Friday, March 25, 2016

Israel & the Kurds: Love by Proxy

Israel and the Kurds: Love by Proxy- Interesting? Let's define proxy:
1.the agency, function, or power of a person authorized to act as the deputy or substitute for another.
2.the person so authorized; substitute; agent.
3.a written authorization empowering another person to vote or act for the signer, as at a meeting of stockholders.
4.an ally or confederate who can be relied upon to speak or act in one's behalf.
Kurds a Love Proxy for who? Considering it is Israel that shouts so loudly for the creation of Kurdistan? Hmmmm.....

Kurdim/Israel Kurdistan Forever
Over the past few years, Israeli politicians—from Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu to President Shimon Peres to Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman—have been publicly advocating the establishment of a Kurdish state. Most recent to weigh in is Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who called this past January for the formation of an independent Kurdistan and urged enhanced policy cooperation between Israel and the Kurds.
 The ties between Israel and the Kurds are complex and shrouded in mystery. (or secrecy and collusion?) Relations are always more complex when they are asymmetrical, as in this case, where they are between a state and non-state actors. Note that we must say actors, plural, because Israel has to deal separately with four Kurdish players in four countries that host Kurdish communities and political organizations: Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Complicating the picture still further is the fact that each of the four groups has a different political agenda, a different approach toward Israel, and different geostrategic calculations within its respective state (or what’s left of two of them) and in the region as a whole. Moreover, Israel and the Kurds do not have common borders, nor do they always have common enemies that can bring them together. Lastly, while Israeli politicians appear eager to go public with their desire for better relations, Kurdish politicians for the most part seek low-keyed relations in the shadows.
OH, I don't know? Perhaps Israel can deal with just one Kurdish entity? The PKK. Making it easier to navigate all those others pesky issues. And with their common ally the US as a go between. I suspect Israel and the Kurds can manage their love affair by proxy quite expediently
 The Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq (KRG) needs Israel at this critical time for several reasons. Kurdish leaders believe that Israel can be their best lobby in the West for the project of a Kurdish state. Proof came from President Peres who, during his June 2014 meeting with President Barack Obama, raised the idea of Kurdish independence. Strong support from Jewish and Israeli opinion leaders are also of great importance. However, as the Kurdish leadership views it, lobbying behind the scenes was one thing and publicizing it was another.
Some situations are just so obvious that reading the highlighted part just affirms that which is already obvious anyway
The Kurds’ second important goal was to acquire weapons and training, which Israel has reportedly been providing the KRG since even before its military encounters with the Islamic State. On the level of economic strategy, Israel granted critical support to the KRG by buying Kurdish oil in 2015, when no other country was willing to do so because of Baghdad’s threat to sue. KRG Minister of Natural Resources Ashti Hawrami even admitted to the arrangement, saying that to avoid detection Kurdish oil was often funneled through Israel. Iraq’s Oil Minister, Husayn Shahristani, repeatedly inquired as to the nature of the KRG’s dealings with Israel and the Mossad, to which KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said he wanted to reply: “Are you the Minister of Oil or of Intelligence?”As for Israel, its interest in the Kurds stems from two sources. The first is the persistent geopolitical consideration, noted in passing above, of “peripheral alliances.” The other is the longstanding affinity between two small nations that failed to achieve regional legitimacy for a very long time. In addition, the very misnamed Arab Spring and the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have recently added other important considerations.First, the tectonic changes that have taken place in Iraq and Syria, and Kurdish feats on the battleground, have proven that the Kurds are a formidable barrier against dangerous anti-Israeli forces emanating from both Sunni and Shi‘a Islamist radicals. 
 Kurds are Sunni Muslims and they are Islamists and they are very radical. So that last little bit is a whole bunch of spin. We can however sort the wheat from the chaff and get some solid information from this article. Perception management aside. I've mentioned and long pointed out the fact that Kurds are Sunni Muslims, is largely ignored--- swept under the rug? Obfuscated.
The Kurds’ prowess has complicated U.S. policy, as U.S. support for Syrian Kurds has put it at sixes and sevens with Turkey, a NATO ally. Israel, at least, does not suffer from this problem; indeed, better relations with the Kurds serves as leverage in its relations with Turkey, which are mixed at best.The second consideration is the intelligence dossier. In the past, Israel has used Iraqi Kurdistan as a base from which to obtain intelligence on Iraq. After the Islamic Republic came to power in Iran in 1979, Iraqi Kurdistan also served as a base for Israeli intelligence collection on the Islamic regime. In January 2012 the French newspaper 
Le Figaro claimed that Israeli intelligence agents were recruiting and training Iranian dissidents in clandestine bases located in Iraq’s Kurdish region. 
Iranian dissidents? Kurds from KDP?
A year later The Washington Post disclosed that Turkey had revealed to Iranian intelligence a network of Israeli spies working in Iran, including ten people believed to be Kurds who reportedly met with Mossad members in Turkey.

This precarious relationship between Israel and Turkey—along with the risks and costs to both sides—persists today.While the upheavals in the region have increased the mutual interests between Israel and the Kurds, they have not lessened the Kurds’ desire to keep relations behind the scenes as much as possible.
Being a state in embryo surrounded by Arab and Muslim countries makes the KRG very cautious about publicizing anything that has to do with Israel. This is especially true at this critical time, when it is looking for regional support for its project of establishing a Kurdish state, or short of that trying to preempt negative reactions to it. The KRG is especially wary of Iran, which is opposed to the establishment of a Kurdish state. Accordingly, it is anxious not to be seen as allied with Israel, which would certainly antagonize Tehran. 
In addition, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), a historical ally of Israel and the major power on the ground nowadays, has to take into consideration the position of its partners in the KRG, such as the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) or Gorran, which are allied with Iran and are therefore opposed to relations with Israel.
Gorran is not allied with Iran. They are allies and collude with PKK. Since Iran does not want an independent Kurdistan, I find it hard to accept they are allied with Gorran.  Gorran has  made much trouble for the Barzani gov't. I've covered this, but, you can read these two links for additional info, yourself. Link and Link 
By engaging in the Kurdistan Region’s messy pre-election politics and supporting the opposition Change Movement (Goran), the PKK is attempting to stifle a third mandate for Barzani,
 A source, speaking to BasNews on condition of anonymity, revealed that Gorran has recently asked PKK leaders to appoint some military units to help the party bring Sulaymaniyah province and Garmiyan administration under their full control
At the same time the KRG seeks to buy the goodwill of Sunni Arab countries that used to blame the Kurds for attempting to establish a “second Israel.” Against the background of Sunni-Shi‘a conflicts in the region, these states have become more amenable to the idea of a Sunni Kurdish entity. KRG President Mas‘ud Barzani has said that regional attitudes have shifted markedly of late: “It has been a dramatic change. Countries that had long been against the move were being swayed by the claim that sovereignty within the current borders of the Kurdish regional government could instead bring clarity.” He further emphasized that “the existing culture in Iraq is not one of co-existence.” Interestingly, however, the Palestinians—who could have been the greatest supporters of Kurdish independence since they fight for their own—have come out loudly against the Kurds. PLO Secretary General Saeb Arekat recently declared:  “Kurdish independence would be a poisoned sword against the Arabs.”
 Israel has certainly proclaimed it's support for a 'second Israel" In fact the author of this piece wrote an article of the same name. I will also mention the author of the love by proxy article has written more then one piece about Israel's desired Kurdistan- This is the third writing featured here at the blog, all by the same author, Ofra Benigio.

Recall?  Kurdistan aka “Second Israel”- Ethnic Cleansing the Indigenous of the Middle East
Ofra Bengio for Tablet Magazine
Or?  After declaring autonomy, Syrian Kurds (behind the scenes) ‘open to ties with Israel’
Ofra Benigio for The Times of Israel
Clearly Ofra Benigio is the authority and voice on this topic..

Let's get back to the present day article- I'm going to omit all the stuff about KRG and focus on the PKK and Syria's Kurds
 "Accordingly, Israel and the PKK put out feelers about a possible rapprochement; however, nothing concrete has materialized"
Since the "kurds of syria" and the PKK are one and the same I have a bit of trouble with the author's contention of nothing concrete materializing between PKK and Israel. Considering the reality of the so called Syrian kurds
As for the Kurds of Syria, their role as a main bulwark against the Islamic State following the upheavals in that country was not lost on Israel. The main organizations there are the Partiya Yekitiya Democrat (PYD), which is an offshoot of the PKK, and the Yekeniyen Parastina Gel (YPG) and the Yekeniyen Parastina Jin (YPJ), which are respectively the male and female guerilla fighters on the ground. Here, too, the two parties have recently started to put out feelers to explore the possibility of establishing ties. The Kurds have been interested in acquiring weapons, while Israel has sent humanitarian aid to and reportedly gathered intelligence from the Kurds.

 Israel has been very cautious because it needs to tread a fine line between its relations with the KRG and those with its rivals, the PKK and PYD. In addition, Jerusalem had to take into account the fact that the PYD is still linked to the Assad regime; that it had developed strong ties with Russia while the United States was reluctant to grant it outright support; and that Turkey had labeled it a terrorist organization like the PKK. However, Israel’s stance may change in response to the Syrian Kurds’ March 17 declaration that they intend to create a federal region across the border from Turkey. The Kurds’ move may encourage Israel to develop more significant ties with this emerging entity.

On the face of it, relations with the Iranian Kurdish organizations should not have posed any
dilemma for Israel, since Iran has vowed to eliminate it and has been leading a proxy war against it on several fronts. The difficulty, however, lies in the fragmentation of the Iranian Kurdish parties. Four major parties compete with each other: the two oldest parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), which itself has two branches, and Komala; Parti Azadi Kurdistan (PAK), which was established in 1991; and a younger one called Partiya Jiyana Azad a Kurdistane (PJAK), which was established in 2004 and is considered an offshoot of the PKK. These parties, which have their bases in the KRG, do not have direct ties with Kurds in Iran, where only clandestine action is possible. Their basis of support internally is very weak.

On the one hand, the KRG periodically puts the brakes on the activities of these parties because it does not want to antagonize Iran. On the other, the United States initiated the talks with Iran that led to what a Kurdish observer referred to as carte blanche for the Iranian regime “to undertake strict oppressive measures against Kurdish activists, to an extent that even independent social campaigners are not tolerated.” This narrows further Israel’s small margin for engagement with the Kurdish parties of Iran. It maintained certain ties with PJAK, but they were abruptly cut in 2013, possibly at the behest of the United States, which was eager to make a deal with Iran. Even though Israel and the Iranian Kurdish organizations may have a common interest in weakening the Islamic regime, the latter’s growing power since the nuclear deal have frustrated such a partnership. All of these developments have left the KRG as Israel’s main partner among the Kurds.
Israel would not have cut their ties with PJAK- PKK of Iran for the US

To sum up, there are many kinds of asymmetries in contemporary Kurdish-Israeli relations, one of which is that Israel cannot expect Kurds to reciprocate Israeli friendship in public. The KRG believes the acknowledgement of open relations with Israel would jeopardize the eventual establishment of a Kurdish state. The KRG and for that matter Kurds in all parts of Kurdistan will be happy to receive whatever support the Jewish state can offer, but on condition that it does not carry any trademark reading “made in Israel.”

The late Kurdish leader Mullah Mustafa Barzani used to say that the very fact that the Kurds exist as a nation on the ground helps to ease the pressure on Israel. This is indeed the main benefit for Israel from a pro-Kurdish stance, and in the choice between the Islamic State and a Kurdish state, Israel’s interest certainly lie with the latter. As the Middle East faces an unpredictable future, this precarious but mutually rewarding relationship will continue.
Of course there is more to read at the opening link.  

Related Post Recolonizing Syria: Kurds, Chechens & Uighers= Wahabis, Weaponized Refugees & War

These two posts should be read together

3 comments:

  1. Hey all:
    the two posts I've just published are partner posts and you all have all week end to read them- I'm having a break, barring anything earth shattering happening
    And I hope not!
    Leave relevant comments regarding all the material posted and there is lots of it!
    Hoping for some good weather to enjoy the outdoors- Need my Vitamin N- Nature
    And a good big dose of it
    Thanks for stopping by

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Penny -
    The "Iranian dissidents" in Iraq/Kurdistan are the terrorist MKO or MEK (take your pick on name). Iran has suffered thousands of deaths/injuries from that group which is also funded, supported, trained by both Israeli and US/NATO troops. They lived in one of US bases from the time of the Iranian revolution thru US occupation and just recently John Kerry paid Albania billions to take in the ones that are left in N. Iraq today. They were listed as terrorist organization by US until Clinton removed them while Sec. of State. All the while there are yearly MKO fund raising events in FRANCE which are attended by US elites (check youtube). One reason Israel has good intel is this group. They slip in n out of Iran just like PKK in Turkey going into Iraq/Syria. US has been relying on their mostly false stories since Iran kicked Western butt in 1979. It was MKO that was giving false info about Iran's nuclear program to Israel who then gave it to US to get UNSC sanctions on Iran. They have a lot in common with kurds so maybe they are ISIS too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Silver Palomino

      I believe there is a post regarding the MEK being removed from the terror list thanks to Clinton (Hillary)
      Couldn't think that anything good was going to come from that! Perhaps they will be presented to us all the next 'freedom fighters' and democracy wanna be's

      yearly MKO fund raising events in france, complete with US elites- Why am I not surprised?

      Disgusting, all of it

      Delete

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