The Kurds: let’s back them with all we have
The Kurds are at the bleeding edge of the war with Islamists. But the West is not backing them. Shilan Ozcelik, the British woman who allegedly wanted to fight Islamic State, has been dragged through the courts. A Kurdish homeland will free Israel and rid the Middle East of violent racism and misogyny. But the Kurds are not being cheered and championed. Why not?
U.S. officials are trying to persuade Turkey that the Syrian Kurdish fighters are not hostile toward Ankara. To underscore the U.S. commitment to Turkey’s security, Obama sent a squadron of F-15 warplanes in November to protect Turkey’s airspace against a growing number of Russian incursions after Moscow began its military buildup in Syria. At the same time, however, the U.S. has delayed deliveries of weapons Turkey needs to fight Kurdish militants, and many analysts suspect the move is intended to hobble further Turkish attacks on the YPG.
For now, heavier U.S. arms shipments to the Syrian Arab Coalition also appear frozen. A White House official tells Newsweek the administration plans to do more to support the group. But Carter, the defense secretary, recently said he’s still looking for more local forces to work with in Syria; that suggests the low ratio of Arabs to Kurds in the coalition remains a problem for a Raqqa offensive. And until that’s resolved, U.S. military cargo planes won’t be making any special deliveries of heavier weapons.
The Jerusalem Post:
On November 12, in the early morning, more than 10,000 Peshmerga started the military operation to liberate of Shingal (Sinjar) using artillery, tanks and with the help of other countries from the international coalition against Islamic State (IS). Due to the injustice of what had happened to the Yazidi in Shingal, thousands of volunteers from their community from Shingal, Duhok and other areas joined the Kurdish Peshmerga forces to take part in the liberation.
The operation moved slowly as we had to contend with the large number of booby traps, IEDs and TNT explosives on the roads. IS did not put up an efficient defense. One of the Peshmerga commanders jokingly said “if the coalition jets bombed the other IS locations like they did in the past week in Shingal, a week would be enough to clean the whole of Iraq of IS.”
This oddness is summed up beautifully — or horrendously — in the current G20 gathering in Turkey to discuss how to keep IS militants out of Europe in the wake of the barbarism in Paris. Cameron, Merkel, Obama: various world leaders have gathered in Antalya to denounce the assaults in Paris as an ‘attack on the civilised world’ and to promise ‘global efforts’ to smash IS. And they’re doing this while posing for photos alongside Turkish president and G20 host Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has okayed airstrikes against the Kurdish forces in Syria and northern Iraq that have shown more commitment to defeating IS than all those leaders put together. Our leaders talk war on IS, while green-lighting war on the most implacable enemies of IS.
The dearth of any true solidarity with the Kurds is striking. Of all the wicked things happening in the world today, the terrorising of the Kurds is up there with the worst, yet there’s little anger, barely any protest…