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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 The Kurds have withdrawn their support of Iraq’s offensive to retake Hawija, one of the last major ISIS strongholds in Iraq.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.

Guns and Crime

Shafeeq Sheikh, doctor convicted of rape, should be in jail. He got probation instead.

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Shafeeq Sheikh doctor convicted of rape should be in jail He got probation instead

Shafeeq Sheikh raped a heavily sedated patient while working at the Baylor College of Medicine. After a rape kit matched his DNA, the jury convicted him of 2nd degree sexual assault with a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison. For whatever reason, the jury decided to give him 10 years probation instead.

Indian-American Doctor Convicted For Raping Patient Won’t Serve Jail Time

https://www.ndtv.com/indians-abroad/indian-american-doctor-shafeeq-sheikh-convicted-for-raping-patient-wont-serve-jail-time-1903083Sheikh will have to register as a sex offender. Unlike most states and the federal government, Texas grants juries the power to set criminal punishments.

The punishment has surprised defense attorneys, disappointed law enforcement and raised concerns from a victims advocacy group, according to media reports.

The jurors had recommended the sentencing, to which visiting Senior District Judge Terry L Flenniken was required to follow by law, according to local media report.

Generally, I like the way Texas handles criminal sentencing. Every now and then, justice is not served and this is clearly one of those cases. Here is a victim who has been permanently changed, having been raped by someone she should have been able to trust in a place where she should have felt safe. He is a predator who the victim believes has committed similar crimes before.

Violent criminals must be punished. While the maximum term may have been too much, to not serve at least a decade in jail after what he did is sickening.

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Guns and Crime

ICE gets media beating for taking illegal immigrant into custody over Mexican homicide warrant

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ICE gets media beating for taking illegal immigrant into custody over Mexican homicide warrant

It’s the type of story the media craves. An illegal immigrant, Joel Arrona-Lara, who “hasn’t done anything wrong” was detained by ICE agents while transporting his pregnant wife to the hospital. She ended up having to drive herself the rest of the way before delivering their son.

The spin is predictable. They skim over the fact that he has an arrest warrant in Mexico for homicide while putting all the focus on his wife’s dilemma. They even attempt to cast doubt on the warrant because the lawyer for the family says he couldn’t find a record of the warrant. This last part is most peculiar because it would be simple for a major media outlet to confirm the existence of the warrant. They did, of course, but they won’t report that when they have a better quote from the lawyer denying its existence.

Eventually details will emerge about the warrant, but not until the media inflicts as much damage as possible on ICE and anyone in favor of legal immigration being the proper way to enter the country.

Here’s the story. If you click through, you’ll even get a link at the bottom to the family’s new GoFundMe page:

ICE Detains Man Driving Pregnant Wife To Deliver Baby, Says He Is Wanted For Homicide In Mexico

https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2018/08/18/joel-arrona-detained-by-ice-san-bernardino-driving-wife-to-deliver-baby/Her husband Joel Arrona-Lara was driving his wife to the hospital for a scheduled Cesarean section Wednesday afternoon when they had to stop to get gas. That’s when their car was approached by two SUVs. Maria said they were officers with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The mother of five was then asked to show her identification and complied. When the agents asked Arrona-Lara, the couple said he didn’t have the ID on him, but that they lived nearby and could go get it for them. The agents then asked Arrona-Lara to exit the vehicle, searched the car for weapons, and put Arrona into custody, leaving Maria alone at the gas station.

My take

There’s no doubt the circumstances surrounding all of this are unfortunate. Pregnant wives should not have to drive themselves to the hospital for a scheduled C-section. On the other hand, suspected murderers shouldn’t be entering the country in the first place. That point won’t be mentioned by mainstream media.

ICE has a responsibility to take people like Arrona-Lara into custody so it can be determined whether or not they should be deported. There may have even been a certain degree of leeway given had there been no records other than his status as an illegal immigrant, but being a suspected murderer with an arrest warrant took away any chance at leeway. The ICE agents did the right thing.

As a legal immigrant, I have no sympathy for those who cheat the system and break our laws. Blaming the ICE agents for doing their job correctly in order to keep us safe is the type of insanity mainstream media loves to sell us.

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Democrats

The real reason Ocasio-Cortez is afraid of the press

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The real reason Ocasio-Cortez is afraid of the press

For at least the second time, reporters were barred from covering an event featuring Socialist Democratic darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The campaign’s reason: we want attendees to feel comfortable since there’s so much national press covering her.

This is an absolutely ridiculous excuse, of course. Nobody goes to a campaign event without knowing the press will (should) be there. It doesn’t make them less comfortable and may actually give some a sense of security knowing the answers to their questions will be judged by more than the audience at hand. That’s one of the reasons for the press in the first place, to give information about an event to people who cannot attend.

Instead, the press is getting another roadblock:

Ocasio-Cortez bans press from covering campaign event

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/08/17/ocasio-cortez-bans-press-from-covering-campaign-event.htmlAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic socialist star running for New York’s 14th congressional district, is facing criticism after her campaign banned journalists from covering a town hall meeting with voters this week.

The Queens Chronicle, a local news outlet, reported that the campaign for the 28-year-old progressive prevented reporters from attending a campaign event in Corona on Sunday, even though it was open to the rest of the public. The campaign reportedly barred reporters from a prior event as well.

It’s conspicuous that a local publication was barred because it runs contrary to the narrative the campaign is trying to sell. So why is she being hidden from reporters at these types of events?

My Take

It’s clear that her exposure is her best friend and worst enemy. Being talked about is a politician’s best friend on the campaign trail, but it also offers a risk of failure. This is most common in events like the town hall meetings she is holding because she’ll be forced to think on her feet.

What if she can’t think on her feet? What if her answers when placed in an unscripted situation the type of answers many would expect from an inexperienced socialist?

Until she’s ready to handle the pressure of having press cover these events, she won’t be ready to hold public office at this level. The House of Representatives isn’t for people who need to be protected from their own answers.

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