July 18, 2013

The slow success of Kurdish nationalism

From the NYT on Syria:
The civil war has Balkanized the country, with an array of armed groups controlling different areas. The government retains its grip on the capital and has been solidifying its control over a string of major cities to the north. Rebel groups hold large swaths of land in the country’s north and east, though they are far from unified, with militias competing for resources, imposing their own laws and sometimes turning their guns on one another. The Kurds, Syria’s largest ethnic minority, control their own areas and often fight to keep the rebels out.

The Kurds of the Middle East are famously one of the larger language groups without their own state. Except, they are slowly quietly getting de facto control of parts of their homeland: first in Iraq, now in Syria as it too falls apart. The Kurdish formula in the 21st Century seems to be keep their heads down, don't push too hard for ethnically ambiguous territory, stay out of fights in the capital of your old countries, mind your own business, and be patient.

54 comments:

jack strocchi said...

I hope they get their own nation state. They will be happier in themselves. And they will no longer a pain in the arse to the Turks, whom I quite like.

Anonymous said...

More like: The Kurd formula is to encourage the US to destabilize the state they live under.

Dr. Φ said...

One of the things I like about the Kurds is that, according to a missionary friend that worked in Kurdish Iraq, is that they extend (perhaps relative) tolerance towards Christianity, and most particularly the Assyrians. They are even willing to send their children to schools where Christianity is taught (if not preached).

Anonymous said...

The Kurd formula seems to be keep their heads down, don't push too hard for ethnically ambiguous territory, stay out of fights in the capital of your old countries, mind your own business, and be patient.

Sounds good to me.

I had long thought that something similar would be an excellent strategy for USA Paleocons: Given that The Great White Left isn't making babies anymore, and hasn't been making babies for about 40 years now [since Griswold and Roe, back circa 1970], then we only would have needed to have persisted for another 15 or 20 years, at which point all the Bills and the Hillarys would have died off, and the Chelseas would have remained childless, and the Chelseas' wombs would have shrivelled up and gone barren, and the ranks of The Great White Left would have been absolutely decimated.

So that - all other things having been equal in the meantime - if we were to defend our 2nd Amendment rights, and if we continued making plenty of babies, and if we were to homeschool our children, then we would have been just fine.

Our big problem, though, as everyone here knows all too well, is that Juan McAmnesty and Miss Lindsey Grahamnesty and Marco Boobeeo [and MacCantor and Boner and Ryan and Bush and Bush and Koch and Koch and Murdoch &c &c &c] are determined that all other things most certainly will NOT remain equal in the meantime.

Anonymous said...

There was an interesting article about this on Veteran's Today. Basically 2/3 of Turks don't see themselves as Turks, but as Armenians, Kurds, Greeks and Alawis. That's apparently what's driving the rioting. So maybe Kurdistan is the beginning of a larger breakup of Turkey. Greece wants back the European part of Turkey incl. Constantinople, the Armenians their territories confiscated during the Armenian Genocide, the Alawis are rooting for Assad, and the Kurds want their piece of land. I guess the remaining Turks are going to have to huddle closer to each other.

Chicago said...

Turkey, Iraq and Iran are of one accord that Kurds should be discouraged from seeking their own nation since any such creation would be carved out of their own countries, entailing a loss of territory. They would intervene militarily to prevent any such prospect. Just check the history of Turkish suppression of the Kurds through the years, from discouraging the use of their language to the long-running conflict that's resulted in the destruction of thousands of their villages. From a distance the Kurds might seem like romantic, hardy, independent mountain fighters. However, they've fought each other quite a bit and played a major role in being the actual foot soldiers who helped carry out the Armenian genocide.

John said...

Rattling around eastern Turkey 20 years ago, just for the conversational practice, I asked people in Turkish if they were Kurdish. Quite a few said they were. Whatever that really means. One guy in Tatvan said this was all Kurdistan, waving his hand. That indeterminate gesture, the fact that the PKK has never controlled a square inch of (Turkish) land, and the fact that - 20 years later, still - there is no "Kurdistan," make me doubtful.


I wonder why these apparently permanently submerged polities don't take Quebec as a model. As such polities go, Quebec has to have it pretty plush. I do wonder whether Kurds are as linguistically unified as we imagine. The piecemeal violence (in Turkey, at least - Syria and Iraq may be entirely different matters) makes me wonder if anyone thereabouts is unified with anyone else at all.

Anonymous said...

One of the most entertaining parts of Iraq War coverage from the MSM was their carefully ignoring the roughly 1/3rd of the country (if in land, not pop.) that was almost totally peaceful from the moment US troops rolled in.

-SonOfStrom

bbartlog said...

I like their strategy. Not totally nonviolent (I assume force was involved in grabbing some of those Syrian oil wells), but definitely trying to avoid major trouble. A slow path to a fait accompli. I find it interesting that the travel site for Iraqi Kurdistan advises that you should enter the country either from Turkey or else from Iran, but not from Syria (no crossing) or from the other parts of Iraq(!): "It is unsafe to unsafe to travel in the rest of Iraq so we recommend that you approach Iraqi Kurdistan from another direction..."

Anonymous said...

I hope they get their own nation state. They will be happier in themselves. And they will no longer a pain in the arse to the Turks, whom I quite like.

You do realize that might entail taking a chunk of Turkey itself?

Phoenician said...

I hope they get their own nation state. They will be happier in themselves. And they will no longer a pain in the arse to the Turks, whom I quite like.

And while we are at it, can the Greeks have Constantinople back?

seamus said...

and having more children than their neighbors

Anonymous said...

Researchers Pinpoint Genetic Differences Between African-Americans and Northern Europeans with MS.

http://nationalmssociety.org/news/news-detail/index.aspx?nid=7955

Ichabod Crane said...

I hope they get their own state, because I want to go there! When I first came to the Middle East as an Anglo traveler, Kurdish people took me bought me meals on several occasions and hung out with me in tea shops. I've also heard from others that Kurdish not only have a strong tradition of hospitality, but that they are especially friendly towards Westerners.

Anonymous said...

Maybe there is a lesson for us Steve?

Gringo said...

And they will no longer a pain in the arse to the Turks, whom I quite like.

And having a smaller country should diminish somewhat the power-grabbing of Erdogan, Obama's favorite Islamofascist.

Anonymous said...

yes, good luck to them.

Anonymous said...

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/rasmussen-39-percent-support-senate-immigration-reform-bill_739204.html

Alfa158 said...

"formula seems to be keep their heads down, don't push too hard for ethnically ambiguous territory, stay out of fights in the capital of your old countries, mind your own business, and be patient."

As per Anon at 9:35AM, I think that is a formula a lot of us are following.

Auntie Analogue said...


Unlike other Moslem ethnicities, the Kurds have never had a state through which to wield power locally or through which to belong to and appeal to the UN. This has confined them to biding their time, constrained them to waiting to take incremental advantage of conflicts in which their state-possessing overlord enemies embroil their states and thus divert their overlords' attention from the Kurdish minorities that they rule. The Kurds have simply been subject to the whims of the rulers of the various states in which Kurds form a minority, which explains why Kurdish groups have kept their terrorism at a very low boil, as any one overlord state, or a coalition of overlord states can easily bring overwhelming power to bear upon Kurds in those states. Moreover, Kurds lack a coastline, a seaport, so that, unlike their overlords, they've always labored under a distinct logistical and communications disadvantage.

Like all Moslem groups, ethnicities, states, &c., the Kurds are also not kind to religious minorities in their own midst. The Kurds have played the tolerance game when it suits their aims (such as when they suck up to the U.S. or to other external powers which, from time to time, find the Kurds temporarily useful), and have played the intolerance-persecution game when the rest of the world has not been looking.

All of this is why the U.S. and the West ought never to involve themselves in Middle Eastern and South Asian politics and conflicts and ought instead to capitalize on the internal divisions among Moslem states and non-state antagonists.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

Kurdish women are hot..anyway...

Steve said "The Kurd formula seems to be keep their heads down, don't push too hard for ethnically ambiguous territory, stay out of fights in the capital of your old countries, mind your own business, and be patient."

Good to see after nearly 4000 years ,that strategy is finally paying off. They are even more resilient than the "Scots Irish"
No wonder they are a mutual admiration society.They were also stabbed in the back post WWI when they were promised autonomy by the Powers of the Era.
Kurds were henchmen of the Turks in the Armenian genocide but I believe many of the senior Kurdish leaders had issued an apology for their role in that crime
Something the Turks are yet to do

The Kurds are a unique lot in the Middle East. The only Indo European people in that region who speak AND look European(ish).
Sorry the occasional blonde among the very Mediterranean Semitic and Turkic looking Iranians and Armenian doesnt really count

Neither do the blondes of the Levant as they are Arabic speakers.

Interestingly Kurds claim a non Indo European lineage-the Elamites who seem to be quite dark skinned.

Sean said...

The Kurds are currently approved of by the NYT because they are a wedge splitting Arab states that Israel doesn't like (ie all of them). That, along with the usefulness of the Kurds for the joint US_Israel project of undermining Iran, is probably why Kurds are getting diplomatic support (like favourable coverage in the NYT), secret subsidies too I'll bet. Kurds have been thrown to the wolves before by their foriegn sponsors (American abandonment of the Kurds) they will again. Iranian Kurds are most likely to achieve some independence; I think the US will take out Iran next year. Don't anyone hold their breath for 'The Kurds' as a whole achieving anything substantial. For one thing, a meaningful Kurdish state would lead to calls for a proper Palestinian state.


jack, the British soldiers captured at Kut in WW1 found that being a prisoner of the Turks was a REAL pain in the arse.

peterike said...

DVN: Kurdish women are hot

Well compared to Indian women, who isn't?

Anonymous said...

Are there any other ethnostates in the making? I keep hoping for the breakup of Belgium so the Flemish get their own state, but it never happens. Looks Like Quebec separatism is dead.

Anonymous said...

Sean said:

"I think the US will take out Iran next year."

What makes you think so? Just curious. Isn't Obama relatively skeptical about neocon projects? Hagel and all that.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

peterike:
Well compared to Indian women, who isn't?"

Here we go....good to see you have atleast a handle now Mr super WASP who really doesnt have any Indian blood in him at all!Honest!
Look just because your grandma was a hideous Australoid type who got hitched up with a loser Brit and the you got her dark skin and looks ,dont take it out on me!
This is often the case with Anglo Indians, they are as black as tar and yet they call themselves white after migrating to Australia or some other place!It would be comical if it werent so sad

Furthermore ,have you SEEN British women? Should you really commenting on other women's looks?

Dr Van Nostrand said...


jack, the British soldiers captured at Kut in WW1 found that being a prisoner of the Turks was a REAL pain in the arse."

Haha! Oh you went there! Actually there is no independent corroboration of what TE Lawrence claimed he suffered at the ahem hands of a Turkish guard.

It could well be propaganda to rile Arabs and Brits against the Turks.

Anonymous said...

http://nyr.kr/12XK3cK

You all heard of guilt by association.

Now, progs have martydom by association.

If Martin is Evers, I guess Zimmerman is KKK.

Anonymous said...

When bears fight over a carcass, coyotes can feed.

curious cliches said...

"formula in the 21st Century?" What, you haven't developed any insights to their formula for the 22nd & 23rd? Don't be skimping on the precocious iconoclasm, Sailer.

Sean said...

Anon, Iran is implicitly being threatened with attack by the US, but the threat inveigles Iran into making attack inevitable by getting it to nuke up and build alliances to defend itself. Obama has said quite clearly that Iran will be stopped from getting a nuke; by whatever means necessary. (Wilson and FDR waited until they got re-elected too.)
At Camp David, Barak offered a final deal to the Palestinians; it was a serious offer, which they turned down. The Palestinians had the backing of Iran and Iraq at that time; now they have only Iran, and (not co-incidentally IMO) Israel has long since taken its offer off the table.
Iran is a non-Arab state, which when in need of allies, attempts to curry favour in its region by supporting the Palestinians; that makes it a target of the Israel lobby. Trusted advisors of Obama are likely saying that if Iran is neutralized, Israel will be able to give enough for a final agreement, and then (so he may think) Obama will be the man who solved the ME problem; he is going to order an attack on Iran
The Joint Chiefs don’t want two conflicts so it'll probably be after withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014. Iran will be hit with massive air strikes; rebellions will spring up under US air superiority, and the country will dissolve into factional principalities, just like Iraq did. In effect most Palestinians (the ones in Gaza certainly) have already been expelled from what land Israel intends to keep. Once Iran is taken out of the equation, the Palestinians will have no militarily significant state supporting their aspirations; they'll become demoralized and capitulate.

Dr, British forces , surrendered at Kut, Mesopotamia April 29, 1916. A book 'Kut' documented the accounts of British POWs of how young soldiers were buggered by Turkish officers. By the way, at the same time the Kurds were well to the fore in the Turks' mass murder of Armenians.

Silver said...

"You do realize that might entail taking a chunk of Turkey itself?"

No fair-minded observer could possibly believe that Turks ever deserved that Kurdish populated territory. History doesn't have to be fair, of course, and what happened happened and can't easily be changed. But from a neutral point of view, it's not difficult to conclude the Kurds were rather hard done by.

"And while we are at it, can the Greeks have Constantinople back?"

I've never been able to understand this nationalistic lust for territory, territory, territory over and above every other consideration - or so it seems at times. Why in the world would Greece need Istanbul today? Is it just going to evict the ten million muslims who live there? Or are they going incorporate them into Greece? What kind of a sick brain, soaking, absolutely soaking in hatred, does it take to even proffer such lunatic suggestions?

Anonymous said...

@Dr Van Nostrand

Oppressed minority status seems to be a bit of a fleeting thing in the Middle East. It's been somewhat less than 4000 years since Saladin, a Kurd, was the major Muslim political figure in the Levant.

Anonymous said...

"What kind of a sick brain, soaking, absolutely soaking in hatred, does it take to even proffer such lunatic suggestions?"

Okay, how about the coastal regions of Anatolia the Turks stole in the twentieth century?

Anonymous said...

"You do realize that might entail taking a chunk of Turkey itself?"

Perhaps. But if it is an area of "Turkey" where there are no ethnic Turks but full of ethnic Kurds, is it REALLY "Turkey" to begin with? Is it really an area of "Turkey" in any meaningful sense?

A lot of times there is a good deal to be said for an ethnic "divorce" providing it can be done without violence. Note how Israel abandoned the almost wholly Arab Gaza Strip. Czechoslovakia split into two countries. The Czech Republic is doing just fine without the Slovaks. Slovenia seems much better off to me without being a part of Serb-dominated Yugoslavia. Didn't the violence end in Ireland after the British left? Except of course in the north where they stayed? Bigger isn't necessarily better.

Anonymous said...

"Trusted advisors of Obama are likely saying that if Iran is neutralized, Israel will be able to give enough for a final agreement, and then (so he may think) Obama will be the man who solved the ME problem;"

I don't know if Obama is that gullible. He may think, as do I, that the Middle East is inherently tumultuous and that the Muslim-Israeli conflict will continue for the foreseeable future no matter what he and his successors do.

I suspect that Obama at least sometimes asks himself the question "what's in it for blacks?" In the Iran attack the answer is "absolutely nothng". Though he did help destabilize Lybia and that did hurt blacks there, so maybe he's more of an unthinking puppet than I just gave him credit for.

"Iran will be hit with massive air strikes;"

There is potential for a disruption in the oil supply there. Also of retaliatory terrorist incidents. The less of a Lobby tool Obama is, the less he will want to risk all of that.

Palestinians will have no militarily significant state supporting their aspirations; they'll become demoralized and capitulate.

Their leaders may capitualte all they want, but why would individuals do so?

Having said all this, I don't know whether O will attack Iran or not. Just putting up some counterarguments.

Dr Van Nostrand said...


Oppressed minority status seems to be a bit of a fleeting thing in the Middle East. It's been somewhat less than 4000 years since Saladin, a Kurd, was the major Muslim political figure in the Levant."

Sure, but Saladdin first and foremost identified himself as a Muslim.Muslim identity in that era was while not exactly zero sum but it did tend to phase out other markers such as ethnicity and nationality.Of course this was more accurate on a regional scale than a large one.
Intra Muslim struggles based on ethnicity while did occur shortly after the the conquest of Persia,they were mostly to show the other who was the better Muslim

Whiskey said...

Steve, this is all about OIL! Specifically the deal that Turkey/Erdogan has cooked up with the Iraqi Kurds, sitting on a lot of oil, ready to deal with Turkey in defiance of the Iranian-led central government in Baghdad that follows Iran's orders to slow-go oil development (to prop up the price on the market and keep the Iranians afloat).

Erdogan has a deal with the Kurds for autonomy and cross-border linkages to Iraq in exchange for votes for his deal to move to the Presidency and become basically Putin.

Absent the oil, however, there would be no deal, Turkish firms connected to Erdogan get the ground deal on developing the Kurdish oil in Iraq, that's the juice that seals the deal.

Dr Van Nostrand said...


I suspect that Obama at least sometimes asks himself the question "what's in it for blacks?"

Its pretty silly to assume he asks himself this question in the context of international relations.
Unlike other ethnic groups in U.S such as say Arabs,Irish,Jews,Italians ,Hispanics , blacks really dont care too much about their motherland ,neither do they give a great deal of thought to those they sympathize with such as Palestinians or South Sudanese(though Farrahkhan and NOI was on the side of the enslavers than the enslaved)
To sidetrack somewhat, Africans in general(esp West Africans) are very pro Israel while African Americans are pro Palestinian.
East Africans such as Ugandans,Somalis,Kenyans(aha),Ethiopians,Eritreans dont care much for Israelis at all

If Obama really cared about blacks,he wouldnt unleash even more Mexicans on them like he is about to do

agnostic said...

Kurds would definitely have the Babe Protesters ace up their sleeve. They look like the golden middle between the darker Celts and the lighter Indo-Aryans. More or less like Persian babes, if a bit lighter.

"Separatism" seems like a better word than "nationalism," which suggests an expansionist impulse. The days of nomadic pastoralists ruling over / administering a nation-state or empire are long gone. Back in the good old days, though, they coulda been a contender.

And they don't seem as given to sedentary civilization as their Persian relatives. They're more like Celtic hillbillies who just want to be left alone in their own backwoods area, not to influence let alone to control others.

Now they just need a William Beckford to give them the Romantic-Gothic treatment, and their support from the West will be assured. Too bad Duran Duran never filmed any videos in Kurdistan, or they'd have much better "brand recognition" these days.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

Steve, this is all about OIL! Specifically the deal that Turkey/Erdogan has cooked up with the Iraqi Kurds, sitting on a lot of oil, ready to deal with Turkey in defiance of the Iranian-led central government in Baghdad that follows Iran's orders to slow-go oil development (to prop up the price on the market and keep the Iranians afloat)."

Are you INSANE? Erdogan was always uncomfortable with Kurdish autonomy in Iraq.He went as far as deploying troops to Iraq when the Iraqi Kurds
were harboring Kurdish guerillas who were tormenting Turkey
Turkey is cozy with Iran and to a lesser extent its proxies (Syria,Hamas and Hezbollah) and Iranian dominated Iraq doesnt give it too many sleeples nights

Erdogan has a deal with the Kurds for autonomy and cross-border linkages to Iraq in exchange for votes for his deal to move to the Presidency and become basically Putin."

Erdogan has no such sweet heart deals. Where do you get this info?
The Kurds are a pragmatic lot who will sell their oil to whoever buys it.They are not like say the Egyptians who sabotaged their economy just so that they can cause discomfort to Israel.This is but another form of suicide bombing!
Erdogan is no Putin.He simply lacks the self control and awareness of his limitations that Putin has.
Putin is not a deranged loon whose empire is about to implode on him as is the case with Erdogan

Absent the oil, however, there would be no deal, Turkish firms connected to Erdogan get the ground deal on developing the Kurdish oil in Iraq, that's the juice that seals the deal."

Which Turkish firms are these? The lions share went to Shell ,Taqa of Abu Dhabi and Crescent petroleum of Sharjah
Say what you want about Bush ,he may have failed politically in Iraq but he ensured the flaship companies of his allies got first dibs on Iraq

Anonymous said...

"Now they just need a William Beckford to give them the Romantic-Gothic treatment, and their support from the West will be assured."

Or China.

Anonymous said...

Furthermore ,have you SEEN British women?

This is why I come here, for the incisive, thoughtful commentary.

English woman

Northern Irish woman

Scottish woman

Welsh woman

Why Dr VN you're right, they're all hideous!

Anonymous said...

I'm with DVN. I'd take any of the young ladies in the cast of the average Bollywood movie over any Kurdish woman you care to find. Tony Bourdain's visit ti Iraqi Kurdistan didn't turn up a hint of pulchritude.

Anonymous said...

Given that The Great White Left isn't making babies anymore, and hasn't been making babies for about 40 years now [since Griswold and Roe, back circa 1970], then we only would have needed to have persisted for another 15 or 20 years, at which point all the Bills and the Hillarys would have died off, and the Chelseas would have remained childless, and the Chelseas' wombs would have shrivelled up and gone barren, and the ranks of The Great White Left would have been absolutely decimated.

July 18, 2013 - Michael Moore divorce - Flint native splits with wife of 21 years... The couple have no children, according to the filing...

Dr Van Nostrand said...


This is why I come here, for the incisive, thoughtful commentary."

I was responding to one taunt with another.
I dont know if you find my comments at the subject at hand incisive or not but if you had to be fair you would address instead them instead of laser focussing on one comment

English woman

Northern Irish woman

Scottish woman

Welsh woman

Why Dr VN you're right, they're all hideous!"

Dude relax.No doubt they do exist lovely British ladies. But in general British women are somewhat losers in the looks department among Europeans. Less so British men who can quite good looking(no homo) ,until the excessivebeer and chicken tikka masala do a number on their constitution

IMO French,Italian and Norweigan women are the most attractive in Europe(I leave out Swedish women as their ultra feminisim is a serious boner killer)

Spanish and Russian are nice too but they age so rapidly and badly

Romanian,Bulgarian and most other East Europeans are more hot and sexy than beautiful.ie somewhat trashy


Frau Katze said...

Quote from John: I wonder why these apparently permanently submerged polities don't take Quebec as a model. As such polities go, Quebec has to have it pretty plush. I do wonder whether Kurds are as linguistically unified as we imagine. The piecemeal violence (in Turkey, at least - Syria and Iraq may be entirely different matters) makes me wonder if anyone thereabouts is unified with anyone else at all.

Maybe because Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey are very different from Canada? They will never get the deal Quebec got---signed, a Canadian

Anonymous said...

http://lareviewofbooks.org/article.php?type=&id=1865&fulltext=1&media=#article-text-cutpoint

Anonymous said...

"Well compared to Indian women, who isn't?"

Indians are broken down into 1000+ groups. We all know there are some really smart Indian groups and there are a lot of below average Indian groups. Similarly in the looks department, the small number of Indian women from the northwest fringe of the country can be hot. When they look Lebanese or something else ethnically ambiguous and light skinned.

Dr Van Nostrand said...


Indians are broken down into 1000+ groups. We all know there are some really smart Indian groups and there are a lot of below average Indian groups. Similarly in the looks department, the small number of Indian women from the northwest fringe of the country can be hot. When they look Lebanese or something else ethnically ambiguous and light skinned."

If resembling Near Eastern people is your own only criteria of good looks then yes India is lacking in them.
Also northwest isnt exactly fringe.Its population density is equivalent to south india whose once healthy birth rates are in decline

There are fair skinned Indians in other parts of the country but they dont look Mid eastern or Europeanish.They look well Indian!

For women, it is large dark eyes with winged eyebrow,oval to round face , medium nasal bridge but small nose(as opposed to thin nasal index but a hooked nose in the northwest) and straight even lips(crooked in northwest) thick wavy hair(straight in the northwest) and unabashed contours which are quite unlike the anorexic trend in Hollywood (and now sadly Bollywood)

Most Bollywood actresses are fair skinned, with the exception of Bipasha Basu(IMO one of the sexiest) but to my Indian eye very few resemble Lebanese or Levantine women with the exception of Katrina Kaif.

Anonymous said...

http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-obama-trayvon-martin-remarks-20130719,0,1920154.story

Me, me, me, it's always about 'me' with Obama.

Of course, being half-white himself, he could also have been Zimmerman. If yrs ago, some black punk was attacking him and if Obama had a gun, would he not have used it?
But no, Obama only wants to make himself out to be an alternate Martin, poor poor victim.

Ironic since Obama has used drone strikes all over the Middle East to take out 'terrorists' and racially profile those wearing rags. Zimmerman only killed his assailant. Obama took out entire families, even women and children, but mostly covered up by the media that is on his side.

So, never mind all the white victims of 'youth' crime, and never mind all the innocent victims of Obama's drone strikes.

The narrative says... Obama could have been like Trayvon... shot dead by a KKK 'white hispanic'. Boo hoo.

Anyway, from 'Trayvon could have been my son' to 'I could have been Trayvon'.

Too bad Tray didn't have white grandparents to raise him.

el supremo said...

Anonymous @5:22 AM
"Basically 2/3 of Turks don't see themselves as Turks, but as Armenians, Kurds, Greeks and Alawis."

This isn't really the case - Almost all turks from all regions (excluding the Kurds) are very proud of being Turkish.

There are very few Greeks or Armenians left in the country. The Alawites (Alevis in Turkish) are quite dedicated to Turkish secular nationalism, which they see as offer much greater prospects for toleration of their religious tradition a more religiously oriented state.

The alienation of Kurds from the Turkish government has also decreased over the last 10 years, helped in part by the boom in the Turkish economy and greater recognition of the Kurdish tradition.

The remainder of ethnic minorities are Tatars, Circassians (both who migrated to the as refugees from the Russian conquests of their homelands in the 19th century), Gypsies, and Georgian Muslims, most of whom are quite assimilated and are not really a separatist risk and largely subscribe to the Turkish national project.

master_of_americans said...

2 observations: the War Nerd had a column a few years ago called "Why the Kurds Will Never Win". After he wrote it, they immediately started a winning streak. Nobody's right all the time, I guess. Actually, Brecher/Dolan is wrong frequently, but as Brecher he made interesting observations in the process. Anyway, I wonder what changed that once made the Kurds a hopeless cause but now they finally getting somewhere (of course, the Kurds can't always have been history's losers, because otherwise they would have faded into obscurity long ago. The Kurds are to ethnic groups what an NBA bench warmer is to ballers: saliently pathetic, but still better than 99% of the competition. It's worth noting that Kurds ended up living on a lot of the lands that were vacated in the ethnic cleansing of Armenians and Assyrians from fin de siècle Anatolia).

2nd, I read a thought-provoking article a few months ago (can't remember the author's name, sorry) which argued that Erdoghan's new Kurdish strategy is to buddy up with Kurds throughout the region. Apparently, he believes he can strike a balance with Kurds in his own country where they can fulfill almost all of their ambitions without undermining Turkey's vital state authority. The main threat to this would be instability caused by Kurds outside Turkey, but Erdowan believes he can contain this by forming a close alliance with Kurdish leaders in Turkey and in all-but-independent Iraqi Kurdistan.

Anonymous said...

Saladin, the guy who fought Richard the Lionheart and eventually defeated the Crusader states (with a few minor holdouts) and took over much of the middle east, while remaining a respected figure in the West, was a Kurd.