People, Place & Thing: 3 POVs on the big picture.
Groups on the ground continue to facilitate research, fact checking, interviews, and investigations into the situation on the ground for the international community.
This kind of facilitation has been made even more necessary than would normally be expected, particularly with respect to the humanitarian crisis, due to the relative uselessness of the UN for a crisis caused by a NATO power.
In fact, UN organizations have been accused of being overly quick to recommend further migration of internally displaced peoples (IDP) as solutions which actually reinforce ethnic cleansing in the region. Some insinuate sinister intent, while it may just be a function of applying the only tool they have available given the nature of the parties at conflict. (Which also means the UN is rife with the same problems as NATO, which in retrospect is kinda obvious.)
This kind of organization and communication comes in the context of the obvious uncertainty that has existed since the US announced the withdrawal of troops on Oct 6.
Here’s video of an injured vet (local) explaining how he feels about US withdrawal. It’s heavy.
And now to kick connect all this to the bigger picture, VEEP made a surprise visit to neighboring northern Iraq for Thanksgiving.
Summary: We are grateful for and offer a big thank you our military, you’re a global force of good, you’re the strongest military in history, we’re going to keep you fully equipped and trained and pay you more. Please clap.
But the good stuff is never at the main address.
Summary: Everyone here and all the cooperation is great, fighting ISIS rules and blocking Iran is awesome. We love Kurdish people and really all people but we love the Kurds. Continuing to work with the Kurds and SDF and really everyone to continue to fight ISIS and block ISIS is great fun we enjoy. Trump obviously has to bring our troops home which is why we are deploying our troops in Syria to keep the oil away from Russia, Turkey, “the regime” (Assad), and Iran and to help the our SDF friends so we have to withdraw because Trump said so and that’s how we will continue to fight with it Kurdish and SDF friends in the region. 2+2=apple.
I had no idea Pence was such an artist.
For a little background, the general international opinion of late is that the autonomous region of Kurdistan in Iraq is a source of stability and example for all of Iraq, and are in some ways an example to the protestors to the south who have a kind of “Why not us—especially since the country is supposedly rich!” attitude. More specifically, they’re doing a good job just being that in a strong silent type kind of way rather than stirring any of the many pots that sit in their backyard, practically begging for people to stick their grubby little fingers into them.
Turkey’s been hitting them with air strikes just for shits and giggles—and to kill Kurds, but that should go without saying st this point—although possibly to instigate a response that Erdogan would find politically useful. Pretty bold to do it so close to US forces, too. Too bad the OIR Twitter accounts are probably on lock down after Lions-gate.
So, northern Iraq:
- Ties to Kurds and other people’s in northern Syria (and, for that matter, southeast Turkey);
- Force of and example of stability in Iraq and the region;
- Fundamentally connected to issue of Iranian influence, both politically and geographically (Iran’s covered “northern corridor of influence” across to Lebanon.
So it’s a major nexus point or Venn Diagram overlap space or whatever you want to call it for a great deal of what’s going on. So it makes sense that VEEP just went there for Thanksgiving week.
And now we know why there’s an aircraft carrier parked outside in the gulf.
People had been wondering.
Anyway, in this vein, the people of northern Syria want America to know that ISIS are still dicks.