Turkey, the Kurds, and Islamic State

Business Insider: Turkey – IS links called ‘undeniable’.

A US-led raid on the compound housing the Islamic State’s “chief financial officer” produced evidence that Turkish officials directly dealt with ranking ISIS members, Martin Chulov of the Guardian reported recently.

The officer killed in the raid, Islamic State official Abu Sayyaf, was responsible for directing the terror army’s oil and gas operations in Syria. The Islamic State (aka ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh) earns up to $10 million a month selling oil on black markets.

Documents and flash drives seized during the Sayyaf raid reportedly revealed links “so clear” and “undeniable” between Turkey and ISIS “that they could end up having profound policy implications for the relationship between us and Ankara,” senior Western official familiar with the captured intelligence told the Guardian.

Radio Free Liberty / Radio Europe: Turkey seeks to stop Kurdish autonomy.

Plans by Turkey and the United States to create an “Islamic State-free zone” in northern Syria along the Turkish border will serve Ankara’s aims of stopping Kurdish militias from advancing in the area, analysts and Kurdish political leaders say.

The plan follows significant gains by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units militia (YPG) against the IS militant group in northern Syria. …

The YPG’s gains against IS have caused consternation bordering on hysteria in Ankara, which fears Kurdish autonomy.

Rudaw: Kurds angered at Turkish attacks on PKK, accuse Obama of betrayal.

Kurds took to social media to express their frustrations at Turkish air strikes on its Kurdish opposition, with many accusing Washington of giving Ankara the green light for attacks in return for use of a strategic air base.

In online postings, Kurds accused US President Barack Obama of allow Turkey to bomb the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in return for use of the Incirlik airbase in Diyarbakir for the war against the Islamic State (ISIS) group.

Rudaw posted a question on its Facebook page on Tuesday, asking if there is a connection between the PKK bombardment that Turkey has carried out since Friday, and permission to the US to use Incirlik. The question generated nearly 200 responses from Kurds and Americans who believe Obama betrayed the Kurds, while the Americans apologized on behalf of their country to the Kurds.

Richard Fernandez at the Belmont Club has more.

Interestingly, the Turks did not appear bent on annihilating ISIS with their planned strikes, simply hurting them enough to keep them on their best behavior. The Institute for the Study of War continued its description on how the planning proceeded.

The successful conclusion of these negotiations following months of talks likely came as a product of the intensifying security concerns facing the Turkish government. Turkey had previously avoided overt confrontation with ISIS and other militant groups transiting through its territory in order to apply indirect pressure to both the Syrian regime and the Syrian Kurdish YPG, which the Turkish government views as an offshoot of the PKK. This stance also enabled Turkey to limit the potential for violent terrorist attacks within its borders by providing an incentive for ISIS and other extremist groups to avoid jeopardizing their supply routes through Turkey by disrupting the status quo.

What really alarmed the Turks was that the Kurds were holding their own against ISIS.  This, plus the decline of Assad, may have pushed them into getting directly involved.

Read the whole thing at the link.

DHS Agent Taylor Johnson Speaks Out on Costs of Whistle-Blowing

Daily Caller:

After receiving complaints from “high-ranking officials” at outside agencies, Johnson’s managers shut down her investigation, she testified. From there, she says she was “subjected to a significant amount of harassment and retaliation.”

Blowback started when she was escorted from her work desk and prohibited from accessing her case files or other personal records.

She also said that her service firearm and credentials were confiscated. But the gun grab went further.

USA Government and Nuclear News

Arutz Sheva:

US intelligence officials revealed that during the ongoing Iran nuclear negotiations, North Korea has provided several shipments of advanced missile components to the Islamic regime in violation of UN sanctions – and the US hid the violations from the UN.

The officials, who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon on Wednesday on condition of anonymity, said more than two shipments of missile parts since last September have been monitored by the US going from North Korea to Iran.

One official detailed that the components included large diameter engines, which could be used to build a long-range missile system, potentially capable of bearing a nuclear warhead.

Jerusalem Post:

CIA director John Brennan allegedly came to Israel last week to tell officials that a final nuclear deal with Iran does not have to include a commitment by Tehran to provide access to military bases, or Iranian consent to interview its scientists.

According to a Middle East Media Research Institute report, written by Ayelet Savyon, director of MEMRI’s Iran project, and Col. (res.) Yigal Carmon, president of MEMRI, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei seems to have torpedoed an arrangement under which IAEA inspectors would be allowed to exercise symbolic supervision at Iranian military sites where suspected work has been carried out on military dimensions of the nuclear program.

Thoughts on Gender

In the past couple of years there have been a number of anti-transgender articles appearing in the conservative media.  These are written by people who simply do not know what they are talking about.  Listening to them is like getting an economics lecture from Michael Moore, or small arms training from Nancy Pelosi.

Gender is part of what makes us who we are, and I’m not an expert but I don’t think it’s a stretch to suppose that – like almost everything else about how we think and experience life – it might be connected to the way the brain is wired.

Some of the most important people in my life have been transgender people, and if you have a problem with trans people then you have a problem with me.  If you don’t want to read about gender or transgender people, then don’t read this.  If you think Jenner is getting too much attention, then jiminy frickin’ cricket, don’t write about Jenner.

I was in the Middle East when the former Bruce Jenner came out as a Republican and it seemed the noise of car bombs was momentarily drowned out by the sound of heads exploding.

The right wing reacted about as you’d expect.  Conservatives love to wax eloquent about the dignity of the individual, as long as that individual isn’t too inconvenient.  The left wing reacted predictably, too; presumably the same folks dismissing Caitlyn Jenner as a “rich white person” will be lining up to vote for Hillary Clinton.

You can read Zoe at A. E. Brain for knowledgeable, intelligent discussion of transgenderism and transgender issues, such as this recent post on Paul McHugh’s ‘Surgical Sex’.

Zoe seems quite interested in the Republican Party, too, but for some strange reason she has not – as of today’s date – had much to say about Caitlyn Jenner’s political leanings.  Odd, that.

Liberty Wolf does, though, and I’ll close this post by quoting him:

The far left actually has often been historically at odds with LGBT people and recently our worst detractors are called “TERFs” or “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists”.  I can also attest that some of the most hostile folks in any crowd that comes to one of the readings for my memoir are far lefties who are “against the binary”.  I can usually spot them in the crowd, they are usually women with their lips set into a straight line, terse with anger way beyond any skepticism.  They are the “queer women” who dislike me for being “too binary”.

So really, trans people have the rare and odd privilege of being denigrated by certain actors on both the left and the right — there is no pleasing everyone and sometimes anyone at all.

Of course, there are many on the left who are supportive and the right as well.  Dennis Prager has said some supportive and clarifying words on transsexuals and I’ve noted that duly in this blog.  It all comes down to people being informed and not having an ax to grind.

World Today: 2015-06-11 Thursday

Cameroon:  Women, girls reject child “marriage”. AllAfrica reports on growing resistance to non-consensual marriages of underage girls in Cameroon.

Syria / Kurdistan:  American Keith Broomfield killed in action against Islamic State.  Rudaw reports that American volunteer Keith Broomfield of Massachusetts was killed in action against Islamic State forces on June 3 near Qentere, Syria.  He’s believed to be the first US citizen to die in action fighting with the Kurds.

Liberty Wolf on Bruce Jenner

And, Jenner is a Republican too!.

The far left actually has often been historically at odds with LGBT people and recently our worst detractors are called “TERFs” or “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists”.  I can also attest that some of the most hostile folks in any crowd that comes to one of the readings for my memoir are far lefties who are “against the binary”.  I can usually spot them in the crowd, they are usually women with their lips set into a straight line, terse with anger way beyond any skepticism.  They are the “queer women” who dislike me for being “too binary”.

So really, trans people have the rare and odd privilege of being denigrated by certain actors on both the left and the right — there is no pleasing everyone and sometimes anyone at all.