Resources

Review Category : Kurds

Time for Kurds to Plan for Autonomy

It is no secret that Kurds have been working towards self-rule for decades now. Iraqi Kurds gained autonomy in 1992 after the U.S. implemented a no-fly zone during the first Gulf War. Syrian Kurds are also carving out their historical territories in northern Syria since the start of the civil war in 2011. Sykes-Picot is slowly but surely fading; world powers U.S. and Russia are scrambling to maintain influence. While the international community is occupied with Kurdish referendum calls, in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Rojava gaining broader support in Syria, Erdogan has quietly upped his aggression towards the Kurds in Turkey.

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Who’s Who in Mosul: A Guide to the Most Important Battle in the Fight Against ISIS

by Adam Turner & Diliman Abdulkader

On October 17, the Iraqi government officially declared its plans to liberate Mosul from the Islamic State, more than two years after the city was captured. Unfortunately, winning will require cooperation many different parties. The Shiite government of Iraq, as well as the country’s Shiite militias, both want to be involved in the recapture of Mosul. So do Sunni actors, which include Iraqi tribes, Turkey, and the Kurds. And then there are the forces of the Yazidis and Christians.

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The Kurdish Case, Time for a New Policy

by Diliman Abdulkader, Research Associate at EMET

photo credit: AP/Khalid Mohammed

Kurdish presence is becoming ever more prevalent in recent news; it is not difficult to find updates on their battles against Daesh (Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL) in Syria, calling for an independent state in Iraq, or overcoming Turkish crackdown by the AKP government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Kurds have benefited since the appropriation of Mosul by Daesh in 2014 and they have taken advantage of Iraq’s weak army and Assad’s loss of grip in Syria. Despite these gains, the international community remains naïve.

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Audio: “Turkey’s Increasing Despotism” with Dr. Harold Rhode

“Turkey’s Increasing Despotism”
4.19.16

Featuring Dr. Harold Rhode


In 2002, the Islamist-based Justice and Development Party (AKP) won an election victory in Turkey, and the party has continued to win subsequent elections, sometimes controversially. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the leader of the AKP, was appointed the Prime Minister in 2002, and served until 2014. In 2014, after changes were made to the constitution to directly elect the President, Mr. Erdogan became President.

As the primary Turkish leader, Recep Erdogan has continued to push Turkey in the wrong direction. At home, he has cracked down on the press, political opponents, and even ordinary citizens, when they criticize him. His sponsorship of radical Muslim teachings have led to a rise in the discrimination and violence against Turkish women and gays. In the Middle East, he has been largely unhelpful to the West. He has allowed ISIS to transport weapons into Syria and oil out of Syria/Iraq through Turkey’s borders, and enabled radical Muslim fighters from Europe to reinforce the Islamic State. Erdogan has labeled the U.S. allied Kurds in Syria fighting the Islamic State as terrorists, even though they may be the most moderate and effective group in Syria. He has allowed Turkey to serve as a safe haven for senior Hamas officials and Muslim Brotherhood members. And he has shown himself to be a vicious anti-Semite who strongly opposes Israel.

In light of the above, should the U.S. reconsider its long-time alliance with Turkey? Can we rely upon them at all in the fight against ISIS? And how should U.S. handle Erdogan’s increasing despotism?

About Dr. Harold Rhode: Dr. Rhode is one of the few experts we have in the West who really understands the mentality of the Middle East. Dr. Rhode had spent more than 28 years in the office of U.S. Secretary of Defense as an advisor on U.S. Islamic Affairs. After getting his PhD in Islamic history at Columbia University under the esteemed Bernard Lewis, Dr. Rhode studied and traveled extensively throughout the Islamic world. He speaks fluent Turkish. Dr. Rhode served with the United States armed forces in Iraq, both during the recent war in Iraq and during the Gulf War. Dr. Rhode is also famous for being the person responsible for finding and rescuing sacred Jewish manuscripts from Iraq during the Iraq war.

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