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This is way more important than it appears: Kurds to vote on Kexit despite Iraqi opposition

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Despite very little attention, a major referendum is scheduled to take place Monday, September 25th, 2017. It’s a movement that has been a long time coming. The Kurdish Regional Government is going forward with its controversial referendum for independence. For decades, the Kurdish region of Iraq has pressed for independence and in 2005 were granted considerable regional autonomy in Iraq’s constitution. Still the movement lingered.

With the rise of the Islamic State and the embarrassing military shortcomings by the US-trained Iraqi army, the Kurds largely began to rely on their own defense capabilities. In both Iraq and Syria, Kurdish militaries have been instrumental in routing ISIS in both desert and urban warfare. The Iraqi military has relied on several regional militias both Sunni and Shi’ite in its fight against ISIS. The Kurds have capitalized on their strength and the Iraqi government’s weakness and seized land that isn’t necessarily Kurdish such as the region of Kirkuk, an oil rich city. The KRG has yet to formally annex Kirkuk, but nonetheless Kurdish presence in Kirkuk adds to the tension. The tensions between the KRG and Baghdad have escalated with the Iraqi parliament ruling the vote unconstitutional and nonbinding. The Kurds have withdrawn their support of Iraq’s offensive to retake Hawija, one of the last major ISIS strongholds in Iraq.

Masoud Barzani, the leader of the KRG, has steadfastly maintained that the referendum will go on whether or not the Iraqi government will allow it.

Perspectives

4 Key Points About The Kurdistan Independence Vote- Forbes

 The United States has come out strongly against the KRG’s proposed referendum. The United States urged the KRG to cancel the referendum and called the vote a distraction from the ongoing fight against Islamic State.  However Israel is a different story. Israel is the first country in the Middle East to voice its support for an independent Kurdistan. Support for an independent Kurdistan is strong among the Israeli public, and Israel and the KRG have strong economic ties. It is believed that since 2015, Israel has imported up to 77% of its oil from the KRG. Turkey has long opposed an independent Kurdistan and considers the Kurdish nationalist party within Turkey, the PKK, a terrorist organization. Turkey officially opposes the vote. In fact, Turkey staged tank drills on its border with Iraqi Kurdistan on Monday as a sign of its opposition. However, Turkey has long had good relations with the KRG, especially when it comes to oil. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries are taking a diplomatic position and have offered to mediate between the KRG and the Iraqi government in Baghdad.

Sputnik: Moscow on Kurdistan Independence Vote: ‘We Support Iraqi Territorial Integrity’

Russia supports Iraq’s territorial integrity and calls on Baghdad and the government of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan to begin dialogue on all disputable topics and agree on mutually acceptable principles and forms of coexistence. This would make Russia the primary nation in support of the referendum, when so many including the United States and Iran are in opposition.

Kurdish independence referendum to go ahead in Iraq– Euronews

The Iraqi parliament earlier voted against the poll being held, branding it “unconstitutional” and, authorizing the Prime Minister to “take all measures” to preserve the country’s unity. However, the resolution did not specify what these measures might be. The KRG has already seen its central government funding slashed in protest against its selling of oil directly to Turkey. Kurdish lawmakers walked out of Parliament before the decision was taken. “Kurdish lawmakers walked out of (Tuesday’s) session but the decision to reject the referendum was passed by a majority,” said Mohammed al-Karbouli, a Sunni Muslim lawmaker. Oil rich Kirkuk voted to participate in the referendum further escalating tensions.

Will Kurdish Vote Trigger Yet Another War in Iraq? – VOA News
FILE - Fighters from Badr Brigades Shiite militia clash with Islamic State group militants at the front line on the outskirts of Fallujah, Anbar province, Iraq, June 1, 2015.

Fighters from Badr Brigades Shiite militia clash with Islamic State group militants at the front line on the outskirts of Fallujah, Anbar province, Iraq, June 1, 2015

It is rare for the United States and Iran to agree on anything but this week both Washington and Tehran have been scrambling to try to dissuade the president of Iraqi Kurdistan, Masoud Barzani, from holding a referendum on independence. Their vehement opposition to an independence vote partly stems from their concerns about each other. Tehran worries that an independent Iraqi Kurdistan will cleave ever closer to America and the West, while Washington is anxious that the referendum will trigger war between Iraq’s Shi’ite militias and the Kurds, a conflict that would likely end up splintering Iraq, which the United States has spent considerable effort trying to bolster, and distract from the U.S. priority of defeating the Islamic State terror group.

The pro-Iranian shi’ite militias are willing to go to war over the disputed city, Kurkik. Whether serious fighting begins the day after next week’s referendum — no one doubts a majority of the Kurds will back independence — will depend on the restraint of the governments in Baghdad and Tehran, and that in turn will hinge, analysts say, on whether the Kurds announce an independent state immediately and move to annex disputed territories such as Kirkuk.

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Final Thoughts

Spoiler Alert: The Kurds are going to vote “Yes” for their independence. The Iraqi government is too weak to stop the vote much less go to war over it. The shame of the matter is that the Trump administration has come out against the vote. America needs to accept the reality that this vote is going to happen, and quite frankly the Trump administration should come out in support for Kurdish independence. The Kurds have been a remarkable ally in the Middle East in the fight against ISIS. So Trump should reward their loyalty, and failure to do so could have consequences when the inevitable independence happens.

They would also be a likely ally of Israel, the nation most prominently supporting their independence. In addition to another tally in the box of Middle Eastern countries that recognize Israel, Kurdistan would also be a strategic ally in the future against Iran. Iran may in fact go to war over this, so the enemy of my enemy saying rings true.

Furthermore, an independent Kurdistan is good for the middle east, in part, because nations are against it. Kurdistan has the potential to be the region’s second (to Israel) most stable country. In recent months, the KRG has been fortifying its borders, a sign that it is ready to handle broader responsibilities of self defense from Turkey, Iran, and Iraq. On top of being a more safe place, Kurdistan may be a hub for tolerance and equity. The pro-Israeli sentiment is a great sign that religious minorities will not be persecuted, at least not to the same extent as their neighbors.

America needs to help facilitate this outcome, or else hinder an alliance that Russia will be eager to grasp. And as for Kirkuk, Iraq should forget about getting that land back.

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  1. Pingback: Kurdistan and the natural right of self-determination | The Trey Mays Blog

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Federalists

Vice says women shouldn’t have guns

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On Friday, Vice’s Twitter account tweeted out a previous Vice article from June 14, 2016, entitled, “A Very Incomplete List of People Gun Rights Activists Think Should Be Armed.”

The brief article is a lamentation of the belief of Second Amendment advocates, specifically “the NRA and other right-wing groups,” that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

The tweet (below) reads, “The NRA wants to put guns in the hands of: Schoolteachers, Preachers, Anyone who goes into a nightclub, Women …just to name a few.”

According to author Harry Cheadle – who evidently believes that women shouldn’t be afforded Constitutional protections or exercise our God-given human rights – “the goal [of 2A advocates] is to make sure everyone is prepared to engage in a shootout at all times.”

“And by everyone, I mean everyone,” he emphasized.

So, just who, exactly, does Vice believe should be considered prohibited from exercising his/her Second Amendment rights?

“Here is a surely incomplete list of people that gun rights activists believe should be packing heat. Once all of these categories of Americans are all carrying guns on them at all times, presumably we will finally be safe…”

The listed include (as worded the article), but are not limited to:

-Women

-Gay people

-Jews

-Holocaust victims

-Some people who commit domestic violence

-Firefighters

-Every black person in America

-Pilots on planes

-People on the terrorist watch list

Yes, ladies, you read that right. A gun in the hand of a woman is as great a risk as possible terrorists. I can imagine Mr. Cheadle must be petrified at the sight of a woman behind the wheel of a car!

Ahhh!

Yes, Mr. Cheadle is apparently quite fearful of women, Holocaust victims, and black Americans, among others.

Well, as you might expect, this didn’t go over too well on Twitter. Here are just a few of the (often snark-filled) reactions.



And, in case you are wondering about my own response to Vice’s tweet… I joined the NRA.

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Guns and Crime

Scott Israel: SRO avoided confronting Cruz

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The latest breaking news on the Parkland Shooting reveals yet another failure in preventing or mitigating the shooting rampage. According to Sheriff Scott Israel, the school SRO positioned himself outside and never went in. This took place for about four minutes during the shooting that lasted about six minutes. The deputy’s name is Scot Peterson, and he resigned upon being suspended without pay while being investigated.

Cautious Take

There are a lot of perspectives on this development. We shouldn’t rush to judgement as this story is still developing. Was Scot Peterson a coward? Absolutely. He had a weapon and training. No doubt some of the colossal failure rests on him. But not all. Scott Israel is in charge of the Broward Sheriff’s Office, meaning Peterson reports to him. This could be the higher ups scapegoating an underling so that their contribution to the incident, such as the slow response time and failures prior to the shooting go unnoticed. Furthermore, are we to assume, as Scott Israel would have us, that during these four minutes Peterson did absolutely nothing? What if he was ordered to wait? Too many questions remain, so lets wait.

What’s also concerning about the situation is that Scott Israel has been going after the NRA. Many leftists are using this story as fuel against the idea of allowing teachers to have concealed carry. Perhaps that was Sheriff Israel’s purpose in throwing his guy under the bus. Remember this as the government and elected officials play the blame game: Aaron Feis did more to protect students with less.

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Democrats

Blue wave looking weak in Pennsylvania special election

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Comparable to the Arizona Special Election that is to take next week, the Pennsylvania 18th district is in a special election situation because of unacceptable behavior of Rep. Tim Murphy who during an extramarital affair reportedly asked his mistress to get an abortion. The Republicans have handily controlled PA18 for years and don’t want Murphy’s buffoonery to mess things up. The Republican champion in this race is Rick Saccone.  An open seat in a northern state presents a great opportunity for Democrats to cash in on the Blue Wave they keep boasting. The victory of Doug Jones provides a road win Democrats have so far lacked since 2016. Looking to be PA18’s Doug Jones is Conor Lamb. Lamb is an assistant US attorney who served in the Marine Corps. His platform emphasizes healthcare related issues as well as student debt and energy.

Who is Rick Saccone?

The House of Representatives would be a promotion for the current State Rep. However, Rick Saccone hardly has an active record in the PA legislature. For the most part, Saccone has a record of sponsoring lighthearted, if not outright nonsensical bills, such as a resolution appreciating Heinz Ward and Juneteenth. In the legislature, he has a record of voting in favor of guns and unborn. However, Rick Saccone is not a limited government conservative on a local level. In the past he has voted for tax increases.

State of the Race

As of now, all of the recent polling has the 18th district reliably in the GOP’s hands. However, polling in 2018 will likely continue its downward trend of effectiveness. So take it with a grain of salt. The endorsements are piling high for Rick Saccone. He has the thumbs up from both Trump and Pence, along with several conservative organizations. The recent polling is perhaps responsible for what seems like the Democrats capping their support for Lamb. The GOP, on the contrary, is throwing heavy cash on keeping a seat where Tim Murphy ran unopposed in 2016.

Rating: Likely Republican

My Take

Rick Saccone will in my mind comes away as the winner on March 13th. However, he is not nearly suitable for the job as he should be. He legislative record is one of recognizing days of the year as special for a person or group. He does not have a record of sponsoring serious conservative legislation. Though he does have a record of voting conservative, he isn’t a leader on the issues he is campaigning on. The GOP is right to break the bank for his campaign as they aren’t short on cash in this moment. Saccone isn’t a strong candidate in my opinion, but, with some bankroll, he is.

Conor Lamb isn’t a weak candidate but doesn’t have the resources. As for the Democrats, this investment looks like its going sour. Special elections present a time for more eggs to be placed in a single basket. But the Democrats seem to know they are unlikely to win. The Senate races of 2018 looks bleak for them, so the Blue Wave is supposed to take or come close to securing the House of Representatives. In order to do that, they need road wins. Just like the Arizona 8th, this will not be that road win. The crest of the Blue Wave is getting shorter and shorter.

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