star wars battle

The Separatist Take on World Powers! Discontent in Iraq, Cameroon, and Catalonia

All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish it. –Alexis de Tocqueville

Were the Jedi the good guys?  When you think about it, the leader of the Galactic Republic was the Dark Lord of the Sith, the Jedi’s sworn enemy.  The separatist were pictured as odd looking aliens with comical drones that fought endlessly with the Republic’s clones.

The Separatists had a point, even if the Jedi were at loath to see it.

Thousands of disgruntled star systems ultimately seceded from the Republic and fully embraced the newly created Confederacy of Independent System’s fiery message of resistance. The idea that the Republic was distant, dispassionate, corrupt, and unworthy of membership ultimately marshalled disgruntled systems into a new galactic democratic confederacy.

Is Star Wars the Bible?  Because it’s starting to sound like Revelations.

In addition to the secret support of several mega corporations, including the Trade Federation and the Commerce Guild, the Confederacy was formed by thousands of secessionist star systems on the grounds of excessive taxation and corruption within the Galactic Senate.

George Soros, is that you?  Did you watch Star Wars in your youth and take the ideas a little to literally?

The Republic built an army, and the Jedi became soldiers.  The formation of this army would be the downfall of both the Republic and the Jedi.  In the end, the only way to unite the galaxy was through a dictatorship.

The Separatist became the Rebels, and the Galactic Republic became the Galactic Empire.  Suddenly independence and sovereignty didn’t sound so bad.

The Global Fight For Sovereignty

There are independence movements all over the world from Cameroon, to Iraq, and all the way backup to Spain (if only California would do us all the favor of leaving the United States).  But what do you do when your country is run by traitors?

Under the worst years of Obama how did we feel in America?  Unheard and mismanaged.  If this had continued under Hillary Clinton?  I think we would be looking at the Republic of Texas to save us all.

In his speech on September 19, 2017 at the UN General Assembly, President Donald Trump made some political philosophical remarks about the nation-state, the best vehicle for elevating the human condition. He urged the need for “strong, independent nations that embrace their sovereignty, to promote security, prosperity, and peace for themselves and for the world.”

What do you do when your country no longer listens to you?  When they’re more concerned about global affairs then what is happening at home?  In each of these three separatist movements, the secessionists groups account for a large portion of wealth or resources, and have fought for autonomy for years.

All three countries are run by leaders beholden not to their people, but to larger institutions such as the European Union, the United Nations, and even the United States.  Indeed, these leaders function more as shadow puppets than real leaders.  They steal from the affluent to promote injustice as a means of equality.

Kurds still fighting for independence in the Middle East

It seems everyone has their hands in the Iraq pot, and unfortunately for the Kurds, they don’t want to use those hands to help the Kurds.  Which is a shame, since the Kurds probably deserve it.

In 2014 when the Iraqi army fled in the face of IS which overran about a third of Iraq. The Kurds prevented Kirkuk’s huge oil resources from falling into the militants’ hands.

At the height of the Cold War, Kurdish leader Mulla Mustafa Barzani allied with America and Israel, even as Iraq, like many Arab countries, leaned Soviet and battled the Jewish state.

It’s in America’s interest. Like Israel (the world’s only country so far to fully support Barzani’s independence move), the Iraqi Kurds have been on our side for decades, though we haven’t always been on theirs. (Note: America’s willingness to provide air cover has allowed them to flourish in Iraq since the 1990s).

Let’s not forget when Saddam Hussain’s killing thousands of Kurds in the 1980s.

The Kurds have their own culture, language, territory and army. They can be economically independent thanks to oil reserves, though they’ll have to negotiate revenue-sharing deals with Baghdad.  Kurdistan needs to crack down on corruption and cronyism, but it’ll at least start with a democratic system.

The parliament of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region approved a plan to hold a referendum on independence on Sept. 25, ignoring opposition from Baghdad and the wider region as well as Western concerns that the vote could spark fresh conflict.

The Shiite-dominated Iraq legislature rejected the Sept. 25 referendum in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region and areas the Kurds captured battling the Islamic State group since 2014.

Final results released showed nearly 93 percent in favor of independence, and 7.3 percent against. More than 3.3 million people, or 72 percent of eligible voters, took part in Monday’s ballot, according to the electoral commission.

The Kurdish legislatures are not attending a parliament session underway in Baghdad as tensions escalate further between the central government and Iraq’s Kurdish region following its controversial independence referendum.

Parliament has asked for harsh measures in response to the vote, including sending federal troops to retake the contested oil-rich city of Kirkuk, which is held by Kurdish forces but claimed by Baghdad. Lawmakers also dismissed the ethnically mixed Kirkuk province’s Kurdish governor who supported the referendum.

The United States have made their stance clear:

The United States does not support the Kudistan Regional Government’s intention to hold a referendum later this month, enter into serious and sustained dialogue with Baghdad, which the United States has repeatedly indicated it is prepared to facilitate.

Along with Europe, Washington says the timing threatens the Baghdad-Erbil alliance against ISIS, which hasn’t been totally crushed in Iraq.

Iran and Turkey also oppose any move toward Kurdish secession and their armies have started joint exercises near their borders with Iraqi Kurdistan in recent days.

Turkey has been battling a three-decade insurgency in its largely Kurdish southeast and fears the referendum will inflame separatist tension at home.

Russia’s interest in the region is growing. Oil major Rosneft (ROSN.MM) is increasing investment in Kurdistan and the Kurds have been developing strong ties with Moscow.

The foreign ministers of Turkey, Iraq and Iran met last week n New York on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly and said they would coordinate their response to the referendum

Foreign airlines began suspending flights to Kurdish airports after the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority said on Wednesday that international flights to Erbil and Sulaimaniya would be suspended from 1500 GMT.

Kurdish authorities rejected Baghdad’s demands that they should annul the referendum as a condition for dialogue and hand over control of their international airports.

 

“We’ve been waiting more than 100 years for this,” Omed Khoshnaw, a lawmaker from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDR) of KRG President Massoud Barzani, told Reuters.

Iraq will not let the Kurds go without a fight.  I don’t know if it is a fight they can afford.

Southern Cameroonians fight a dictator

The peaceful country of Cameroon is in danger of falling into all out civil war.  And the President of Cameroon is not even worth it.  Though the world only cares about Africa when they want to show starving children on the television or raise support for HIV awareness, the world is watching to see what becomes of the movement.

There doesn’t seem to be any world leaders against the southern Cameroonians, the opposite of the problems facing the Kurds.  At least there hasn’t been any overt statement against southern Cameroon’s independence.

The divisions in the western African state date back to the post-colonial settlement.

Cameroon was colonized by Germany, then split into British and French areas after World War One and was eventually reunified in 1961. Since then the English-speaking minority has always advocated for an autonomous Federalist system of government.  A wish Cameroon’s Presidents have never honored or acknowledged.

Protests over the last year were prompted by the imposition of French in schools and courts in the English-speaking North-West and South-West regions.

Biya again shut down the internet of English speaking Cameroonians ahead of the 56th anniversary of reunification of the country.  Activists were calling for the release of prisoners arrested in earlier demonstrations.

A study found that government shutdowns of the internet have cost sub-Saharan Africa nearly $250m (£186m) since 2015, undermining economic growth and affecting the delivery of critical services.

The situation has turned violent.  At least 17 people have died in clashes between security forces and protesters in Cameroon’s English-speaking regions, Amnesty International said, as violence broke out in an area where a separatist movement is gathering strength.

A local mayor confirmed that one of the victims was a 13-year-old girl who died from bullet wounds.  And France’s response?

“France is following the situation in Cameroon carefully and is preoccupied by the incidents that took place over the weekend,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes Romatet-Espagne told reporters in a daily online briefing on Monday.

It looks like no help is coming for the beleaguered secessionists, and countries only care enough to offer vague statements for peace.

You would think that the President of Cameroon would be there to keep his country united.  If Cameroon is so intent on keeping the country together, where is the President in his country’s time of need?

President Paul Biya, who has been in power for 35 years, has yet to return to the country after taking part in the 72nd UN General Assembly in New York last month.  Don’t worry though, he condemned “all acts of violence, regardless of their source and their perpetrators.” I guess it is the rouge police force fighting against the secessionists.

Opposition leader John Fru Ndi, who ran against Biya in past elections, said the president might struggle to ease tensions before next year’s election. The 84-year-old Biya, who has held power since 1982, is expected to seek another term.

Human rights groups have raised concerns about increasing repression under President Biya, while the true size and influence of the independence movement remains hard to gauge.  Will Cameroon escape this mess in one piece?

Maybe they can watch the Catalonian’s fight for freedom as a warning against escalation.  At least Cameroon may see peace with the exit of their President from politics.

Catalonians will never be free of Spain

Catalonia, Catalonia, I wouldn’t want to own you

To fight for you so completely

You wouldn’t want to meet me

Unless it was to beat me

into an early grave 

Catalonia has always been obsessed with itself.  They zealously guard their own power against the bungling hands of the Spanish. To which I sympathize completely, if only they weren’t so partial towards the European Union, I would really get behind them.  Even when the EU doesn’t support them.

The region, centered on Barcelona, has 7.5 million population, 16% of the Spanish population, accounts for 20% of Spain’s GDP, and 30% of foreign trade, is self-governing in certain areas, police, health and education, while Madrid still controls taxes, foreign policy, and infrastructures.

It’s one of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions, situated in the country’s northeast. Catalonia accounts for almost one-fifth of Spain’s output, the equivalent of Portugal’s economy, and has spearheaded Spain’s economic development since the Industrial Revolution.

The regional capital, Barcelona, hosted the Olympic Games in 1992 and has since been the hub of Spain’s thriving tourism industry, with more than eight million overnight visitors last year.

In November 2015 the Catalan legislature approved, 72 to 63, a plan for secession by 2017, but the Constitutional Court suspended the plan.

Then the 54-year-old president of Catalonia, former journalist Carles Puigdemont in June 2017, a fervent advocate of Catalonia as an independent republic, announced that a binding resolution on independence would be held on October 1, 2017.

The question is simple: “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic, Yes or No?” If the vote was positive, he would declare independence from Spain within 48 hours of the vote.

Political systems differ. In 2014, a referendum on independence for Scotland was held with legal consent of the central government in London. In contrast, the central Spanish government in Madrid, headed by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, head of the conservative Popular Party, denies the legality of the Catalonian referendum of October 1st. Rajoy spoke of the “indivisible unity of the Spanish nation, the common and indivisible homeland of all Spaniards.”

The Catalonian’s are playing for high stakes.  They could enter this fight and end with nothing.  Spain’s government has warned it could suspend Catalan autonomy.

The constitutional court banned the vote and almost 900 people were hurt as police tried to stop it going ahead.  Officers from the national police and paramilitary Civil Guard seized ballot papers and boxes at polling stations.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Catalans had been fooled into taking part in an illegal vote.

More than 2.2 million people were reported to have voted, according to Catalan authorities, out of 5.3 million registered voters. Just under 90% of those who voted backed independence, they said.

So the people are at impasse, the Spanish will not let the people of Catalonia secede, and the violent suppression has led to an even stronger commitment to secede from Catalonia.

Whether or not it was legal nationally for people in Catalonia to have a vote, surely people are allowed to express an opinion…We saw women being dragged out of polling stations by their hair, old ladies with gashes in their forehead. The most extraordinary display and what do we get from [European Commission President Jean-Claude] Juncker today? Not a dickie-bird.- Nigel Farage

The cowards European Union of course has to protect their own interests ahead of anybody else.  Even a community that has pledged to rejoin the EU after they gain their independence.

The Catalan vote was declared unconstitutional by Spain’s own courts, and in a time of rising nationalism and populism, the last thing that the European Union wants to do is to encourage regional separatism.

They fear encouraging separatists at home: the Flemish in Belgium, the Lombards in Italy, the Corsicans in France, the Transylvanians in Romania.  The EU is facing internal conflict all around it’s union.

Maybe Count Dooku behind the scenes pulling the strings.  I hope he’s gathering his drone army because it is going to take God himself to propel these three peoples into independence.

We act as if the lines drawn on the globe are permanent and must be abided by people everywhere.  Like Star Wars, there is no clear answer in many of these situations.  The Jedi may be noble, but their fighting for an oppressive and incompetent entity (coughcough European Union).  The Separatist may have points but their allies are unclear with their motive.

Either way the world will have to decide what direction it’s going to go in.  I have a feeling that today’s Separatists will become tomorrow’s heroes.