Iraq, Syria, ISIS and Kurds: Geostrategic concerns for the U.S and Turkey – Gunter

Michael M. Gunter, professor of political science at Tennessee Technological University, has published a new article in the Middle East Policy Journal which analyses the geostrategic concerns of Turkey and the U.S in the Middle East. It is available via Middle East Policy Journal,

The rise of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq as well as the ongoing insurgency of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and now peace negotiations with the Turkish government have empowered the Kurds and challenged the existing political map of the Middle East. On July 19, 2012, the previously quiescent Syrian Kurds —largely under the leadership of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), closely associated with the PKK — also suddenly emerged as a potential game changer in the Syrian civil war and what its aftermath might hold for the future of the Middle East. In an attempt to consolidate an increasingly desperate position, government troops were abruptly pulled out of the major Kurdish areas. The Kurds in Syria had suddenly become autonomous, a situation that also affected neighboring Turkey and the virtually independent KRG in Iraq. Indeed, the precipitous rise of the Kurds in Syria could become a factor in changing the artificial borders of the Middle East established after World War I by the notorious Sykes-Picot Agreement.

Read the article in full.

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Vasiliki Scurfield addresses Newroz reception in Parliament

The Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) held an event in parliament on 17 March, to celebrate Newroz, the Kurdish New Year. The event was hosted by MP Mike Gapes. The speakers were Vasiliki Scurfield, the mother of Konstandinos Erik Scurfield, Michelle Allison, KNK UK women’s representative, Dr Alan Semo, PYD UK representative, and Dr Mohamed Kanyany, former KRG MP.

by Sofia Beatty

newroz parliament_vsAddressing a packed meeting in the House of Commons, Aysegul Erdogan, chairing, welcomed the speakers, with a special thanks to Vasiliki Scurfield, the mother of Konstandinos Scurfield, the ex-Royal Marine who died fighting with the YPG for the liberation of the Kurdish people. This year, said Aysegul, Newroz “takes on added significance, as this is the first Newroz since the victory of the Kurdish forces, the YPG and YPJ in Kobani, Rojava. This year, the fire of Newroz burns brighter than before. Newroz, for us Kurdish people, has a different meaning. To us, it means light over darkness, freedom over oppression, peace over war.” She praised the Kurdish spirit of resistance in the face genocidal acts against the Kurdish people, such as at Halabja. Continue reading

PYD: We have a common responsibility to prevent another genocide

We received this appeal from the Democratic Union party (PYD) representation in Europe, which calls on the international community to support YPG, YPJ and other defence forces as they resist the latest ISIS onslaught in the Til Hemis and Til Birak regions of Syria. 

An appeal to the international community

We have a common responsibility to prevent another genocide

It started with Kobane and Sinjar, and now we are witnessing the same developments in Til Temir, Serê Kanî and Al Hasaka. Since February 22th, these areas have come under a brutal and barbaric assault by the Islamic State. Triggered by their setbacks in Kobane, Til Hemis and Til Birak, the terrorists have launched a major terrorist campaign. No one has been spared, including women, children and so-called ”apostates”. Once again we have witnessed the horrendous enslavement of women by the hands of the terrorists, beheadings of innocent civilians and the destruction of churches and mosques. The tragic fate of our 300 kidnapped Christian’s brothers and sisters is sadly still unknown. Continue reading

Asya Abdullah from Kobanê: Myth of the invincibility of ISIS collapses

After the People’s Defence Units (YPG) and the Women’s Defence Units (YPJ) had put a stop to the attacks of IS (the Islamic State) on Kobani, which had gone on since the 15th September 2014 and had been able to push the IS back on most fronts, the YPG explained that the complete liberation of Kobani would soon follow.


“Victory will be announced shortly”

Mazlum Kobanê, YPG commander on the eastern front, told ANF newsagency that in the YPG/YPJ operation of liberation which began on 23rd January, Sukulhal, Seyda Cami and Seyda streets were cleared, and the IS forces in the Kaniya Kurda area were pushed back: “The IS forces now only hold four places in this area. If our forces push forwards successfully on these four roads, the eastern front will be completely cleared and we can announce the victory of our heroic struggle against the IS in Kobanî to all our people”. Continue reading

Gunter: ‘Post-state entities reshaping Middle East map’

The urgency of the present situation facing the people of Kobane and the longer term implications of the transformation of the Middle East were issues addressed at the public meeting in the House of Lords on 12 January which was jointly organised by Peace in Kurdistan Campaign and Kurdistan National Congress (KNK).

Titled The Collapsed State Systems in Syria & Iraq and the Rise of ISIS & the Kurds, the meeting discussed the Kurdish role in the fight against ISIS and the alternative model offered by the establishment of the self-administration in Rojava.

As host, Lord Hylton stated the Kurds still need all the friends that they can get and this was especially the case in respect of the unrecognised entity of Rojava where urgently needed supplies were only getting through with great difficulty. Continue reading

Peace and stability in Turkey, Kurdistan, the Middle East and the wider world, by David Morgan

Peace and stability in Turkey, Kurdistan, the Middle East and the wider world: a personal perspective on the events of the year just gone and prospects for the future.

By David Morgan, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign, 1 January 2015

Peace and stability in Turkey, in Kurdistan, in the Middle East and in the wider world might seem extremely precarious and elusive prospects in the light of the descent into chaos in Syria and Iraq witnessed in 2014, but there is never an option to entirely give up hope if you believe in life and it is a natural instinct for all living creatures to desire to continue to live in a state of comfort where basic wants for food, sustenance and love are satisfied. Thousands of years of human progress, enlightenment, ingenuity, creativity and inventiveness cannot simply be wiped out by the wars, wanton destruction and genocide endured in the recent period. It may seem that the world has entered a new dark age but the darkest forces that have emerged on the scene are being strenuously resisted and thus confidently we can predict that they can be eliminated by the forces of light and hope who are ultimately far stronger than their assailants for the simple reason that they offer greater prospects of a better life for more people. It is surely the shared values of socialism, cooperation, respect, tolerance, solidarity, that will continue to inspire and drive humanity forward creating a better world for men and women in equal measure. Harmony can assuredly triumph over discord through our combined human efforts. The alternative is simply too bleak to even imagine.
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Public meeting: The Collapsed State Systems in Syria & Iraq and the Rise of ISIS & the Kurds

PUBLIC MEETING

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign and Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) invite you to

The Collapsed State Systems in Syria & Iraq and the Rise of ISIS & the Kurds

Monday 12 January, 6 – 7.30pm

Venue: Committee Room 3, House of Lords, Westminster, SW1A 0AA

With Professor Michael M. Gunter and guest speakers; hosted by Lord Hylton.

The immediate origins of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) lie in the opportunity spaces provided by two bitter civil wars that challenged the existing state system and borders created by the Sykes-Picot Agreement of World War I: (1) The bloody 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. ISIS has gained its strength from a wide range of political, sociological, economic, and military factors, among others, and Turkey has played a very controversial role in this complex situation.

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“ISIS/ISIL is terrorist group created by CIA and Mossad” – Shujaat Ali Quadri

The Muslim Students Organisation of India recently held a conference in Lucknow, UP,  called ISIS: A Threat to Global Peace, in which the speakers slammed the CIA, Mossad and Saudi Arabia for creating the terrorist group. Below is the press released we received from the conference organisers.

PRESS RELEASE

Lucknow, India 28th Dec 2014.

“ISIS/ISIL is terrorist group created by CIA and Mossad” – Shujaat Ali Quadri

This assembly in the National Conference on, ISIS: Threat to the Global Peace  on 28th Dec 2014 (Sunday), at UP Press Club, Lucknow UP India, organized by Muslim Students Organization of India MSO, (an apex youth body of majority of Muslims belonging to peaceful ideology of Sufism).  Continue reading

Event report: Feminicide in Sinjar

Report of a seminar held at Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS, on Saturday 22 November, organised by Roj Women and Peace in Kurdistan Campaign.

On Saturday 22 November, representatives of several women’s organisations gathered in SOAS University for a seminar to discuss the use of sexualised violence in the recent conflicts in Iraq and Syria. In particular, the event sought to bring attention to the kidnapping of Yezidi women in the Sinjar province by ISIS fighters in August and discuss ways to campaign for their release. The seminar was introduced and chaired Isabel Käser, a PhD candidate, at the Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS, and included members of a newly emerging Women’s Alliance for Kurdistan, Iraq and Syria, a platform of UK based women’s groups who convened following the crisis in Sinjar. Continue reading

ISIS in historical perspective, by David Morgan

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign’s David Morgan has written another article for Live Encounters, this time focusing on ISIS in historical perspective. An important read!

Two months or so ago, the name of Kobane was virtually unknown outside Syria and the Kurdish region. Now, as a result of the heroic resistance of Kobane against ISIS, the name is inspiring people around the world. Actions in support of Kobane’s struggle have been held in the unlikeliest of places many far removed from the Middle East. By any estimate, Kobane has put up a remarkably formidable resistance against ISIS which has sought to conquer the city for months. It has refused to yield.

Kurds are asking why ISIS is expending so much effort to take Kobane. Why has ISIS concentrated on taking this once obscure city? It is said to occupy a strategically vital border location integral for control of Syria, but there are many other important locations in Syria and Iraq where ISIS seeks to hold sway.

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