What Palestinians Can Learn from the Kurds

Dec. 24 2015

The Kurds living in the Syrian region of Rojava have established a quasi-state that is an oasis of individual freedom and relative stability; their brethren in Iraqi Kurdistan have accomplished something similar. Unlike the Palestinians, they have made little effort to gain international recognition, focusing instead on the essentials. Bob Feferman and Dan Feferman write:

[The Kurdish leader Abdullah] Ocalan, who sits by himself in a Turkish island prison, left [his former] Arafat-like ways of terror behind, as he realized that fighting Turkey for independence was not realistic and cost his people too high a price. Instead . . . Ocalan’s followers, who number roughly 4.5 million Kurds in northern Syria, have established a number of democratic city-states—where gender equality is enforced almost as extremely as the exact opposite is just a few miles away in Islamic State-controlled areas. Elections ensure that the region’s non-Kurds are represented equally in matters of [public] decision making. . . .

The . . . Kurds in both Syria and Turkey, and the Kurds of northern Iraq, realized that the trappings of statehood meant little if the basis for a functioning society underneath was absent. Instead, the Kurds turned inward to gain stability. Rather than apply for meaningless membership in myriad international organizations, they sought economic prosperity and good governance.

In clear contrast, the Palestinians have tried bullying their way to independence by waging terrorism through suicide bombings, stones, bullets, and knives.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Democracy, Iraq, Kurds, Palestinian statehood, Politics & Current Affairs, Syrian civil war


The U.S. Is Trying to Seduce Israel into Accepting a Bad Deal with Iran. Israel Should Say No

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its quarterly report on the Iranian nuclear program. According to an analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security, the Islamic Republic can now produce enough weapons-grade uranium to manufacture “five nuclear weapons in one month, seven in two months, and a total of eight in three months.” The IAEA also has reason to believe that Tehran has further nuclear capabilities that it has successfully hidden from inspectors. David M. Weinberg is concerned about Washington’s response:

Believe it or not, the Biden administration apparently is once again offering the mullahs of Tehran a sweetheart deal: the release of $10 billion or more in frozen Iranian assets and clemency for Iran’s near-breakout nuclear advances of recent years, in exchange for Iranian release of American hostages and warmed-over pious Iranian pledges to freeze the Shiite atomic-bomb program.

This month, intelligence photos showed Iran again digging tunnels at its Natanz nuclear site—supposedly deep enough to withstand an American or Israeli military strike. This tells us that Iran has something to hide, a clear sign that it has not given up on its quest for a nuclear bomb.

Meanwhile, Antony Blinken today completes a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is reportedly pressing the kingdom to enter the Abraham Accords. This is no coincidence, for reasons Weinberg explains:

Washington expects Israeli acquiescence in the emerging U.S. surrender to Iran in exchange for a series of other things important to Israel. These include U.S. backing for Israel against escalated Palestinian assaults expected this fall in UN forums, toning down U.S. criticism regarding settlement and security matters (at a time when the IDF is going to have to intensify its anti-terrorist operations in Judea and Samaria), an easing of U.S. pressures on Israel in connection with domestic matters (like judicial reform), a warm Washington visit for Prime Minister Netanyahu (which is not just a political concession but is rather critical to Israel’s overall deterrent posture), and most of all, significant American moves towards reconciliation with Saudi Arabia (which is critical to driving a breakthrough in Israeli-Saudi ties).

[But] even an expensive package of U.S. “concessions” to Saudi Arabia will not truly compensate for U.S. capitulation to Iran (something we know from experience will only embolden the hegemonic ambitions of the mullahs). And this capitulation will make it more difficult for the Saudis to embrace Israel publicly.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Antony Blinken, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship