Michael Gunter book “out of Nowhere” to be released April 2014

EUTCC secretary general Michael M Gunter’s latest book, Out of Nowhere,  is due to be released in April 2014 from Hurst Publishers. More details below:

“In mid 2012 the previously almost forgotten Syrian Kurds suddenly emerged as a potential game-changer in the country’s civil war when in an attempt to consolidate its increasingly desperate position the Assad government abruptly withdrew its troops from the major Kurdish areas in Syria. The Kurds in Syria had suddenly won autonomy, a situation that has huge implications for neighboring Turkey and the near independent Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq. Indeed, their precipitous rise may prove a tipping-point that alters the boundaries imposed on the Middle East by the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916.

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A people without a voice: Syrian Kurds and The future of the Middle East

September 30, 2013 

American University, School of International Service, Center of Peacebuilding and Development

                                                                                                                                         

Panel discussion presentation:

By Saif Badrakhan, Kurdistan National Congress- KNK, USA Representative

 

The future of the Kurds, Western Kurdistan and the war in Syria

The 50 million Kurds live on their ancestral land Kurdistan for more than 5000 years. The Kurdish nation has been occupied and divided between four countries  by the victories allies after the World War I. This criminal unjust action created
a historical tragedy for the Kurdish people. The countries of Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq cooperated and used forced cultural assimilation, forced emigration,
massacres and genocide in the last 90 years to assimilate and eliminate the Kurdish nation, but failed to accomplish their colonial aims.

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Joint statement by Syrian Kurdish civil society

Below is a statement by Syrian political parties and civil society organisations on al-Qaida affiliated Jihadists armed groups attacks in Syrian Kurdish region:

Joint public statement and appeal by political parties and civil society organizations:

For months our areas have been subjected to treacherous attacks by ‘dark’ forces, the majority of whom have crossed the border from neighboring countries. These forces include Jabhat al Nusra, the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham, ISIS, who have been invading our regions, killing our people, looting our property and destroying our land.

They have used brutal methods, mass killings, torture, crude psychological warfare, spreading lies, creating tension among the peacefully coexisting people’s of our land – all in an attempt to stir up sectarian strife. They have tried to convert our relatively peaceful area into an arena of conflicts between our different nationalities. Today no one can deny that hundreds of people have lost their lives, many more kidnapped and injured, in this bloody conflict which these terrorist groups have dragged our region into. Their actions have had the sole effect of providing the regime forces with a pretext to attack our areas. These vicious attacks by these terrorist groups come at a time when Kurdish authorities have embraced thousands of internally displaced Syrian families, providing them with shelter and a safe haven in these times of trouble. Indeed, these acts of blind terror target all components of our region, Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians and Armenians alike. We, parties and humanitarian organizations, national, youth and women’s movements of our great land, strongly denounce this blatant aggression against our areas. We urgently call on the international public opinion, all sides of the national Syrian opposition, democrats and peace loving people to take a similar stance.

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The Syria Conflict: West Wants War / Selected articles, August & September 2013

Below we have collated a number of articles from the last two weeks, some of which we added also to our news briefings, which cover the West’s march towards war in Syria and analyse the latest struggles for Rojava’s survival within these latest developments.

Al-Qaeda: A Force for “Good”
9 August 2013 / Rudaw
Trouble is ominously brewing in the once-quiet, northeastern Kurdish corner of Syria where violent terrorist groups affiliated with al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusrah and Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) have begun cold-bloodedly attacking the Kurds.  Bloodthirsty beheadings, reminiscent of Nick Berg, the American cruelly carved up in Iraq in 2004, horrifically bloat today’s Kurdish news.   Kurds are alarmed. Americans should be too. But America is closing its eyes—and closing its embassies around the world in the face of Al-Qaeda inspired terrorist threats. Puzzled Kurds have asked me why America is so indifferent to the Kurdish beheadings, especially when these same “disciples of enforced ignorance” attacked Americans only a decade ago.  I wonder too, and paraphrase Heraclitus who said, “Character is destiny,” and tell them: “Geography is destiny.”

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Statement by the General Command of the People’s Protection Units (YPG)

Latest statement by the People’s Protection Units of Western Kurdistan (YPG):

The 19th July revolution, marked the beginning of the construction of a new Kurdish determination in West Kurdistan towards the building of a free society by the people’s own free will, by means of operations of liberation which have spread throughout revolutionary West Kurdistan.

The launching of this historical period represented a brilliant opportunity to enable resistance based upon democratic values, Kurdish identity and the preparation, organisation and implementation of People’s Protection Units, YPG, as an immediate necessity to protect citizen’s lives, their land and to develop the values of this new society.

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Flaws in Britain’s Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) assessment on the chemical weapons (CW) attacks

– By Desmond Fernandes, policy analyst (formerly Senior Lecturer at De Montfort University).

In ‘Means of attack identified, but not motive” (Guardian, 30 August), it was reported that Britain’s Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) assessment on the Syrian chemical weapons (CW) attacks based its “conclusion that the Syrian regime was ‘highly likely’ to be responsible, … partly on precedent and the firm view that the opposition was not capable of carrying out attacks on this scale”. JIC’s assessment, which was used by Cameron “to build the case for action” against the Syrian regime (‘Cameron forced to rule out British attack on Syria’, Guardian, 30 August), asserted that “it is being claimed, including by the regime, that the attacks were either faked or undertaken by the Syrian Armed Opposition. We have tested this assertion using a wide range of intelligence and open sources, and invited HMG (Her Majesty’s Government) and outside experts to help us establish whether such a thing is possible. There is no credible intelligence or other evidence to substantiate the claims or the possession of CW by the opposition. The JIC has therefore concluded that there are no plausible alternative scenarios to regime responsibility”.

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“Why the US should not bomb Syria”, by Michael M. Gunter

New piece by EUTCC secretary general Michael M Gunter [updated on 3 September with revisions from earlier piece, To Bomb or Not to Bomb]:

WHY THE UNITED STATES SHOULD NOT BOMB SYRIA

On August 21, 2013 the Syrian regime apparently used chemical weapons against the opposition in Ghouta, an eastern suburb of Damascus, killing anywhere from 500-1,300 people, the numbers vary according to U.S. intelligence reports made public. While the Assad regime has long had a great deal of innocent blood on its hand and now may be guilty of using chemical weapons, this is not a sufficient reason for the United States and its Western allies to bomb Syria. Indeed, the United States has neither an intelligent entry or exit plan. In the first place, however, we are not yet even certain the Syrian regime actually used these weapons. U.S. intelligence on these matters has erred and lied to the world before.

For example, in 1998 the United States bombed a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan claiming that Sudan had supplied al-Qaeda with chemical weapons that had been used in its attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Later we learned that the intelligence supposedly implicating Sudan was incorrect. Similarly in the run up to the war that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003 and whose murders and repercussions are still being felt a decade later, the United States falsely claimed that it had incontrovertible intelligence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, which justified attacking. It turned out that U.S. intelligence was wrong again or simply lied to justify going to war.

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Military strikes against Syria ‘a violation of UN Charter’ – ELDH

[updated – 30 August 2013]

European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH) Statement on Syria and potential military strikes:

30 August 2013
AN ALLEGED CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY SHOULD NOT BE PUNISHED BY AN ILLEGAL USE OF FORCE

The European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights (ELDH), with members in 18 European countries, is absolutely opposed to the proposed use of illegal force by Western powers against the Syrian regime.

The US government is leading a call for military action against Syria which will of necessity kill civilians, with the ostensible purpose of showing the Syrian government that by killing large numbers of civilians (allegedly with chemical weapons) they have crossed a “red line” and must be punished.

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News Briefing Regarding Events in West Kurdistan (Northern Syria)

Latest news briefing from the Democratic Unity Party (PYD) in Rojava:

Headlines

• On the ground events in Western Kurdistan
• Arabic Belt Policy for Rojava again!
• PYD condemns attacks on Damascus
• Various activities
On the ground events in Western Kurdistan
Regime attacks in Dêrik and Segerka village

DÊRIK – Regime forces attacked Dêrik city (al Malakiya) and Segreka village. According to HawarNews Agency (ANHA) a regime helicopter attacked two points in Dêrik and one location in Segerka village. One civilian was killed and several were wounded in Derik (al-Malakiya) and a lot of material damage was caused in Segerka.
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Urgent plea to President Barack Obama

Peace in Kurdistan patron Margaret Owen OBE has written an open letter to US President Barack Obama, urging him to make an urgent investigation into the brutal massacre and kidnapping of hundreds of Kurdish men, women and children at the hands of US- and Turkey-backed Al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria.

In the letter she reminds President Obama that Western Kurdistan had, until recent provocations, remained peaceful under the leadership of the PYD and had become a safe haven for many Syrian’s fleeing violence in the worn-torn country. Turkish anxieties over the new project of democratic autonomy in Western Kurdistan should not justify the international community’s indifference to the massacre of innocent Kurdish civilians.
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