AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images
Iraq
The Fall of Kirkuk: Made in Iran

Tehran’s strategizing pays off again, as several of its clients strike a deal that undermines Kurdish hopes of independence.

Published on: October 18, 2017
Jonathan Spyer is the director of the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs at IDC, Herzliya, and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.
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  • D4x

    Most geographically literate observers “accede to the Iranian ascendancy in Iran”, but whether President Trump accedes to the Iranian ascendancy in IRAQ requires analysis of his full quote, more than thirty minutes into October 16, 2017: Remarks by President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Joint Press Conference 1:47 P.M. EDT to 2:27 P.M. EDT:

    …Q One quick follow-up on Iraq, sir. On Iraq, the Kurdish forces and Iraqi forces last night were clashing in northern
    Iraq. Are you concerned about a larger conflict in the region while U.S. forces are still advising on the ground?

    THE PRESIDENT: We don’t like the fact that they’re clashing. We’re not taking sides, but we don’t like the fact that they’re clashing.

    Q Do you support the Kurdish referendum for independence?

    THE PRESIDENT: Let me tell you, we’ve had for many years a very good relationship with the Kurds, as you know.
    And we’ve also been on the side of Iraq, even though we should have never been in there in the first place. We should never have been there. But we’re not taking sides in that battle. …

    My read was an artful stall by Trump, because he is certainly aware of the Iranian influence in Iraq, and that events on the ground were still unfolding, complicated by TurkeyErdogan!; buying time to find out how Russian Defense Minister Shoigu’s meet in Israel went, and PM Netanyahu’s follow-up call with Putin – basically every ‘announcement from TeamTrump was a stall. France is chairing the UNSC in October, so add that into the mix. Italy will chair in November, and Japan in December, 2017.

    Despite being influenced by Andrew Bernard’s malign TrumpBias, kudos to Jonathan Spyer for a fine effort to explain the cast in this very real drama. Like AB, Speyer curiously omits that the Kurdistan Regional Government (of Iraq) withdrew from all the contested areas, including Kirkuk, and Sinjar, that were guaranteed a referendum by Dec. 31, 2007, according to Article 140 of the 2005 Iraqi
    Constitution. http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=230000

    As of Oct. 18, 2017: Control for the Mosul Dam is the real battle – the Peshmerga NEVER let ISIS get control of Mosul Dam:
    “Hashd al-Shaabi confirms death of leader fighting Peshmerga near Mosul dam ” http://www.rudaw.net/NewsDetails.aspx?pageid=336238 https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0f6e6fb03114489eb70e9bf129bae5eb40e68675c51f0cb2cc084662eedee44e.jpg

    The “abrupt activation” of Iran’s influence in Baghdad and Kurdistan’s PUK just made it easier for TeamTrump to get GPS co-ordinates on the IRGC “meddlers” in Iraq.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9bc02f51f23b8ded520e80d4c3072ad3e16655bf3ce9c29e8eddd4a99b30fe9c.jpg

    • D4x

      Speyer needs an update. Here is mine:

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/15fe80d341414ca524267ed4e45b10acc9f0e517c98153b262973fdc1f093cde.jpg
      June 2, 2017 The Minister of Natural Resources for the Kurdistan Regional Government Ashti Hawrami and Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin sign an oil agreement in Saint Petersburg, Russia, as the Kurdish Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani look on. Photo: KRG press office

      10 18 2017 2:00 pm EDT: ” “The parties agreed to implement the geological exploration program and to start pilot production as early as in 2018,” Rosneft announced in a statement on Wednesday.

      …After signing another contract to extend a gas pipeline into Turkey just a week ahead of Kurdistan’s independence referendum, a Rosneft spokesperson said they were confident the referendum would not affect their business ventures.”
      http://www.rudaw.net/english/business/18102017 [Confirmed by AFP, TASS, Bloomberg, RFE]

      10 18 2017 4:00 pm EDT: “[UN Security] Council members called on all sides to refrain from the threat and use of force, and to engage in constructive dialogue as a pathway to de-escalation and a means to preserve Iraqi unity
      while upholding the provisions of the Iraqi constitution,” read the statement issued by the UN Security Council.

      “Council members reaffirmed their respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and unity of Iraq, as
      well as the importance of remaining focused on efforts to defeat [ISIS],” added the statement. …

      [Iraq PM] Abadi has phone calls with two of the permanent security members Tuesday and Wednesday [USA Sec Tillerson and France’s President Macron], according to statements from his office. …
      Many Sunni MPs and leaders have opposed the existence of the armed group [Hashd al-Shaabi] and complained that it is replacing the Iraqi army and has conducted abuses of Sunni civilians in Anbar and Salahaddin. Kurds have now made similar accusations as the irregular units have come into Kirkuk.
      … Prime Minister Abadi, on Wednesday, said the security of Kirkuk city would be under the control of the local police,
      supported by the Counter-Terror Service. He ordered all other armed groups to leave the city.”
      http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/181020178

      06 25 2014 Iraqi Map by Ethnicity and Religion, BBC
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b9f40851555ce0e1d2aa6d4419ee323e5d25e56e03a45a10bd54df569fd556cd.jpg

      10 18 2017 8:00 pm EDT ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Hashd al-Shaabi has withdrawn its forces from urban areas in a number of towns it has taken from the Kurdish Peshmerga since Monday. There are local reports of the Hashd paramilitary units withdrawing from all disputed areas, including in Khanaqin, Shingal, and Jalawla.

      Earlier on Wednesday, the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi requested all armed forces leave the urban areas in Kirkuk except for the Iraqi army and the federal police. It is not clear whether the order was also extended to all of the other areas. …” http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/19102017

      • D4x

        Adding, because this can still be the future:
        Jul 30, 2017 Kurds play backgammon while ballooning over Slemani, Kurdistan Region, Iraq https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDI8km9h8pM

        • leoj

          shesh besh at 30k feet. all you’d need is a hookah and you’d be set.

          • D4x

            my unofficial college major, at 30 feet, pack of Winstons.

          • leoj

            Yes, mine as well. Double major actually alongside camels.

          • D4x

            Oct. 22, 2017: Sec Tillerson in Riyadh for the KSA-Iraq Coordination Council: “Certainly, Iranian militias that are in Iraq, now that the fight against Daesh and ISIS is coming to a close, those militias need to go home. Any foreign fighters in Iraq need to go home” Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir: “we have many Saudis who have family ties to Iraq, there are tribal ties to Iraq, and so Iraq is very, very important to us. Also Iraq is part of our history. Every Arab and every Muslim takes pride in the Abbasid empire…” https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2017/10/274995.htm

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3e94db2a1460725b6b53727bac7bc43fb3cf4b48c8b6cde1789783130f4a01f5.jpg

            Saladin, who went independent Ayyubid, was a vassal of Abbasid Caliph Nur al-Din, I think al-Jubeir just messaged to the Ayyubids (Kurds), the Safavids (Shi’a Persians), the Ottomans (Erdogan), the Monghols (Russia and China), the Byzantines (Russia and Syria), and the Umayyads (Syria). Just before I read al-Jubeir, I wrote “The West Bank of the Tigris could become new provinces in KSA and Jordan.” KSA needs a descendant of the prophet Mohammed aka, the Hashemite King of Jordan. “The Abbasids were members of the Hashim clan, rivals of the Umayyads” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umayyad_Caliphate The historical Khazars could not beat the Umayyads, or the Abassids, 642-737 CE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab%E2%80%93Khazar_wars

            The House of Saud is descended from the Banu Hanifa tribe. Between the caliphates, dynasties, and Arab tribal genealogies of Arabia, I now have a thirteenth century headache 🙂

          • D4x

            If you follow these links, best read ever on Iraq, and free 🙂

            “October 24, 2017 It’s Too Early to Pop Champagne in Baghdad: The Micro-Politics of Territorial Control in Iraq Erica Gaston and Andras Derzsi-Horvath” https://warontherocks.com/2017/10/its-too-early-to-pop-champagne-in-baghdad-the-micro-politics-of-territorial-control-in-iraq/ It was at RCP today, but I followed the links.

            LINKS to: http://www.gppi.net/publications/iraq-after-isil-an-analysis-of-local-regional-and-sub-state-security-forces/
            Has links to twelve (12) towns and cities that were under KRG security 2014-last week. Rabia, Zummah, Tal Afar are of ‘interest’.

            Link that details every ‘militia’, including Iran PMFs & their Iraqi Political Parties (explains the ‘Lebanonization’ of Iraq):
            http://www.gppi.net/publications/quick-facts-about-local-and-sub-state-forces/

            The numbers: “200,000-strong Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) forces, and the roughly 160,000 member (and growing) Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).” offer perspective, especially when ISIS still controls parts of these areas.

            Global Public Policy Institute is in Berlin; this was funded by the
            “Netherlands Research Organization’s to explore Local, Hybrid and Substate Security Forces (LHSF) in Afghanistan, Iraq, and, in a more limited vein, in Syria. The project will run from August
            2016 to August 2019”

            Explains so much, and why the KRG referendum timing might have been premature.
            Trolled at pjm, two separate topics, at exactly same time, after posting Abadi’s timeline from iraqliveuamap.com, and do not want to post this there.
            Wonder where AB went – TAI’s loss, and ours.

          • leoj

            TY. I will read through it. Sad about TAI, but will probably cancel my subscription. We’ll see.

          • D4x

            Spyer’s update: 10 28 2017 “Baghdad and Tehran’s goal: The Destruction of Kurdistan” http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Baghdad-and-Tehrans-goal-The-Destruction-of-Kurdistan-508583
            (Lake’s 10/27 take is ISIS-centric)

            Spyer gets the Iraq “attempt is under way to reverse the gains made by the Iraqi Kurds over the last 25 years.” but fails to note Turkey. Timeline from Tuesday 10 /24 through midnight in Moscow & Ankara 10/29: Turkey is redrawing their border from Afrin, Syria east to the Great Zab River & Mt. Kokozer in Duhok province, KRG.

            Putin spoke with Erdogan at midnight, about Afrin/Idlib; Erdogan warned Iran about hosting PKK in Qandil Mtns; I think Mt Kokozer, where Turkey planted their flag, is part of Qandil.
            Barzani is stepping down Nov. 1.

            Accidentally hit a link to Univ of Duhok http://web.uod.ac/about/
            The KRGs actually did build a nation, with a university system, in 25 years.

          • leoj

            TY. Hadn’t seen the Lake so I will check that out, as well. Man, the jpost website is a mess–almost unreadable.

          • D4x

            Oct. 29, 2017 #Iraq#Middle East#Disasters 5:00 pm 33°56′N 42°42′E The sandstorm in the Middle East is clearly visible on the Terra / Modis satellite image this Sunday [Biblical!]https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ff5c1a3aaee6e8bb3c3e58dbfd0ca23a070737ff82df7829c294d732335d5a55.jpg

            Oct. 29, 2017: #Iraq#Kurds 10:00am Mosul 36°21′N 43°9′E: USA supervising military meeting between Baghdad ISF and Erbil Peshmerga;
            11:00 am Paris 48°52′N 2°19′E Macron to Abadi: Baghdad should take in consider the right of Kurds in dialogues with Erbil; Joint forces must be deployed in the disputed areas.

            HIGH NOON North Anbar 33°45′N 39°35′E Engineering within the Shi’a PMUs are building mounds along the border to prevent ISIS from attacking on Syria’s side. [Meme? Iran Builds a Berm]
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/531944a8d1832d751409d573c9b494e7cdd45440adb15bd153e5d5bf12a00b50.jpg https://iraq.liveuamap.com/

            Not a peep, or bullet from Turkey, all their flags staying in-country today. Russia and Syria are bombing away from any borders.

            33°30′N 36°16′E Saad Zakhia, Lebanese ambassador to Syria, will become first ambassador from an Arab country to return to Damascus #Syria#Lebanon https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/28-october-saad-zakhia-lebanese-ambassador-to-syria-will

            [Zakhia has serious creds: Mexico, Brazil, Iraq, most recently Congo.Spoken languages: Arabic, French, Spanish, English and Portuguese; The Lebanese & Syrian diasporas are concentrated in Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico. This is a signal from Lebanon to Turkey about who gets to rebuild Syria. The signals about the Kurds? USA, France, and Russia are not going to let them down; Iran/Hezbollah pushback is still on. It still would be good time to call out Turkey on their dam-building water war – at least Abadi made it a headline last Wednesday]

          • D4x

            Anything is more readable than the relaunch here, worse today, where AB, SK, and JH really have been disappeared.

            Posted more complete Real News on these two at, respectively, VDH today @amgreatness, and PJM’s Liz Sheld’s Daily Brief:

            10 30 2017 Gaza tunnel:
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ee1edef091f728e30c010a63c6a844b554913575889314d95dffe70fc78fe5f0.jpg
            http://www.thetower.org/5580-at-least-six-terrorists-killed-ten-injured-as-idf-destroys-terror-tunnel-inside-israel/
            details at: https://www.timesofisrael.com/palestinians-say-at-least-5-dead-9-injured-as-israel-blows-up-gaza-tunnel/

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6d36c46e25b6e620c62353bc38895b7415d14a31ac2931cf4a9863511af9330c.jpg
            10 30 2017 10 am in DC; 5:00 pm in Baghdad Erbil Mosul, Iraq
            “38°53′N 77°2′W US Department of State: Washington calls on the Iraqi government and the authorities of the Kurdistan region to work quickly to resolve the crisis between them according to the Iraqi constitution. We look forward to active engagement with new KRG leaders and Gov’t of Iraq for peaceful resolution of disputes under the Iraqi constitution.”
            https://iraq.liveuamap.com/en/2017/30-october-us-department-of-state-we-look-forward-to-active

            Everyone else in America is focused on Manafort; FF is playing catch-up to that Lee Smith series; the commentariat is anti-Israel at https://spectator.org/palestinian-man-storms-manhattan-synagogue-cursing-in-Arabic/

            I suggested to AndrewA maybe use the unused Disqus threads DCliveuamap. Am not going to waste any more time rebutting the FFrelaunch. Will not cancel until I know for sure it is not the last stage of Madness of Crowds, or end of year, whichever comes first.

          • leoj

            It’s a shame about TAI, but with the loss of Mead and Berger and the move away from following developing news stories to whatever they are trying to do now I think I will save my money. Also canceled Commentary. It’s a strange moment because I am willing to spend a little money on quality coverage/analysis but none is in the offering. Maybe CRB can fill a gap.

            But maybe the most important question is where will the commentariat continue to post?

          • D4x

            TY for the CRB reminder – also keep forgetting about https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2017/08/the-conservation-of-coercion/ $20/yr online. Like CRB, no comments. Same with George Friedman’s https://geopoliticalfutures.com/ Comments only go to their analysts, and current sale is $139/yr.

            I just read TRex on AUMF – interesting to parse his points in view of what happened in Iraq and Syria past few days.
            https://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/103017_Tillerson_Testimony.pdf

            There are eighteen separate posts on that hearing, mostly quotes from Sec Mattis at: https://dc.liveuamap.com/en/2017/30-october-no-congressional-authorization-for-strike-vs-dprk

            18 empty threads, which is why I thought of this last week.
            imagine: https://india.liveuamap.com/en/2017/30-october-national-interest-will-drive-decisions-new-indian How can there be no India-Pakistan thread war on Kashmir?

            TRx’s statement today had a lot to do with USA forces ARE going to be ‘supervising’ ISF and Peshmerga ‘force protection’ in key areas, like the Fishbakur border crossing, and other places, to neuter Iran-linked PMUs
            I would start a blog, but keep noticing my to-do lists of to-do lists, and really should go back to reading for pleasure, in silence.
            Seeing TAI succumb has been a huge trigger.

          • leoj
          • D4x

            TY – yes, Paula noticed, but it was from Liz’s morsel at NYPost – not like they are going to stop flooding the zone on the latest big story, worse, even Bayefsky stooped to UNDP/PAPP clickbait – I did not check her pdf link until I found UN had ‘disappeared’ bookmark for UNSC Res 2373 (UNIFIL+ 1701) from Aug 30, and no search in the UN or UNSC found it.

            Meanwhile, time to check and see why everyone is dropping bombs in Syria today. Turkey, then IAF, then Russia…Astana meet must have had more outcomes than I could find last night.

            TAI is really on a Russia!Ukraine! roll…I went back in with KrKrtyp, but now just checking to see the pattern. Diamond as a regular is too much to bear. Mr. Mead must be crushed. Damir seems gone too.

            PJM as a new space has potential. Last year, Paula noticed my comments about two trolls ruining every Israel post, and they moved on to BB, and Federalist, which also still gets the USS Liberty, Rothschild crowd; RonPaul legacy.

          • leoj

            Right. I’m not worried about missing your posts since I follow you anyway, it was just everyone together that made for a fun mix of people. But I cancelled my subscription and removed it from bookmarks. Maybe I will check back as often as I do Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy. Hadn’t heard that russia and turkey also bombed syria–is that correct?!

          • D4x

            Russia for sure – that was 19 hours ago, 04 :00 am EDT, or 10:00 am in Damascus. https://syria.liveuamap.com/en/2017/1-november-heavy-russian-airstrikes-on-lots-of-villages-in

            That map shows bomb icons for IAF strikes, airplane icons for Russia. Turkey is building a military airport (crane icon) north of Idlib, Syria. Turkey airstrikes were against PKK border area Dohuk, KRG.

            I follow others, who have already stopped commenting, and a few from elsewhere who are thoughtful, to be able to find them again. Damir just posted. I need to catch up on too much boring stuff. way too much.
            Thanks for your recommendations – I read them, except no longer bother with Federalist.

          • leoj

            I haven’t read ‘the glory,’ but this ‘new tech’ that Liberman and Bibi were touting along with the underground barrier are promising. Mollie Hemingway is generally worth reading, as is Domenech and Harsanyi. I’ve just been reading Paul Gottfried’s stuff over at AC, but I will miss the kind of analysis they were doing at TAI (along with your supplements). You seem to spend a huge amount of time wrangling info from all over the web, but unfortunately I don’t have this luxury–and not really the know-how, either. You use some combination of google filter with other strategies?

          • D4x

            Best to read “The Hope” before you read “The Glory”. Truly impressive novelization of history, especially detailed on military, and impact of USA/UN. As I read Wouk, I keep wishing I had read him at the time, because maybe I would have been more inspired to make aliyah. Too late now, which is a problem because I need a tribe.

            Agree on those worth reading at The Federalist, but the comment threads are unworthy.

            I spend more time on editing my writing for coherence than I do on the research. Tried DuckDuckGo to get beyond google algorithms, but the right keywords usually work just fine, and still use IE, with lots of bookmarks. My strategy? Combination of learning to read with the dictionary; a genetic advantage – there must be a gene for dot-connecting curiosity; and working in libraries through college and 1st grad school. Had I not grown up working class, probably would have been an historian in academia.

            My ‘supplements’ at TAI have been cognitive therapy to offset every cognitive dissonance trigger, during a very bad year, following too many bad years. Too many ‘analysts’ start with questions framed by their confirmation bias.

            My former career provided good experience – every job required learning a new culture, and, often, a new area of expertise. I never realized some of those assignments were meant to force failure – to get me to look for another job. Mostly, I did inherit the brainpower, but I’ll never know what village in southern Russia grew that DNA.

            My paternal grandfather’s family history started when his generation was born in Hungary. He had one younger brother – everyone said I got his genes. Not entirely – I never understood calculus or physics 🙂

          • D4x

            Just when I thought Israeli helping their Druze help their kin in Hadar, Queneitra Syria was the big story of the weekend, besides Turkey going after Kurds everywhere…PM Saad Hariri televised his resignation today from Riyadh. Hours after I absorbed the best reports, including text in English, PJM posted, so added my research there, without noting Jumblatt is once again in the Lebanese political spotlight.

            On Nov. 3, POTUS added one day to his Asia trip in order to attend the East Asian Summit plenary meeting in Manila (SecTillerson was scheduled to represent the USA) on Nov. 14. Must be an interesting briefing today as they fly to Japan, because:

            “Syria deal may be on agenda for Putin-Trump Asia meeting,
            says report Reuters, AFP | Published — Sunday 5 November 2017 “ “…A Syria settlement “is being discussed” for the agenda of a possible meeting between the two presidents, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by RIA, adding it was in their common interest to have enough time to discuss the issue.

            “Somehow or another it requires cooperation,” Peskov said.

            Trump told Fox News this week that it was possible he would meet Putin during his Asia trip. “We may have a meeting with Putin,” he said. “And, again — Putin is very important because they can help
            us with North Korea. They can help us with Syria. We have to talk about Ukraine.” …” http://www.arabnews.com/node/1188361/middle-east

            Meanwhile, Hizbullah and SAA are moving east near USA base in al Tanf, and, without posting the photo that goes with this (close enough to al Tanf): 11 04 2017 1pm EDT 35°20′N 40°8′E Qassem Soleimani on a front line visit with Liwa Al-Baqir in Deir Ezzor syrialiveuamap.
            Real news, and analysis, is almost all outside the USA. Back to the Yom Kippur War – Wouk is gripping.

          • leoj

            I read that the Russians were not inclined to meet. I guess we will see as it is all a diplomatic dance at this moment. Watching the fights at the Garden this evening. Enjoy Wouk!

          • D4x

            Washington Post November 3, 1906
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a74636f56f611fed3036b4c7fe328468cd9e9ba1c3c3b87706010d447ec2ecc0.jpg Clifford K. Berryman’s depiction of President Theodore Roosevelt, accompanied by a Teddy bear, hunts turkey

            “Cartoon America: Highlights from the Art Wood Collection of Cartoon and Caricature” opened in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress’ Thomas Jefferson Building on Nov. 2 and will remain on view through Feb. 24, 2007, and online at http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/cartoonamerica/

            The good old days…

          • D4x

            JE Dyer and I were separately mindmelding past few days:
            https://libertyunyielding.com/2017/11/05/cry-havoc-iran-completes-land-bridge-syria-hell-starts-breaking-loose/

            Back to FLOTUS Fashion – I got a hundred upvotes at Daily Mail for noting the evocative chrysanthemums, Japan’s national flower, also symbolic of autumn, on Melania’s Lagerfeld for Fendi coat pockets.
            They have their own comment system. Nov. 5 in Japan:

            Akie Abe and Melania Trump with Pearl Divers at Mikimoto:
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7f277c3e1477a893aa48a07de77e892a806eb90e5c04fdf9d88b576f6542347f.jpg
            “Donald and Shinzo Make Alliance Even Greater” caps was Shinzo’s idea.https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/976d1a5e4dcd06e14f19059ed676337a1317c59d701c9610de79db199715013e.jpg

            Hope it survived dinner: “The best quality Japanese Black Beef is the main dish in any course menu”: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/368185c376a85dc9bcd283b1662cbb22ce9b483aff2f41dc4cf950078defe2e5.jpg
            http://www.ukai.co.jp/english/ginza/

            NOTE: The other upvote on TR? an…tuck—- is a .ru disqus account. since 2012: one comment and that one upvote, You need to be a subscriber to access this post…
            Hope they are monitoring TAI, not me. I reported to disqus, and flagged TAI. At PJM, I get the suspiciously targeted googlespam.

          • D4x

            Nov. 13: Suchkov https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/11/putin-trump-russia-path-syria-agreement.html on the meet, and the Nov 11 signed “Memorandum of Principles concluded in Amman, Jordan, on November 8, 2017”
            https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/11/275459.htm

            Should not be so rare to read a real analysis. American media is deliberately distracting.

            Only found this, by accident, three days later: 12 November 2017, 11:37
            https://www.timesofisrael.com/saudis-told-abbas-to-accept-trump-peace-plan-or-resign-report/

          • D4x

            11 02 2017 09:20 am: The news from Iraq and Syria is not good for US support for Kurds beyond ‘coalition to fight ISIS’, which means the Syrian Kurds will look to Russia, and Iraqi Kurds seem to be losing to Iraq.

            ToI is being hacked by something in Turkish. Guess ToI should not have published photos of Kurds with the flag of Israel , now banned in Iraq.

            Sounds like the Democratic Party, Beirut edition:
            http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/shia-unrest-in-hezbollahs-beirut-stronghold

            Damir’s new post, seeking a new way to have a nonpolarized conversation, made RCP today.
            Truly bizarre that POTUS can have an Official Visit to China, but dare not speak to Putin. I really thought this hysteria would peter out into normal partisan sniping before now. Losing TAI, at this stage, is very troubling.

  • Steve Smith

    We told the Kurds we did not favor their independence referendum. They went ahead and conducted it anyway. No reason for us to get their chestnuts out of the fire for them. Next time, listen to us!

    It’s funny that all the people complaining about our inaction in this current affair seem to forget–willfully no doubt–that the USG position is and has been that we do not favor the partition of Iraq.

    The only real mystery in all this is what kind of calculus Barzani used in arriving at his decision to go ahead with the referendum. Certainly looks like a bad decision in retrospect. What was he thinking?

  • Bisley

    It’s a stupid mistake on the part of the US State Dept. to back away from the Kurds. An Iranian-dominated Iraq will be a great source of trouble in the region, if only as a pathway to the west. A Kurdish state in the north, and a Sunni one in the west, would help to curb Iranian troublemaking, by making movement of troops and supplies into Syria and Lebanon much less secure. The Baghdad puppet-state needs to be broken up and weakened to prevent it being useful to Iran.

  • D4x

    Someone should start a Real News service like this in the USA. 10 20 2017 Friday: Real News in a terrific format, from Kurdistan’s NRTV ‘Courage, Balance and Truth’, from 08:00 am EDT Erbil, Kurdistan, and 03:00 am EDT which was 10:00 am there: the battle at Altun Kupri: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/75c92176dcd1db5bd5adc0e9f747df4106563bc0e7260f82bfe9f19d1f62f246.jpg
    “3 hours ago – 36°11′N 44°0′E Small demonstration near to U.S. consulate in Erbil. Kurds here tell they “don’t understand silence of the
    West.” #Iraq#Kurds Jump to map”
    https://iraq.liveuamap.com/en/2017/20-october-small-demonstration-near-to-us-consulate-in-erbil

    [NRTV Tweet From the battle at Altun Kupri on the highway between Kirkuk and Erbil, where Peshmerga use German-supplied Milan anti-tank weapon against the ISF and Shi’a PMU Humvees and Abrams tanks:]
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/528edf2eee6cf9060680cfe116c006e7e11c0f5db53d21561e6d7f8ee44c0bf5.png
    “NRT broadcasting live inside Altun Kupri “Pirde” town 8 hours ago – 35°44′N 44°11′E
    Nothing like the smell of cordite in the morning. Kurd Iraq clashes. Heavy right now.
    One Pesh said 3 Hashd vhcles destroyed. #Iraq#Kurds Jump to map”
    https://iraq.liveuamap.com/en/2017/20-october-nothing-like-the-smell-of-cordite-in-the-morning

    The links are to an interactive map, where you click on the icon to see the linked Tweet for that news.
    The icons are terrific graphic design.

    This is Real News: iraq.liveuamap.com/en is reporting by NRTV, owned by Nalia Media, Kurdistan Region:

    “Shaswar Abdulwahid Qadir is the owner and founder of Nalia Media Corporation which is the only independent media corporation in the
    Kurdistan Region and is built under the slogan of ‘Courage, Balance and Truth.’” http://www.nrttv.com/EN/about.aspx

    ‘Courage, Balance and Truth’ gets my vote!
    And, every NRTV Tweet has a Disqus thread

    Someone should start a Real News service like this in the USA.

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