ANKARA, Turkey, and MOSCOW — A number of Turkey’s NATO allies have suspended arms sales to the country in condemnation of its military incursion into Syria, but analysts and officials are shrugging off the embargo, saying it will have a minimal impact on the military’s operational capabilities.
Several countries, including France, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Norway, the Netherlands, Finland, Spain and Germany, imposed arms embargoes against the Turkish government after its troops entered Syria to attack the Kurdish militia, which Turkey views as a terrorist group. Turkey said its military operation, launched Oct. 9, will help create a safe zone in northeastern Syria.
The official presentations of peace have become surreal.
Most understand that with the repression of democracy, especially through the jailing of journalists and the shuttering of publications, Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan has all but denounced democracy for a turn “east” toward dictatorship.
America’s President Trump has agreed to the program but with one difference, i.e., claiming credit for peace in the region. He has nonetheless praised the Turkish leader, essentially hollowing out the meaning of “NATO” and the related Western ideals, principles, and values that were to be defended before the “Phantoms of the Soviet”, i.e., the forces of feudalism and associated criminals, political criminals, and tyrants.
Turkish news channels ran a countdown clock at the top of their screens to let the country know when the ceasefire in northern Syria would end. Military and political commentators tried to outdo each other’s prognostications about what would come out of the meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in the city of Sochi. In the end, the presidents spent six hours discussing their path forward in northern Syria.
BackChannels expects the powerful mainstream media (Fake News!) to take note of the discrepancies illustrated here by juxtaposition.
It appears some wealthy — way “up there” in wealth born of thuggery — have in some states displaced democratic processes, evolving liberalism, rule of law and become powers unto themselves acting in their own feudal and wholly narcissistic and malign interests.
Now, the whole rationale Trump put forward for the retreat — to get American troops out of the Mideast and “endless wars” — is in doubt.
Rather than leaving the region, the withdrawing troops will deploy in neighboring Iraq to fight the Islamic State group, which could get new life from the Syrian turmoil. Some U.S. forces are still in eastern Syria, helping Kurdish fighters protect oilfields. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Monday he was discussing keeping them there.
Trump surprised even his own military on the ground when he agreed to remove U.S. soldiers working with Kurdish-led forces near the border in an Oct. 6 phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Three days later, Turkey launched its offensive with heavy bombardment along the border.
She said the U.S. and other countries privately acknowledged that Kurdistan has legitimate aspirations and some of them even agreed that Baghdad had pushed the region into a corner leading effectively to a point where it needed to have a referendum. But they also advised the regional Kurdistan government that it was not the right time for independence.
“But when we asked them, ‘well when is the right time?’, there wasn’t an answer.”
At least 750 people with suspected links to Islamic State have reportedly fled a displacement camp in north-east Syria, local officials have said, raising fears that the Turkish offensive against Kurdish forces in the area could lead Isis to regain strength amid the chaos.
The news came at the same time the US ordered all 1,000 US troops to withdraw “as safely and quickly as possible” from the region after learning that the Turkish operation was likely to extend further than Ankara’s proposed 20-mile (32km) “safe zone” on the border between the two countries.
Yesterday’s “East-West Rivalry” had been framed as “Communism v Capitalism”, and at noon on December 25, 1991, the Soviet, which had been booted out of Afghanistan two years earlier, quietly folded its government. The Russian tricolor would be seen flying above the Kremlin the next morning. However, the Cold War Era appears to have ended only to be replaced (with a little bit of time) with Russia stating its bid to reestablish feudal absolute power and medieval thought as premier throughout EU / NATO.
In this blog’s opinion, Turkey fell first.
About six months after downing two MIGs overflying Turkish territory without permit, Erdogan relented in apologizing to Putin over the matter — and next thing you know, the “Turkish Stream” energy project, a matter of Russo-Turkish cooperation, was back in business.
The PKK knows Moscow from the Soviet days, a drift that may be caught from Abdullah Ocalan’s writings, but times have changed, and for Russia’s elites — or just the most elite of them all, President Putin — Communism has been “out” for a while and replaced by MONEY as the most popular cause for existence.
Could President Trump have brokered a deal from Turkey to cease its aggression — and give up its culturally and politically genocidal ambitions long associated with its posture toward the Kurds? Such an agreement would have removed from the PKK and related active “Freedom Falcons” their cause for existence as Kurdish defense elements and U.S. State Department listed terrorist organizations.
As regards recognition of Kurdish autonomy, Kurdish political incoherence has been perhaps the greatest challenge or “stumbling block” faced by the community. As one associate said to BC, “The KDP and PKK hate each other.”
The removal of western “assets” from the area now experiencing assault on the part of a powerful Turkish military has made way for the slaughter of noncombatants by the kind of leaders who love their own image — and wish to buff it up with “heroic” images from wars in part fashioned to that effect — without benefit of conscience and any associated internal boundaries or breaks.
The other motivation for Moscow’s enthusiasm for feudal perpetual war and any number of “frozen conflicts”: the plunder of states and the support of transnational crime.
Will Moscow and Syria in support of “old friends” in the PKK now come to the “rescue” of the Syrian Kurdish community from Turkish forces?
Kurdish fighters controlling the region would surrender the border towns of Manbij and Kobane to Damascus in a deal brokered by Russia, several officials said on Sunday night.
Syrian state media said units from President Bashar al-Assad’s army were moving north to “confront Turkish aggression on Syrian territory”. Unconfirmed reports said the deal between the Kurds and the regime would be extended to apply to the entirety of north-east Syria.
It’s a trope here on BackChannels, and it has an analog:
“Feudal Political Absolutism v Democratic Checked and Distributed Power”
More state of mind than state, “Kurdistan” has already its “Medieval v Modern” civil separation, and perhaps unwittingly, the Soviet-Era PKK, a NATO and U.S. State Department designated terrorist organization, remains mired in the flipped absolutism of the Bolshevik Revolution.
Another BackChannels trope, this one about Russia: “Two major revolutions in one-hundred years (1917-2017), three forms of government, and not one change in the nation’s affections in relation to ‘paternal authoritarianism'”.
For that last label, “paternal authoritarianism”, credit the late scholar Richard Pipes, but BC will not be looking up the specific source at this time.
The affection for strongmen — and perhaps helplessness before their “politically absolute” organizations — has the medieval world clawing the modern one backward.
Of course, the defectors from medieval worlds, those made refugee by them, those left bereft and without defenses, essentially drain the tapped resources of the same, leaving those worlds to become spiritually hollow, absent of conscience, lacking in their own humanity, and burnt out and purposeless.
Moscow, that “Third Rome”, has deals — call it what it is: “leverage” — with everyone: Assad, Khamenei, Hezbollah — low-hanging fruit: the “Syrian Tragedy”, BackChannel’s term, could not have taken place without Moscow’s endorsement and direct military support in arms and occasional actions (like bombing hospitals); Erdogan: “Turkish Stream” – Big Energy project demanding Ankara’s cooperation with Moscow: France – Marine Le Pen and the Newest Nationalism — but France is more brave in its defense of its still revolutionary democracy — Le Pen lost her bid for the presidency; Germany – energy supply dependence; Hungary – Orban’s bromance and narcissism; USA – only Mueller knows . . .
FTAC: From the BackChannels Reading Page on Facebook, January 2, 2019
The Phantoms of the Soviet, a government dissolved in bankruptcy more than 26 years ago, continue to haunt or shadow the Kurdish Community in its bid for survival against the emergent Turkish Sultanate, as BackChannels views it, still supported by NATO, and ISIS, which is “handled” by Damascus as flanked by Moscow and Tehran.
In the ganglion of the Syrian Tragedy, too many threads lead back to Moscow — and Moscow has well demonstrated its peculiar absence of conscience in the general support of Assad the Tyrant, its own repeated bombings of Syrian hospitals, and its defense of Iranian advanced missile manufacturing.
Moscow has also partnered with Ankara on the Turkish Stream energy project.
The true battle is one having to do with time: the medieval world of feudal absolute power — the power known to the world’s dictatorships, none of them responsible to either the Earth or Humanity — wishes to overrun the modern one built on the freedom accompanying democratically checked and distributed power.
According to Gutman, the Kurds appear stuck with both old habits of mind and with the organizational habits that have flowed down from the Soviet Era.
Of late, Kurdish representatives online have taken to pairing the United States and NATO with the backing of Turkey, a state no longer even proto-democratic and one long bent on the cultural annihilation of the Kurds. While the rhetoric may be shrugged away, the character of the PKK, well described by Roy Gutman (as cited) but also by Kyle Orton (as referenced below) may not be so easily covered over or glossed.
What portion of the Kurdish People remain behind or with the PKK?
That’s an open question for BackChannels.
Defectors from the conscripted ranks of the organization apparently (so noted by Gutman) have some options within “Kurdistan”, but the impression made by the Soviet affiliate would today repulse all humanity-, freedom-, and peace-loving advocates of influence in western politics who would otherwise more enthusiastically support a true indigenous people’s striving for autonomy and self-determination.
The flag better known to represent “Kurdistan” in the west (as judged at least by the “Flag of Kurdistan” page on Wikipedia):
During the seven-year course of the KGB Theater’s Production — call it “guided” (most likely) — of “Assad v The Terrorists”, Bashar al-Assad has managed to barrel bomb half his state into rubble and destroy or displace nearly half of his population (as known in 2011). He has won for his efforts the expansion of Russian and Iranian military interests on his formerly sovereign property and through related sadism — reference: Sednaya Prison — lost entirely the respect of the modern world.
As regards Soviet / post-Soviet alignment with Moscow, much less Damascus, the Kurds may not expect to sustain their alignment with the ruthless (who would even provide the useful enemy known as ISIS) while currying the favor of the democratic, humanist, liberal, and deeply socialized west.
America: have you no dreams, faith, ideals, memories, values?
One cannot argue with the Soviet origins of the PKK — nor today it’s probable conflation with “TAK” terrorists operating occasionally in Turkey — and the long-term effects of the Kurdish-Russian relationship that is today being leveraged by a potentially genocidal (proven once — has the world to see it again proven?) Turkish and neo-Islamist authoritarian state. However, modern Kurdistan and the “Rojava Experiment” with liberal democracy may be more “western” than commonly acknowledged.
Credit Turkish President Erdogan with Soviet-style defamation when he frames all Kurds as action-producing PKK terrorists.
Credit American Revolutionary memory to with what had to be brought together to overcome an avaricious king and to mark its first steps on the road to becoming not only self-governing but uniquely so as the redoubt of freedom from all political and religious tyrannies.
The Kurdish Community may need to advance its own inter-tribal cooperation and perhaps temper the power of its own autocrats to achieve meaningful, responsible, and responsible authentic democratic governance; however, both Moscow-Damascus and “Moscow-Ankara” would seem to be working to squeeze the community back into political impotence and from there out of existence.
Followers and readers with timely information and insight into the Kurdish community’s political makeup, its arrangements with other powers — including Russia and related energy projects — and its desire for autonomy, dignity, and freedom are welcome to contact the editor through the contact page and form on this blog.
During Turkey’s war for independence, Turkish leaders, promised Kurds a Turkish-Kurdish federated state in return for their assistance in the war. After independence was achieved, however, they ignored the bargain they had made.
Months after the declaration of a Turkish republic, Ankara, under the pretext of creating an “indivisible nation,” adopted an ideology aimed at eliminating, both physically and culturally, non-Turkish elements within the Republic. These “elements” were primarily Kurdish and Armenian.
On the night of December 31, 2016, 94 associations, including the institute, were shut down on allegations of “connections to terrorist organizations.” A month later, the authorities confiscated all documents, course materials, and hardware—computers, two projectors, a TV—as well as the school’s furniture. The institute’s website was taken down. In theory, the institute has the right to appeal the shutdown through a state-appointed commission, but human-rights organizations such as Amnesty International have criticized it as insufficient, as more than 100,000 cases are pending review by just seven commissioners within a two-year deadline.
For nearly seven decades, this combination of factors has been the potential Achilles heel of NATO: that one day, its members would be called to defend the actions of a rogue member who no longer shares the values of the alliance but whose behavior puts its “allies” in danger while creating a nightmare scenario for the global order.
After 67 years, that day has arrived: Turkey, which for half a century was a stalwart ally in the Middle East while proving that a Muslim-majority nation could be both secular and democratic, has moved so far away from its NATO allies that it is widely acknowledged to be defiantly supporting the Islamic State in Syria in its war against the West.
Reference Abdullah Ocalan’s vision that misrepresents liberalism and true representative democratic process, which may in turn replicate what the Soviet axis always produced using “sweet words” combined with the rapacious temperament of the politically privileged in an autocratic system: kleptocratic strongmen in palaces and manipulated “masses” around them.
2. Phantoms of the Soviet – PKK
Related to the first point, the PKK set up in the Soviet Era with, apparently, related dogma for intellectual definition, and in that its presence in persons may persist beneath other banners, the same may serve to block western enthusiasm for an independent Kurdistan. In other words and in relation to the Phantoms of the Soviet (a category referenced frequently on BackChannels in relation to other conflicts), the persistence of PKK ideas and actions, whether vengeful or provocative, cloud western support. The only answer to that is to reconsider what is advanced in Kurdistan as regards practical ideals and political language (across languages) and adjusting for the distance in intellectual history between states of affairs in 1984 and those of this day.
3. Putin’s Feudal Revanche
Putin’s Russia represents another rapacious autocracy bent on producing conflict worldwide within a global system of feudal absolute power certain to drive wars of all against all.
The Federation represents Russia’s third flip — two revolutions, three governments — within 100 years of the days of the tsars, and appears now to leverage deals on that basis, e.g., in range of Putin’s sway (and leveraged by the Turkish Stream energy pipeline project, Erdogan has diminished the democracy that initially empowered him and all but returned Turkey to a feudal estate from which he cannot be politically (by mere elections) ejected.
4. Moscow / Moscow-Tehran’s Totalitarian Approach to the Creation and Presentation of Conflict
The intent was to produce a large piece of theater, truly, that would make Assad look good — he envisioned and helped into power the enemy wanted — while producing a major headache for the west. By remaining somewhat fixed in past arrangements and ideas, the Kurdish community has perhaps been maneuvered into aiding the devil that most seeks to control it (and everyone else).
5. State of Kurdish Administrative and Constitutional Development
It has been hard to see the coordinating and self-subordinating (“for the greater good”) character of Kurdish leaders to an overarching administrative and democratic (power checking, power displacing, power distributing, and culturally and politically evolving) system. The latent Kurdish state in fact that may be defined by the subordination of officials to greater institutional arrangements may be there, but the western / publishing-in-English journos haven’t laid out relationships, or I’ve missed that coverage, or the same is not wanted.
In deference to Ocalan’s “democratic communalist” vision, there may be little incentive (by way of example too) to bring western commercial elements and associated vulgarity into a culturally independent Kurdistan. There are many other ways to pursue and sustain both cultural and political evolution and distributed economic development across a new polity (reference authors Brown, McRobie, Schumacher, among others).
Addendum to the Above: Found Posted on YouTube – October 17, 2017
6. Modern Kurdish Defense Considerations Against Adverse Feudal Estates
Much in favor of the defense of Kurdish independence may be the reversion of the Turkish government to feudalism and its history of persecution of the Kurds and others. Clearly, the Kurdish community needs an effective defense against adverse egomaniac and ill-willed potentates.
7.Armed Proxies of Iranian Fascism
Washington needs to be pressed hard about the powering up and evident fielding of Iranian-backed Iraqi Shiite militia in the latest suppression of Kurdish independence. At this point, Moscow / Moscow-Tehran’s kleptocratic totalitarian ambition should be glaring, and the western public should join the Kurdish community in blocking greater Iranian fascism through armed proxies.
If there’s a secret to peace all around, it may be in the separation of the present western-backed governments from the external meddling of rogue dictatorships that wish to drag the region backward toward feudal barbarism using the most nefarious of political methods to do it. The leaders in that aggression have learned how to make money off the misery of others while they themselves remain remote from the nightmares they have created.