KURDISH NEWS WEEKLY BRIEFING, 18 – 24 October 2014

NEWS
1. Islamic State: Turkey to let Iraq Kurds join Kobane fight
2. Turkey says it helps Kurdish fighters enter Syria
3. PYD leader says no deal yet on passage of FSA fighters to Kobani
4. Watch The Harrowing Story Of A Yazidi Woman Fighting Back Against ISIS
5. Islamic State foiled in attempt to kidnap Syrian rebel leader in Turkey
6. Turkey’s Pivotal Role in Syria’s Insurgency: PressTV Report from Inside Turkey
7. Death of American Journalist Serena Shim Possibly an Intelligence Hit
8. Exclusive!  Terrorizing the ISIS terrorists in Syria and Iraq: Mystery of the “White Shroud” group
9. The Kurdish-Turkish Resolution Process—Repression in Turkey—The fight against ISIS and the revolution in Kobanê and Rojava
10. Denmark releases 10 in PKK funding case
11. Bernard-Henri Lévy: PKK must be removed from the terrorist list
12. European Left going to Kobanê border
13. Southern Californians Rally in Solidarity with Kobani; Condemn IS and Turkey

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS
14. Kobane: the struggle of Kurdish women against Islamic State
15. After repelling ISIL, PKK fighters are the new heroes of Kurdistan
16. Islamic State siege of Kobane: Did Turkey shoot itself in the foot?
17. The Kobane Riddle
18. Life on the border of Kobane: Martyrs funerals and anxious mothers of guerrilla fighters
19. Kobani – What Can We Do To Help?
20. The War Nerd: Nobody could have predicted Islamic State’s retreat from Kobane (except me)
21. How the US Supports the Islamic State (ISIS): One “Accidental Airdrop” vs Billions in Covert Military Aid
22. Kurdish Activist Memed Aksoy joins Sputnik to talk about the horrors these young Kurdish fighters face in Kobane.
23. Stateless Democracy: The Revolution in Rojava Kurdistan [part 1]
24. When ISIS Is An Excuse For A Police State
25. Why Arming the Kurds Is the Only Option – Even for Anti-War Progressives in the West
26. Why Turkey continues to hold back from full involvement in the conflict in Kobane
27. JTIC Brief: Victory at any cost – symbolism transcends strategy in battle for Kobanê
28. US needs to be more proactive on ISIS
29. Listen: Turkey’s Apparent Shift Over Kobani and Turkey’s Reluctance to Get Involved Militarily in Syria
30. How formidable is ISIS?

STATEMENTS
31. New ISIS attacks on Ezidi Kurds in Shengal-Mountain: KNK Press Release
32. Amnesty International: Further Information: Detention Of Refugees Must Be Investigated
33. Fire Brigades Union: Statement on Kobane and the resistance to ISIS

NEWS

1. Islamic State: Turkey to let Iraq Kurds join Kobane fight
20 October 2014 / BBC News
Turkey is to allow Iraqi Kurdish fighters to cross the Syrian border to fight Islamic State (IS) militants in Kobane, in what is being seen as a policy reversal. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said talks on the subject were continuing. Tens of thousands of people have fled months of fighting in Kobane between IS forces and Syrian Kurd defenders.

2. Turkey says it helps Kurdish fighters enter Syria
20 October 2014 / Guardian
Turkey said it was helping Iraqi Kurdish fighters cross into Syria to support their brethren fighting Islamic State militants in a key border town, although activists inside embattled Kobani said no forces had arrived by Monday evening, raising questions about whether the mission was really underway. The statement by Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu came hours after the U.S. airdropped weapons and ammunition to resupply Kurdish fighters for the first time. Those airdrops Sunday followed weeks of airstrikes by a U.S.-led coalition in and near Kobani.

3. PYD leader says no deal yet on passage of FSA fighters to Kobani
24 October 2014 / Todays Zaman
Saleh Muslim, the co-chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) has dismissed the remarks of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,
who said that the Free Syrian Army (FSA) has decided to send 1,300 fighters to Kobani. Muslim said on Friday that no agreement has yet been reached on the passage of FSA fighters into the besieged border town of Kobani.”We already established connection with the FSA but no such agreement has been reached yet as Mr. Erdogan has mentioned,” he told Reuters via phone from Brussels.

4. Watch The Harrowing Story Of A Yazidi Woman Fighting Back Against ISIS
22 October 2014 / Huffington Post
As Islamic State militants led a brutal attack on the Yazidi minority in Iraq’s north this past August, tens of thousands of villagers fled into the Sinjar mountains, hoping to escape the extremist fighters. Rojbin was one of the refugees who climbed the mountain to seek safety. While she managed to escape the militants, many others were rounded up. In the massacre that followed, IS fighters reportedly murdered hundreds of Yazidis. Rojbin believes her family was among those killed.

5. Islamic State foiled in attempt to kidnap Syrian rebel leader in Turkey
19 October 2014 / Telegraph
A top Syrian rebel commander was shot and wounded in an apparent kidnapping attempt by the Islamic State in a Turkish city, raising questions about Ankara’s readiness to stop jihadists operating on its soil. Abu Issa, the leader of Thuwar Raqqa, a Syrian rebel group who has been fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) in the town of Kobane, was ambushed by Isil extremists in Urfa in neighbouring Turkey. Ankara has adopted tighter national security measures in recent months in an attempt to stem the flow of foreign fighters who have used its long border with Syria as a conduit to jihad.

6. Turkey’s Pivotal Role in Syria’s Insurgency: PressTV Report from Inside Turkey
1 January 2014 / Press TV
This investigative report by PressTV’s “In Focus” reporter Serena Shim tries to uncover the pivotal role that the Turkish government is playing in the armed terrorist uprising against the Syrian government and its people. From opening its borders so Sunni hardline religious extremists from all over the world can illegally cross into Syria, to supplying them with weapons, funding, food, and shelter, Turkey’s Erdogan-led government has been acting as a rogue state, a state-sponsor of terror in every sense of the word.

7. Death of American Journalist Serena Shim Possibly an Intelligence Hit
20 October 2014 / nsnbc
Two days after the US American journalist of Lebanese origin, Serena Shim, said that Turkish intelligence had accused her of spying, she died in a car crash. Serena Shim would not be the first journalist who reports about the conflict in Syria and Iraq to be assassinated. Serena Shim was working as correspondent for the State owned Iranian TV channel PRESS TV in Turkey. The TV channel reports on its website, that Shim told PRESS TV, two days before she died in a car accident, that Turkey’s intelligence service had accused her of spying and that she feared that she would be arrested.

8. Exclusive!  Terrorizing the ISIS terrorists in Syria and Iraq: Mystery of the “White Shroud” group
21 October 2014 / Medhaj News
Despite being involved in brutal, terror attacks, ISIS militants want the world to see them as fearless, invincible warriors fighting `jihad’ for their religion.   But a small group of 300 men seem to strike fear terror in their hearts. Called White Shroud, this mysterious group echoes `Inglorious Basterds’, the Quentin Tarentino film, where an underground band of Jewish fighters penetrate occupied France and kill Nazis during World War II.

9. The Kurdish-Turkish Resolution Process—Repression in Turkey—The fight against ISIS and the revolution in Kobanê and Rojava
22 October 2014 / Turkey Harvest
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said that the settlement process underway between his government and the Kurdish liberation movement could wrap up with a few months. “Now there is a road map that we have designated. If all of the parties, particularly the segments that are involved in the resolution process, do their part, then the desired point can be reached in the shortest time, within the next few months,” Davutoğlu told Al-Jazeera late last night.

10. Denmark releases 10 in PKK funding case
23 October 2014 / Todays Zaman
A Danish court has released 10 men who were charged with fundraising for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The Copenhagen City Court said on Wednesday that prosecutors had not proven that an estimated 130 million kroner ($22 million) transferred to Kurdish organizations was actually channeled to the PKK, according to an Associated Press report. The PKK is classified as a terrorist organization by the United States, Turkey and the European Union.

11. Bernard-Henri Lévy: PKK must be removed from the terrorist list
24 October 2014 / Kurdish Info
French intellectual and author Bernard-Henri Lévy has called for the removal of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) from the list of terrorist organizations in an article of his published by the literary magazine “La Règle du jeu”. Following a recent article titled “Last call for Kobanê”, which reminded Turkey of the importance of the fight against ISIS, and that of Kobanê, the French philosopher has once again manifested his stance towards the Kurdish people and their freedom struggle in face of continuous attacks by gangs affiliated to the so-called Islamic State aiming to capture their lands.

12. European Left going to Kobanê border
24 October 2014 / ANF
A delegation led by French Communist Party (PCF) National Secretary Pierre Laurent is to go to the Kobanê border on 27 October to meet the people. The delegation will consist of members of left parties from Germany, Greece, Italy, Denmark and Spain. According to close confidantes of PCF National Secretary Pierre Laurent, the visit will take place between 27 and 29 October, prior to the global solidarity day with Kobanê on 1 November. The delegation led by Pierre Laurent, who is also a Paris senator and the President of the Party of the European Left, will also meet DBP and HDP officials in addition to the people of Kobanê at the border.

13. Southern Californians Rally in Solidarity with Kobani; Condemn IS and Turkey
16 October 2014 / Kurdish Women Haven
Hundreds of pro-Kobani activists marched on in Westwood, Los Angeles to condemn the Islamic State (IS) and their murderous onslaught against Kurds, saying that they will continue their protest against IS terrorism in Kobani.  Improvised signs were being made by women activists as more protesters joined the demonstration. The statement issued by the Kurdish community, as one of the main organizers of the event, read: “We stand in solidarity with the people of the besieged Kobani and call for prompt action to save the residents and defenders of the city from a massacre.”

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

14. Kobane: the struggle of Kurdish women against Islamic State
23 October 2014 / Open Democracy
For several days tens of thousands of Yezidis got trapped on Mount Sinjar in early August 2014 in an attempt to flee the attacks of the Islamic State (IS) on their towns and villages in Sinjar region in north-west Iraq, close to the Syrian border. It soon turned out that these attacks were not just a strategic move by IS to provide them with a free gateway to northern Syria, but horrific tales of execution, abduction of women and children, forced conversions to Islam, and the mass exodus suggests a more sinister plan.

15. After repelling ISIL, PKK fighters are the new heroes of Kurdistan
17 October 2014 / Al Jazeera
The body of Zanyar Kawa is making its final journey to Sulaymaniyah, in northeastern Iraq. The slain fighter died 500 miles from his hometown battling the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, in Kobane, a Syrian town near the Turkish border. Though an Iraqi Kurd, Kawa did not die serving the Iraqi Kurdish security forces, known as the peshmerga. Rather, he was killed fighting alongside guerrillas associated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which seeks self-determination for Kurds in Turkey and across the region. Both Turkey and the United States consider the PKK a terrorist organization.

16. Islamic State siege of Kobane: Did Turkey shoot itself in the foot?
23 October 2014 / CSM
The decision by Iraq’s Kurdish regional government to send fighters with heavy weapons to reinforce the beleaguered Syrian-Kurdish town of Kobane is offering hope to its defenders, who have been holding off fighters from the self-declared Islamic State in a 37-day siege. But the decision caps a disastrous week for Turkey, which is looking increasingly isolated and at odds with its Western allies, after having branded the town’s defenders as terrorists no different from the jihadi forces attacking them.

17. The Kobane Riddle
24 October 2014 / Asia Times
The brave women of Kobani – where Syrian Kurds are desperately fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh – are about to be betrayed by the “international community”. These women warriors, apart from Caliph Ibrahim’s goons, are also fighting treacherous agendas by the US, Turkey and the administration of Iraqi Kurdistan. So what’s the real deal in Kobani?  Let’s start by talking about Rojava. The full meaning of Rojava – the three mostly Kurdish provinces of northern Syria – is conveyed in this editorial (in Turkish) published by jailed activist Kenan Kirkaya.

18. Life on the border of Kobane: Martyrs funerals and anxious mothers of guerrilla fighters
24 October 2014 / Yvo Fitzherbert
When I arrived at the hospital on the outskirts of Suruç the other day, there was a huge crowd. I had decided to go there with my local friend Muslum in order to see the YPG/J fighters who had been wounded in Kobane and who were being treated there. The night before, in the village of Mehser, I had met Ibrahim, a medic from Diyarbakir who had been working relentlessly for the last month since the siege of Kobane had started.

19. Kobani – What Can We Do To Help?
14 October 2014 / Socialist Resistance
The fate of the town of Kobani, under intense siege for several weeks, is in the balance. Sarah Parker explains the background. The representatives of the people of Kobani have been demanding that Nato members / EU countries restrain Turkey and supply the People’s Protection Units (YPG) with heavy weapons. They have also been saying that a corridor through Turkey is needed, to make sure ISIS do not capture the border crossing, and for fighters, ammunition and humanitarian supplies to be able to come into Kobani. We should support these demands.

20. The War Nerd: Nobody could have predicted Islamic State’s retreat from Kobane (except me)
16 October 2014 / War Nerd
A strange thing happened in Kobane, the Kurdish border town besieged by Islamic State: It didn’t fall. In fact, today the BBC reported that Islamic State, the supposedly invincible jihadis who have been besieging Kobane, is retreating from the city. Nobody expected that. Well, nobody except me. I’ve been saying for a long time that IS(IS) was the most overhyped military force on the planet, and that IS has been attacking Kobane for fifteen months—fifteen damn months—without success, which might just sort of suggest it’s not the juggernaut it’s been made out to be, and that IS’s other supposedly scary advance toward Baghdad is no more than a sad attempt to recover some of the Sunni suburbs of the capital the Sunni controlled completely less than a decade ago.

21. How the US Supports the Islamic State (ISIS): One “Accidental Airdrop” vs Billions in Covert Military Aid
23 October 2014 / Global Research
While the US claims it has “accidentally” allowed weapons to fall into the hands of ISIS terrorists, in reality, the US has been arming, funding, and aiding ISIS and its terrorist affiliates either directly or through Saudi, Qatari, Jordanian, or Turkish proxies since at least 2011. Far from springing from the dunes of northern Iraq or eastern Syria, the rise of ISIS is the verbatim fulfillment of long-established documented US conspiracy. It is perhaps best summarized by the prophetic 2007 report ”The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?“ written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh and published in the New Yorker.

22. Kurdish Activist Memed Aksoy joins Sputnik to talk about the horrors these young Kurdish fighters face in Kobane.
18 October 2014 / Sputnik, RT
Just yards from the Turkish border, the Kurdish city of Kobane is being over run by Islamic State (formerly ISIS) savages. But every street and every house is being contested fiercely by the young Kurdish fighters of the YPG youth section of the local PKK. They are young and a huge number of them are women. It would be the stuff of Hollywood if it were not the nightmare of reality. Kurdish Activist Memed Aksoy joins Sputnik to talk about the horrors these young fighters face.

23. Stateless Democracy: The Revolution in Rojava Kurdistan [part 1]
21 October 2014 / Vimeo
Dilar Dirik gives the keynote talk at a recent conference hosted by the New World Academy. The fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has often been portrayed as a fight between the West and its Arab allies against Islamic ultra-fundamentalists. Over the last several years, however, a progressive Kurdish-led resistance has been forming in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) amidst the Syrian Civil War. The resistance has successfully implemented new models of grassroots democracy, gender equality, and sustainable ecology, its members practicing a political project they refer to as Democratic Confederalism. This conference discusses the current Kurdish resistance in Kobanê, Rojava against ISIS. With help of representatives from the Kurdish movement as well as specialists in the field, it explores the politics and culture of Rojava and the reasons behind the formation and growth of the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

24. When ISIS Is An Excuse For A Police State
18 October 2014 / The Daily Beast
The Kurdish refugees circled around me in Turkey on the edge of the so-called Islamic State, where part of Syria used to be. They were shouting with a mixture of fury and desperation about their families in Kobani, under siege just across the line. The border guards stopped their relatives from bringing in cars or sheep and left them in a no-man’s land. U.S. warplanes roaring overhead unleashed missiles and precision-guided bombs, but they could do nothing to solve this problem. Small-arms fire crackled close by and sounded as if it were getting closer.

25. Why Arming the Kurds Is the Only Option – Even for Anti-War Progressives in the West
23 October 2014 / Huffington Post
Quiz question: who said that the west must “strengthen the Kurdish fighters, who are doing a good job of fighting Isil”? Was it: a) US senator John McCain, b) former prime minister Tony Blair, or c) Respect MP, George Galloway? Yep, you guessed right. It wasn’t the neocon McCain or the “liberal interventionist” Blair. It was the anti-war Galloway, in a House of Commons debate on Iraq in late September.

26. Why Turkey continues to hold back from full involvement in the conflict in Kobane
22 October 2014 / LSE Blogs
The Syrian town of Kobane has been under siege from Islamic State (IS) forces since September. Given that Kobane is located on the Turkish border, one of the key debates in the conflict has been over potential Turkish involvement, with the country so far holding back from providing any substantial support to the Kurdish forces defending the town. Marianna Charountaki writes that while in recent days there have been some concessions from Turkey, such as allowing Iraqi-Kurdish forces to cross the border into Syria, the country’s reluctance to become directly involved reflects its competing interests within the region.

27. JTIC Brief: Victory at any cost – symbolism transcends strategy in battle for Kobanê
19 October 2014 / Janes
Militant Islamist group Islamic State’s siege of the predominantly Kurdish town of Kobanê in the north of Syria’s Aleppo governorate, on the border with Turkey, has been under way since mid-September. Although it is true that the media’s relative ease of access to the crisis in Kobanê has brought disproportionate attention to one of Syria’s many battles, it is a key fight nonetheless.

28. US needs to be more proactive on ISIS
22 October 2014 / CNBC
David Phillips: President Obama deserves high praise for intervening in Kobani, launching airstrikes and providing weapons to the city’s heroic Kurdish defenders. Obama acted in a nick of time, narrowly averting disaster. The U.S. should get ahead of events, shaping diplomatic and security solutions, especially when its ally,Turkey, is involved.

29. Listen: Turkey’s Apparent Shift Over Kobani and Turkey’s Reluctance to Get Involved Militarily in Syria
20 October 2014 / Background Briefing with Ian Masters
We begin with the apparent reversal on the part of Turkey which up until now has appeared indifferent to the plight of Syrian Kurds under siege by the Islamic State in the border town of Kobani. David Phillips, a foreign affairs expert and former senior advisor to the U.S. Department of State in the administrations of Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama and author of “The Kurdish Spring: A New Map of the Middle East”, joins us to discuss whether Turkey’s decision to allow Kurdish fighters and weapons to cross into Syria from Turkey is cosmetic or represents a strategic shift, given that Turkey still will not allow the U.S. to use the NATO airbase nearby at Incirlik in Turkey.

30. How formidable is ISIS?
22 October 2014 / Middle East Policy Council
Michael Gunter: The immediate origins of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)1 lie in the opportunity spaces provided by two bitter civil wars that challenged the existing state system and the borders created by the Sykes-Picot Agreement of World War I: (1) The Sunni-Shia civil war in Iraq that followed the U.S. overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, and (2) the even more horrific civil war that has been raging in Syria since 2011. Inspired by al-Qaeda’s militant stance against perceived American dominance, a significant sector of Iraq’s newly dispossessed Sunni Arabs created al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) to regain the power they had lost to the Shia-dominated government in Iraq.

STATEMENTS

31. New ISIS attacks on Ezidi Kurds in Shengal-Mountain: KNK Press Release, 23 October 2014.

32. Amnesty International: Further Information: Detention Of Refugees Must Be Investigated, 23 October 2014.

33. Fire Brigades Union: Statement on Kobane and the resistance to ISIS, 21 October 2014.

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