KURDISH NEWS UPDATE, 14 November 2014

REPORTS FROM PEACE IN KURDISTAN CAMPAIGN DELEGATIONS TO NORTH KURDISTAN

  1. ‘We Can’t Ever Go Back. The Islamists Will Kill Us’
  2. ‘Women Are Leading Our Revolution’
  3. Health workers in Kurdistan harassed by Turkish police for treating refugees from Kobane
  4. Patrick Smith reports from Diyarbakir on community-run food banks
  5. “Another fighter laid to rest”

NEWS

  1. HDP delegation for İmralı: Talks to restart
  2. Call for urgent aid for Kobanê people sheltered in Urfa
  3. Kurds block an Islamic State supply route to Syria’s Kobani
  4. Kurds in Syrian Kurdistan give women equal rights, snubbing IS jihadists
  5. U.S. Official Tells Syrian Opposition: No Military Intervention Against Assad
  6. Hagel denies US revising Syria strategy to shift focus on Assad
  7. NATO says Turkey remains valuable ally amid debates on its relevance

 

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

  1. Turkey trapped between failed Syria policy, Kurds
  2. Germany: Lift the ban on the PKK!
  3. The Case for Paying Ransoms
  4. The War in Rojava: The US and Turkish Roles in the Battle of Kobani
  5. The battle for Kobane offers a glimpse of Kurds’ new model democracy

 

BOOK REVIEWS

  1. Fifty-Year War? Review of The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising

 

EVENTS COMING UP

  1. Saturday 15 November, 5-6.30pm: Ciwanen Azad Kobane Event: Understanding the Rojava Revolution
  1. Sunday 16 November, 6pm: Kobane Concert
  1. Saturday 22 November, 5-7pm: Feminicide in Sinjar – sexual violence, conflict, and gender liberation in the Kurdish struggle
  1. Sunday 23 November, 7.30pm: Comedy Benefit For Kobane and Kurdish Red Crescent

 

 

REPORTS FROM PEACE IN KURDISTAN CAMPAIGN DELEGATIONS TO NORTH KURDISTAN

 1. ‘We Can’t Ever Go Back. The Islamists Will Kill Us’
13 November 2014 / Morning Star
Since the Islamic State (Isis) attack on Kobane, the Kurdish town on the border of Syria and Turkey, the heroic defence by the YPG and the women’s YPJ has inspired people throughout the world. The focus has been on the battle to repel Isis but at the same time a humanitarian crisis has developed on the Turkish side of the border as over 200,000 refugees have fled Kobane.

2. ‘Women Are Leading Our Revolution’
8 November 2014 / Morning Star
IN Suruc thousands of refugees from Kobane, just over the border in Syria, are living in tents and preparing for the day, that they are sure will come soon, when Isis is defeated and they are able to return to rebuild their city.  Living among them is a remarkable woman, Fayza Abdi. She is co-president of the Kobane Legislative Council, the autonomous administration set up by the city’s mainly Kurdish inhabitants during the Syrian civil war when the Assad government withdrew from the area.

3. Health workers in Kurdistan harassed by Turkish police for treating refugees from Kobane
5 November 2014 / Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
Police officers have kicked in the doors of a rehabilitation facility providing services to injured refugees from the ISIS attack on Kobane. Refugees were manhandled and verbally abused while health staff, working in a voluntary basis, were abused and told they should stop treating the refugees. Selma Atabey is a nurse working at a large public hospital in Diyarbakir and co-president of the city’s branch of health workers union SES.

4. Patrick Smith reports from Diyarbakir on community-run food banks
12 November 2014 / Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
The violent repression of the Kurdish people is well documented. But arriving in Diyarbakir as part of a delegation from the UK, the first thing that strikes me is the poverty that is clearly visible on the streets. This is not a rich city; this is not a wealthy region. The sky scrapers and high-end restaurants of Istanbul are a long way away. But with the Turkish Government unwilling to step in to help, and indeed promoting policies to keep the Kurdish regions underdeveloped, people here are having to take the situation into their own hands.

5. “Another fighter laid to rest”
Patrick Smith continues his blog from north Kurdistan, reporting from the funeral of a YPG fighter laid to rest near Suruc.
Dust billows on the road ahead, and out of it a clutter of flags. And voices. Angry, defiant. The body of another fighter killed in the struggle for Kobani jostles on heavy shoulders, the coffin draped in Kurdish red, green and yellow. From the scruffy border town of Suruc, the funeral procession winds its way to the cemetery. The PKK youth, chins out, at its head. Elders, with moustaches and cummerbunds, and ululating women behind.


You can find out more about Peace in Kurdistan Campaign’s delegations to North Kurdistan here.

 

NEWS

6. HDP delegation for İmralı: Talks to restart
12 November 2014 / ANF
HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) delegation for İmralı has held a press conference at the Turkish parliament about the current situation in the ongoing process of resolution between the Turkish government and the Kurdish liberation movement. The delegation, made up of HDP Group Deputy Chairs Pervin Buldan and İdris Baluken and Istanbul MP Sırrı Süreya Önder, stated that agreement has been reached with the government board of resolution on some certain points, and that visits and talks on İmralı Island will continue.

7. Call for urgent aid for Kobanê people sheltered in Urfa
11 November 2014 / ANF
While aid campaigns for the people of Rojava continue in many cities, there has been taking place a significant decrease in the aid coming to Suruç, where large numbers of people from Kobanê have recently taken shelter following the attacks of ISIS, as the season turns into winter, leaving refugees facing more challenging conditions.

8. Kurds block an Islamic State supply route to Syria’s Kobani
12 November 2014 / Reuters
Kurdish forces blocked a road Islamic State militants use to resupply their forces in a Syrian town on the Turkish border, a town official and a monitoring group said on Wednesday, the first major gain against the jihadists after weeks of violence. Iraqi-Kurdish peshmerga forces crossed into Kobani on Oct. 31 to help the besieged Kurdish YPG and YPJ fighters in the town. The combined forces have now cut off the road which leads south east to the village of Hilnij, the sources said.

9. Kurds in Syrian Kurdistan give women equal rights, snubbing IS jihadists
10 November 2014 / eKurd
The local government in Syrian Kurdistan, the Kurdish area in northern Syria has passed a decree granting women equal rights in what a monitoring group called “an affront” to discriminatory jihadist moves. Published on the local government’s official Facebook page on Wednesday, the decree states that women and men should enjoy “equality… in all walks of public and private life”. Last year, Syria’s Kurds created autonomous governments in the three regions where they are a majority, establishing self-proclaimed rule. Arabs also hold office, and the decrees apply to all ethnicities living in the self-governing areas. The decree, passed by the leaders of the Al-Jazeera canton — officially Hasakeh province — stipulates that women have the right to equal labour rights, including pay.

10. U.S. Official Tells Syrian Opposition: No Military Intervention Against Assad
10 November 2014 / The Syrian Observer
Syrian opposition sources in Washington have reported from a senior official in the American National Security Council that Washington will not do anything that may anger the Iranians in the Middle East, which means that the United States “will not undertake any military effort, directly or indirectly, against the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad”. Speaking to his Syrian guest, the U.S. official added that “any solution you want to offer us with respect to Syria must include Iran and Russia”.

11. Hagel denies US revising Syria strategy to shift focus on Assad
14 November 2014 / Todays Zaman
Addressing a meeting of the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Hagel said Assad was “part of the equation” but insisted that it is ISIL that constitutes an immediate threat and that “just alone dealing with Assad, where we are now … that’s not going to put ISIL back in the box.”

12. NATO says Turkey remains valuable ally amid debates on its relevance
14 November 2014 / Todays Zaman
Amid the intense discussions in international political circles about whether Turkey is still relevant as a NATO partner, given its “reluctance” to effectively contribute to the US-led coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and its bumpy democracy with imposed restrictions on freedom of expression and the press, NATO and many of Turkey’s allies still emphasize that Turkey remains a valuable ally of NATO.

 

COMMENT, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

13. Turkey trapped between failed Syria policy, Kurds
12 November 2014 / Al Monitor
What peace means in the context of the Turkish government’s negotiations with the Kurds — mainly represented by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) — has been a big mystery since the beginning of these talks over two years ago. Yet, the siege of the Kurdish Syrian town of Kobani by the Islamic State (IS) for over a month has changed the parameters of the negotiations.

14. Germany: Lift the ban on the PKK!
3 November 2014 / Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal
The West has suddenly begun supporting various Kurdish organisations in its fight against the Islamic State. So why is the largest Kurdish organisation of all, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), still outlawed? This article discusses current developments in Kurdistan and gives a brief overview of the history of the Kurdish liberation movement and the PKK’s illegal status in Germany. It argues for a radical left strategy focused on defeating the ban on the PKK.

The Case for Paying Ransoms
12 November 2014 / New York Review of Books
The recent revelations about payments made by European governments to secure the release of hostages held by ISIS raise a fascinating set of issues and an apparent moral dilemma. In a couple of extended, detailed, and carefully researched articles published by The New York Times, Rukmini Callimachi documents the extent of the complicity between various European nations and international terrorist organizations. It is estimated that al-Qaeda and its direct affiliates have made $125 million from kidnappings since 2008, including $66 million in the last year alone, which may account for about half of the operating budget of these groups.

15. The War in Rojava: The US and Turkish Roles in the Battle of Kobani
11 November 2014 / Strategic Culture Foundation
A war is being fought for control over Western Kurdistan and the northern areas of Syria, including three de facto Kurdish enclaves there. The fighting in Western Kurdistan is a means to an end and not a goal in itself. The objectives of gaining control over Syrian Kurdistan and northern Syria are critical to gaining control over the rest of the Syrian Arab Republic and entail US-supported regime change in Damascus.

16. The battle for Kobane offers a glimpse of Kurds’ new model democracy
11 November 2014 / The Conversation
As the battle against Islamic State fighters draws in viewers across the world, there has been some attention given to the men and women resisting them in northern Syria. The Syrian part of Kurdistan, or Rojava, as the Kurds would like to call it, has been fighting Islamists for well over two years now but only recently has the battle for the border town of Kobane brought them to light.

 

BOOK REVIEWS

17. Fifty-Year War? Review of The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising by Patrick Cockburn
By Michael Burleigh.
This January, few experts took much notice of the Iraqi army’s difficulties in retaking Falluja from Islamist terrorists. But when Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), as these jihadis called themselves, captured Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, on 10 June after just three days of fighting, the world did notice and it was afraid. Since Mosul fell, ISIS has spread terror across western, central and northern Iraq, coming dangerously close to Baghdad itself in early October. In July ISIS’s elusive leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, briefly emerged in Mosul to proclaim himself caliph of the so-called Islamic State, thereby eclipsing the gnarled bosses of al-Qaeda as ‘the strongest horse’ on the Islamist scene. Based on the erasure of the border between Iraq and Syria, ISIS has mesmerised would-be jihadists everywhere, while other Islamist terror groups have paid homage to al-Baghdadi.

 

EVENTS COMING UP

There are several interesting and exciting events coming up in the next week or so that we wanted to alert you to. Below is a selection – all of these have been organised by and in solidarity with the Kurdish community in London. Visit the Events page on our website for the full list of events about the Kurdish struggle and beyond. Come and join the discussions!

Saturday 15 November, 5-6.30pm
Ciwanen Azad Kobane Event: Understanding the Rojava Revolution
5 – 6pm Debate about the Rojava Revolution & the Constitution
6 – 6.30pm Screening of the ‘Female State’
Venue: Kurdish Community Centre, Haringey, 11 Portland Gardens, N4 1HU

Sunday 16 November, 6pm
Kobane Concert
Koma Zelal
Grup Umut
Hakan Kobane Xan
Ahmed Husseini (kurdish poet)
Slide Show; Food & Drinks; Merchandise for Kobane. All Contributions will go to Kobane through Heyva Sor
Venue: Kurdish Community Centre, Haringey, 11 Portland Gardens, N4 1HU

Saturday 22 November, 5-7pm
Feminicide in Sinjar – sexual violence, conflict, and gender liberation in the Kurdish struggle
Three months after ISIS fighters attacked the Iraqi region on Sinjar, the fate of thousands of women kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery following the raids is still unknown and no international investigation into their welfare has taken place. However, just as it has done in the defence of Kobane in Syria, the Kurdish Women’s Movement has mobilised with allied organisations to take action for the missing women. This event will bring together women activists and representatives of the Kurdish women’s organisations to give you first-hand information about how people have responded to the crisis on the ground. We’ll also discuss the unique potential within the Kurdish Women’s Movement for engendering gender liberation in the region and its role in the development of the Rojava revolution. Come and join us for this exciting one-off event!
Speakers: Michelle Allison, KNK UK Women’s Representative; Meltem Ay, Roj Women’s Association; Margaret Owen OBE, barrister and expert on sexual violence in conflict; Ruth Walter, trade union activist and member of a recent delegation visiting refugee camps in North Kurdistan. Chair: Isabel Käser, PhD candidate, Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS
More speakers TBC.  With a special recorded message from the refugee camp relief worker in Sinjar.
Venue: Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS University, London WC1H 0XG. This event is free and open to all! Organised by Peace in Kurdistan Campaign, Roj Women. Supported by SOAS Kurdish Society.

Sunday 23 November, 7.30pm
Comedy Benefit For Kobane and Kurdish Red Crescent
The comedic talent of Jeremy Hardy, Tim Key, Josie Long, Mark Thomas, Andy Zaltzman, Nadia Kamil and Abdulrashid plus specific guests to be announced combine to raise funds for the Kurdish Red Crescent and their work supporting the refugees on the Syrian and Turkish border, fleeing the attacks of Isis and Assad.
Venue: The Bloomsbury Theatre, 15 Gordon Street, London, WC1H 0AH. Tickets £15 / £8 conc. You can buy your tickets from the Bloomsbury Theatre directly.

 

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