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(The Intercept)   The US is helping the Kurds fight against Islamic extremists. Good. But a few years back we were helping Turkey kill Kurdish rebels. Good. Turkey is a trusted friend. Maybe. Welcome to the twisted world of foreign policy   (firstlook.org) divider line 37
    More: Asinine, Iraqi Kurdistan, Kurdistan Workers Party, NSA, Turkey, Politics of Turkey, branch offices, Member states of NATO, money flows  
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953 clicks; posted to Main » on 31 Aug 2014 at 1:10 PM (30 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



37 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-08-31 12:10:49 PM  
Remember kids Turkey invaded Iraq to attack Kurds before the US invaded to take out Saddam but yeah the important thing is to stop ISIS and then it'll all be peace and rainbows there Bwahahaha
/enjoy decade 3 of occupation Middle East
 
2014-08-31 01:13:30 PM  
Just so I'm clear on US policy: Kurds in Iraq are good but not their own sovereign state. Kurds in Turkey are bad.

Is that a decent oversimplification?
 
2014-08-31 01:16:48 PM  
Turkey is tastier than kurds anyway.

/ I'm of the opinion that anybody you pay to be your friend isn't really your friend.
 
2014-08-31 01:20:03 PM  
It is almost like things change over time, sometimes in complicated ways.
 
2014-08-31 01:21:37 PM  
In our defense, no one ever predicted that western involvement in the Middle East would result in an inescapable quagmire.  There certainly weren't any real-world examples to learn from.
 
2014-08-31 01:23:07 PM  
And the Zen master says, "We'll see."

- Charlie Wilson's War
 
2014-08-31 01:27:11 PM  
media.arkansasonline.com
 
2014-08-31 01:30:48 PM  
...because we know and understand the cultures there?
 
2014-08-31 01:43:31 PM  
Maybe, I know it sounds far fetched, but maybe there are no good guys or bad guys, and we are only looking out for our immediate interests at any time?

Maybe that means we help the guys we were killing, and fight the guys we we arming, because that's how it works?
 
2014-08-31 01:46:09 PM  
The US better be very careful about any weapons they give the kurds.    The kurds are just for the moment the best people we can have killed fighting the ISIS forces that we don't want to fight directly.

True it is better to let kurds die,  than our folks, but at some point kurds may oppress other minorities in IRAQ just as badly as any other group.


"Here are some extracts from Barack Obamas letter to Condoleezza Rice from 2007:

"I am writing out of concern for Iraq's Christian and other non-Muslims religious minorities, including Catholic Chaldeans, Syrian Ortodox, Assyrian, Armenian and Protestant Christians, as well as smaller Yezidi and Sabean Mandean communities. I know that the fate of these communities was the subject of a recent letter to you from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

These communities appear to be targeted by Sunni, shiite and Kurdish militants. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees reports that Christians, now less than 4 percent of Iraq's population, make up 40 percent of its refugees. And according to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, "violence against members of Iraq's Christian community occurs throughout the country, and the Commission has raised particular concern about reports from Baghdad, Mosul, Basra, and the northern Kurdish regions."


Kurds are in some ways like South Vietnamese troops.    They already have a boatload of weapons, but they only fight just enough to protect their own interests.

Don't give them anything more than small arms and trucks.     For a long time kurds were oppressors too.   Probably will be in the future if you give them enough power.
 
2014-08-31 01:57:53 PM  

netcentric: The US better be very careful about any weapons they give the kurds.    The kurds are just for the moment the best people we can have killed fighting the ISIS forces that we don't want to fight directly.

True it is better to let kurds die,  than our folks, but at some point kurds may oppress other minorities in IRAQ just as badly as any other group.


"Here are some extracts from Barack Obamas letter to Condoleezza Rice from 2007:

"I am writing out of concern for Iraq's Christian and other non-Muslims religious minorities, including Catholic Chaldeans, Syrian Ortodox, Assyrian, Armenian and Protestant Christians, as well as smaller Yezidi and Sabean Mandean communities. I know that the fate of these communities was the subject of a recent letter to you from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

These communities appear to be targeted by Sunni, shiite and Kurdish militants. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees reports that Christians, now less than 4 percent of Iraq's population, make up 40 percent of its refugees. And according to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, "violence against members of Iraq's Christian community occurs throughout the country, and the Commission has raised particular concern about reports from Baghdad, Mosul, Basra, and the northern Kurdish regions."


Kurds are in some ways like South Vietnamese troops.    They already have a boatload of weapons, but they only fight just enough to protect their own interests.

Don't give them anything more than small arms and trucks.     For a long time kurds were oppressors too.   Probably will be in the future if you give them enough power.


They'd all be oppressors. I mean, they're all bad guys, if you want to argue good guy/bad guy. You could rename the Middle East "Bad Guy Land."

It's just a matter of degrees, really. So, we back the least bad/most useful underdog at any time.

Someone might ask "why are we even there, let the bad guys kill the bad guys!"

If we are don't support a faction, they won't easily win, and they won't owe us anything if they do.

We need that. We need whoever in in charge to owe us. Maybe we'll hit the lottery, and get a pro-US ally in the region other than Israel.

So, yeah, we should arm the Kurds. Morality, repercussions don't play into this.
 
2014-08-31 01:59:08 PM  
Foreign policy summation: "The enemy of my enemy is my friend. For now."

/Applicable to every recognized nation
 
2014-08-31 02:08:30 PM  
 
sendtodave: ... So, yeah, we should arm the Kurds. Morality, repercussions don't play into this.


The Kurds are already armed.


/morals?
 
2014-08-31 02:11:10 PM  

netcentric:  
sendtodave: ... So, yeah, we should arm the Kurds. Morality, repercussions don't play into this.


The Kurds are already armed.


/morals?


Just ranting, don't mind me.
 
2014-08-31 02:38:52 PM  
Considering that the Middle East as we know it was drawn up to be an ethnic strife machine by the British after WWI, the US should really quit pretending like the people in these countries will ever get along and just let them divide up into their own new nations.

A stable Kurdistan could be a big boon to the region, they're not particularly religiously insane and they leave everyone alone except the Turks, who make a habit of oppressing the Kurdish minorities in Turkey.
 
2014-08-31 02:44:22 PM  
Maybe, just maybe, that's an indication to stay the fark out of other country's problems.
 
2014-08-31 02:45:05 PM  
i.imgur.com

Join the Taliban rebels in liberating Afghanistan!
 
2014-08-31 03:07:49 PM  
also known as "My enemy's enemy is my friend.
 
2014-08-31 03:12:14 PM  

Apos: Foreign policy summation: "The enemy of my enemy is my friend. For now.So let's give them guns and training, then cross our fingers and hope"


FTFY

sendtodave: We need that. We need whoever in in charge to owe us. Maybe we'll hit the lottery, and get a pro-US ally in the region other than Israel.

So, yeah, we should arm the Kurds. Morality, repercussions don't play into this.


Or maybe we'll end up pissing someone off enough that they devote their life to flying planes into our buildings.
 
2014-08-31 03:13:24 PM  
It's harder to filter the water after you took a shiat in it.
 
2014-08-31 03:27:18 PM  
ankara is just going to have to sit and spin as a unified kurdistan is approaching. whether or not the kurds and shias can keep iraq together seems murky. and what about all those kurds in northwest iran? has anyone got a postcard from them lately?

Best bet for turks would be to recognize kurdish region of syria as protectorate under UN mandate until regional stability (ha ha ha) or establishment of an independent kurdistan. clear out the extremists and tie it economically to turkish interests for the long haul. but then russia...
 
2014-08-31 04:09:38 PM  
 
2014-08-31 04:22:40 PM  
The only consistent feature of US foreign policy, or policy in general, seems to be that it will support the most criminal organization. In this case, there needs to be a distinction drawn between the Turkish Kurdish rebels of the PKK (Kurdish Workers' Party, some kind of Marxist-Leninist-Trotskyist-Maoist-Bookchinist, lead by Abdullah Ocalan) and the Iraqi Kurdish government of the KRG (Kurdish Regional Government) which is controlled by the Barzani criminal organization. They do not get along.
 
2014-08-31 04:39:09 PM  
I remember reading something in the run up to the Iraq war where someone said, "If you think Saddam Hussein isn't a stable force in the region, wait until you see what happens when you depose him."

I've never been a fan of Saddam, but whoever wrote that was pretty well right on the money.
 
2014-08-31 04:46:08 PM  
Meh, repeat.

factsanddetails.com

www2.gwu.edu

At least we kicked their arses first this time, that way when we arm them they'll realise they shouldn't turn round and bite the hand that feeds them.
 
2014-08-31 05:05:02 PM  
It all depends on where the most war profiteering can be had. War material is a booming business.
 
2014-08-31 05:14:26 PM  
Remember after Gulf War I when George HW Bush promised to keep the Kurds safe, then stood back when Saddam beat them up.

Then we had to institute the no-fly zone and do something.
 
2014-08-31 05:36:34 PM  

sendtodave: Maybe, I know it sounds far fetched, but maybe there are no good guys or bad guys, and we are only looking out for our immediate interests at any time?

Maybe that means we help the guys we were killing, and fight the guys we we arming, because that's how it works?


You nailed it in the head... No war time pun intended. How is this for something not covered in the media - the bullets killing our troops all say made in the USA on them. The world is pissed because all the weapons say made in the USA. At least in the 80's some of them said made in Russia.
 
2014-08-31 05:45:24 PM  

sendtodave: Maybe, I know it sounds far fetched, but maybe there are no good guys or bad guys, and we are only looking out for our immediate interests at any time?

Maybe that means we help the guys we were killing, and fight the guys we we arming, because that's how it works?


Other than funneling as many tax dollars as possible into the CIA, NSA, DoD, DHS and their various contractors (oh, and taking away what little freedom we have left) what are our interests there?
 
2014-08-31 06:02:22 PM  
Fark it, start up the Crusades again. Ebola, Ukraine, Ferguson, Palestine? We're all gonna die, might as well go out with a bang. Bonus points if the new crusades spread ebola due to blood on swords and eventually evolving transmission by air or extreme zoonosis.
 
2014-08-31 06:30:00 PM  

Daemonik: Considering that the Middle East as we know it was drawn up to be an ethnic strife machine by the British after WWI, the US should really quit pretending like the people in these countries will ever get along and just let them divide up into their own new nations.

A stable Kurdistan could be a big boon to the region, they're not particularly religiously insane and they leave everyone alone except the Turks, who make a habit of oppressing the Kurdish minorities in Turkey.


Like that'll solve anything even if you could get anyone give any land up. After the inevitable purges and forced deportations, leaders will just fight over their neighbor's lands, just like they do now. The Middle East suffers from the exact same dynamic as the Slavic region, only they stick with their farcical borders instead of redrawing them every few years.
 
2014-08-31 06:36:43 PM  
its not really that twisted once you realize that Israel makes the US foreign policy decisions.
 
2014-08-31 07:05:31 PM  
You need to understand the way Kurds work.

- There are Kurds in Turkey.
- There are Kurds in Iran.
- There are Kurds in Syria.
- There are Kurds in Iraq.

- There is a Kurdish insurgency against the government of Turkey.
- There is a Kurdish insurgency against the government of Iran.
- There is a Kurdish insurgency against the government of Syria.
- There are TWO Kurdish insurgencies against the government of Iraq, and up until recently they spent most of their time fighting each other rather than fighting Baghdad.

Kurds make decent tactical allies in that part of the world, but you can't trust them as far as you can throw them.  As the saying goes, "their only friends are the mountains".
 
2014-08-31 10:53:04 PM  
All I can say is that I hope that the Kurds one day see their own state realized, and that we support it... I don't know what that will mean for Iraq, Syria, or Turkey, but these people deserve it...
 
2014-08-31 11:02:42 PM  
I love the racism of the headline.  I mean really, it's about the same as "US aids shiites in Iraq fighting Sunni forces, but just a few years ago we were killing shiites in Afghanistan"

Not all Kurds are the same people with the same goals and tactics, although all Kurds desperately want their own nation.

/And the region would be much better if they were given one, Israel style.
//Yes I am aware that I just used Israel as an example of improving a region's stability, but Israel's violence is far lower than Iraq, and most of it is caused by leader stupidity on both sides.
 
2014-08-31 11:44:29 PM  

sendtodave: We need that. We need whoever in in charge to owe us. Maybe we'll hit the lottery, and get a pro-US ally in the region other than Israel.

So, yeah, we should arm the Kurds. Morality, repercussions don't play into this.


Like Iraq? Wait, that didn't turn out too well. Or Iran? Hm, I wonder what went wrong there.

Afghanistan?
 
2014-09-01 06:28:40 AM  

Daemonik: Considering that the Middle East as we know it was drawn up to be an ethnic strife machine by the British after WWI, the US should really quit pretending like the people in these countries will ever get along and just let them divide up into their own new nations.

A stable Kurdistan could be a big boon to the region, they're not particularly religiously insane and they leave everyone alone except the Turks, who make a habit of oppressing the Kurdish minorities in Turkey.


Yeah.

They dammed the rivers that fed the Kurdish in Iraq (pissing off both the Kurds and Iraq).

Turkey seems to have a problem with the Kurds struggling against oppression.  And yet if a (so called) 'modern democracy' singles out an ethnic group as trouble makers and proceeds to treat them as all the same, then I find it really REALLY hard not to support the said ethnic group.

Racism/discimination at a state level is just wrong and any country that practices it should be ostracised and excluded from the benefits of the international community.
 
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