Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald discusses the advantages of supporting an independent Kurdistan:
Kurdistan, as a place and not as an idea, could, by its mere existence, if given a little boost (a boost, not boots on the ground — they are different things), do a good deal of damage to the interests of both Syria and Iran.
Syria is a hideous place with a hideous regime. One wishes to preserve the Alawite regime, under different and much more chastened management, only because the alternative is a regime of “real” Sunni Muslims. Everyone in Syria, though apparently few in the Infidel world, knows what that would mean for the Christians of Syria, and of Lebanon. Only the Alawites, out of their own self-interest and terror at what would happen if they lost control, can keep a lid on the real Muslims, the non-Miriam-worshipping Muslims who, if they could, would massacre as many people as they could in the Alawite villages, and among the Christians the Alawites protect. Syria is a country where the government shuts down — the government! — on Christmas Day.
Why would an independent Kurdistan help to weaken Syria? Because there are many Kurds in Syria who do not like the way they have been treated, and would be encouraged by the mere existence of an independent Kurdistan. And they would be even more encouraged if the American government wished to funnel military aid to Kurdistan, and through Kurdistan to Kurds in Syria and Iran, and at the same time to remove any threat of Syrian bombing by removing, in one fell swoop, Syria’s air force. The Israelis, when they last encountered Syrian planes, destroyed 82 at one go, with no loss of any Israeli plane. One suspects that the Americans will be able to perform at a similar level of competence.
And then there is the Islamic Republic of Iran. Unlike some in Washington, who meet those unrepresentative Iranians and are quick to believe all kinds of things that they wish to believe, the Iranian dictatorship is not on the verge of collapse. But it can be weakened, and weakened most effectively by exploiting the one main thing to know about Iran: ethnic Persians make up about 50% of the country; Azeris make up one-third (Azeris as in “Azerbaijan,” as in Soviet-occupied “northern Iran” after World War II), and Baluchis, Kurds, and ethnic Arabs (in the oil-bearing region) the rest. There is already low-level unrest here and there. Appeals to Muslim solidarity do not always work, and especially do not work where there is a long history of government from Tehran indifferent to the desires of non-Persians. This is what the rulers of the Islamic Republic fear most — and because they fear it, some of them have concluded that they now have a stake in dampening unrest within Iraq, and a stake in preventing a free Kurdistan (which would inspire the Kurds in Iran — and do more than inspire them). In other words, what the Islamic Republic of Iran now fears is a “civil war” in Iraq, just the way, for different reasons, the Sunni Arabs outside Iraq fear such a “civil war.”
What maddens is that the “civil war” that could do such damage to the interests of the two main beneficiaries of the removal of Saddam Hussein, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the (Wahhabi) Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is being prevented or delayed almost entirely by the presence of American troops, and by naive American attempts at directing this or that while failing so completely to relate the fissures within Iraq to the larger picture of the menace presented by the Jihad.
Pope wrote Peri Bathous, or, The Art of Sinking in Poetry.
There is another art, not as high, but even more necessary at this point in history if the poetry of Pope, and everything else that has been left as a legacy in the Western world, survives and continues to be added to. That is the art of how to deal with the many different levels and instruments of Jihad. It involves how to deal with the many different levels of ignorance or denial among Infidels, and how to inflict the most damage, of the right kind, the kind that will help to weaken Islam in the most effective, and likely least expensive way. That way would be to play upon the natural divisions and resentments and animosities within Dar al-Islam. This would allow intelligent people who through no fault of their own were born into Islam to ponder what it is about this belief-system, with its abhorrence of free and skeptical inquiry, its limits on artistic expression, its inshallah-fatalism, its support for The Ruler as long as the Ruler is considered to be a Muslim, that makes Islam itself the cause of the political, economic, social, intellectual, and moral failures of Muslim states and polities.
And there is one more audience. The spectacle of internecine strife among Muslims will be instructive for Infidels. It could take place in Iraq but will draw in men, money, and materiel from both Sunnis and Shi’a outside Iraq, and therefore have consequences (good for Infidels, bad for Muslims) in Lebanon, and Pakistan, in eastern Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and Yemen. It will hurry along the enlightenment of those who are taking their sweet time in discovering what the Jihad is really all about. And who can blame them, given the way that an informal, but most effective withal, Islamintern International has placed its members in the U.N. bureaucracy, its apologists in the E.U. bureaucracy, its willing collaborators in the press, radio, and television of much of Western Europe, in those areas that include coverage of Islam and the Middle East, and finally, have managed, as in this country with the members of MESA Nostra, to control the access to study of Islam to those who are apologists rather than students of the subject.
The Iran-Iraq War tied two ruthless regimes up for eight years. From the Infidel point of view, it should have gone on forever. There is another chance. The Bush Administration, having still failed to grasp the scope of the problem and the nature of the problem posed by the Jihad and its various instruments (hardly limited to terrorism), is obstinate in its titanic — in every sense — efforts. It needs to be forced, through political pressure, to withdraw from Iraq, to end the misallocation of resources, the colossal sums being spent that could so much better be applied to energy projects. It needs to be forced to give to small-scale efforts, as in Kurdistan, a little “equalizer” (as the Colt .45 was once known) to the side that we wish to prevail, but only from afar.
Telemachy — fighting from afar. And Telemachus was the son of Odysseus. Wily Odysseus. All this nonsense, this hallucinatory nonsense, about how “everyone loves freedom” and how we “are going to win the war on terror” through “our success in Iraq” which will take care of the “terrorists” forever (there is no “forever” that will end Jihad — containment, and reduction in the size of the threat, is another matter) — this has to stop. Events will cause it to stop, because in the next presidential election only someone who promises to remove our troops, right away, from Iraq, can conceivably win But the American government should not wait that long. The silence of the Democratic lambs, who are capable, apparently, of breaking that silence only in order to bleat all the wrong kinds of criticism of Bush, rather than the unanswerable, and therefore deadly, kind that is offered here — needs to change.
It only takes one or two intelligent people. They must exist. Where are they? And the same is true of the Republicans, whose misplaced loyalty to a foolish and wasteful policy could do great damage to their own political survival.
A big failure all way round.
There already exists, as noted above, “The Art of Sinking in Poetry.”
Practitioners of geopolitics should look at all the advantages an independent Kurdistan could bring — not least as an inspiration to non-Muslim Arabs everywhere, who might begin to focus on Islam as the vehicle of Arab cultural and linguistic and political imperialism. They might begin to see Islam — correctly, despite its universalist pretensions — as the Arab national religion. This could begin to reduce its appeal to the 3/4 of the world’s Muslims who are not Arab.
And that new geopolitics, of selectively sinking this or that threatening ship of state, or even wandering coastal barks, laden with explosives, that have made their way along the shores, or even into the waterways, of the Lands of the Infidels (as Muslims call them), is perhaps a harder art, a colder craft.
Let’s call it “The Art of Sinking in Geopolitics.”