Viva Kurdistan
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flagWe now have the odd case of an unambiguous imperialist-Zionist project, namely Kurdistan, that is an appealing alternative to what threatens it, namely the crazy-fascist so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). I previously linked to John Judis on the oil connection. Here’s background on the Kurds that I don’t necessarily endorse in all its details. I’m no expert. I do know the Kurds have been screwed multiple times over the decades, including by the U.S. Their national aspirations are legitimate, as far as I’m concerned. If they get rich from oil, good for them. If they make Exxon rich, who the hell cares. Exxon is already rich. If Turkey doesn’t like it, fuck Turkey.

The U.S. government always exaggerates the savagery of its target-of-the-month. Noriega and his cocaine that turned out to be tortilla powder. Saddam’s invading army knocking over baby incubators in Kuwait, but not really (a great Alex Cockburn exposé). Poor Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, winning those damn elections. In the case of ISIS, however, I have heard nobody offer any defense of them. If you want to give it a shot, be my guest. It’s kind of like discerning the moderate Nazis. No ISIS doesn’t threaten the world like Hitler, but it promises to cause a good deal of trouble in its own right. Invading Iraq to extirpate them looks hopeless. Keeping them out of Kurdistan seems doable. Rescuing the Yazidis on the mountain, I hope so. Perhaps some political progress in Baghdad would help, but I wouldn’t hang my hat on that as any sort of short-term remedy.

Some on the left will look foolish putting forth diplomacy and political reform in Iraq as an alternative. It is ill-suited to the real-time situation on the ground. Total U.S. abstention is morally unsatisfactory, even though the motives for intervention are always impure.  Then there was some stupid shit about ISIS being a ploy of Israeli intelligence (no I’m not linking to it). A good example of how conspiracism is bad politics, in this case gratuitous anti-Zionism and a dumb distraction.

 


Comments

Viva Kurdistan — 11 Comments

  1. :: Total U.S. abstention is morally unsatisfactory, even though the motives for intervention are always impure. ::

    If all choices morally unsatisfactory, then I’m going with “stay the hell out.”

    US intervention set this in motion; it’s not going to stop it.

    Supporting US military re-intervention/escalation does put a pretty big hole in your anti-imperialist credentials. Not that that’s the important thing, but you can’t have it both ways (especially after your Balkans episode).

    This time it’s different, eh? Sorry. Too “decent left” for me.

  2. There’s quite a distance between a very limited U.S. response to ISIS and the decent crew. I’m sorry you fail to see that.

  3. If the coverage is correct, the USG is supplying the Kurds, providing them air support in defense of their region, and blowing up ISIS vehicles and ISIS positions around the mountain. Do you have a problem with that in itself, or because you’re worried it could escalate? The prospect of U.S. ground forces or a comprehensive assault on all territory controlled by ISIS to me seems totally remote, as I wrote, though with President Hillary, all bets are off. Cheers.

  4. It seems to me that the U.S. is, once again, letting its military reflexes loose without a millisecond’s thought about what the hell might come next. Even if ISIS really does merit the hysteria, this new adventure seems strategically incoherent. Reassurances about this being a “very limited response” don’t play very well — they ALL start as that.

    One other thing: Videos of summary executions are shocking, but I suspect that they reflect ease of dissemination more than some unprecedented barbarity.

  5. Maybe somebody’s just trying to spin things their way, but this 10 Aug NYT article ‘Iraq airstrikes may continue for months, Obama says’ makes it sound as if the air strikes will be in support of central Iraq government against ISIS over longer term (assuming the US-chosen candidate replaces Maliki). So it’s a package.

  6. I look at them. I don’t think that changes the argument, it just points up the iffyness of it all, no matter which side you take.

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