KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 12 – 19 September 2014

NEWS
1. Turkey: A Reluctant Partner in the Fight against the Islamic State
2. Turkey moving from reluctant partner to embarrassed ally
3. Turkey is supplying munitions by train for ISIS military attacks on Kobane
4. Davutoglu: Only success story in Middle East is reconciliation process
5. Three schools in Turkey open Kurdish education for the first time
6. Turkish police attack Kurds protesting against closure of school
7. 7 Public Schools Burnt Down in Cizre, Yüksekova
8. ISIS Draws a Steady Stream of Recruits From Turkey
9. Turkish soldiers shoot two Rojava shepherds
10. Youngster Dies After Checkpoint Protests in Lice
11. Civilians killed and wounded due to IS shelling on villages in Kobanî
12. IS shells Kobanî with Grad rockets
13. Shelling by tanks and mortars on villages of Kobanî for the second day
14. Exodus movement in the western villages of Kobanî
15. Kurdish Militias Capture 14 Villages From IS in Northern Syria
16. 48 killed in Syrian aerial bombardment in Talbise
17. Kurdistan sets time-limit on power-sharing negotiations with Iraq
18. Kurdish fighters advance against ISIL in Syria
19. Danish Kurds fighting IS in Iraq
20. DISIAD: 450 thousand Yezidis forced to flee for their lives
21. Public Forum ‘the Crisis in Iraq: Unexpected Alliances, Western Intervention
COMMENT, OPINION, AND ANALYSIS
22. Islamic State: ‘The world cares nothing’ for Syrian city under Isis siege
23. An Exclusive Interview with Premier of Kobane Anwar Moslem About Ongoing ISIS Attacks
24. Should US Remove PKK From Its Terrorist List?
25. Turkey becomes ‘weak link’ rather than leader in the Middle East
26. The Islamic State of Sexual Violence
27. Since 9-11 America’s Insane Foreign Policy — Continued Under Obama — Has Killed a Million and Created ISIS
28. Rojava; unity in diversity
29. Analysis: YPG – the Islamic State’s worst enemy
30. Is There a Diplomatic Solution to ISIS Crisis? U.S. Could Turn to Aid, Arms
31. At the Kurdistan Front
32. Obama’s strategy beyond an abnormal war
33. Robert Fisk on Isis campaign: Bingo! Here’s another force of evil to be ‘vanquished’
34. Will Scotland, and Kurdistan, Break Away?
BOOK REVIEW
35. Book review: The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising by Patrick
EVENTS
36. Second Kurdish Conference in Washington DC: ‘The New Kurdish Reality in the Middle East: Perils, Prospects and Possibilities’
NEWS

1.Turkey: A Reluctant Partner in the Fight against the Islamic State
15 September / Middle East Institute
Turkey is one of ten members of the “core coalition” against ISIS announced at last week’s NATO Summit in Wales. Given its long border with Syria and Iraq and the threat ISIS poses to its domestic security, Turkey should be a natural candidate for cooperation against ISIS. The Turkish government has become increasingly concerned about the rise of ISIS after the group captured Mosul and held Turkish consulate staff hostage. Yet, Turkey is likely to be the most reluctant partner. Turkey attended Thursday’s talks in Saudi Arabia where Secretary Kerry sought to build support for Obama’s plan, but it did not join the Arab states in signing the final communiqué.

2. Turkey moving from reluctant partner to embarrassed ally
12 September / Turkey Pulse
Turkey is gradually moving from a reluctant NATO ally toward an embarrassing or embarrassed partner in the fight against the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS). As The Daily Beast reported, “With [IS] on its doorstep, the Turkish government balks at support for Obama’s strategy.

3. Turkey is supplying munitions by train for ISIS military attacks on Kobane
18 September / Kurdish Question
Kurdistan People’s Initiative, called for urgent help to stop crossing of ISIS gangs who are besieging Kobane region. The people of the northern Kurdistan should not let ISIS gangs to commit massacres against Rojava and must act urgently, said the initative.
The initiative called Kurdish people to take action against ISIS which has commenced a new wave of attacks on 3 different fronts against Kobane on 15th of September. According to the statement, the Turkish state is in preparation of a new massacre against people of Kobane by transporting many tanks and ammunition to ISIS gangs by train.

4. Davutoglu: Only success story in Middle East is reconciliation process
15 September / Daily Sabah
Newly appointed Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said there is only one success story in the Middle East and that is the reconciliation process which has made a remarkable progress amidst the turmoil Turkey’s neigbouring countries are going through. […]
Davutoğlu touching upon the ongoing ethnicity conflicts that are happening in Iraq and Syria, said the reconciliation process which aims to end decades long conflict between the government and PKK has been continuing without any obstructions despite efforts to sabotage the process.

5. Three schools in Turkey open Kurdish education for the first time
15 September / eKurd
Three schools in Turkey are controversially opening their doors to Kurdish education for the first time, as millions of students across the country return to school Monday.
Education at the three schools in Diyarbakir (Amed in Kurdish), Gever and Cizre will be entirely in Kurdish, the mother tongue of the people in the region.
Turkish authorities have already expressed their opposition to this initiative by the Democratic Regions Party and the Kurdish Language Research and Education Syndicate in Diyarbakir.

6. Turkish police attack Kurds protesting against closure of school
16 September / Kurdish Question
When Turkey’s ruling party AKP announced its “democratic package” that among other things included reforms meant to address Kurdish calls for greater rights, some people expressed hope in this promise while others, especially Kurds, remained skeptical. AKP and its supporters promoted the reform package as a great step towards strengthening the already existent progressive democracy. AKP’s leader Erdogan unveiled the reform package with the following words: “Cowards cannot erect victory monuments. Those who are afraid of change, reforms and advanced standards cannot proceed even one step forward.”
As details of the reform package was made known, it was met with harsh criticism and dismissed as being merely superficial adjustments that did not meet the Kurdish people’s demands. Among one of the new reforms was the offer of providing Kurdish language education but this only applied to private schools and not public schools; a consequence of the Turkish constitution, which states that Turkish is the only official language in Turkey.

7. 7 Public Schools Burnt Down in Cizre, Yüksekova
17 September / Bianet
Following the sealing of 3 schools in Diyarbakır’s Bağlar, Şırnak’s Cizre and Hakkari’s Yüksekova districts iniatiated by KURDİ-DER, MAPER and Eğitim Sen Unions, 7 public schools were burnt down in Cizre and Yüksekova districts.
According to Fırat News Agency, the incident broke out as YDG-H members initially threw gasoline on Fatih, İstiklal and İsmail Ebulis Elementary Schools in Cizre and set the buildings on fire.

8. ISIS Draws a Steady Stream of Recruits From Turkey
15 September / nytimes
Hundreds of foreign fighters, including some from Europe and the United States, have joined the ranks of ISIS in its self-proclaimed caliphate that sweeps over vast territories of Iraq and Syria. But one of the biggest source of recruits is neighboring Turkey, a NATO member with an undercurrent of Islamist discontent.

9. Turkish soldiers shoot two Rojava shepherds
17 September / Hawar News
Turkish troops are continuing to open fire with impunity on the border between North and West Kurdistan. Soldiers, who have carried out dozens of extra judicial executions, have now shot two shepherds tending their animals in Rojava (West Kurdistan).

10. Youngster Dies After Checkpoint Protests in Lice
15 September / Bianet
Abdullah Akkulu, a 19 year old protestor who was shut by the soldier gunfire and stayed in coma for 3 months, died yesterday in the southeastern district of Lice.
Akkulu was gravely wounded by gunfire during protests against anti-high security check points in the southeastern province of Lice. Police and soliders were criticized for using tear gas and firearms. Ramazan Baran (24) and Baki Akdemir (50) were also killed on June 6.

11. Civilians killed and wounded due to IS shelling on villages in Kobanî
17 September / Hawar News
A woman lost her life and others were wounded by the constant shelling of IS mercenaries on the eastern, western and southern villages of Kobanî, with tanks and heavy weapons.

12. IS shells Kobanî with Grad rockets
18 September / Hawar News
This morning IS terrorists shelled the Kobani canton with three Grad rockets, horrifying its residents.
There were no casualties; the aim of shelling with Grad rockets is to terrify the citizens and conduct psychological warfare in an attempt to displace residents.

13. Shelling by tanks and mortars on villages of Kobanî for the second day
17 September / Hawar News
Fighting continues for the second day on the three fronts of Kobanî, as IS (Islamic State) mercenaries have been bombing villages with tanks and Grad rockets since yesterday without interruption. Additionally, many of the villages are witnessing a displacement movement towards the Kobanî canton.

14. Exodus movement in the western villages of Kobanî
17 September / Hawar News
With the intensification of shelling on the three fronts of the Kobanî canton, many villages which have been subjected to indiscriminate shelling with various kinds of weapons are witnessing heavy exodus movements towards the canton.
As many of the western villages of Kobanî canton witness a dense exodus movement of children and women from their homes after indiscriminate shelling by ISIS mercenaries, the men in these villages are staying to defend them.

15. Kurdish Militias Capture 14 Villages From IS in Northern Syria
15 September / AINA
The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) have recaptured 14 villages in Syria’s northern al-Qamishli province from the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Monday.
The victory came after intense battles in the predominantly Kurdish province, Xinhua reported citing the observatory, adding that the battles there were still going on.

16. 48 killed in Syrian aerial bombardment in Talbise
17 September / Hawar News
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that 48 people have been killed in aerial bombardments on the city of Talbise on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Those who lost their lives in the attacks include a commander of an Islamic Brigade, a woman with 4 of her children, a woman with 2 of her children, a woman with her brother and 2 of her children, a woman with her child, a man with his child, and 12 fighters.

17. Kurdistan sets time-limit on power-sharing negotiations with Iraq
18 September / eKurd
Kurdistan’s semiautonomous government is giving Iraq’s new leadership three months to negotiate a new power-sharing agreement with Erbil, or see it move forward with an independence bid, the region’s de facto foreign minister said in an interview.
Such a bid by the Kurdistan Regional Government would pose a major challenge to the Obama administration’s strategy to stabilize Iraq and push back the territorial gains made by the Islamic State terrorist organization in recent months.

18. Kurdish fighters advance against ISIL in Syria
15 September / Presstv
Kurdish forces have made fresh advances as they are fighting a fierce battle against the ISIL militants in northeastern Syria.
Kurdish sources said on Monday that their fighters had captured more than a dozen villages in the province of Hasakah.

19. Danish Kurds fighting IS in Iraq
15 September / Copenhagen Post
At least ten Kurds with Danish citizenship have travelled to northern Iraq to join the ranks of the Kurdish Peshmerga in its ongoing struggle against the jihadist organisation Islamic State (IS), according to Politiken newspaper.

20. DISIAD: 450 thousand Yezidis forced to flee for their lives
14 September 2014 / ANF
Diyarbakır Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association (DİSİAD) has released a report on Yezidis forced to flee for their lives in the face of savage massacres and crimes against humanity committed by ISIS gangs that occupied the Yezidi town of Sinjar on 3 August. According to the report which was jointly prepared by NGOs in the main Kurdish city, around 450 thousand Yezidis have been forced to leave their lands since the occupation, and some 100 thousand people are expected to be housed in North Kurdistan soon.

21. Public Forum ‘the Crisis in Iraq: Unexpected Alliances, Western Intervention and the Question of Kurdistan’
10 September 2014 / Centre for Kurdish Progress
The London based Centre for Kurdish Progress in partnership with the Centre for Turkey Studies (CEFTUS) organised a debate on the crisis in Iraq. Meg Hillier MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch hosted the event at the House of Commons, Committee Room 12. Over 100 hundred people attended the event, including leading members of British and Kurdish civil society.

COMMENT, OPINION, AND ANALYSIS

22. Islamic State: ‘The world cares nothing’ for Syrian city under Isis siege
18 September / The Independent
Leaders of half a million Kurds attacked by Isis fighters in a besieged enclave in northern Syria have appealed for help from the international community, including US air strikes. The plea came as the US House of Representatives voted to authorise the training and arming of rebels in Syria.
Isis fighters used tanks and artillery captured in Iraq to assault the Kurdish enclave around the city of Kobani, also called Ayn al-Arab, where between 400,000 and 500,000 members of Syria’s Kurdish minority have taken refuge.

23. An Exclusive Interview with Premier of Kobane Anwar Moslem About Ongoing ISIS Attacks
19 September / Civiroglu
“It is almost a year a devastating war has been waging on Kobane in order to seize it. But since two days ago, they have been waging an unprecedented attack on Kobane from east, south, and west with the tanks, artilleries, and Humvees they had seized in Mosul. They have been doing their very best to make Kobane give up. They have an intention of committing a massacre in Kobane like how they made people of Shengal flee, how they were massacred, how women were seized and enslaved, how kids were killed; the ISIS wants to inflict the same predicament upon Kobane.”

24. Should US Remove PKK From Its Terrorist List?
2 September 2014 / Rudaw
For those interested in the Middle East, few haven’t heard of the PKK. They are the Kurdish initials for the Kurdistan Workers Party, which has fought to achieve more cultural and political rights for Turkey’s 15 million Kurds since 1984. In that often bloody conflict, more than 40 thousands people, mostly Kurds have died. As a result, the PKK has found itself in the terrorist lists of he United States and the European Union. But the PKK has never attacked Western targets. And over the past few years. it has largely refrained from killing civilians in Turkey and negotiates with the Turkish state.

25. Turkey becomes ‘weak link’ rather than leader in the Middle East
15 September / Today’s Zaman
It is being argued that Turkey is hesitating to take part in the international coalition which is fighting against ISIL because it is holding Turkish diplomatic staff as hostages. Though this seems like a reasonable excuse upon first appraisal, it does not explain the entire picture because we still do not know why the Mosul consulate was not evacuated by the Foreign Ministry before the ISIL attack. Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Neçirvan Barzani said they offered to help evacuate the consulate, but consulate officials did not take them up on the offer. This shows that such an attack from ISIL was not expected; there is no other explanation.

26. The Islamic State of Sexual Violence
16 September / Foreign Policy
The Islamic State’s (IS) fighters are committing horrific sexual violence on a seemingly industrial scale: For example, the United Nations last month estimated that IS has forced some 1,500 women, teenage girls, and boys into sexual slavery. Amnesty International released a blistering document noting that IS abducts whole families in northern Iraq for sexual assault and worse. Even in the first few days following the fall of Mosul in June, women’s rights activists reported multiple incidents of IS fighters going door to door, kidnapping and raping Mosul’s women.

27. Since 9-11 America’s Insane Foreign Policy — Continued Under Obama — Has Killed a Million and Created ISIS
10 September / Alternet
Thirteen years ago, a draft dodger from Texas stood on a pile of rubble in New York City and promised, “The people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” Of course, the people who flew the planes into the World Trade Center could not hear anybody, as their remains were buried in the rubble beneath Bush’s feet. And our government’s extraordinary relationship with one of the world’s last and most brutal absolute monarchies ensured that any accomplices still in the U.S. were quickly flown home to Saudi Arabia before the crime could be investigated. In 2003, Bush meekly complied with Al-Qaeda’s most concrete demand, that he withdraw U.S. forces from military bases in Saudi Arabia.

28. Rojava; unity in diversity
14 September 2014 / Kurdish Question
Democratic Autonomy in Rojava (West Kurdistan) continues to be an important factor for a solution to the Syrian conflict.
The Geneva I and Geneva II conferences could not find a political resolution because, as the Kurds and Assyrians in Cizîre Canton believe, the attendees were not representatives of the people but sought interests of international and regional states and powers. TEV-DEM (Movement of Democratic Society, a civil political and social movement in Rojava) proposed democratic autonomy both as an administration model and a way of organizing society to deal with problems stemming from the conflict and its results on the region. To this end, last year in January with the attendance of many parties, Rojava declared three autonomous cantons; Efrîn, Kobanê and Cizîre.

29. Analysis: YPG – the Islamic State’s worst enemy
11 September / Janes
The People’s Protection Units (Yekîneyên Parastina Gel: YPG) are the defence force of the Democratic Administration of Rojava: the de facto autonomous Kurdish region that has been formed in northeast Syria since the outbreak of that country’s conflict in 2011. Currently engaged in combat against the IS on five front lines across northern Syria, the YPG is perhaps one of the only forces that knows how to take on the extremists at their own game.

30. Is There a Diplomatic Solution to ISIS Crisis? U.S. Could Turn to Aid, Arms Embargo & Engaging Foes
15 September / Democracynow
An international summit on combating militants from the Islamic State has opened in France, bringing together around 30 countries from a U.S.-led coalition. The Obama administration says several Arab League countries have signed on for airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, but no sustained campaign is imminent

31. At the Kurdistan Front
12 September / The Weekly Standard
A war is being waged along a 900-mile front between two entities that today constitute de facto quasi-states stretching across the old border between Syria and Iraq. These are the Islamic State to the south and a contiguous area of Kurdish-controlled territory to the north. Recently, I traveled to the latter, in regions of northern Iraq and northeast Syria, like the town of Derik, where I spoke with a Kurdish soldier who had recently been in a firefight with IS forces in the neighboring village of Jeza’a.

32. Obama’s strategy beyond an abnormal war
15 September / Democracynow
It was a speech lacking in detail, but finally President Obama set out the strategy that only a few days previously he claimed he did not have. Given that the speech was an amalgamation of statements from Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel and various Pentagon officials there was nothing particularly surprising contained within it. But we are nevertheless clearer on the extent to which the US will undertake military operations in support of its allies on the ground through airstrikes.

33. Robert Fisk on Isis campaign: Bingo! Here’s another force of evil to be ‘vanquished’
17 September / The Independent
Resurrection, reinvention and linguistics. Barack Obama did the lot. And now he’s taking America to war in Syria as well as Iraq. Oh yes, and he’s going to defeat Isis, its “barbarism”, “genocide”, its “warped ideology” – until the bad guys are “vanquished from the earth”. What happened to George W Bush?

34. Will Scotland, and Kurdistan, Break Away?
15 September / Washington Wire
Even if they stay in their current unions, both the Kurds and the Scots are certain to gain more power over their politics and economies. The trend has been clear for a couple of decades. The Kurds got their first parliament in 1992, the Scots in 1999. Both already have control over local education, health services, and law and order. And, of course, there’s the history: centuries of separate identities from their neighbors.

BOOK REVIEW

35. Book review: The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising by Patrick Cockburn
15 September / The Morning Star
Patrick Cockburn’s latest book is timely to say the least.
As the Western powers oversee a succession of seemingly endless bloody fiascos in the Middle East, Cockburn illuminates the intelligence illusions and diplomatic deceptions of Washington, London, Paris and Brussels that have shaped the murderous onslaught in Iraq and Syria by Islamist extremists seeking to establish a Sunni caliphate in the region.

EVENTS

36. Second Kurdish Conference in Washington DC: ‘The New Kurdish Reality in the Middle East: Perils, Prospects and Possibilities’

Friday, 26 September, 8 am – 5 pm

People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Representative Office in Washington, DC
Venue: The National Press Club, Holeman Lounge
529 14th St NW Washington, DC 20045

“we invite you to our second Washington Conference, which brings together academics, experts and politicians from Turkey, Syria, Iraq and the US to discuss the situation of the Kurds in a rapidly transforming Middle East and to foster dialogue among conference participants as well as with policy makers and the general public in the United States.”

More information here

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