Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Battle For Kobani.

"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many, to so few."  -  Winston S. Churchill.

The modern world (and the popular media) had not heard much of the Kurds until 1988, when the brutal dictator Saddam Hussein unleashed chemical weapons on them, killing at least 5,000 in minutes. The eventual Kurd death toll during Saddam's reign of terror would be as high as 182,000. Other than that, not much attention was given to the Kurds, who have a long and interesting history as a dispossessed people, known as the largest dispossessed minority nation on earth today. The Jews were granted a homeland in 1948, but the Kurds, whose history is as long as, if not longer than the Jews, are still not recognised as a sovereign nation.

Kurdistan borders Iraq, Turkey and Syria, but there are no official border lines which define the nation of Kurdistan as separate from these three nations, hence there are Iraqi, Turkish and Syrian Kurds, and all have come under rule or oppression of the "host nation".

The Syrian Kurds make up the majority of the population of Kobani, which borders Kurdistan and Syria in still disputed territory.  It's necessary to understand this basic background, in order to understand the battle for Kobani.

When ISIS (Islamic State) began its immoral and murderous slaughter across the Middle East, the Syrian Kurdish border town of Kobani was just another target in its campaign to establish a seventh-century style caliphate across the Middle East. ISIS rampaged and murdered its way through all who would stop its proclaimed Islamic theocracy, and Kobani was supposed to be another walk over in its quest for dominance of the entire Middle East.

When ISIS entered Kobani, the "take over" was only expected to last a few days at most. Some two months later, we've all become familiar to what is now known as the "Battle for Kobani", or "The Siege of Kobani".  Kobani, although not militarily strategically important, has become a symbol of dominance - which will benefit either ISIS or its opponents. Who wins in Kobani, will be crucially important, and may well determine the future of the genocidal ISIS and its rise, or eventual demise. If ISIS fails to take Kobani, it will suffer a major setback. The Obama administration, realising the importance of the battle for Kobani, is pounding ISIS positions in Kobani with broadly supported Coalition air strikes in the hope of an eventual Kurdish victory. 

For those who don't fully understand, Kobani is a sort of "Battle of Britain", or a turning point which will determine the future of ISIS as much as the Battle of Britain defined the future of Nazism in 1939 and the early 1940s. The Kurds obviously have "nationalistic motives" in this battle, and the wish to be finally recognised as a sovereign nation, but behind this, some may claim, "selfish motive", is the startling reality that Syrian Kurdish resistance to ISIS, if successful, may well be the beginning of the end for the most atrocious, murderous and  genocidal regime so far seen in the 21st century.

Update 20 December 2014:

Kurdish peshmerga forces were on Friday preparing to rescue thousands of Yazidis who have been besieged since August by Islamic State (Isis) militants on Iraq’s Sinjar mountain.

Political leaders hailed a victory over Isis as an offensive launched on Wednesday rapidly opened a corridor to the estimated 7,000 to 10,0000 members of the religious minority and made further gains on Friday.

Commanders said fighters were working to secure the route down the mountain before the evacuation could begin.

“This is the biggest victory against Isis since the beginning of the war. We have managed to open a corridor so the people stuck on the mountain can reach safety,” said Masrur Barzani, the head of Kurdistan’s national security council.

When Isis attacked Sinjar in early August, the peshmerga forces withdrew leaving the Yazidi population at the mercy of Isis fighters who consider them devil worshippers. Thousands were killed or captured and sold into slavery and the rest fled up the mountain to escape. While most Yazidis have reached safety in Kurdistan, about 7000-10000 Yazidis have been stuck in the mountains and not able to reach safety.

Source: Kurdish pershmerga forces prepare escape route for Yazidis trapped on Sinjar.

Source: RT (Russia Today).

Update December 23, 2014:

Surprisingly, there are still a fair number of civilians left in the city. Walking through the streets of western Kobani, one sees children running around and playing as if nothing unusual is afoot. Many of the people who stayed have joined the YPG forces to help defend their town against IS....

Walking around the streets of Kobani, one sees rocket shells as well as unexploded shells lying around. One particular type built by IS militants is called the Hell Mortar. It is made from a large gas capsule, used in this part of the world for cooking, soldered to a long pipe fitted with a multi-bladed tail.

The confrontation between Kurdish forces and jihadists has brought this once-unknown town in northeastern Syria worldwide attention. The feeling of pride is ubiquitous. Kurdish fighters and civilians alike boast how their small town has held fast against IS' mighty military machine and brutal campaign for more than three months. Their experience is in contrast to many other areas in Iraq and Syria that fell to the militants in a matter of days....

"IS beheads people to scare their enemies. It's psychological warfare. They want to make their enemies run away," said Erdal, smiling as he spoke. "But not us. We have proven they are not as strong as they claim. If we were afraid, we could not have stood here and fought them for so long."
As of Dec. 23, Kurdish fighters had held their ground against IS for 100 days.

A small child raises his fingers in a gesture of victory in Kobani, Dec. 14, 2014. (photo by Mohammed A. Salih)

Source: Kurds draw pride from defense of Kobani.

Update January 3, 2015:

Kurds regain most of Kobani but ISIL fights on in Syrian border town.

The siege maintained on the city by ISIL for the past several months is now effectively broken and the militants are pulling back, but frontline reports suggest their morale is undimmed and air power is doing nothing to scale back their ambitions.

In interviews mostly made available on social media which cannot be verified, fighters express their enthusiasm for extending sharia law and dying as martyrs for their cause. They also claimed better conditions at the frontline than their rear bases, especially more food.

Er, what good is "more food" to someone about to blow himself to bits?

Desperate- ISIS turns to suicide bombing.

With the War having already been lost the Japanese refused to accept defeat.  In a last ditch and desperate effort they employed the use of the Kamikazi.  At the time, and possibly even now, the people of Japan believed these winged suicide bomber were heroes and martyrs of their cause when in fact they were no different then the ISIS suicide bombers that now attack the Defense Force and civilians within Kobani’s walls.

It is almost eerie how the actions of the Risings Sun’s winged suicide bomber is now being mimicked by the forces of ISIS.  In both cases the suicide  attacker was held in high esteem by those that he left behind.  Each was assured of better place after their flight or drive to death.   Both went through a ceremony celebrating their senseless death and murder of others before taking off on their one way mission.  It never ceases to amaze this author at just how exact history can be when it repeats itself.

Nevertheless, the intensity of the battle for Kobani continues (YPG Media):

House to house fighting:

Update 29 January, 2015:

The Liberation of Kobani:


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