Nov 15, 2015

My cheers for Russian President Vladimir Putin are tongue-in-check, based on his vow to bomb the Islamic State cutthroats and their cousins who are battling the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad.

The man who demolished Grozny, the Chechen capital, and renamed its main boulevard after himself believes in the supremacy of brute force in domestic and international politics.

I prefer reason — but beastly force was savagely wielded by Islamic State fanatics while enslaving 6,000 Yezidi women of Mount Sinjar last year.

Thankfully, Kurdish forces — finally supported by U.S. air strikes — are now fighting to retake that strategic site, and cut off ISIS supply lines into Syria.

Syrian President Bashar Assad is no angel, and we stateless Kurds have been tormented by him and Islamic State — and wouldn’t shed tears if both were wiped off the face of the earth.

Unfortunately, to paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of their death are “greatly exaggerated.”

As a Kurd, I naturally hope that Putin’s decision to bomb Assad’s foes, except Kurds, may be a game-changer we’ve waited for.

No one with a modicum of humanity should begrudge Putin or his Russian pilots in their efforts to send all Islamic State rapists on a one-way ticket to hell.

Freedom in general and the Kurds specifically would both benefit if Arab-on-Arab violence exhausted both sides, and freed us from their shackles.

Despite that possibility, we Kurds must be prepared take on the victor — and hope it is the dictator that we know rather than the devil who shamefully seizes our women as spoils for his depraved bloodthirsty demons.

Putin, notwithstanding his friendship with Assad, has already endeared himself to the Kurds when he paid homage to our brave fighters against the cutthroats in his recent United Nations address.

President Barack Obama, by contrast, merely voiced impotent words, claiming “ideologies are not defeated with guns” but “better ideas.”


Does President Obama tell his slave-descended daughters that southern slavery vanished under the blinding glare of the northern light of freedom?

No, it was Lincoln’s bullets and bayonets — not his words and ideas.

Must enslaved Kurds and their bastard children wait centuries for an Arab Abraham to help them breathe freedom again?

President Obama benefitted from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream that blacks would one day “live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Americans didn’t judge Obama’s skin color when twice electing him president, but some were beginning to wonder if they misjudged the content of his character — given his reluctance to keep his solemn promise to “degrade and destroy” ISIS.

True, he has grudgingly provided air strikes to support Kurdish forces struggling to retake Sinjar, but those attacks are still somewhat limited.

In fact, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce, Republican of California, has questioned whether the United States is “ceding the skies” to Russia, saying Russia conducted eight times more air strikes in October than the United States — 800 to 100.

Welcome as the current strikes are, even non-Kurds wonder why President Obama, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, has docilely watched and done very little as this malicious Mideast evil spread — instead of stopping it or wholeheartedly supporting its most formidable foe, the Kurds.

Obama has heartbreakingly “abandoned [America’s] faith in its power and its duty to do good,” declared American author Leon Wieseltier, a supporter of Kurdish boots on the ground.

Putin warned the United Nations in September how “cruel” the ISIS terrorists are —12 days before two ISIS thugs blew themselves up at a peace rally in Ankara, killing more than 100 people, mostly Kurds, and a month and a half before ISIS terrorists attacked multiple sites in Paris, killing more than 125.

It’s as if William Butler Yeats had these vicious fanatics in mind when he declared that “anarchy is loosed upon the world” in his poem, “The Second Coming”:

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

Justin Trudeau, the newly minted prime minister of Canada, paid homage to the Irish poet and told President Obama he wants to withdraw his country’s forces from the Global Coalition to Counter Islamic State.

So I offer my three cheers to the Russian leader, even knowing that he is no friend of little people like the Chechens and Kurds, and is clueless about Abraham Lincoln’s maxim, “Self-government is better than good government.”

He deserves your well wishes, too, for wanting to stop the rise of Islamic State in the Middle East — which would make the Taliban-ruled Afghanistan of the 1990s look merciful by comparison.

Kani Xulam

The original of this op-ed first appeared on the website of Cleveland Plain Dealer

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