The Clima East Expert Facility (EF) established by the EU proposes to help Climate Adaptation and Mitigation activities in associated countries of the former East bloc – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia – and Belarus, Moldova, the Ukraine.
from: Zsolt Lengyel – zsolt.lengyel at climaeast.eu
February 10, 2015
We are pleased to inform you that the Clima East Expert Facility (EF) has a new round for applications for support from eligible organisations involved with climate actions, targeting both mitigation and adaptation in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
In this round we will also accept collaborative applications from two or more beneficiary organizations. This track should enable sectoral ministries, other national or local administration bodies, and in particular civil society organisations, to contribute successfully to the definition, development and delivery of national climate policy and actions.
Erdogan’s Turkey wil not fly to Europe. In Austria only 8% of the people – perhaps just the Muslim immigrants to Austria – back association with Turkey; if Kobani falls to ISIS while closed up by the Turks – this will be the time to give the clear NO to the Turks.
Jenan Moussa is a reporter for the Arabic language TV network Akhbar AlAan out of Dubai.
For the past 48 hours she has been witnessing the battle raging in the Kurdish town of Kobane, just south of Turkey’s border with Syria.
At 07:00 EST she tweeted, “ISIS did not manage to enter Kobane yet, Kurdish activist Mustafa Bali just told me over phone.
An hour later, she was the first to report: “I can confirm. I just saw an ISIS flag. It is flying on eastern edge of Kobane. Will try to tweet a pic in a sec.”
As fighting raged, news came of the desperate situation of the Kurds.
One female fighter reportedly charged the advancing ISIS jihadists, hurling grenades at them and then blew herself up in their midst. Another reportedly shot herself rather than be captured by ISIS when she ran out of ammunition.
Moussa’s tweets from one of her Kurdish contacts from inside Kobane conveyed the sense of betrayal the Kurds felt because of the lack of American help. She tweeted: “Kurdish guy from#Kobane tells me: We hoped American planes will help us. Instead American tanks in hands of ISIS are killing us.”
THE NEW YORK TIMES – The Opinion Pages | Editorial
Mr. Erdogan’s Dangerous Game: Turkey’s Refusal to Fight ISIS Hurts the Kurds.
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD October 8, 2014
Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, once aspired to lead the Muslim world. At this time of regional crisis, he has been anything but a leader. Turkish troops and tanks have been standing passively behind a chicken-wire border fence while a mile away in Syria, Islamic extremists are besieging the town of Kobani and its Kurdish population.
This is an indictment of Mr. Erdogan and his cynical political calculations. By keeping his forces on the sidelines and refusing to help in other ways — like allowing Kurdish fighters to pass through Turkey — he seeks not only to weaken the Kurds, but also, in a test of will with President Obama, to force the United States to help him oust President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, whom he detests.
It is also evidence of the confusion and internal tensions that affect Mr. Obama’s work-in-progress strategy to degrade and defeat the Islamic State, the Sunni Muslim extremist group also called ISIS or ISIL. Kurdish fighters in Kobani have been struggling for weeks to repel the Islamic State. To help, the Americans stepped up airstrikes that began to push the ISIS fighters back, although gun battles and explosions continued on Wednesday.
But all sides — the Americans, Mr. Erdogan and the Kurds — agree that ground forces are necessary to capitalize on the air power. No dice, says Mr. Erdogan, unless the United States provides more support to rebels trying to overthrow Mr. Assad and creates a no-fly zone to deter the Syrian Air Force as well as a buffer zone along the Turkish border to shelter thousands of Syrian refugees who have fled the fighting.
No one can deny Mr. Assad’s brutality in the civil war, but Mr. Obama has rightly resisted involvement in that war and has insisted that the focus should be on degrading ISIS, not going after the Syrian leader. The biggest risk in his decision to attack ISIS in Syria from the air is that it could put America on a slippery slope to a war that he has otherwise sought to avoid.
He has also complicated his standing at home. His hesitation in helping the Syrian Kurds has enraged Turkey’s Kurdish minority, which staged protests against the Turkish government on Wednesday that reportedly led to the deaths of 21 people. Mr. Erdogan fears that defending Kobani would strengthen the Syrian Kurds, who have won de facto control of many border areas as they seek autonomy much like their Kurdish brethren in Iraq. But if Kobani falls, Kurdish fury will undoubtedly grow.
The Americans have been trying hard to resolve differences with Mr. Erdogan in recent days, but these large gaps are deeply threatening to the 50-plus-nation coalition that the United States has assembled. One has to wonder why such a profound dispute was not worked out before Mr. Obama took action in Syria.
A CHOREOGRAPHY THAT EXPLORES THE IDEA OF RECONCILIATION.
Fishman Space in BAM Fisher, 321 Ashland Place, near Lafayette Avenue, Fort Greene, Brooklyn; 718-636-4100, www.bam.org.
The main purpose of DanceMotion USA, a cultural diplomacy program run by the Brooklyn Academy of Music for the State Department, is to send American artistic troupes abroad. Yet the program also benefits New Yorkers directly by having American companies bring back a foreign one for a free, collaborative stay and performance here of several weeks – sometimes at dance camps out-of-town i.e. in Maine. Eventually a new program is born and it is shown at the Brooklyn BAM which is now blessed o have also the Fisher Building (Fishman Space) next door. These visits have proven to say the least – interesting. The New York Times prefers to say illuminating.
At the BAM Fishman Space on Thursday, David Dorfman Dance which is based at the BAM, back from a four-week tour of Turkey, Armenia and Tajikistan, teamed up with the Korhan Basaran Company from Istanbul, augmented by two Armenian dancers – Karen Khatchatryan and Davit Grigoryan.
The program was not one with pieces from each of the performing triangle’s previous repertory. Mr. Dorfman and Mr. Basaran went all the way, joining forces for an hour-long joint program titled – “Unsettled” with a chosen theme of “reconciliation.” It was remarkable how well the two companies, both packed with powerful dancers did merge.
The work teemed with groups pushing and shoving, but it did not set one troupe against the other. The sharpest contrast — in the opening moments and in two later face-off duets — was between the choreographers: Mr. Basaran, tall, with a tendency to collapse inward, and Mr. Dorfman, squat, always hurling his energy out. Yet the aesthetic kinship between them was also apparent in eruptive rhythms and labile emotions.
The music, composed and played live by Sam Crawford, Liz de Lise, Jesse Manno and Timothy Quigley, beguilingly blended Western and Middle Eastern styles and instrumentation. It borrowed the folk song “Sari Gyalin” (or “Sari Gelin”), which in Turkish, Armenian and English versions laments the failure of love across ethnic divides.
Still, it is to the credit of all involved that “Unsettled,” after a celebratory group dance, had the honesty to remain unsettled. What resonated was a moment before the end, when Mr. Dorfman, having failed to force his friendship on Mr. Basaran, took a line from the folk song and allowed it to expand into a humble question for everyone: “Oh tell me please, what can I do?”
This reporting of mine follows a review in the New York Times and a feeling that many in the audience, including myself, had that though seeing a piece that historically dealt with the Armenian – Turkish relations that included an attempt at genocide, actually today the topic is the Israeli Palestinian conflict and it was obvious that to untrained ears Turkish, Armenian, or Arab music – seem all the same – and thus a presence in the air – reference was being made to the Middle East as if there were some generic to it.
The performances at the BAM went on Thursday – Friday – Saturday evenings, but then there was also a performance Saturday afternoon that I attended because it had also a follow up discussion with TV link to Istanbul and questions via the internet from London, Ankara, Germany and some other places.
On a question about the collaboration we heard an answer that said – in a month we become one but in some things where there were differences we become States.
Before the TV land internet links the conversation was according to the natural language of the speaker with a sometime translation into English – then from Ankara came the notion that something that was said in Armenian needed also Turkish translation. Fair enough.
On the I AM SORRY piece: “Children can easily apologize to each other – forget and forgive.” As he got older, the comment went on, he felt he needed more – the words alone mean less.
Then he saw The Planet of the Apes – they have the capacity of forgive & forget – but we do not have that capacity anymore.
Maliki is responsible for not having tried out for a united Iraq but it is the oil interests that wanted to perpetuate the State of Iraq that in reality had no base among its people. No Euphoria to be found in Maliki’s step side-wise says Gudrun Harrer.
Kein Grund zur Euphorie
Kommentar | Gudrun Harrer15. August 2014, 14:35
Maliki ist nicht die einzige Barriere zur politischen Gesundung und Einheit des Irak.
Am Ende hat er noch US-Lob für seine “ehrenvolle” Entscheidung bekommen: Nuri al-Maliki hat seine – von seinem Wahlsieg bei den Parlamentswahlen abgeleiteten – Ansprüche auf das Amt des Premiers aufgegeben und damit die Gefahr gebannt, dass sich zur Sicherheitskrise im Irak auch noch eine Verfassungskrise gesellt. Haidar al-Abadi kann nun seine Regierung bilden, ohne dass einer der eigenen Leute mit der Axt hinter ihm steht.
Allerdings ist jede Euphorie, in der die Person Malikis als einzige Barriere zur politischen Gesundung und Einheit des Irak gesehen wurde, völlig fehl am Platz: Abadi wird den arabischen Sunniten und den Kurden weit reichende Angebote machen müssen, um sie wieder einzubinden. Und er wird seine Zusagen – anders als es Maliki nach den Wahlen 2010 getan hat – auch halten müssen.
Alle, auch seine eigene Dawa-Partei, hatten Maliki fallen gelassen. Mit seinem Schritt hat er sich erspart, einmal mehr in der Freitagspredigt des Vertreters der wichtigsten schiitischen Autorität im Irak, Ayatollah Ali Sistani, wenig subtil zum Abtreten aufgefordert zu werden. Aber dass erfolglose Politiker sich besser zurückziehen, hatte Sistani schon vor den Wahlen dekretiert, seinerseits erfolglos, weder Maliki noch seine Wähler hatten auf Sistani gehört. Erst als das Trommelfeuer auch aus dem Iran, von höchsten Stellen, kam, hatte Maliki ein Einsehen.
US-Präsident Barack Obama wiederum knüpfte seine Zusage für ein verstärktes militärisches Engagement an eine inklusive Regierung in Bagdad, unter Kooperation aller Gruppen. Dem stand der polarisierende Maliki im Wege. Es ist traurig, dass es der Gefahr des „Islamischen Staats“ (IS) und einer humanitären Krise katastrophalen Ausmaßes bedurfte, um ihn zum Gehen zu bewegen. Umgekehrt könnte man sein (vorläufiges) Ende auch als Erfolg des sunnitischen Aufstands gegen Bagdad verbuchen – wäre nicht dieser Aufstand längst vom jihadistischen Wahnsinn aufgesogen und delegitimiert worden.
Wenn man die Berichte von Militäranalysten über die von der IS infizierten Gebiete liest, könnte man den Schluss ziehen, dass die IS zwar momentan punktuell noch gewinnt, aber ihre große Offensive etwas stockt. Die schlechte Nachricht ist, dass gegen die IS oft nicht die irakische Armee, sondern schiitische Milizen erfolgreich sind: Sie muss Bagdad schnell in den Griff kriegen, denn ihr Wüten ruft wieder eine sunnitische Gegenbewegung hervor.
Die Jesiden sind zwar nicht alle in Sicherheit, aber die US-Hilfe greift. Der Vorwurf, dass es den USA einmal mehr um die Ölfelder und den Schutz der dort präsenten internationalen Ölfirmen ankommt, konnte nicht ausbleiben. Aber erstens ist das in diesem Moment ohnehin sekundär. Und zweitens ist die US-Einstellung zu den nahöstlichen Ölvorkommen in einem grundlegenden Wandel begriffen. Das eigene Interesse am Öl mag ein Motiv sein, aber vor allem gilt es zu verhindern, dass noch mehr Ressourcen der IS in die Hände fallen. Und das ist ja wohl vernünftig. (Gudrun Harrer, DER STANDARD, 16.8.2014)
Afghanistan, Bhutan, Chile, Colombia, Honduras and Pakistan are the first six countries to submit requests for help from the newly created, Copenhagen based, technology oriented – Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN).
(Copenhagen/Bonn, 2 June 2014):
Developing countries are now beginning to make active use of the UN’s new global network for climate technology solutions, the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). This constitutes a promising signal that momentum for climate action is building ahead of a new, universal climate agreement in 2015.
So far this year, six countries have submitted eight requests for technology assistance to the CTCN, which is headquartered in Copenhagen.
These include – Afghanistan, Bhutan, Chile, Colombia, Honduras and Pakistan.
The requests for support relate to a broad range of climate action, from renewable energy policies to public transportation, and from biodiversity monitoring to saving mangrove forests for coastal protection.
Welcoming the development, Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said:
“Innovation is the engine of development, and replacing current technologies
According to Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the Bonn based UN
“As countries work towards a universal climate agreement in Paris in 2015,
Last week, the board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) completed the
Meanwhile, the CTCN has put all central requirements for the transfer of
Since its launch in late 2013, over 80 countries have established national
A side event on the progress to date of the Technology Mechanism and the
This side event is organized collaboratively by the Technology Executive
More information: goo.gl/PUK0Kp.
For more information, please contact:
Nick Nuttall, Coordinator, Communications and Outreach: +49 228 815 1400
About the UNFCCC
About the CTCN
See also: <unfccc.int/press/
This email was sent to:
Money is really no issue for the Iranian leadership – so do not expect that sanctions that harm the people have any effect on the leaders.
November 11, 2013
Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, controls a business empire worth around $95 billion, according to an extensive investigation carried out by Reuters.
The vast sum exceeds the value of his oil-rich nation’s current annual petroleum exports. The organization, called Setad Ejraiye Farmane Hazrate Emam –or Setad for short– is one of the keys to the Iranian leader’s absolute power, and holds stakes in “nearly every sector of Iranian industry, including finance, oil, telecommunications, the production of birth-control pills and even ostrich farming,” according to Reuters.
And it has done so at the expense of the Iranian population. Writes Reuters: “Setad has built its empire on the systematic seizure of thousands of properties belonging to ordinary Iranians – members of religious minorities, Shi’ite Muslims, business people and Iranians living abroad.”
The organization was set up by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini shortly before his death in 1989, and was intended to manage and sell properties abandoned following the 1979 Islamic Revolution; but according to Reuters, “Under Khamenei, the organization has expanded its corporate holdings, buying stakes in dozens of Iranian companies, both private and public, with the stated goal of creating an Iranian conglomerate to boost the country’s economic growth.”
The U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Setad, calling the organization “a massive network of front companies hiding assets on behalf of … Iran’s leadership.”
According to Reuters, “There is no evidence that Khamenei is tapping Setad to enrich himself. But Setad has empowered him. Through Setad, Khamenei has at his disposal financial resources whose value rivals the holdings of the shah, the Western-backed monarch who was overthrown in 1979.”
The US has no formal Relations with the Kingdom of Bhutan and relegates the relationship to USAID with the Department of State Press Release not even mentioning the GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS idea spearheaded by Bhutan – an AREA The US STANDS To LEARN A LOT from BHUTAN We Are Appalled !
Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs
More information about Bhutan is available on the Bhutan Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
Bhutan participates in the South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy Integration (SARI/EI), a program sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) that helps countries increase energy security through cross-border trade, clean energy access, and improved energy market practices.
USAID also funds a new program, implemented by the International Republican Institute (IRI), to strengthen newly elected parliamentarians’ understanding of their roles and responsibilities and help build a culture of civic engagement among Bhutan’s citizens that continues beyond the election cycle.
Bhutan also receives USAID-supported training on a range of disaster management topics. A few Bhutanese military officers have attended courses at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies.
The U.S. Government annually brings several Bhutanese participants to the United States through its International Visitors, Humphrey Fellows, and Fulbright Programs.
Bhutan and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank.
The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi has consular responsibilities for Bhutan and maintains frequent and friendly communications with the Bhutanese Embassy in New Delhi. A consular officer periodically visits Bhutan to renew passports, provide notarial services, and take applications for Consular Reports of Birth Abroad. The U.S. Ambassador to India is Nancy J. Powell; other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.
More information about Bhutan is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
The following links can be found there.
Department of State Bhutan Page
Bhutan is the country of Buddhist “GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS” but it shares with India and Nepal the problem of having in 1992 expelled Hindus of Nepal origin – a minority settled close the border with India – that nad become politically active in Bhutan.
Op-Ed Contributor of the New York Times
Bhutan Is No Shangri-La
DAMAK, Nepal — BEFORE my family was expelled from Bhutan, in 1992, I lived with my parents and seven siblings in the south of the country. This region is the most fertile part of that tiny kingdom perched between Tibet and India, a tapestry of mountains, plains and alpine meadows. Our house sat in a small village, on terraced land flourishing with maize, millet and buckwheat, a cardamom garden, beehives and enough pasture for cows, oxen, sheep and buffaloes. That was the only home we had known.
After tightening its citizenship laws in the mid-1980s, Bhutan conducted a special census in the south and then proceeded to cast out nearly 100,000 people — about one-sixth of its population, nearly all of them of Nepalese origin, including my family. It declared us illegal immigrants, even though many of us went back several generations in Bhutan. It hasn’t let any of us move back.
The enormity of this exodus, one of the world’s largest by proportion, given the country’s small population, has been overlooked by an international community that is either indifferent or beguiled by the government-sponsored images of Bhutan as a serene Buddhist Shangri-La, an image advanced by the policy of “gross national happiness,” coined by King Jigme Singye Wangchuck in the 1970s.
Bhutan even helped inspire the United Nations last year to declare March 20 the International Day of Happiness — a cruel irony to those of us who were made stateless by the king, who was an absolute monarch when we were expelled.
Protests demanding an end to the absolute monarchy and persecution of the Lhotshampa beginning in summer 1990 were quashed, and repression — including torture, sexual assault, evictions and discriminatory firing — intensified. As part of the government’s campaign of intimidation in the south, my school was suddenly closed. That day, the headmaster summoned us to an assembly, announced that we were to collect our belongings and told us to go home at once. I passed my final months in Bhutan not completing the fourth grade, but helping to rear our animals.
My father was held for 91 days in a small, dank cell. They pressed him down with heavy logs, pierced his fingers with needles, served him urine instead of water, forced him to chop firewood all day with no food. Sometimes, they burned dried chilies in his cell just to make breathing unbearable. He agreed eventually to sign what were called voluntary migration forms and was given a week to leave the country our family had inhabited for four generations.
Not knowing when we’d be back, we set our animals free and left open the doors and windows of the house. We walked in spring showers to the border with India, through forest and valleys. At the border, the Indians, who wanted nothing to do with us, piled us into trucks and dumped us at the doorstep of Nepal.
We were among the 90,000 Bhutanese refugees who flooded shelters in eastern Nepal at that time. The population grew to more than 115,000, as people kept trickling in and children were born. My parents, a brother and I have called these shelters our home for 21 years.
Helping us, though, is not the same as helping our cause: every refugee who is resettled eases the pressure on the Bhutanese government to take responsibility for, and eventually welcome back, the population it displaced.
Bhutan became a constitutional monarchy in 2008, two years after King Jigme Singye Wangchuck abdicated the throne to his eldest son. To live up to its promises of democracy and its reputation as a purveyor of happiness, the government must extend full civil rights — including citizenship and the right to vote — to all of the Lhotshampa still in its borders. It also must allow those Lhotshampa it expelled to return.
Instead, Bhutan has steadfastly ignored our demands; multiple rounds of talks between Bhutan and Nepal over the status of the Lhotshampa have yielded little progress.
The international community can no longer turn a blind eye to this calamity. The United Nations must insist that Bhutan, a member state, honor its convention on refugees, including respecting our right to return.
Other countries bear responsibility, too. Nepal, impoverished and internally divided, is already home to large numbers of Tibetan refugees and other stateless peoples, and has not welcomed the Lhotshampa, even though we share an ancestry. Nor has it adequately sought help from other countries to manage its refugee problem. India should use its influence to pressure Bhutan to do the right thing; it should then reopen the roads it created to accommodate the exodus of refugees — but this time to allow our safe return.
But until the world looks behind the veil of the Shangri-La, I have no hope of retracing my path home.
Vidhyapati Mishra is the managing editor of Bhutan News Service, a news service for Bhutanese refugees. He wrote this essay from the Beldangi II refugee camp.
Transforming the Global Economic Paradigm ASAP.
Rachel’s Network “Green Leaves”
We all know well the challenges facing us. From reversing ecological and economic collapses to meeting the development needs of seven billion (and growing) residents of our planet, we’ve got our work cut out for us.
But what can one person—or one organization—do?
Join me on an adventure to transform the global economic paradigm.
Nations, companies, and NGOs are all seeking a new global agenda. Many of these groups are now coalescing around the United Nations’ work to replace the Millennium Development Goals—the targets set back in 2004 for poverty reduction—that expire in 2015.
I’ve been asked by the King of the tiny Kingdom of Bhutan to help the world shift its development model away from the current approach of increasing the throughput of stuff and money through the economy (as measured by gross national product) to an agenda of increasing human well-being, measured as “gross national happiness.” I’m part of an International Expert Working Group, convened by the King to set forth the intellectual architecture for this new paradigm.
Where do you come in? The Expert Group has created the Alliance for Sustainability and Prosperity, or ASAP for short, to convene the expertise needed to bring genuine prosperity and well-being to everyone on the planet.
ASAP seeks your ideas. The world needs help and its leaders are asking for your answers.
How do we encourage governments, companies, and an economy obsessed with measuring and growing gross national product to shift to maximizing total well-being? For example, a divorcing cancer patient who gets in a car wreck has added to the GNP. Is she any better off? Clearly not. If you stay home to care for your children you add nothing to the GNP, but have contributed significantly of your family’s welfare, and to a healthier society.
Humankind has all of the technologies needed to solve the crises facing us.
Why aren’t we using them? How do we overcome the gridlock of governments, and inspire the best of the private sector to take more of a leadership role?
Explore the ASAP site at www.asap4all.org. The “Articles” section provides pieces written by ASAP members. See, in particular, “Building a Sustainable and Desirable Economy-in-Society-in-Nature,” with lead author Robert Costanza.
The “Public Forum” invites your best thinking. ASAP experts have been working on this for over three decades.
But the state of the world today is a testament to the fact that we can’t do it alone. The radical utopian forecast is that we can sustain business as usual. It’s not going to be like that.
What sort of future do you want to see for the world? How do you think we can achieve it? What is already working that should be replicated more broadly? That has to be fixed? And what’s the purpose of the economy that we’re all a part of? Do we exist to serve it, or can we transform it, instead, to serve us?
If you have a good idea, but no clue how to achieve it, submit it—maybe another of you has the answer you’re seeking.
We believe that it is possible to transform the global economy into one that delivers greater human well-being and happiness, while nestling gracefully into the larger ecosystem that sustains all life. Indeed, doing this is key to ending the global economic crisis. We can’t achieve one without doing the other.
This website argued for years that Turkey could have enhanced its world position by allowing enough slack to its own Kurds establishing itself as a bi-National State – Turkish-Kurdish and absorb the Kurdish areas of Iraq, Iran, Syria, as well. They did not – and now Erdogan tries to go for what he thinks is within his reach.
While Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) pursues the cease-fire plan with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the PKK is also involved in a subtle power struggle across Turkey’s borders. This struggle is being played out by the PKK’s efforts to check the influence of Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, over leadership of the Kurds. By engaging in the Kurdistan Region’s messy pre-election politics and supporting the opposition Change Movement (Goran), the PKK is attempting to stifle a third mandate for Barzani, while stirring local criticism of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). These PKK interventions are unlikely to alter the status quo in the region — at least for the forthcoming elections — however; they are fueling political fragmentation and creating additional challenges to regional stability.
Indeed, rivalries between the PKK and Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) are nothing new. During the Iraqi Kurdish civil war of the 1990s, the PKK and KDP engaged in armed conflict against each other, as well as the KDP against the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
The Ocalan-Barzani competition re-emerged after the Syrian civil war broke out, and as different Syrian Kurdish groups backed by the PKK and its affiliate, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) vied for power with the KDP-supported Kurdish National Council. This rivalry continues with Barzani tied to Turkey and attempting to court Syrian Kurdish youth groups and independents away from PYD influence.
Still, Barzani and Ocalan reached a tacit agreement after Ocalan’s imprisonment in 1999, which allowed the PKK to relocate in the Kandil Mountains in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The KRG also tolerates the presence of thousands of PKK supporters in the Makhmour Camp, where they have been residing since 1994 as political refugees. Moreover, despite the rapprochement between Erbil and Ankara, Barzani has affirmed that “the period of Kurds killing Kurds is over” and that the KRG Peshmerga would not engage militarily against the PKK or any other Kurdish group. These efforts have led to a mutually peaceful coexistence between the KDP and PKK, despite the distinctly different ideologies and regional relationships each has developed, particularly with Ankara.
The last six months, however, have seen a shift in PKK tactics inside the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Whereas the PKK leader in Kandil, Murat Karaliyan, had previously indicated his willingness to work with Barzani in 2009, he now opposes electing him to a third term as president. The PKK is using its networks and social media to incite local opposition against Barzani and the Iraqi Kurdish parties. For instance, it is encouraging local populations in the Iraqi Kurdish-Iranian border town of Halabja to criticize the KRG and Barzani for lack of services. One of the PKK websites has inflammatory photos and remarks about Barzani’s leadership, as well as other KRG political party leaders.
This shift reflects a reaction to Barzani’s growing power — including his close ties to Erdogan — and his claims or ambitions to become a leader of all the Kurds, expressed in Kurdish as “president of Kurdistan,” which the PKK rejects.
More specifically, the PKK shift coincides with the illness of Jalal Talabani, president of Iraq and leader of the PUK, which has further weakened the PUK and limited any serious competition for the KDP and Barzani’s power. In fact, the rump of the PUK — known as the “Gang of Four” — may have called for a separate list in the planned September elections to reflect its differences and attempts to challenge the KDP. Yet the PUK leadership continues to support and depend upon Barzani as president, particularly as a financial patron.
This is why the PKK is now calling for a “Kurdistan supported by Goran.” Goran remains the only secular Kurdish nationalist party that seeks to remove Barzani from office while pressing for a parliamentary and not presidential system for the region. Goran also has indicated its support for the PKK and affirmed the PYD as the representative of the Kurds in Syria, posing another direct challenge to Barzani and the KDP. The PKK-Goran alliance also is based on shared concerns about Turkey’s regional power and the need to check Erdogan’s influence over Iraqi Kurds and in Syria.
It is unlikely that the PKK will weaken the deeply rooted patronage networks inside the Kurdistan Region that will assure Barzani power and KDP and PUK influence for years to come. Many people, particularly the youth, may support the PKK as true Kurdish nationalists and back Goran; however, they also have been co-opted by the increasingly generous handouts and comfortable lifestyles made available to them by the KRG in recent years. Many others are disinterested in politics altogether or unwilling to pay the consequences of being linked to the opposition.
Still, PKK engagement in Iraqi Kurdish politics matters because it reveals the growing complexity of the trans-border Kurdish problem and the PKK’s political agenda to change the status quo. This challenge will not only be about advancing Kurdish nationalist rights in different states, but clarifying who will represent Kurdish interests and what form these nationalist interests should take. Whatever the outcome, these struggles will likely create a wide opening for more deal-making between Kurdish groups and regional states, keeping the Kurdish nationalist movement fragmented from within and across borders.
Denise Natali holds the Minerva Chair at the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS), National Defense University where she specializes in Iraq, regional energy issues and the Kurdish problem. The views expressed are her own and do not reflect the official policy or position of the National Defense University, the Department of Defense or the US government.
Had Turkey made its internal peace wilth their Kurds, and moved on to incorporate the Iraqi Kurds, then the Syrian Kurds, then the Iranian Kurds – that would have been a National policy of a bi-National State that would have helped them also in their relations with the EU. But that is a future lost and now we see a revival of old oil policy instead.
Turkey, Iraq, and Oil
by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
Though the pace of growth of the Turkish economy has slowed significantly, one of Ankara’s priorities over the coming years is to meet the country’s growing energy demands. The clearest solution is to diversify suppliers of oil and gas, with the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan (KRG) area being one potential source for such fuels.
Had you asked me a few months ago about the Turkish policy on acquiring energy resources from the KRG via an independent pipeline project and against the will of the Iraqi central government, I would have said that Ankara was still ambiguous on the matter, but now it seems clear that the Turkish government under Prime Minister Erdo?an intends to move forward with such plans.
The first sign of an advance in the framework of an informal commercial deal between the KRG and Ankara on this issue was a report by Ben Van Heuvelen for the Iraq Oil Report. Relying on the testimony of “multiple senior Turkish officials,” Heuvelen reports that the terms would include “stakes in at least half a dozen exploration for the direct pipeline export of oil and gas from the KRG.”
Multiple other sources can be used to confirm Heuvelen’s report. Following the visit of KRG premier Nechirvan Barzani in Ankara to meet with Erdo?an on March 26 where the two leaders apparently agreed to begin implementing the energy cooperation plan, the Turkish opposition party CHP attempted to launch a no-confidence motion in parliament against Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu on account of the energy deal with the KRG. The no-confidence motion failed.
CHP member Osman Korutürk claimed that a pipeline agreement in particular contradicted Davuto?lu’s declared principle of “zero problems” with neighboring countries, noting the objections of Baghdad and Washington to the development of energy ties between the KRG and Turkey without the Iraqi government’s consent.
The Turkish premier’s response to this initiative by the CHP, which is similarly opposed to Ankara’s firm anti-Assad stance vis-à-vis Syria, was to indicate that the issue should be taken up with Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, who proceeded in a speech to acknowledge the idea of maintaining Iraq’s unity as one of the top priorities of Turkish foreign policy, while arguing that the KRG had a constitutional right to develop energy ties with Ankara and is entitled to 17% of Iraq’s budget as per a 2006 agreement between Arbil and Baghdad.
In a subsequent interview with CNN Turk, Erdo?an invoked many of the same points as Yildiz in arguing that Turkey had the right to make energy agreements with the KRG, adding that under Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, there is no real unity in Iraq anyway.
The point about the KRG’s budget share of 17% — invoked by Erdo?an and Yildiz — is key to Turkey’s official justification for moving forward with developing energy ties with the KRG unilaterally while also claiming to uphold Iraq’s unity. Ankara’s reasoning appears to be as follows: through developing energy ties, KRG will boost its oil production and therefore in terms of Iraq’s overall revenues, the KRG will be contributing 17% and thus match its share of the budget.
At present, the budget share to which the KRG is entitled is well above the autonomous region’s oil output as a proportion of Iraq’s revenues, the overwhelming majority of which comes from the oil industry. Baghdad’s complaint — as reflected in the words of Abdullah al-Amir (the chief advisor to Iraq’s deputy minister for energy affairs) — is that allegedly, only a third of KRG oil revenues reach the central government.
This complaint is not necessarily divorced from reality. In truth, the Turkish government’s official justification for implementing an energy agreement with the KRG while claiming to uphold Iraq’s unity is specious.
Notice that in the interview with CNN Turk (as I have pointed out above, but was omitted in the English reports), Erdo?an said that there is no real unity in Iraq anyway. At the same time, it should be emphasized that Ankara still does not support actual Kurdish independence.
Rather, the goal is to make the KRG a virtual client state of Turkey while ensuring that the autonomous region at least remains nominally part of Iraq. As Ben Van Heuvelen pointed out to me, this goal is “almost explicit policy” on the part of Ankara.
In turn, Zaab Sethna draws an analogy with the Turkish-occupied territory of northern Cyprus, in relation to which Turkish officials are now pressing Israel not to develop natural gas deals with the Cypriot government without incorporating Ankara into the negotiations. Aware of Baghdad’s disapproval of dealing with the KRG unilaterally, the Turkish government appears to be trying to pursue a rapprochement with the Iraqi government anyway: perhaps to induce it to accept the Turkey-KRG agreement. The rapprochement initiative began with a meeting between Davuto?lu and Iraq’s Vice-President Khudayr al-Khozaie at the Arab League Summit in Doha at the end of last month, in which a desire to restart friendly bilateral ties was expressed — something that Khozaie acknowledged on his return to Baghdad.
Building on these hints of rapprochement, Iraq has now put forward an offer to build an oil pipeline from Basra to Ceyhan in southern Turkey, in which Yildiz has expressed an interest. Even so, if Baghdad is hoping that this counter-offer will dissuade Ankara from proceeding to forge energy ties with the KRG, then the central government is quite mistaken.
It seems most likely that Turkey, like Exxon Mobil with its oil contracts in Iraq, will try to have it both ways by continuing to express an interest in a Basra-Ceyhan pipeline project as well, but could also drop the proposal entirely in favor of continuing to develop the energy deal with the KRG. Further, it is improbable that a compromise will be reached on the issue: a whole series of temporary agreements have arisen in the past on oil disputes between the KRG and the Iraqi central government, but the foundations of the quarrel have never been truly tackled. There is no doubt that the dispute over the budget for this year pushed the KRG to move forward with Ankara in cementing the energy deal.
At present, there is little the Iraqi government can do to stop Ankara beyond saber-rattling rhetoric. A violent confrontation is out of the question, and appealing to Washington to pressure Turkey to reconsider has been unsuccessful.
This failure of persuasion demonstrates the very limited U.S. leverage in the dispute, and while Turkish officials have expressed hope that Washington will eventually take Ankara’s side, they are obviously not pleased that the Americans sided with Baghdad.
From this point follows another conclusion: namely, it is all the more likely that Turkey will continue to resist any future U.S. or wider Western pressure to drop energy and economic ties with Iran amid the sanctions.
Ankara may be diversifying its energy sources, but that does not translate to dropping oil imports from Iran or ending the trade in gold for natural gas. An independent oil and gas pipeline project with the KRG will take years to become fully operational, and there is no reason to assume it is mutually exclusive from continuing energy ties with Iran, just as it is wrong to presume that the KRG will end oil smuggling to Iran just because of an energy agreement with Turkey.
Whatever disagreements Iran and Turkey have about Syria, it is important to note the cases of Iraq-Jordan and Iran/Iraq-Egypt economic ties. Strategic regional outlook is not the same as strengthening economic relations, and so one must avoid interpreting Turkey’s cultivation of energy ties with the KRG as a move away from Iran by either party.
Arabs keep surprising us. Now it seems there is an intent in picking a fight with Turkey and create friction between Turkey and Jordan because of pipelines to take the oil of Iraq to the World Market. The following we picked up April 4, 2013 on the MENAFN in Arabic, but it was not on the English language version.
He and Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul Karim and coffee yesterday that the next few days will witness the signing of the Jordanian-Iraqi transport …
Baghdad warns of Kurdistan oil pipeline to Turkey
SHIMLA: To study the impact of global warming on melting of glaciers and environment in general, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has decided to set up an observatory at Kothi near the 13,050-feet-high Rohtang Pass.
Scientists would be studying the behavior of aerosols, glaciers and back carbon aerosols at the poplar mountain tourist spot. With thousands of vehicles passing through Rohtang, especially during peak tourist season, on a daily basis, the white snow cover turns black due to carbon emission from vehicles. Increased quantity of black carbon aerosols in the atmosphere is absorbing more heat, due to which incoming solar radiation is being absorbed more and not reflected accordingly, resulting into faster melting of glaciers.
J C Kuniyal, senior scientist at G B Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Mohal, who is associated with the project, said that setting up of an observatory would help in collecting data that would be helpful for the preservation of glaciers and to know the rise in temperature due to global warming.
Kuniyal said with the setting up of an observatory at Kothing or Gulaba near Rohtang, study would be done to know how fast the glaciers were melting. He said data collected would also be used to study presence of aerosols in the atmosphere and its relative impact on the environment. He added that villagers would be approached to get the required land to set up the observatory in open space as the project would be carried on for a minimum three-year period.
Apart from setting up an Isro observatory, a weather tower would also be set up at Kothi or Gulaba village to have better weather forecasting and to study the presence of aerosols in atmosphere in connection with climate change. Earlier plans to have a tower near Rohtang failed as villagers had refused to part with their land, after which weather tower was set up at Mohal.
Now another tower would be set up near Rohtang under a Union government project to set up weather towers in the Himalayan region of Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand. As these towers would get energy from solar panels, and collection of data from inaccessible areas would become much easier.
Kuniyal said data collected from the centre would also help the Union government frame environment policies accordingly, besides helping local people and other stakeholders including defence personnel.
New Japanese activism – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan is in Mongolia to strengthen the ties between the two countries. It is about economic relations and energy, and also about North Korea. Then, April 8 he will host Mexico in Tokyo as part of the belated Campaign to join the Trans-Pacific Alliance.
ULAN BATOR – After meeting with Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj and Prime Minister Norov Altankhuyag in Ulan Bator, Abe told a news conference the two sides will accelerate ongoing bilateral negotiations toward inking a free-trade accord. The two sides agreed to hold a third round of trade liberalization talks in the Mongolian capital from Tuesday.
“As Mongolia is rich in natural resources, Japan’s technological cooperation will lead to a win-win scenario for both countries,” Abe, the first Japanese prime minister to visit Mongolia in nearly seven years, said after the talks.
Abe also pushed the participation of Japanese companies in developing one of the largest coal deposits in the world, at the Tavan Tolgoi site in the Gobi Desert, during the talks. Japan hopes to secure cheaper supplies of natural resources abroad while its nuclear power stations remains stalled in view of the Fukushima disaster.
The suspension of atomic power plants will drive up utilities’ fuel costs for the operation of thermal power stations to a sky-high ¥3.2 trillion in fiscal 2012, which ends Sunday, far in excess of levels seen before the 2011 meltdowns crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.
As well as its abundance of coal, Mongolia is also known for rich mineral resources such as gold, copper and uranium, while rare metals and rare earths deposits could also possibly be extracted.
Aside from economic issues, Tokyo also considers Mongolia an important ally from a diplomatic and security perspective since it has diplomatic relations with North Korea — unlike Japan, which has no formal ties with the communist country — and borders China to the south and Russia to the north.
On North Korea, Abe said the two countries had agreed to deal with its recent provocations to the international community in line with U.N. Security Council resolutions. Given Ulan Bator’s ties with Pyongyang, Abe was especially eager to secure its support in resolving the long-standing issue of the North’s abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and ’80s, government officials said.
Last November, Ulan Bator hosted the first talks between senior Japanese and North Korean officials since 2008 on the abduction issue.
Meanwhile, Japan, the largest donor to Mongolia, also intends to provide technical assistance to help the country cope with serious air pollution in the capital and assist the building of new transport infrastructure as a way of alleviating heavy traffic in and around it.
Japan was Mongolia’s fourth-largest trading partner last year, when the fast-growing country’s economy jumped 17.3 percent from a year earlier. China, Russia and the United States occupied the top three positions.