Kurdish News Weekly Briefing, 5 – 11 September 2014

NEWS
1. Kurdish Question Litmus Test for Turkey’s New Government, Experts Say
2. Abdullah Ocalan’s message to DTK congress
3. Investigation into murder of three Kurdish women in Paris reopens
4. Dedêran Camp hosts its new guests
5. Sinjar aid crosses into Rojava
6. HDP, DBP and DTK delegation visiting South Kurdistan
7. Kurdish spring: what are the PKK fighting for
8. West widens contacts with Syria’s Kurds in western Kurdistan but suspicion remains
9. VIDEO: How British Kurds are heading to fight IS
10. PHOTOS: Meet the Kurdish Women Fighting ISIS in Syria
11. Yezidi MP: Militants Retreated from Villages to Escape Stench of Massacred Victims
12. Kurds’ Baghdad ties continue to weaken
13. New Iraq oil minister faces security challenge, Kurdish dispute
14. Kurds to US: Give us the heavy weapons we need to fight ISIS

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
15. The experiment of West Kurdistan (Syrian Kurdistan) has proved that people can make changes – Zaher Baher
16. ISIS’s Cruelty Toward Women Gets Scant Attention
17. Syrian Kurdish fighters pushing back Islamic State on their own
18. The Kurdish female fighters bringing the fight to IS
19. Tehran boots on the ground
20. Why US Middle East Policy is Fraught with Danger
21. US wants to win this war by outsourcing it

BOOK REVIEW
22. Turkey’s 1960 coup, still resounding today

NEWS

1. Kurdish Question Litmus Test for Turkey’s New Government, Experts Say
8 September 2014 / Rudaw
The resolution of the Kurdish question in Turkey under its first directly-elected president is the litmus test for Turkish stability and democracy, according to experts at a panel discussion at the Brookings Center in Washington. The Kurdish question “is burning and ready to explode any moment,” Kadir Ustun, research director of the SETA Foundation in Washington, warned at the discussion, titled “President Erdogan: Turkey’s Election and the Future.”
2. Abdullah Ocalan’s message to DTK congress
6 September 2014 / Kurdish Question
The Democratic Society Congress (DTK) met today in Amed (Diyarbakir) to hold its 7th congress under the slogan “We are building the democratic nation and free life”. The two day congress is taking place at the Kayapinar Sports Complex.
The Congress is being attended by 501 delegates who were elected in local branches by the votes of over 100 thousand Kurdish people in total. In addition to the delegates, many journalists, academics, intellectuals and artists from Rojava, the Federal Kurdistan Region and Turkey are also present.

3. Investigation into murder of three Kurdish women in Paris reopens
10 September 2014 / Hurriyet
Turkish police have reopened an investigation into Ömer Güney, the prime suspect in the killings of three Kurdish women in Paris in 2013, in an attempt to reveal the suspect’s movements in Turkey before the murders. The 30-year-old suspect was the only name released by the French police connected to the murder of Sakine Cansız, one of the co-founders of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party(PKK), Fidan Doğan and Leyla Söylemez.

4. Dedêran Camp hosts its new guests
10 September 2014 / ANF
The recently established Dedêran camp in Siirt is now hosting over 1000 Yezidis from Sinjar. The co-mayor of Siirt Tuncer Bakırhan said people’s support has to continue in order to meet the needs of the “guests” from Sinjar, as he prefers to call them.
Having been forced to flee from the savage attacks and the massacres of ISIS which started on 3 August, some 300 people from Sinjar who arrived at Siirt, after reaching North Kurdistan via Zakho, have been housed in the Dedêran camp established by the Siirt municipality.

5. Sinjar aid crosses into Rojava
9 September 2014 / ANF
As aid collected for Sinjar was delivered to Rojava through the border gate of Nusaybin, work is continuing in the Silvan district of Amed for the accommodation of 500 Yezidi Kurds. Humanitarian aid collected within the scope of the aid campaign initiated by the people in the region and the municipalities for the people from Sinjar and Rojava is being sent to Qamishlo through the Nusaybin border gate.

6. HDP, DBP and DTK delegation visiting South Kurdistan
9 September 2014 / ANF
A delegation consisting of the co-chairs of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), the Party of Democratic Regions (DBP) and the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), and deputies from HDP, is paying a visit to South Kurdistan in order to have talks and discussions about the recent developments taking place after the intense attacks of ISIS in the region.

7. Kurdish spring: what are the PKK fighting for?
8 September 2014 / Channel 4 News
After over 30 years of an anachronistic Marxist-Leninist insurgency against the Turkish state, militants of the PKK (Kurdish Workers’ Party) say they are rejecting nationalism, Maoist military strategies and even the idea of a nation state – adopting instead the teachings of an obscure US academic.
After PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan was arrested and imprisoned in 1999 he began re-evaluating the hardline Marxist-Leninist strategy he had followed since founding the group in 1978 and the subsequent violent guerrilla war launched in 1984 that led to thousands of deaths.

8. West widens contacts with Syria’s Kurds in western Kurdistan but suspicion remains
9 September 2014 / eKurd
The fight against Islamic State could at last win Syria’s Kurds the Western help they have sought, but they must first clarify their relationship to President Bashar al-Assad and reassure Turkey that they won’t cause trouble on its border.
The United States has entered the war against Islamic State fighters in Iraq with air strikes, but is still trying to decide a strategy for fighting the group on the other side of the frontier in Syria.

9. VIDEO: How British Kurds are heading to fight IS
9 September 2014 / Channel 4 News
As the flag of Islamic State continues to fly over parts of Iraq and Syria, another flag in Rojava, the Kurdish region of Syria, flies in the colours of the PKK – the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, writes Symeon Brown.
The PKK has grown into a national movement that is widely supported by displaced Kurds across Europe and the Middle East since its birth in 1978 as a small Marxist separatist sect battling Turkey for an independent Kurdish state.

10. PHOTOS: Meet the Kurdish Women Fighting ISIS in Syria
August 2014 / NBC
In the dry and desolate land along Syria’s northeastern border, thousands of young Kurdish women have taken up arms to protect their people against attacks from Bashar Assad’s government, ISIS militants and the al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front. Some 7,000 volunteer soldiers have joined the Women’s Protection Unit, or YPJ, which grew out of the wider Kurdish resistance movement. The group is strongly associated with the PKK, an organization fighting for the rights of Kurds in neighboring Turkey that has been designated a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department. Alongside Kurdish Peshmerga forces, the YPJ has been battling against Islamic militants who have seized large areas of Iraq and Syria and declared a cross-border caliphate.

11. Yezidi MP: Militants Retreated from Villages to Escape Stench of Massacred Victims
10 September 2014 / Rudaw
Islamic State (IS/ISIS) militants massacred so many people in attacks on Yezidi villages last month that the fighters themselves had to retreat from the stench, Iraq’s only Yezidi MP said at a conference in Belgium. “ISIS retreated from several Yezidi villages because the scent of those they killed became unbearable,” Vian Dakhil said at the International Peace Meeting, held in Antwerp to mark the centenary of the First World War.
“So far, 5,000 Yezidi Kurdish women have been kidnapped, and they are aged between 13 and 56 years old,” Dakhil said at the three-day meeting, which concluded Tuesday.

12. Kurds’ Baghdad ties continue to weaken
10 September 2014 / Al Jazeera
Kurdish officials have said that they will support the Iraqi central government and Prime Minister Haider al-Abaddi’s cabinet for a three month trial period. But the union remains on shaky ground, with the regional government demanding more autonomy from Baghdad.
Younger generations of the Kurdish region are also increasingly talking about independence, once a taboo subject.

13. New Iraq oil minister faces security challenge, Kurdish dispute
9 September 2014 / Todays Zaman
Adel Abdul-Mehdi, a former finance minister and vice president who was given the oil portfolio in a new government approved by parliament on Monday, is seen as welcoming foreign investment and business in Iraq. Some Iraqi Kurdish sources say they also view him as a relatively conciliatory figure who might bring a more positive atmosphere to tense talks between Baghdad and the Kurdistan region over rights to oil production.

14. Kurds to US: Give us the heavy weapons we need to fight ISIS
10 September 2014 / Hot Air
A tricky proposal, and not just because we’re currently destroying the heavy weapons we gave to the Iraqi Army and were later seized by ISIS, either. The Kurds tell CBS that they are grateful for the assistance that the US has provided in protecting its autonomous zone, especially its capital of Irbil, but they can do much more — if only Barack Obama would send them the weaponry. The Kurds want to attack ISIS and push them out of their strongholds, not just fight on defense and occasional tactical strike.

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

15. The experiment of West Kurdistan (Syrian Kurdistan) has proved that people can make changes – Zaher Baher
26 August 2014 / Libcom
What you read below is the experience of my visit, for a couple of weeks in May this year, 2014, to North East of Syria or Syrian Kurdistan (West of Kurdistan) with a close friend of mine. Throughout the visit we had the total freedom and opportunity to see and speak to whoever we wanted to. This includes women, men, youth, and the political parties. There are over 20 parties from Kurdish to Christian, of which some are in the Democratic Self Administration (DSA) or Democratic Self Management (DSM) of the region of Al Jazera.

16. ISIS’s Cruelty Toward Women Gets Scant Attention
2 September 2014 / Wall Street Journal Blogs
Tucked away in a recent New York Times story on military operations against ISIS by Iraqi special forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga was a brief description of what these troops discovered when they entered a village in Iraq that had been occupied by ISIS fighters. A naked woman, tied to a tree, who had been repeatedly raped by ISIS fighters. Another woman was discovered in a second village, similarly naked, tied down and repeatedly raped. The fighters, it appears, are “rewarded” by being allowed to have their way with captured women.

17. Syrian Kurdish fighters pushing back Islamic State on their own
9 September 2014 / LA Times
The Kurdish fighter perched on the roof of a schoolhouse pocked with holes from bullets and tank rounds, pointing across a rubble field toward several grain silos blasted open by shell fire.
“They came at us from there with tanks and Hummers, but we held our ground,” said the fighter, Zinar Kochar, 21, on guard in this battered village in northeastern Syria, a few miles from the border with Iraq. “After the blow we dealt them here, Daesh won’t come back.”

18. The Kurdish female fighters bringing the fight to IS
5 September 2014  / BBC News
A short boat trip across the river Tigris takes you from Iraq into northern Syria.
Both sides of this frontier are controlled by the Kurds, who have forged their own path through the country’s brutal civil war, between the opposition and the regime.
Further south, the fighters of Islamic State (IS) have erased the border between Syria and Iraq, proclaiming their Caliphate.
This war is redrawing the map of the region. As IS have carved out their territory, so have the Kurds.
The two sides meet at a place called Jezaa, where the rolling hills of the north give way to the flat, dusty plain of the desert.

19. Tehran boots on the ground
10 September 2014  / Foreign Policy
When U.S. President Barack Obama makes his speech Wednesday night about taking on the Islamic State, he’s sure to mention the nine countries that have signed on to aid the United States in the fight. He’ll leave out the one country that has already sent forces into Iraq and Syria to help beat back the terrorist group: Iran.

20. Why US Middle East Policy is Fraught with Danger
10 September 2014 / Counterpunch
The United States is reluctantly but decisively becoming engaged in the civil wars in Iraq and Syria as it seeks to combat Isis, which calls itself Islamic State.
President Barack Obama will outline his plans in a speech today to create a grand coalition of Western and regional powers to contain and defeat Isis, which has established a quasi-state stretching from the frontiers of Iran to the outskirts of Aleppo.

21. US wants to win this war by outsourcing it
11 September 2014 / Hurriyet
If it were possible to summarize the U.S. strategy in one sentence it could be: “To win a war against Islamist radicals without actually fighting on the ground.” This has nothing to do with a proxy war, not any longer. This is now something a level up; perhaps it would be more correct to call it a “remote-controlled war.”

BOOK REVIEW

22. Turkey’s 1960 coup, still resounding today: ‘Military Intervention and a Crisis of Democracy in Turkey: The Menderes Era and Its Demise’ by Mogens Pelt.

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