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 21 
 on: March 27, 2017, 04:12:09 PM 
Started by captainccs - Last post by G M
I'm all for a Free Kurdistan. Turkey can pound sand.

WSJ: "A central goal for the U.S. should be to empower the Kurdistan Region. We are a stable, longstanding U.S. ally amid a sea of unrest. We’ve proved to be a valuable partner in the war on terrorism and share common values and a commitment to democracy."


By Aziz Ahmad
March 26, 2017 4:11 p.m. ET
97 COMMENTS

Erbil, Iraq

‘I swear by God we are not brothers,” the Sunni Arab sheik shouted from the audience in response to a conservative Shiite lawmaker’s plea for brotherhood. The occasion was a conference last summer at the American University of Kurdistan, in Duhok. It was the two men’s first encounter since the fall of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, to Islamic State in June 2014.

Conference organizers had hoped for reconciliation, but there was little sign of it. “We were never brothers,” the sheik said. “We’ve always been afraid of each other.” His candor drew nods from the Sunni men seated in front rows. The speakers and audience members condemned one another as failures and exchanged blame for the army’s flight, for embracing Islamic State, and for perpetrating massacres.

Sectarian distrust—a problem that has plagued Iraq for much of its modern history and has been amplified since Saddam Hussein’s fall in 2003—was laid bare that day. A country that should have been brought together under the adversity of Islamic State’s rampage seemed to be further apart than ever, with divisions extending far beyond Mosul.

Almost a year later, a fragile coalition of Kurdish, Arab and American forces is slowly advancing in Islamic State’s primary stronghold in Mosul. But retaking the city will not unify Iraq. The current Shiite-led political discourse in Baghdad is synonymous with the denial of rights to minorities, including Kurds. Conversely, in Mosul a Sunni Arab majority marginalizes minorities, who in turn accuse Sunnis of supporting ISIS.

Sinjar, west of Mosul, is a case in point. When I visited last year I saw no sign of peaceful coexistence. The local security chief, a Yazidi, told me that Sunni Arabs from his village, Kojo, had joined ISIS’s brutal terror against the Yazidis, a religious minority. Men from the al-Metuta tribe helped kill “hundreds,” he said, including 68 members of his own family. “Of course I remember them,” he said. “Those Arab men had a hand in the honor of our women. It’s not possible to live together again.”

In meetings with Iraqi officials and community leaders, I’ve seen how Islamic State’s campaign has aggravated animosity across tribal, ethnic and religious lines. Without a political track to address tensions between Sunnis and Shiites or Kurds and Arabs, the day-after scenario remains perilous.

Addressing the problems begins by restoring trust. For Mosul, Baghdad is already on the wrong foot. The offensive against ISIS includes a coalition of Shiite militias, despite strong protests from Mosul’s predominantly Sunni provincial council. The new formula must tackle minorities’ fears of marginalization by granting local autonomy, including to Christians persecuted by ISIS militants, and by implementing laws already in place to give Sunnis a stake and isolate extremists.

We Kurds can help. We make up a third of the province’s population. For over a year, our Peshmerga fighters were poised for an assault on Mosul, but our persistent calls for a political agreement were ignored. An agreement during the military campaign is still necessary to prevent intercommunal conflict.

Such an agreement should outline a path toward governance and offer more than a Shiite-centric alternative. In parallel, there must be an effort to demobilize Shiite militias formed in the aftermath of the war by engaging the Iraqi Shiite spiritual leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, for a religious decree. It should also call for the groups’ withdrawal from areas liberated by the Peshmerga.

Baghdad should not impose solutions. It should instead lead talks with Turkey and Iran to defuse regional tensions that intersect in Mosul. Iraq’s problem with Turkey can be solved by ending Baghdad’s payments to the anti-Ankara Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as PKK, in Sinjar and demanding the group’s withdrawal, in line with calls from local officials and the provincial council.

More broadly, once the fight is over, there needs to be a political reckoning by Kurds and Arabs about how the Iraqi state can go forward. It’s too late to salvage the post-2003 project; the country has segregated itself into armed enclaves. The Kurdish people suffered a litany of abuses, including genocide, under successive Sunni regimes. More recently, despite a shared history, the Shiite-led government reneged on promises for partnership and revenue sharing. It suspended Kurdistan’s budget and prevents us still from buying weapons. Given that experience, Kurdish loyalty to an Iraqi identity remains nonexistent.

For us, complete separation is the only alternative. Our pursuit of independence is about charting a better course from Iraq’s conceptual failure. The path forward should begin from a simple truth: Iraq has already fallen apart, and the country will be better off realigned on the parties’ own terms.

A central goal for the U.S. should be to empower the Kurdistan Region. We are a stable, longstanding U.S. ally amid a sea of unrest. We’ve proved to be a valuable partner in the war on terrorism and share common values and a commitment to democracy.

The advance on Mosul represents the turn of a chapter that transcends Iraq’s three-year war. It represents a moment of reckoning and an opportunity to consolidate the Kurdistan Region on terms that will de-escalate conflict and safeguard its peoples.

Mr. Ahmad is an assistant to the chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council.

Appeared in the Mar. 27, 2017, print edition.

 22 
 on: March 27, 2017, 04:11:12 PM 
Started by Quijote - Last post by G M
March 26, 2017 3:46 p.m. ET
146 COMMENTS

Marine Le Pen made a surprise visit to the Kremlin Friday, and Vladimir Putin’s warm reception left little doubt about Moscow’s choice to win the French Presidential election in a month.

The French National Front leader was looking for at least a de facto Kremlin endorsement a month from the first round of voting, and she received it with news footage that showed the Russian strongman smiling next to her.

“We do not want to influence events in any way,” Mr. Putin said, and how would anyone get that idea? Pro-Kremlin news sites merely published reports that the Kremlin had pledged to “help” Ms. Le Pen’s cash-strapped campaign before correcting the stories and deleting the tweets. In 2014 the National Front received a $10 million loan from a Kremlin-linked bank.

Ms. Le Pen returned the public admiration, saying Mr. Putin represents a “new vision” of conservative nationalism and sovereignty along with Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. That’s an insult to Messrs. Trump and Modi, who have won fair elections. She also called on Paris and Moscow to join forces to combat “globalization and Islamic fundamentalism.”

Ms. Le Pen made clear that she’d pursue a policy of appeasement toward Russian aggression against the countries that live in Moscow’s shadow. Sovereignty is sacred to her—unless you’re Georgian or Ukrainian. “I was one of the few politicians in France who were defending their own point of view on Ukraine that coincided with that of Russia,” she said at the Russian Parliament.

She went on to denounce Ukraine’s elected government using rhetoric that would make the producers at Russia Today blush: “We are forced to deal with a government that came to power illegally, as a result of the Maidan revolution, and now bombs the population in Donetsk and Luhansk. This is a war crime.” She vowed to fight European sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and proxy invasion of eastern Ukraine.

Ms. Le Pen has long been a Putin apologist, but the difference is that now she has a plausible path to the Élysée Palace. Being open to negotiations with Mr. Putin is one thing, excusing and endorsing Russian imperialism another. If she’s elected, Mr. Putin will have an overt fifth columnist in the heart of NATO.  

(MARC:  Forgive me if I have this wrong, but is France in NATO?)

http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/french-foreign-policy/defence-security/france-and-nato/

 23 
 on: March 27, 2017, 04:02:18 PM 
Started by ccp - Last post by G M
http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/266197/civil-war-here-daniel-greenfield

THE CIVIL WAR IS HERE
The left doesn’t want to secede. It wants to rule.
March 27, 2017  Daniel Greenfield 

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.

A civil war has begun.

This civil war is very different than the last one. There are no cannons or cavalry charges. The left doesn’t want to secede. It wants to rule. Political conflicts become civil wars when one side refuses to accept the existing authority. The left has rejected all forms of authority that it doesn’t control.

The left has rejected the outcome of the last two presidential elections won by Republicans. It has rejected the judicial authority of the Supreme Court when it decisions don’t accord with its agenda. It rejects the legislative authority of Congress when it is not dominated by the left.

It rejected the Constitution so long ago that it hardly bears mentioning. 

It was for total unilateral executive authority under Obama. And now it’s for states unilaterally deciding what laws they will follow. (As long as that involves defying immigration laws under Trump, not following them under Obama.) It was for the sacrosanct authority of the Senate when it held the majority. Then it decried the Senate as an outmoded institution when the Republicans took it over.

It was for Obama defying the orders of Federal judges, no matter how well grounded in existing law, and it is for Federal judges overriding any order by Trump on any grounds whatsoever. It was for Obama penalizing whistleblowers, but now undermining the government from within has become “patriotic”.

There is no form of legal authority that the left accepts as a permanent institution. It only utilizes forms of authority selectively when it controls them. But when government officials refuse the orders of the duly elected government because their allegiance is to an ideology whose agenda is in conflict with the President and Congress, that’s not activism, protest, politics or civil disobedience; it’s treason.

After losing Congress, the left consolidated its authority in the White House. After losing the White House, the left shifted its center of authority to Federal judges and unelected government officials. Each defeat led the radicalized Democrats to relocate from more democratic to less democratic institutions.

This isn’t just hypocrisy. That’s a common political sin. Hypocrites maneuver within the system. The left has no allegiance to the system. It accepts no laws other than those dictated by its ideology.

Democrats have become radicalized by the left. This doesn’t just mean that they pursue all sorts of bad policies. It means that their first and foremost allegiance is to an ideology, not the Constitution, not our country or our system of government. All of those are only to be used as vehicles for their ideology.

 That’s why compromise has become impossible.

Our system of government was designed to allow different groups to negotiate their differences. But those differences were supposed to be based around finding shared interests. The most profound of these shared interests was that of a common country based around certain civilizational values. The left has replaced these Founding ideas with radically different notions and principles. It has rejected the primary importance of the country. As a result it shares little in the way of interests or values.

Instead it has retreated to cultural urban and suburban enclaves where it has centralized tremendous amounts of power while disregarding the interests and values of most of the country. If it considers them at all, it is convinced that they will shortly disappear to be replaced by compliant immigrants and college indoctrinated leftists who will form a permanent demographic majority for its agenda.

But it couldn’t wait that long because it is animated by the conviction that enforcing its ideas is urgent and inevitable. And so it turned what had been a hidden transition into an open break.

In the hidden transition, its authority figures had hijacked the law and every political office they held to pursue their ideological agenda. The left had used its vast cultural power to manufacture a consensus that was slowly transitioning the country from American values to its values and agendas. The right had proven largely impotent in the face of a program which corrupted and subverted from within.

The left was enormously successful in this regard. It was so successful that it lost all sense of proportion and decided to be open about its views and to launch a political power struggle after losing an election.

The Democrats were no longer being slowly injected with leftist ideology. Instead the left openly took over and demanded allegiance to open borders, identity politics and environmental fanaticism. The exodus of voters wiped out the Democrats across much of what the left deemed flyover country.

The left responded to democratic defeats by retreating deeper into undemocratic institutions, whether it was the bureaucracy or the corporate media, while doubling down on its political radicalism. It is now openly defying the outcome of a national election using a coalition of bureaucrats, corporations, unelected officials, celebrities and reporters that are based out of its cultural and political enclaves.


 
It has responded to a lost election by constructing sanctuary cities and states thereby turning a cultural and ideological secession into a legal secession. But while secessionists want to be left alone authoritarians want everyone to follow their laws. The left is an authoritarian movement that wants total compliance with its dictates with severe punishments for those who disobey.

The left describes its actions as principled. But more accurately they are ideological. Officials at various levels of government have rejected the authority of the President of the United States, of Congress and of the Constitution because those are at odds with their radical ideology. Judges have cloaked this rejection in law. Mayors and governors are not even pretending that their actions are lawful.

The choices of this civil war are painfully clear.

We can have a system of government based around the Constitution with democratically elected representatives. Or we can have one based on the ideological principles of the left in which all laws and processes, including elections and the Constitution, are fig leaves for enforcing social justice.

But we cannot have both.

Some civil wars happen when a political conflict can’t be resolved at the political level. The really bad ones happen when an irresolvable political conflict combines with an irresolvable cultural conflict.

That is what we have now.

The left has made it clear that it will not accept the lawful authority of our system of government. It will not accept the outcome of elections. It will not accept these things because they are at odds with its ideology and because they represent the will of large portions of the country whom they despise.

The question is what comes next.

The last time around growing tensions began to explode in violent confrontations between extremists on both sides. These extremists were lauded by moderates who mainstreamed their views. The first Republican president was elected and rejected. The political tensions led to conflict and then civil war.

The left doesn’t believe in secession. It’s an authoritarian political movement that has lost democratic authority. There is now a political power struggle underway between the democratically elected officials and the undemocratic machinery of government aided by a handful of judges and local elected officials.

What this really means is that there are two competing governments; the legal government and a treasonous anti-government of the left. If this political conflict progresses, agencies and individuals at every level of government will be asked to demonstrate their allegiance to these two competing governments. And that can swiftly and explosively transform into an actual civil war.

There is no sign that the left understands or is troubled by the implications of the conflict it has initiated. And there are few signs that Democrats properly understand the dangerous road that the radical left is drawing them toward. The left assumes that the winners of a democratic election will back down rather than stand on their authority. It is unprepared for the possibility that democracy won’t die in darkness.

Civil wars end when one side is forced to accept the authority of the other. The left expects everyone to accept its ideological authority. Conservatives expect the left to accept Constitutional authority. The conflict is still political and cultural. It’s being fought in the media and within the government. But if neither side backs down, then it will go beyond words as both sides give contradictory orders.

The left is a treasonous movement. The Democrats became a treasonous organization when they fell under the sway of a movement that rejects our system of government, its laws and its elections. Now their treason is coming to a head. They are engaged in a struggle for power against the government. That’s not protest. It’s not activism. The old treason of the sixties has come of age. A civil war has begun.

This is a primal conflict between a totalitarian system and a democratic system. Its outcome will determine whether we will be a free nation or a nation of slaves.

 24 
 on: March 27, 2017, 03:59:50 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by G M

The left always pushes both the Hitler and the incompetent themes for any republican president.

 25 
 on: March 27, 2017, 03:54:55 PM 
Started by Quijote - Last post by Crafty_Dog
March 26, 2017 3:46 p.m. ET
146 COMMENTS

Marine Le Pen made a surprise visit to the Kremlin Friday, and Vladimir Putin’s warm reception left little doubt about Moscow’s choice to win the French Presidential election in a month.

The French National Front leader was looking for at least a de facto Kremlin endorsement a month from the first round of voting, and she received it with news footage that showed the Russian strongman smiling next to her.

“We do not want to influence events in any way,” Mr. Putin said, and how would anyone get that idea? Pro-Kremlin news sites merely published reports that the Kremlin had pledged to “help” Ms. Le Pen’s cash-strapped campaign before correcting the stories and deleting the tweets. In 2014 the National Front received a $10 million loan from a Kremlin-linked bank.

Ms. Le Pen returned the public admiration, saying Mr. Putin represents a “new vision” of conservative nationalism and sovereignty along with Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. That’s an insult to Messrs. Trump and Modi, who have won fair elections. She also called on Paris and Moscow to join forces to combat “globalization and Islamic fundamentalism.”

Ms. Le Pen made clear that she’d pursue a policy of appeasement toward Russian aggression against the countries that live in Moscow’s shadow. Sovereignty is sacred to her—unless you’re Georgian or Ukrainian. “I was one of the few politicians in France who were defending their own point of view on Ukraine that coincided with that of Russia,” she said at the Russian Parliament.

She went on to denounce Ukraine’s elected government using rhetoric that would make the producers at Russia Today blush: “We are forced to deal with a government that came to power illegally, as a result of the Maidan revolution, and now bombs the population in Donetsk and Luhansk. This is a war crime.” She vowed to fight European sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and proxy invasion of eastern Ukraine.

Ms. Le Pen has long been a Putin apologist, but the difference is that now she has a plausible path to the Élysée Palace. Being open to negotiations with Mr. Putin is one thing, excusing and endorsing Russian imperialism another. If she’s elected, Mr. Putin will have an overt fifth columnist in the heart of NATO.  

(MARC:  Forgive me if I have this wrong, but is France in NATO?)

 26 
 on: March 27, 2017, 03:52:44 PM 
Started by captainccs - Last post by Crafty_Dog
WSJ: "A central goal for the U.S. should be to empower the Kurdistan Region. We are a stable, longstanding U.S. ally amid a sea of unrest. We’ve proved to be a valuable partner in the war on terrorism and share common values and a commitment to democracy."


By Aziz Ahmad
March 26, 2017 4:11 p.m. ET
97 COMMENTS

Erbil, Iraq

‘I swear by God we are not brothers,” the Sunni Arab sheik shouted from the audience in response to a conservative Shiite lawmaker’s plea for brotherhood. The occasion was a conference last summer at the American University of Kurdistan, in Duhok. It was the two men’s first encounter since the fall of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, to Islamic State in June 2014.

Conference organizers had hoped for reconciliation, but there was little sign of it. “We were never brothers,” the sheik said. “We’ve always been afraid of each other.” His candor drew nods from the Sunni men seated in front rows. The speakers and audience members condemned one another as failures and exchanged blame for the army’s flight, for embracing Islamic State, and for perpetrating massacres.

Sectarian distrust—a problem that has plagued Iraq for much of its modern history and has been amplified since Saddam Hussein’s fall in 2003—was laid bare that day. A country that should have been brought together under the adversity of Islamic State’s rampage seemed to be further apart than ever, with divisions extending far beyond Mosul.

Almost a year later, a fragile coalition of Kurdish, Arab and American forces is slowly advancing in Islamic State’s primary stronghold in Mosul. But retaking the city will not unify Iraq. The current Shiite-led political discourse in Baghdad is synonymous with the denial of rights to minorities, including Kurds. Conversely, in Mosul a Sunni Arab majority marginalizes minorities, who in turn accuse Sunnis of supporting ISIS.

Sinjar, west of Mosul, is a case in point. When I visited last year I saw no sign of peaceful coexistence. The local security chief, a Yazidi, told me that Sunni Arabs from his village, Kojo, had joined ISIS’s brutal terror against the Yazidis, a religious minority. Men from the al-Metuta tribe helped kill “hundreds,” he said, including 68 members of his own family. “Of course I remember them,” he said. “Those Arab men had a hand in the honor of our women. It’s not possible to live together again.”

In meetings with Iraqi officials and community leaders, I’ve seen how Islamic State’s campaign has aggravated animosity across tribal, ethnic and religious lines. Without a political track to address tensions between Sunnis and Shiites or Kurds and Arabs, the day-after scenario remains perilous.

Addressing the problems begins by restoring trust. For Mosul, Baghdad is already on the wrong foot. The offensive against ISIS includes a coalition of Shiite militias, despite strong protests from Mosul’s predominantly Sunni provincial council. The new formula must tackle minorities’ fears of marginalization by granting local autonomy, including to Christians persecuted by ISIS militants, and by implementing laws already in place to give Sunnis a stake and isolate extremists.

We Kurds can help. We make up a third of the province’s population. For over a year, our Peshmerga fighters were poised for an assault on Mosul, but our persistent calls for a political agreement were ignored. An agreement during the military campaign is still necessary to prevent intercommunal conflict.

Such an agreement should outline a path toward governance and offer more than a Shiite-centric alternative. In parallel, there must be an effort to demobilize Shiite militias formed in the aftermath of the war by engaging the Iraqi Shiite spiritual leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, for a religious decree. It should also call for the groups’ withdrawal from areas liberated by the Peshmerga.

Baghdad should not impose solutions. It should instead lead talks with Turkey and Iran to defuse regional tensions that intersect in Mosul. Iraq’s problem with Turkey can be solved by ending Baghdad’s payments to the anti-Ankara Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as PKK, in Sinjar and demanding the group’s withdrawal, in line with calls from local officials and the provincial council.

More broadly, once the fight is over, there needs to be a political reckoning by Kurds and Arabs about how the Iraqi state can go forward. It’s too late to salvage the post-2003 project; the country has segregated itself into armed enclaves. The Kurdish people suffered a litany of abuses, including genocide, under successive Sunni regimes. More recently, despite a shared history, the Shiite-led government reneged on promises for partnership and revenue sharing. It suspended Kurdistan’s budget and prevents us still from buying weapons. Given that experience, Kurdish loyalty to an Iraqi identity remains nonexistent.

For us, complete separation is the only alternative. Our pursuit of independence is about charting a better course from Iraq’s conceptual failure. The path forward should begin from a simple truth: Iraq has already fallen apart, and the country will be better off realigned on the parties’ own terms.

A central goal for the U.S. should be to empower the Kurdistan Region. We are a stable, longstanding U.S. ally amid a sea of unrest. We’ve proved to be a valuable partner in the war on terrorism and share common values and a commitment to democracy.

The advance on Mosul represents the turn of a chapter that transcends Iraq’s three-year war. It represents a moment of reckoning and an opportunity to consolidate the Kurdistan Region on terms that will de-escalate conflict and safeguard its peoples.

Mr. Ahmad is an assistant to the chancellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council.

Appeared in the Mar. 27, 2017, print edition.

 27 
 on: March 27, 2017, 03:49:02 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Yup  rolleyes

 28 
 on: March 27, 2017, 03:48:40 PM 
Started by HUSS - Last post by Crafty_Dog
I knew something like that was coming from you!
 grin grin grin

 29 
 on: March 27, 2017, 03:47:29 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
http://blog.dilbert.com/post/158812654486/trump-and-healthcare

 30 
 on: March 27, 2017, 03:42:14 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by G M

Isn't she about to get a lifetime achievement award?

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