Afghans demonstrate against NATO occupation and ISIS


Afghans demonstrate against NATO occupation and ISIS

From emptywheel in the USA:

Described Focus of Protest in Kabul Dependent on News Outlet

Published October 13, 2014 | By Jim White

A protest variously described as featuring “over a hundred”, “hundreds” or “over 500″ protesters took place in Kabul on Sunday. The object of the protest, however, was very dependent on whose report (or even whose headline) on the protest is being read.

The Wall Street Journal ran with the headline “Islamic State’s Siege of Kobani, Syria Sparks Protest in Kabul, Afghanistan” while Iran’s PressTV went with “Afghan protesters blast US-led forces, BSA”. Remarkably, Afghanistan’s Khaama Press did not see it necessary to spin the focus of the protest in a particular direction, using the headline “Afghans protest against Islamic State, US and NATO forces in Kabul”.

The Khaama Press article quickly sums up the protest:

Over 500 people participated in a demonstration against the Islamic State and presence of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

The protesters were shouting slogans against the presence of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan and in support of the Kurdish people who are fighting the Islamic State militants.

Protesters were also carrying signs purporting crimes committed by US and NATO forces in Afghanistan and resistance of the female Kurdish fighters against the Islamic State.

The US and NATO were also accused by protester[s] for supporting the extremist groups in Afghanistan and Kobane.

We learn in the article that the protest was organized by the Solidarity party of Afghanistan, which Khaama described as “a small and left wing political party in the country”. Presumably, since they were allowed to stage the protest, the ban on the party issued in 2012 must have been lifted.

One has to read the Wall Street Journal article very carefully to find any evidence of the US criticism that was in the protest. The article opens:

Residents of Kabul have a war on their own doorstep: The provinces around the Afghan capital have seen an upsurge in violence this year.

But the conflict in Syria was on the minds of demonstrators who marched Sunday in solidarity with the town of Kobani, Syria, currently under siege by Islamic State militants.

Over a hundred Afghans—most of them women—held placards supporting Kurdish fighters defending the city.

Near the end, the article mentions, but dismisses as “conspiracy theory”, the accusations of US involvement in the creation of ISIS:

Conspiracy theories often thrive in Afghanistan, and at Sunday’s protest, many demonstrators expressed the belief that Islamic State was a U.S. creation. Some held placards saying, “Yankee Go Home.”

The article then mentions the BSA without stating that it was also a target of the protest other than citing the “Yankee Go Home” sign.

Pajhwok news agency in Afghanistan reports:

Hundreds attend anti-US/NATO rally in Kabul

KABUL (Pajhwok): Calling the new government as undemocratically elected, hundreds of people on Sunday took to the streets in the central capital Kabul, condemning security accords with the US and NATO.

The protestors, including women, marched from the Cinema Pamir locality to the Maiwand Square in Kabul City.

They called the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the US and the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with NATO as shackling the nation into chains of slavery.

The protestors claimed permanent US military bases in Afghanistan could be a step towards a third world war.

The protest was organised by the National Solidarity Party. A member of the party, Hafizullah Rasikh told Pajhwok Afghan News the demonstration was aimed at condemning the presence of US/NATO forces in Afghanistan under the BSA and SOFA.

“The new government is not based on people’s votes but a deal brokered by (US president) Obama and (secretary of state) John Kerry,” he added.

Turkish government’s anti-Kurdish stance helps ISIS


This video is called Demonstration Against Erdogan and ISIS // 27.09.14, Düsseldorf, Germany.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Erdogan: We will fight US attempts to arm Kurds

Sunday 19th October 2014

TURKISH Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said today that he would oppose any attempt by the US to arm Kurdish fighters battling Islamic State (Isis) militants in Syria.

Mr Erdogan signalled that his government’s hatred of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) meant it wouldn’t do anything to held Syrian Kurdish forces of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) fighting the Islamist terror group just over the border.

“The PYD is, for us, equal to the PKK. It is a terror organisation,” Erdogan told a group of reporters on his return from a visit to Afghanistan.

People’s Protection Units (YPG), linked to the PYD, have become the last line of defence against Isis extremists assaulting the town of Kobane, a stone’s throw from the border with Turkey.

But instead of intervening to prevent a bloody massacre, Turkish forces have prevented Kurds from crossing the border to help the residents of Kobane fend off the attackers.

“It would be wrong for the United States — with whom we are friends and allies in Nato — to expect us to say Yes to such a support to a terrorist organisation,” Mr Erdogan claimed.

Fighting between Isis and YPG forces continued on Sunday.

Mortar strikes hit the town, sending plumes of smoke into the air. Three mortars also fell on the Turkish side of the border, landing in an open field where they caused no injuries.

On Saturday and Sunday, Isis appeared to be targeting the border crossing area, potentially in a bid to sever Kobane’s last link to the outside world.

Turkey, Syria, Kurdistan and ISIS


This video says about itself:

Turkey: Kobane protests rage in Istanbul, death toll rises to 25

9 October 2014

Chaos swept Istanbul as clashes between pro-Kurdish protesters and police intensified, on Thursday evening.

Protesters, who were demonstrating over Turkey’s inaction in Kobane, threw fireworks while police retaliated with tear gas.

Kobane, a Syrian Kurdish town near the Turkish border has been besieged by the self proclaimed Islamic State (formerly ISIS, ISIL), however Turkey have not yet intervened.

At least 25 demonstrators have so far died in the protests.

By Iskender Dogu in Turkey:

Erdogan helped us but we don’t need him anymore’

Thursday 16th October 2014

After years of supporting Islamist fighters, Turkey now faces blowback from the Syrian civil war, writes Iskender Dogu from the Syrian-Turkish border

THE last glimpse I catch of Kobane, before we are forced off the hill overlooking the town by Turkish soldiers in their armoured personnel carriers, are two pillars of smoke rising from the city centre.

Just minutes before, two loud explosions could be heard, after which clouds of dust and debris emerged from between the buildings in the town, just across the border from Turkey.

Despite the fact that coalition jets and drones are circling overhead, invisible to the naked eye but clearly recognisable by their humming sounds, it is clear that these were not air strikes — the explosions appeared in an area that is still under control of the People’s and Women’s Defence Forces (YPG/YPJ), and the smoke looks different from the kind that normally follows air strikes.

That leaves only one possibility — these were the explosions of two more Isis suicide car bombs unsuccessfully attempting to break Kurdish defence lines.

Immediately after the second car explodes — either detonated by Isis or neutralised by the YPG/YPJ — half a dozen Turkish APCs come rushing from the border towards the hill where foreign journalists and local observers have gathered to keep track of the situation in the city.

The soldiers command everyone, including the media, to leave the viewpoint immediately. No explanation is given, and we quickly return to our car to make our way back to Suruc, the Turkish border town just eight kilometres away.

A few days ago, in the bus back to Urfa from Suruc, a man started talking to me. Introducing himself as Muslum, a 31-year-old Kurdish activist from around Suruc, he told me about his brother, who is currently fighting with the YPG in Kobane.

Muslum hasn’t spoken to him for over five months, as any contact with Turkish volunteers fighting with the YPG in Rojava would put him and other family members back home at risk of arrest by Turkish authorities.

“He is fighting for the canton system, for the freedom of the Kurdish people and for the freedom of all people,” Muslum says. “The independence of Rojava is a big problem for Turkey, because its canton system is an example of what the future of Kurdistan could look like.”

Muslum fully supports and is proud of his brother. He himself is no stranger to political activism either, having spent three years in prison for his political involvement in the Kurdish struggle. He was deported to Greek Cyprus after his release and was only allowed to return to Turkey on the condition that he would not engage in politics anymore. This doesn’t seem to bother him too much.

“The government calls me a terrorist because I speak at protests that demand democracy for the Kurdish people. They don’t like anything that has to do with freedom for the Kurdish people. But I don’t listen! Every day I am active in the Kurdish struggle. All the people here are like me.”

The Turkish government keeps track of all Kurdish activists, and Muslum’s name appears on a special blacklist, which means that every time he gets checked by the police there is a chance they will take him down to the station.

After the funeral of seven YPG/YPJ fighters whose bodies were brought from Kobane to Turkey in order to be properly buried here, a large crowd gathers in the local headquarters of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP).

While everyone is drinking tea and watching the latest news from Kobane on a Kurdish channel, Ayse Muslim — the wife of Saleh Muslim, the co-chairwoman of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and de-facto leader of Rojava — walks in and starts shouting angrily at the men: “What are you doing here, watching television and drinking tea while our comrades in Kobane are fighting for your freedom? Go to the border to show your solidarity!”

Later, in the village of Measer, where hundreds have flocked to watch the siege of Kobane unfold, I sit down with some men at the local mosque to discuss their views on Rojava’s canton system and Ocalan’s theory of democratic autonomy. Among them is the brother of one of PKK’s highest commanders, who is happy to share some of his ideas.

“The canton system and the project of democratic autonomy is not just a Kurdish project,” he says. “The idea is that it facilitates the communal life of people of different religious, ethnic and linguistic backgrounds.

“Yes, the PKK fought for national independence before, but this was in the period of the cold war. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the communist-socialist bloc, we have come to realise that one country with one government is not the right solution.”

With the explosions in Kobane clearly audible in the background, more and more men join the discussion. “Last year Barzani [the conservative leader of Iraqi Kurdistan] called for the unification of all Kurdish people in one single country,” one man adds.

“But the PKK disagrees with this plan, because such a state will eventually be no different from the Turkish republic. The Kurds have many different religions and we speak many different languages. How could we unite ourselves under one single government?”

The men agree that, given the strength of the Turkish state and military, the widespread adoption of a canton system like Rojava’s is still far off. Still they see democratic autonomy as the only real alternative. “We don’t need professional politicians, but rather want the people to make decisions about their own lives, based on consensus and by means of local councils.”

Several days ago, Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the PKK, presented the Turkish state with a deadline to act on peace with the country’s Kurdish population.

“We can await a resolution till October 15, after which there is nothing we can do,” his statement read. “They (the Turkish authorities) are talking about resolution and negotiation but there exists no such thing. This is an artificial situation. We will not be able to continue anymore.”

The men of Measer fully support Ocalan’s statement because they are fed up with being stalled by the Turkish government, which keeps bringing up the issue of the Kurdish peace process every time an election peeks around the corner, but when pushes comes to shove, it consistently fails to act upon its promises.

They believe Ocalan set the deadline so that the implementation of promises made in the negotiations so far can no longer be postponed.

“Kobane is everything,” the PKK commander’s brother states. “Kobane is the red line — for the PKK, for Ocalan, for the Kurdish people, for everyone. Without Kobane we can’t talk about anything.”

The general opinion of the Kurds and their supporters here at the border is that the Turkish government has had a hand in Isis’s assault on Kobane. This rumour was confirmed by a member of Isis with whom we spoke on the phone, a mere 200 metres from the border with Syria.

My friend Murat and I were walking through the fields when we met a man who explained to us that he had just escaped from Kobane.

He told us how, two days before, he had tried to call a friend who was fighting with the Women’s Defence Forces.

But instead of his friend answering, an unknown man picked up the phone and told him that his friend was dead — killed by Isis — and that this phone now belonged to him.

Murat encouraged the man to try to call the number again, and after it rang a number of times, the same man picked up.

Our friend spoke to the Isis fighter for a while, in Arabic, and then asked him: “how is your friend Erdogan doing?”

The reply confirmed what many here have been suspecting all along: “Erdogan has helped us a lot in the past. He has given us Kobane. But now we don’t need him anymore. After Kobane, Turkey is next!”

The PKK’s October 15 deadline has arrived, and with the border still closed for any material or logistical support for the Kurdish defenders of the city, the likelihood of a new civil war in Turkey becomes greater every day.

The men of Measer would have preferred a political solution over violence, but realise that if the Turkish government continues to stand by idly, blocking the border as their comrades in Kobane are being slaughtered at the hands of Isis, they will not be left with much choice.

It therefore appears that the Syrian civil war is rapidly spilling over into Turkey, not least because the majority of YPG fighters in Kobane are reportedly from the PKK, aiding their Syrian comrades in the fight against Isis.

As news emerges of fresh Turkish air strikes on PKK positions in the south-east of the country, it is clear that the ceasefire is rapidly breaking down.

Unless the Turkish government suddenly makes a dramatic turn, opening the border crossing to Kobanê and supporting the Kurdish resistance against Isis, it will be difficult to prevent a further escalation of violence in the region.

Iskender Dogu is an Istanbul-based freelance writer, activist and an editor for Roar Magazine at www.roarmag.org. Follow him on Twitter via @Le_Frique.

The Turkish government is demanding that the war be explicitly directed against the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad, as well as ISIS, and the establishment of US-backed no-fly and buffer zones inside Syria. Turkish security forces massed on the border near Kobane have restricted support to the YPG, concerned that its victory could encourage the PKK within Turkey: here.

In a revealing report commissioned by the Obama administration, the US Central Intelligence Agency called into question Washington’s policy of arming Syrian “rebels,” pointing out that such operations in the past had seldom proven successful: here.

Dutch government, NATO allies of Turkish government ISIS allies


This video says about itself:

27 September 2014

The Turkish support for ISIS continues as thousands of ISIS gang members have crossed the Turkish border into ISIS areas on September 14th, just before the renewed heavy attacks on Kobane.

While in Antep, Turkey, a hospital was built for the treatment of ISIS members.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

“No weapons for Kurds of Kobani”

Update: Tuesday 14 Oct 2014, 18:56

The Netherlands will not supply arms to the Kurdish fighters who defend the Syrian city Kobani against ISIS. Minister [of Foreign Affairs] Timmermans writes this in a letter to the Lower House of Parliament.

Timmermans says that the risk is too great that the weapons will end up in the hands of the PKK.

The Turkish Kurdish allies of the Syrian Rojava Kurds. Together, eg, they helped the Yazidi minority in Iraq escape from a threatening massacre by ISIS.

That organization is on the European terrorism list. …

The Netherlands will send a fact-finding mission to the region to find out what the moderate groups in Syria need in their fight against ISIS.

According to the New York Times, within the Sunni sectarian armed opposition in Syria, moderates exist only on the paper of propaganda speeches. Sometimes, these so-called ‘moderates’ may have quarrels with ISIS. Sometimes, according to the relatives of Steven Sotloff, they sell prisoners to ISIS for beheading.

Obama meets anti-ISIS “coalition” amid rising US-Turkish tensions: here.

Turkish government bombs Kurds, not ISIS


This video, from VICE News in the USA, says about itself:

NEWS to PKK/YPG | PKK isn’t terrorist! VICE News was in the PKK

27 September 2014

Washington DC – For those interested in the Middle East, few haven’t heard of the PKK. They are the Kurdish initials for the Kurdistan Workers Party, which has fought to achieve more cultural and political rights for Turkey’s 15 million Kurds since 1984.

The Turkish government considers the PKK ‘terrorists’. As Turkey is a NATO country, the governments of the USA and other NATO countries put the PKK on their lists of ‘terrorists’ as well (lists which not so long ago included, eg, Nelson Mandela).

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

‘Turkish air raids on PKK

Added: Tuesday 14 Oct 2014 09:50

Turkish warplanes have attacked targets of the PKK in Southeast Turkey, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported. It would be the first major air attacks on the PKK since two years ago peace negotiations started.

According to the newspaper F-16s and F-4s took off from bases in Diyarbakir and Malatya. The air strikes are said to have caused “extensive damage”.

In 2012, Turkey started peace talks with PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who is in captivity. In the fighting between the Kurdish separatists and Turkey during thirty years, some 40,000 people were killed.

Kobani

The airstrikes may increase tensions between Kurds and the Turkish government. Last week during Kurdish protests in Turkish cities at least twelve people were killed. Many Kurds believe that Turkey should do more against the terror group ISIS.

Kurds are distressed by the situation in the Syrian border town Kobani, near Turkey. ISIS fighters have been besieging the Kurdish town for weeks. Turkey has sent troops and tanks concentrated at the border but does not engage.

Turkish government arrests German journalists


This video is called Turkey Faces Blowback For Support Of ISIS Fighters In Syria.

So much for NATO military alliance brotherhood … The Greek government hurts its own people with draconian austerity policies because of pressure by its German and French NATO allies. Meanwhile, the Greek government bankrupts the Greek economy, spending lots of money buying French and German weapons, which they say is because of fear of their Turkish NATO allies.

Then, the German government spies on the Turkish government. And now, the Turkish government violates press freedom for German journalists (like they violate human rights of their own people).

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Three Germans arrested in Turkey

Sunday Oct 12, 2014, 17:12 (Update: 12-10-14, 17:29)

The journalists reported on the protests in the city of Diyarbakir

In the Turkish city of Diyarbakir, in the southeast of the country, three German journalists have been arrested. It is not clear of what they are suspected.

They say they were in Diyarbakir to report about the protests by Kurds. Last week, [the Turkish government crackdown on these protests] caused dozens of deaths.

Tweet

One of the arrested journalists is the photographer Björn Kietzmann. He sent after his arrest a tweet stating: “Arrested since 4 hours together with 2 other german journalist because of covering #kobane protests in #diyarbakir #turkey”.

The Kurdish protests are against the Turkish government, which basically supports the ISIS terrorist violence in Kobane town and its surroundings against the Kurds of northern Syria (Rojava).

Turkish government, allies of NATO and ISIS


This video says about itself:

Rojava: Al Nusra slaughter hundreds of un-armed civilian Kurdish people

5 August 2013

Al Quaeda linked Al Nusra supported by the AKP and Turkish Government massacred hundreds of Kurdish civilians in North East Syria. The slaughtering of children, women and elderly un-armed villagers goes on ignored by the rest of the world.

By Jean Shaoul:

Turkey’s role in ISIS conflict threatens to reignite civil war

9 October 2014

Turkey’s Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has responded ferociously to angry demonstrations that have taken place throughout the country, in protest over the government’s refusal to aid Syria’s Kurds in Kobani. The Kurdish enclave on Turkey’s south eastern border is about to fall to forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Riot police went out in force against protestors, using water cannon, tear gas and live fire as demonstrations, called by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the banned guerrilla movement, spread throughout the country, including in Istanbul, Ankara and cities in south eastern Turkey.

Security forces killed at least 19 people, 10 in the city of Diyarbakir alone, injuring many more. The government ordered curfews in two provinces and some of the most affected cities with a predominantly Kurdish population, notably Mardin, Siirt, Batman and Mus.

Turkey’s Interior Minister Efkan Ala denounced the protests as “treason,” accusing those involved of “betraying their own country” and warned them to stop protesting or encounter “unpredictable” consequences.

The explosive situation is testimony to the incoherence and cynicism of the government’s policy in the Middle East that could well spark a far wider conflagration in the region. This could lead to a renewal of civil war with Turkey’s own Kurdish population, under conditions where the majority of the Turkish people are opposed to any military intervention in Iraq or Syria, and are increasingly angry over the rising cost of living.

Last week, the Turkish parliament voted to authorise Turkey’s armed intervention in Iraq and Syria as well as to allow the deployment of foreign forces on Turkish soil for the same purpose. Turkey is the only NATO ally that borders on Syria and Iraq and its defence could be used to justify NATO military intervention under NATO’s Article 5 without a UN Security Council resolution.

While the parliamentary vote appeared to indicate that Ankara had fallen in line with Washington, Defence Minister Ismet Yilmaz said that no one should expect any immediate steps.

The resolution however specified that any military intervention was to be directed at “terrorist organisations,” mentioning the PKK with which the AKP government has been engaged in peace negotiations, but not ISIS, in that context.

Moreover, President Erdogan set out three conditions for participation in Washington’s coalition: the toppling of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad—which means, in practice, supporting Islamist militant groups because no other fighting forces exist in Syria, and an internationally enforced buffer zone of 25 square kilometres within Syria adjacent to the Turkish border that would also be a “no fly zone,” or off-limits to Syrian planes, a blatant infringement of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Ankara is determined that the anti-ISIS operations do not strengthen Kurdish forces in either Syria, where they have set up an autonomous zone known as Rojava, or in Turkey itself. It is anxious that Washington’s de facto collaboration with the PKK against ISIS, particularly in support of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the semi-autonomous entity in northern Iraq, and its capital Erbil, not lead to a US delisting of the PKK as a terrorist group or enhance its prestige.

Turkey has so far deployed troops and tanks on the border, in sight of Kobani, but refrained from taking any action against ISIS forces besieging the town. Its chief purpose is to block the crossing of Kurdish—both Syrian and Turkish—fighters and armaments to relieve the city, thereby blockading Kobani on the only side which is not under siege from ISIS. More than 400 people have died in the three-week battle for Kobani, causing 160,000 Syrians to flee to Turkey, which is already providing refuge for at least a million Syrian refugees.

Ankara’s blockade of the Kurdish enclave has enraged the PKK and its supporters. The fate of Rojava is widely seen as bound up with the survival of the peace process with Turkey and threatens the resumption of the 30-year war that led to the loss of 40,000 lives. The imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, speaking from his Imrali prison cell, said “If Kobani falls, the process will end.” Similar messages to the effect that “war will start” have come from other Kurdish parties.

If ISIS captures Kobani, jihadists will control a long stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border, thanks to the support lavished on them by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the other Gulf States, the CIA, and Turkey itself, which has long provided them with bases, intelligence and logistical support.

It is in this area, once the Kurds have been vanquished, that Ankara proposes to set up an international buffer zone, thereby eliminating any threat of a Kurdish autonomous zone allied to the PKK on Turkey’s borders, while at the same time appearing to contain ISIS by declaring ISIS-controlled territory a “safe haven” for the Syrian Kurds.

The buffer zone would probably also encompass the tomb of Suleyman Shah, a tiny Turkish sovereign entity 30 kilometres inside Syria, guarded by Turkish soldiers and now surrounded by ISIS. This would set the stage for attaching it to Turkish territory, and thus a de facto redrawing of the border with Syria.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition party, the Kemalist Republican People’s Party (CHP) which voted against the parliamentary resolution, opposed Erdogan’s proposals for military intervention to unseat Assad.

Turkish officials said that US and NATO air forces will only be allowed to use its military base near Incirlik in southeast Turkey to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria, to “protect” a future international buffer area. Incirlik is much closer to ISIS-controlled territory than the US bases in the Gulf and Jordan.

No less than US Vice President Joe Biden spoke publicly about Ankara’s support for ISIS, which in any event has been an open secret. Referring to Islamist militants crossing into Syria from Turkey, Biden said, “President Erdogan told me … ‘You were right, we let too many people through,” adding that Turkey was now trying to seal its border. While it was widely reported that he had been forced to apologise to an angry Erdogan—to keep him on board with the coalition—this was not so much to recant what the Turkish President had said but for revealing a supposedly private conversation between himself and Erdogan.

This week, following multiple phone calls from the US State Department to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, President Obama is sending General John Allen, his envoy to the global anti-ISIS coalition, to Ankara for discussions about Turkey’s role in the coalition. His difficult task is to keep Ankara in the coalition along with the Kurds, who are being asked to provide the “boots on the ground” to fight on Washington’s behalf against the myriad militias now vying for control of the region’s vast energy resources.

Erdogan’s cynical use of the ISIS “threat” as both a mechanism for crushing the Kurds and a casus belli for a wider war in the region in its own and Washington’s interests is a dangerous manoeuvre that threatens to unleash forces within Turkey itself that he may prove powerless to control.

World View: American-led air attacks are failing. Jihadis are close to taking Kobani, in Syria – and in Iraq western Baghdad is now under serious threat: here.