September 26th, 2017

Meanwhile, we have some elections in Germany and Iraq

While we are being distracted by such things as the NFL’s knees and Weiner’s weiner, life goes on abroad with some elections.

Germany has re-elected Angela Merkel, for example. But the celebration was somewhat muted for Merkel:

Merkel’s Pyrrhic victory comes at a great cost to her Christian conservative party (CDU), which registered its worst performance in nearly 70 years — getting just above 33 percent of the vote. Merkel’s desire to extend her 12-year-old reign also pulverized her junior coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), in many of its traditional working-class bastions. At 20 percent, the SPD, Europe’s oldest socialist party, also clocked its worst performance since 1949.

The biggest winner of the Sunday’s election was the right-wing AfD party. The newcomer secured 12.6 percent of the vote, getting over 21 percent in eastern German states. With 90 members of parliaments, the AfD is set to form the third largest group in the German Bundestag.

This is part of a larger political trend across Europe, and is unsurprising—especially in Germany, where Merkel’s pro-refugee stance has been particularly obvious. The rise of far-right (or what is called “far-right” in Europe) parties across much of Western Europe is a double-edged sword, depending on what their endgame is.

After all, Germany has a certain history with this, and that history is not especially positive, to say the least (and let’s not quibble right now about whether the Nazis were on the left or the right, a topic we’ve certainly discussed before on this blog here, for example).

The rise of these nationalist parties on the right is not just about immigration; their growth is also very much a reaction to the increasing power of the EU:

The EU’s fears over the AfD’s entry into the German parliament are understandable. “The AfD’s entry into the Bundestag is a major shock,” EU’s Economic Commissar, Pierre Moscovici, was quick to point out.

Right-wing party’s presence in the German parliament makes it difficult for Merkel to extend bailouts and financial concessions to other European countries in the names of “saving Europe”. The nationalist AfD will be more than happy to throw a wrench into Merkel’s plans, especially if it means disrupting the EU.

There also was a vote in the Kurdish part of Iraq, a non-binding referendum on whether the Kurds should secede and form their own country. The full results have not been released yet, but there’s little doubt that the answer will be a resounding “Yes!” for the Kurds, who have been wanting their own country for about a century.

This will send a shudder of fear throughout the greater region, because several countries (especially Turkey and Iran) have their own restless Kurds, too. It’s possible to support the very understandable and valid desire of the Kurds to have their own country while realizing that the destabilization that almost certainly would result could be very dangerous, not just to the region but to our interests there as well.

If Iraq (or Iran or Turkey) has anything to say about it, the Kurds aren’t going anywhere:

Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared before the vote that he would take “necessary measures” to protect the country’s unity and he was due to meet parliament members on Wednesday.

Iraqi lawmakers voted on Tuesday to send troops to disputed areas where the referendum took place, but there have been no signs of a deployment so far.

The referendum took place peacefully, but has increased tensions between the Iraqi Kurds and their neighbors, raising fears of potential unrest.

Iran and Turkey have also made a string of threats against the leaders of the enclave, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warning of strangled oil exports, hunger and military intervention.

In the regional capital Erbil, a night of fireworks, flag-waving and dancing in the streets followed the vote.

“We made a Kurdish state today,” Erbil resident Ahmad told AFP during the celebrations.

“We’re Kurdish people, we’re not Arab, we’re not Persian, we’re no one else… We’re Kurds and we’ll remain Kurds forever.”

The Kurds really are different—for example, they support Israel and Israel supports them (and by the way, there are a couple hundred thousand Kurdish Jews, something I just learned today)—and their nationalist desires trouble many countries in the region. The reason is obvious if you look at this map showing the extent of the territory Kurds inhabit:

The fact that the Kurds are nationalist about being Kurds (they identify as Kurds before they identify as members of any religion or present-day country, for example) presents a threat to the entire region, but it is one of the reasons they are more religiously tolerant and secular in their society. They also are excellent fighters, which can’t make the countries they inhabit feel very secure when faced with the possibility of civil war if the Kurds don’t get their nation.

13 Responses to “Meanwhile, we have some elections in Germany and Iraq”

  1. Gringo Says:

    The biggest winner of the Sunday’s election was the right-wing AfD party. The newcomer secured 12.6 percent of the vote, getting over 21 percent in eastern German states.

    Got its biggest percentage in the former East Germany (DDR). Interesting. Chancellor Merkel, from East Germany, lost votes from her open door policy for Muslim “refugees.”
    Augean Stables: Hello Refugees! A Post by Melanie Phillips.

    Tuvia Tenenbom, that most acute and incendiary observer of what’s festering beneath the surface of polite society, has turned his attention to Germany’s “refugees”. To his surprise and no little dismay, what he has found out is not so much about these migrants but about Germany itself, and it isn’t pretty at all.

    In his new book Hello Refugees, he adopts his now familiar but no less devastating tactic of trading on his blond hair, Falstaffian girth and indeterminate accent to conceal the fact that he was born and brought up in an ultra-orthodox family in Israel. He derives his unique insights from the fact that many of those to whom he addresses his faux-naïf but devastatingly direct questions assume he is an antisemite — just like them. And so they open up to him in a uniquely frank manner.

    In Hello Refugees “Toby the German”, his previous persona, has become “Toby the Jordanian”. Posing as the son of Jordanian and European parentage, he uses his fluent Arabic to gain access to refugee camps in Germany where access is routinely denied to the media.

    What he discovers shocks him deeply. He finds migrants effectively warehoused in wholly inadequate conditions, housed twelve to a “room” in what are no more than, and indeed described as, “containers”. Existing on disgusting food, jobless and with no apparent means of emerging from these holding pens, these migrants have in effect been abandoned by the German state.

    Everywhere he goes, people tell him the same thing: that Chancellor Angela Merkel famously invited in more than one million migrants in order to erase the moral stain of Germany’s Nazi past. He concludes that this was not an act of conscience. How could it have been when these people have been left so abandoned? It was instead a move to show the world — and themselves — that this former Nazi state has become the world’s conscience. In other words, it was a cynical move that evacuates the word conscience of all meaning.

    Worse than that, Tenenbom also discovers that this public advertisement of collective “conscience” has legitimised and provoked open antisemitism. Repeatedly and gratuitously, Germans tell him that they are now morally superior to the Jews and to the State of Israel which is described as uniquely racist and murderous.

    He doesn’t get any of this from the Syrian refugees or other migrants. He gets it only from the Germans. He finds that “anti-racist”, “human rights” activists extolling Germany’s humanitarian gesture and calling for yet more refugees to be allowed in are in fact deep-dyed racists and antisemites.

    Tenenbom knew already that Germany is still teeming with Jew-hatred; he has remorselessly chronicled this dismal finding in his previous work. But now, he tells me, it’s much more open and brazen. And that, he says, is because the act of taking in the migrants has allowed Germany to feel it has finally shaken off the stigma of its past. Now it is free to hate Jews again.

    I copied in full because it was relatively short I didn’t know what to cut without reducing its impact.

    I had a lot of contact with Germans in Latin America, as fellow tourists and co-workers. Of all the Euros, I found Germans to be most compatible. Reading the above, I suspect that is no longer the case. My brother-in-law, who as a child emigrated from Germany with his family, also sees current Germany as no longer familiar.

  2. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

    Note the most of “Kurdistan” is mountainous. There are an interesting mix of ethnic and religious groups in these areas. Not only the Kurds, but the Yazidis and others. These include proto-Zoroastrians, far spin off Islamic sects, odd Christian sects and as you note Jews. years ago I was in Pakistan (Balouchistan) and saw some blue eyed people described only as mountain people. They are migrants and the locals told me they were treated much like slaves by the local farmers.

    There is no great love from these peoples for the various Islamic empires who want to rule them.

  3. neo-neocon Says:

    Gringo:

    Fascinating.

  4. Ken Mitchell Says:

    If George Bush had had a lick of sense, he would have partitioned Iraq into Shia, Sunni and Kurdish “states” and then promoted an “Iraqi Federation” if he thought that they needed to stay together. Let’s face it; the current boundaries of Iran, Iraq, and Syria are entirely artificial; even Turkey as we know it today is a rump remnant of the Ottoman Empire, partitioned after World War One.

    Personally, I support an independent Kurdistan.

  5. Tom G Says:

    Ken is mostly right — “nation state” refers to a nation of people, like the Kurdish or even German nation.

    State is when that nation is the majority of an area and dominates the government, with state boundaries.

    Trump, and the USA, should be promoting a Velvet Divorce of the Sunni Kurds out of Arab Iraq. And if the Turkish Kurds want to leave, like the Scots did not do (tho maybe now they would), the USA should support peaceful, democratic changes. The Turks have long oppressed the Kurds.

    As a practical matter, maybe 1 million or more people might be needed before calling a clan/tribe/people a “nation”, but the Kurds have long be the most numerous people without a nation state — because of post WW I lousy boundaries. Nation states are more peaceful, and probably grow faster economically.

    Slovaks and less numerous Slovenes are doing fine in their own countries.

  6. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “Weiner’s weiner”? LOL…

    Merkel, who is planning to import another million ‘refugees’ is courting Mussolini’s fate. Either that or the ‘Sword of Allah’ await her.

    Western Europe has NO “far right”. The vast majority on the ‘right’ (moderate middle) simply value their culture and are unwilling to go along with EU/Marxist imperatives.

    Regarding a Kurdish State:

    Iran’s hostility is a given. Iraq is too riven with internal divisions to be a concern.

    Erdogan will not react well to American recognition of a Kurdish State. Before we go down that road, we’d better damn well make sure that all nukes are out of Turkey and be prepared to make a public enemy of Erdogan’s Turkey. Of course that would just be publicly acknowledging reality. I’ve seen one report that we’re quietly moving our nukes out of Turkey but no confirmation of it and, with McMaster whispering in Trump’s ear, it’s entirely possible that rumor is fake news.

  7. Dave Says:

    Trump can make liberals eat feces buy ordering them not to eat feces. Trump should take this chance to dare all liberals to give 99% of their net worth to help the poor.

  8. Yancey Ward Says:

    The European countries are undergoing a major political realignment. The so-called conservative parties are increasingly fatuous toadies who can’t be distinguished from the socialists. This leaves a vacuum on the right/nationalist side of the divide, and nature abhors such things.

    It is good we have a strong, get-things-done conservative party here in the US, otherwise there would a drive at realignment in the US, too.

  9. Gringo Says:

    Judging by his Author’s Page at Amazon, Tuvia Tenenbom has written some books worth investigating.

  10. Ymar Sakar Says:

    GB, not sure why it sounds like Americans are celebrating these news as victories.

    Sounds like another WW3 to me.

  11. Ymar Sakar Says:

    My brother-in-law, who as a child emigrated from Germany with his family, also sees current Germany as no longer familiar.

    All part of the plan.

    Get A to fight B, B to fight A, divide and conquer. Then the One Ring C comes in and rules it all.

  12. om Says:

    Yancey:

    That last paragraph got a smile from me. 😉

  13. Yancey Ward Says:

    om,

    You are most welcome! 😉

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