web Site) | The Kurdish Project (Facebook)

Tol, Gonul. “Why is Turkey Silent on Russia’s Cooperation with the Syrian Kurds?” War on the Rocks, December 19, 2017.

Wikipedia. “Democratic Confederalism”.