World Today: 2016-11-12

The North American press struggles to understand nationalism; a five-way conflict among stateless entities rages within Syria's borders; and an ancient nation seeks to find its place in the Middle East.

Diane Weber Bederman on journalists and the Trump victory:
You misunderstood the desire for a safe country, and law and order, and secure borders for xenophobia; fear of the other, rather than fear of un-secure borders. All of you seem to need to read something negative into comments made by those on the right. In Canada, we now have journalists who read “racism” into the word “values.” You also assumed, in your black and white thinking, and I don’t mean Manichean, that only white people care about secure borders, that only white people fear illegal immigration and immigrants in general, when in fact that there are not against immigration per se, it’s the type of immigrant. They want immigrants whose values are our values and who come here for freedom, not to spread their culture-a culture that calls for “Death to America.”
And you had the unmitigated gall to call these people racist, xenophobic, fearmongering, Islamophobes. You, dear journalists, spread the hate. ...
 Jonathan Spyer on Syria's five-way conflict:

These are: Turkish-backed Sunni Arab rebel and Islamist organizations against the Assad dictatorship, western backed SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces, dominated by the Kurdish YPG) against IS, Kurdish YPG against the Assad regime, the aforementioned Sunni rebels against IS and, lastly, the Sunni rebels against the SDF.
The problem for those seeking to cobble together a force to take Raqqa city and by so doing destroy the Islamic State, is that the two eligible forces to carry out this action are the mainly Kurdish SDF and the Turkish-backed, mainly Islamist Sunni rebels – but these forces are at war with one another. ...
 Zalmay Khalilzad on Kurdish relations:
Khalilzad predicted Iraq might split into several regions and run independently but in coordination with the central government so Shia, Sunni, and Kurds can run their affairs.
“[Iraq] can stay together…if there is genuine power sharing, resource sharing among the big communities that make Iraq, essentially meaning the Kurds, Shia, and Sunnis,” he explained.
Additionally, he said the landlocked Kurdistan Region would need to be in “good relations” with its neighbors as well as regional powers to be able to grow and establish a relationship with the rest of the world.
“The better relations Kurdistan has with as many neighbors as possible, the better for its independence,” the former US Ambassador stated.
“Ideally, even if Kurdistan becomes independent it should have good relations with Turkey, it should have good relations with Iraq, [and] with other neighbors as well,” Khalilzad continued. ...
 Commentary.  The citizens and civil society of a region fortunate enough to take freedom and security for granted risk forfeiting that security, and that freedom, because they view outside threats as implausible and unreal.