July 31, 2015

Why I disagree with Ezra about Obama, Turkey and the Kurds

MJ SheppardRebel Blogger

How do you tell the boss he's wrong? 

It's a weird situation when you contribute to a site whose ownership and big-name personalities take positions so contrary to your own. I expect that few, if any of you, have been in the position that I'm at here at The Rebel. 

I don't think that I'm violating any confidences when I tell you that I was invited to post here as a sort of "Call Bullshit" guy. Nothing is as boring as an echo chamber, which is why Fox News is populated entirely by hot blondes. Few things are as effective at distracting you from an utter lack of actual content as a hot blonde.

On most things, like dopey social issues that I don't think are the government's business, I let it slide. Vive le Difference and whatnot. Besides, most of those changes are here to stay, regardless of what you, me or anybody else has to say about it. When the Conservative Party decides that, say, gay marriage isn't in their wheelhouse, the issue is pretty much settled.

War and peace is a little different, particularly when a personality as influential as Ezra Levant is speaking out about it. When you're talking about matters that can very easily wind up with Canadian kids getting very dead, I strongly believe that some precision of language is required.

So I'm calling bullshit. On my own boss. This should be interesting, if only to see if it actually gets published and stays that way. It would be hypocritical in the extreme for me to publish this anywhere else without trying here first.

On Tuesday, the Rebel Commander put up this video post, which, in my opinion, took a great deal of effort to be that wrong in just six minutes.

Point by point, here are my issues;

1) Mr. Levant assumes that all Kurds are created equal.

They decidedly are not. Ezra makes no distinction between the various factions. Iraqi Kurdistan is governed by a loose coalition of the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdisan. The Turks are bombing, along with ISIS formations, the forces of the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK).

The PKK, which Ezra refers to as "a rebel group."  is a violent revolutionary Marxist-Leninist movement that has been engaged in anti-Turkish terrorism since at least 1979. Until the 1990s, the PKK was supported by Syria's Assad regime, and - according to Wikipedia:

"Starting in 1984, the PKK transformed into a paramilitary group, using training camps located in France. It launched attacks and   against governmental installations, the military, and various "institutions of the state" — some of which were connected to the Southeastern Anatolia Project. The PKK became less centralized, taking up operations in a variety of European and Middle Eastern countries, especially Germany and France. The PKK has attacked civilian and military targets in various countries, such as Turkey, France, Belgium and Iraq."

They are also alleged by the United States to be involved in drug trafficking. Like the Taliban in Afghanistan, the PKK has a history of using women as suicide bombers.  It remains a designated a terrorist group by the United States, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Canada, Germany, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, and Syria. 

2) As Ezra points out, the PKK is fighting ISIS in Syria.

So, in the form of the al-Nusra Front, is al Qaeda. Are they our besties now, too? Or are we makings distinctions between "good terrorists" and "bad" ones?

It should be noted, which Mr. Levant doesn't, that Turkey is retaliating against terror attacks by the PKK, within Turkey, against police and military targets that took place just last week. 

In this, some context is necessary: Stephen Harper and Jason Kenney declared "war" based on attacks that killed two Canadian soldiers in Ottawa and Quebec that had no actual operational command and control link to ISIS. How exactly is Turkey not justified in not responding at least as forcefully?

3) Mr. Levant declares this a "deal" with Turkey that makes it "more dangerous to be America's friend than an enemy." 

One suspects that he didn't feel that way in October of 2007, when Turkey retaliated against PKK forces in Iraq Kurdistan for another set of terror attacks. It would be horrible to know that President Bush, who controlled Iraq's borders and airspace at the time, was enabling freedom's enemies and betraying the only democrats in the Middle East who aren't Israeli. 

4) Ezra says that Iran is fighting ISIS "with Obama's permission."

Really? Were the al-Qouds Force operating in Iraq with George Bush's position from 2004-'09? 

It seems to me that the United States wasn't any more willing to go to war to stop Iran then than it is now. 

5) The Kurds are "Taking back land" 

This is true, but only in the strictest sense. The Kurds are taking back land from ISIS that they already contested was theirs during the Saddam era. The Kurds aren't fighting for land that they have no national interest in. And if they were, who would they turn it back over to once hostilities ended? 

Much like ISIS, the Kurds have no interest in preserving the Iraqi central state. However, that is contrary to the wishes of the entire international community, including Canada. 

6) Turkey hates the Kurds because they would take"some territory that Turkey currently controls" to establish a state. 

Estimates vary, but "some territory" would be anywhere between a quarter and a third of current Turkey, parts of eastern Iran and northern Iraq and Syria. 

Quick, name a country that is willing to voluntarily give up a third of its territory to create a new state! Now name four. 

I feel that it is inhuman to encourage a people as vulnerable as the Kurds to seek national independence if we aren't personally prepared to guarantee their security. Unless and until the Government of Canada is prepared to sacrifice our boys and girls to defend the independence of a Kurdish state against powerful and evil neighbors, we shouldn't tell them to risk their lives to achieve it. Talk is cheap. 

7) Countries that allow women in combat "aren't fascist misogynists."  

Like, I dunno, the United States? Canada before the 1990s? 

8) "So the United States protects Turkey" 

One supposes. In as much as it protects Canada, the United Kingdom, France or Germany. Turkey has the second largest deployable force in NATO, after the United States. American bases were placed in Turkey as an offensive measure against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. 

9) Because of a lack of offensive basing rights in Turkey, "Obama is the worst negotiator ever." 

This of course is why the 2003 Iraq War offensive was launched entirely from Kuwait, as opposed to Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Because President Bush was such an awesome negotiator. He just liked the challenge of launching a ground offensive from a single front, when he could have had three. Or four. Jordan, which gets a boatload of American aid, refused to help, too. 

But, yeah, it's all on Obama. 


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commented 2015-08-03 10:16:26 -0400
You are omitting the truce between Turkey and the Kurds which was broken with their new round of air strikes. Turkey just discarded a crucial tool of domestic security for no practical reason. Now they have to deal with ISIS, PKK and YPG at once. There is far more going on in Turkey you do not understand. You also omitted a rich history in when there are major global conflicts, radical groups often form militias which then then grow into armies. Armies like the IDF; Formed from the merging of the Irgun and Haganah. When they grow and take the responsibilities of real combat, they slowly moderate from within. This is precisely what happened with the Irgun and Haganah and is currently happening within Hezbollah, believe it or not.

Your faith in the Turkish government and Obama is very disturbing. Both are cowards with no idea how to deal with a threat like ISIS. One way is to make inconvenient allies for the sake of your people and do it in a way which does not inflame the situation even more. Turkey being in NATO and behaving as it did in the last 3 years is unacceptable to put it mildly. Secret ISIS hospitals, open borders to go into Syria, attempting to revise history and allowing ISIS to recruit within its own borders with immunity. Turkey is NO ally against ISIS. A typical wolf in sheep’s clothing and the opinions of the educated Turks back this up.

Obama has allowed himself to be blackmailed merely to protect himself and Clinton, has fed US soldiers and personnel to jihadists then lied about it several times, publicly insults world leaders by doing things like golfing during international crises, and that’s without mentioning how he personally dragged the US back to the same high racial tensions we haven’t seen since the 1990’s.

Well, in conclusion; I call Bullshit…
commented 2015-08-03 08:31:27 -0400
Bottom line!! United Nations the enemy of world period, all evil now enforced through this degenerate organization! Period.
commented 2015-08-03 02:20:33 -0400
Funny how the writer disses the female commentators for being attractive and blonde, rather than for their ideas. Does he know that pretty much all of them are very highly educated. Much more so than the average journalist.

Yes, the PKK has its bad points, but the Kurds deserve their own nation and are not all bad.
commented 2015-08-02 14:03:38 -0400
Well, I remember NATO /US took Kosowo from Serbs and give it to International Jihadis. Maybe NATO can just give the Kurds a little land.
commented 2015-08-01 23:22:51 -0400
Stephen Harper and Jason Kenney declared “war” based on attacks that killed two Canadian soldiers in Ottawa and Quebec that had no actual operational command and control link to ISIS. How exactly is Turkey not justified in not responding at least as forcefully?

Huh?? Say wha’?? I’m no expert on the mid east, it’s complicated as hell, and aside from Israel, only bad actors, BUT, we’ve been at war for oh, I dunno, 14yrs? When you come out with arguments this pathetic, it brings into question all else you state,
so I call BULLSHIT!!
commented 2015-08-01 22:59:57 -0400
PKK is a nasty bunch and one can hardly blame the Turks for bombing them. There are plenty of fighting Kurds who are not PKK aligned and who deserve support.

My sense is that the end of Iraq with the north largely become a Kurdish proto-state is on the cards. The Kurds in Iraq pretty much control the area now. And I expect Iran to support the shi’tes up to Baghdad. Whether it is a formal annexation is a whole other question. With that Sykes-Picot borders are dead.

Turkey has a capable military and it has been dancing around the whole ISIS/Syrian Sunni rebel/Kurd situation for a while. In some ways it would make sense for Turkey to move south and provide protection to the non-terrorist Sunnis in Western Iraq and Eastern Syria. But that would bring them into direct conflict with Iran, ISIS and the Kurds. Estalishing a safe zone on the Turkish Syrian border but limited to a ten or twenty mile buffer could do a good deal to ease the refugee problem. But it would also be the beginning of the dismemberment of Syria and the end of Assad.

For reasons of their own Iran, China and Russia seem to want to keep Assad around. If the Turks make moves which threaten Assad – and his position is currently so precarious that almost any move towards a border buffer will threaten him – the Iranians in particular – are not going to be pleased.

Saying that “its complicated” does not begin to describe the situation. The one piece which is, I think, pretty critical, is that the Kurds (PKK and the more savory), are at the moment the only force which has been able to stand its ground against ISIS. The Kurds, in light of the Turkish bombing, might well be tempted to retreat to their little corner of Iraq and let the big guys shoot it out among themselves. Who could blame them.
commented 2015-08-01 18:09:28 -0400
at least mj you have a job[so far] and a right to say your peace. many media will not print views like ctv unless they back the coalition of the stupid espiecally trudeau and anything against harper. freedom of choice, expression are to important to be frittered away by the left wing scum. too bad democracy means nothing to them.
commented 2015-08-01 14:44:57 -0400
Can’t wait for the left wing trolls to come on denouncing The Rebel for not publishing contrary opinions…………! Waiting………….
commented 2015-08-01 10:55:00 -0400
MJ Sheppard – it is OK to disagree with the boss – in fact once in a while it should be mandatory – as long as you can remain civil about it this type of thing is called honesty – far too little of it in the world today.
commented 2015-08-01 10:53:04 -0400
No arguments just a few comets:

1. The president of the US of A was only elected because of racial division and American guilt – as a black man he was a shoe-in. His ratings are low now as people have finally started to have had enough of him. There are going to be many interesting things found out (that will shock people) about him after he is finally out of the WH

2. Turkey – allowed entry into NATO because of political correctness – a bad country with bad people – prepared to turn on NATO or its neighbours – never did and never will trust this country or its people – and yes I have spent a lot of time there – anyone disagreeing with me should go there (not stay in the big financial centres in elite hotels) and visit the country side one on one with the locals – they would be shocked at the western hatred..

3. Kurds – will always be our friends as long as the cash, ammunition and firearms flows freely. Cut them off and they will be their true selves – and not to be trusted. For that reason they will likely never be cut off and we have now created another “refugee forever”.

In all cases none of these people should be allowed to enter Canada to stay – it will cost us millions to get the to self supporting capability – if indeed they ever do become self supporting. And you can be sure they will never become Canadian except in name only.
commented 2015-08-01 03:30:15 -0400
Very good arguments. Excellent insights. I’m confused. I’d like to see a second round from both of you.