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Entries in Kurdistan (25)


Turkey Analysis: Beyond the Car Bombs --- The Kurds, Iraq, and Syria

Last week, two car bombs exploded in Reyhanli in southern Turkey, close to the Syrian border, killing almost 50 people and injuring more than 100.

While nobody claimed responsibility for the deadly incident, it raised the immediate question of whether Turkey would escalate its intervention in Syria, either alone or with others.

However, that reaction was too narrow and missed the wider context. This is not just about the Syrian conflict but also Turkey's internal politics, specifically its attempt to resolve the sensitive Kurdish issue.

The primary concern for the Erdogan government is the ongoing peace drive with the Kurdish leadership, including imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. So the question is not just whether the events in Reyhanli complicated Turkey's position inside Syria but also whether they threaten these delicate internal negotiations.

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Turkey Audio Feature: Kurdish Fighters Withdraw From Turkey To Iraq

A PKK fighter works on her laptop after arriving in the northern Iraqi city of Dohuk on 14 May 2013, after leaving Turkey as part of a peace drive with Ankara. (Photo: AFP -Safin Hamed)

EA's Scott Lucas spoke with Monocle 24's The Daily on Thursday night, discussing the implications for Turkey after the first group of militants from the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) withdrew from southeast Turkey and entered Iraq, at the behest of their leader, Abdullah Ocalan --- who is serving a life sentence in Turkey --- and as part of a peace plan aimed to end three decades of conflict.

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Turkey Analysis: How Can Ankara's "2071" Vision See the Kurdish Issue?

In the age of globalisation, Foreign Minister Davutoglu’s vision is not that of an empire through swords. Instead, Ankara's ascendancy is through soft power. And that brings in the Kurdish problem.

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Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Protests and the Opposition's Next Move

See also Syria Live Coverage: So, Are "Al Qa'eda Terrorists" Winning the Civil War?
Monday's Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Opposition Rejects Morsi's Referendum

2145 GMT: Turkey. Buses belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party have been attacked on their way from Sharqiya to Cairo, injuring six.

Assailants stoned the buses, which were en route to protests supporting President Morsi, forcing them to stop before attacking the passengers.

The Secretary General of the FJP in Sharqiya, Ahmed Shehata, said some passengers chased the attackers until they reached the outskirts of Salam City.

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Egypt, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Morsi Gives Back His Expanded Powers

1759 GMT: Bahrain. Activist Zainab Alkhawaja has been arrested again, according to her sister and fellow activist Maryam.

Alkhawaja, detained on several occasions and shot on another since the start of the February 2011 mass protests, was seized at Salmaniya Medical Centre as she tried to see Aqeel Abdul Mohsen, who was shot in the face by police on Wednesday.

Alkhawaja and Said Yousif Almuhafda, Head of Monitoring for the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, were allegedly harassed by police on Friday when tried to enter Mehazza village, which has been blocked for days by security forces.

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Damascus Shakes as Assad Regime Wobbles

2114 GMT: Syria. Markito0171 posts an interesting video, reportedly taken yesterday, showing an FSA rocket attack on an airforce intelligence building in Aleppo (map):

As you can see from the screenshot of Google maps, the video matches the satellite images:

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Syria Feature: War Within a War? The Tension between the Free Syrian Army and Kurdish Militias (Solomon)

Claimed footage of Free Syrian Army attack on Kurdish rally in Ashrafiyeh in Aleppo, 26 October

After a week of clashes between anti-government rebels and Kurdish militants in Syria's Aleppo province, the two sides are observing a tenuous truce.

It is a war within a war which neither side wants.

"We want to fight the regime and instead we are fighting a new front that we don't need or have time for," said a fighter of the rebel Free Syria Army, warming himself over a fire on a on a mountain overlooking olive groves and stone villages.

"We should be in Aleppo fighting, instead we are camping."

The situation exemplifies the tangle of alliances, loyalties and rivalries -- local and international --- complicating the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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Iraq Feature: How Kurdistan and Exxon Mobil Out-Manoeuvred Baghdad Over Oil (Van Heuvelen)

Several people familiar with the company's internal decision-making said there were a few simple reasons that Exxon was willing to risk its relationship with Baghdad. First, Kurdistan's geology looked very promising. Second, the Kurdish government's contract terms offered much greater profit potential. And third, Exxon could probably get away with it. A year later, Baghdad still has not backed up its threats to kick the company out of Basra.

Even so, Exxon is preparing to break ties with Baghdad altogether.

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Turkey-Syria Analysis: What Will Ankara Do Now? What Should It Do?

Turkey's Erdogan with Syria's AssadWednesday's mortar that fell on Akcakale in southeastern Turkey was not the first fired by Syrian forces across the border, but it was the first to kill Turkish civilians, slaying three women and two children. So --- given that Syria's downing of a Turkish reconnaissance aircraft in July and subsequent manoeuvres near the border had brought Ankara's warning of a red line --- Ankara's retaliation with artillery fire against Syrian bases was not surprising.

The question was and still is: what comes next?

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Iran Snapshot: Why Was Top Military Commander Soleimani in Iraqi Kurdistan?

The Kurdish website has reported a surprising visit by the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, to Iraqi Kurdistan region. Soleimani met officials from the Kurdistan Regional Government, including Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, and top members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party.

Soleimani has close ties to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, the founder of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who recently visited Talabani in Suleymaniyah after the Kurdish leader helped him survive a no-confidence vote.

Relations between Iran and the KDP have been tense, despite occasional meetings.

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