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It's been a while since I've written about the farm and our goats. There are several reasons for this but I am hoping to write more often now.

The big news on the farm is that my son is now married and they are expecting a baby.

The other big news it that now there 95 goats.

"How could that be?" you ask, "There were only 30 a few months ago!"

We didn't have some miraculous high-speed multiple births all of a sudden. :)

There is a well-off man from Antalya who started a goat farm near ours as a kind of hobby, and after a while he found out that goat farms, just like all farms, require a good deal of attention. And he doesn't have anywhere to graze the goats.

He understood that he couldn't devote the time and energy needed for a lot of young goats so he asked us if we wanted them because he was planning to get a few cows - he thinks that taking care of them will be easier.

He's a nice man and likes the fact that my son is really devoted to farming and takes as good care of our goats as he can, so he sold 66 young Aleppo goats - from six to eight months old - to us for a very reasonable price.

The problem was that many of them were ill, some sort of lung infection. I think that this was caused by his having kept them in a closed stuffy barn.

We have spent quite a lot of time and effort getting them back to better health and lost only one. But four are still in the "intensive care" pen.

My son takes them out to graze a lot and they have begun to perk up and frolic around in the fields and behave like young goats.

And I've learned something new in the past month.

I always thought that young male goats liked to butt heads, but oddly enough it is our young female goats who do most, if not all, of the butting these days!

I hope to put up some pictures soon.

We've got lots more really, really long ears. :)

Discuss

Wed Nov 05, 2014 at 05:25 AM PST

Has it really been that long?!?

by InAntalya

Hi,

To those who may be interested. I'm OK.

I haven't been on the internet at all - and as a result not at DK - for about 10 weeks.

The developments in Syria and Iraq and the extreme amount of bullshit often being pushed on the ınternet and media about them just got to me so I stepped away.

Also, the Syrian family who were staying on our farm were able to escape from Kobane, with great difficulty, and are in Suruc Turkey now.

My son got married and they are now expecting a baby - we had thought that this wouldn't happen until next year but there is that old saying "If you want to make God laugh, make a plan".

I may be back on the internet a little more this month and if I am I hope to be back here at DK too.

Take good care of yourselves.

Update: It's about 5:00pm here now and I'm going offline for a while again. It's been nice to hear from you all and thanks for your comments.

Discuss

According to what you have read and seen in the media recently, ...

Poll

Who is the Prime Minister of Iraq?

17%24 votes
66%89 votes
15%21 votes

| 134 votes | Vote | Results

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Turkish media are reporting that the Palestinians at the Egyptian ceasefire talks have reportedly accepted an eight point ceasefire plan.

The plan includes:

- a lifting of the blockade,

- the opening of border crossings,

- international monitoring of imports into Gaza,

- the PNA's becoming more directly involved in the governance of Gaza,

- extension of the limit out to sea to which Gazan fishermen can fish, and

- talks to be held in a month about a seaport in Gaza and prisoner release.

I don't have much time to spend on writing about this now. I expect others will be able to write about it more.

Discuss

The Syrian Kurdish family who have been staying with us on our farm since May are on their way back home.

Their home is near Ayn al-Arab/Kobane and news from there has been good recently.

It seems that IS(ISIS) has not been able to take the area and that the Syrian Kurds in the area are in firm control.

The family has a home and land in a village and want to go home.

We arranged for them to be transported to the border and hope all goes well.

They know that if they need to come back they are welcome.

They also want us to come and visit them. I hope we will be able to soon.

I am happy because they are going home.

I am so sad and worried because they are going home.

Discuss

While most of the media's attention has been focused on northern Iraq and IS(ISIS) advances there against Iraqi Peshmerga forces, the Iraqi military has been attacking IS positions in central Iraq.

This has partly been to keep IS forces in central Iraq occupied so that they couldn't be transferred to northern Iraq.

Today there are reports that Ramadi, the capital of the Anbar Governorate ~100 km west of Baghdad, has been retaken by the Iraqi military.

There are also reports that the Iraqi military is making progress in other areas of the Anbar Governorate and in Tikrit.

The Iraqi Air Force is also bombing locations near Mosul and Jalawla in support of Peshmerga forces.

I have also been hearing interesting news from Syria.

Reportedly IS is once again pushing towards Azaz, the town north of Aleppo where Sen. McCain met with 'rebels', and may be less than 10 km from the town.

Their aim is to retake control of the border crossing just north of Azaz, this would reduce the number of 'rebel' controlled border crossings on the Turkish-Syrian border to one.

I have also been hearing that IS has been suffering setbacks in the parts of Syria east of the Euphrates under their control as Syrian Kurdish forces have been able to defeat IS attacks on them and some Arab tribes have begun to rebel against IS in these areas.

Discuss

I've been meaning to write about this for a while.

About three weeks ago the IDF called a Palestinain student who lives in Turkey and goes to university here.

They told him to leave his home because it was going to be bombed.

He thought this was odd because he wasn't in Gaza he hadn't been to his home in Gaza for more than two years, but he called his family in Gaza and told them about the call.

They told him no one in his family in Gaza had been called and they said they didn't want to leave their home.

He called them again the next day and insisted that they leave their home even though no one in his family in Gaza had been called by the IDF

A short time later the building next door was bombed and six people were killed.

His family then left their home and went to a very overcrowded UN shelter.

Two days later their home was destroyed by Israeli bombs.

Discuss

According to the media I have been checking most of the Yazidis have been evacuated from Mount Shingal to Syrian Kurdish controlled areas in Syria.

Many have then travelled on to northern Iraq but many are still in Syria, often because they are not strong enough to continue.

It is the Syrian Kurds who have accomplished this essentially on their own and there has been very little acknowledgement in the media of this.

Photographs taken yesterday and today can be seen here:

http://www.aa.com.tr/...

and a video here:

http://www.aa.com.tr/...

They are absolutely heartbreaking. If you can't handle it don't look.

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Some Kurdish media are reporting that the Syrian Kurds have been able to clear much of the area around Mount Shingal, but I haven't been able to confirm it.

Discuss

Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 08:25 PM PDT

UPDATED: A Coup in Iraq?!? What?!?

by InAntalya

I just woke up and sat down with my coffee to see a DK diary about a coup in Iraq.

So I take a quick look at several regional media and - nothing.

So where's the coup?

The Iraqi PM and the Iraqi President are in disagreement, but it's not a coup.

And one more thing. The Iraqi President actually was calling bullshit on those who constantly complain about Maliki. But in doing so it seems he has violated the constitution - if I remember correctly. I'll check that later.

He said weeks ago 'You don't like Maliki you say. So get together, form a coalition, and present another candidate for PM.'

They haven't and most probably won't/can't.

Why?

Because there may be a general dislike of Maliki, but there is much more dislike and distrust of the other candidates who have been discussed.

But I'll keep checking the media, etc.

And by the way Maliki is still the PM because the other parties are so fractured that they can't even put another candidate forward.

Maliki hasn't siezed anything he is just still the PM.

And remember it took nine months of negotiations four years ago to set up the Iraqi cabinet.

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Just to clarify: The Iraqi President has to call on the leader of the largest bloc in the Iraqi Parliament to form a government.

As of Sunday - the deadline - Maliki was the head of the largest bloc and he asserts that he should have appointed by the president.

For weeks the President of Iraq has been asking the parties in parliament to form a coalition (bloc) and put forward a candidiate. As of Sunday night they hadn't.

Until Maliki is replaced by the parliament - if they can agree on a replacement - he will continue to be the Prime Minister.

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UPDATE 7:25pm (in Turkey): This afternoon Iraq's president asked Haider al-Abadi, who reportedly was nominated by a coalition of Shia parties, to form a government.

If he can and then gets a vote of confidence from the Iraqi parliament he will become the new Prime Minister.

Abadi has 30 days to form a new government.

Prime Minister Maliki remains the caretaker prime minister and will until a new PM is approved by parliament.

Maliki may challenge the president's decision on the grounds that it was done unconstitutionally.

If it can be proven that the coalition of Shia parties, even if it is a new coalition, is the largest bloc the president's actions may stand.

On the other hand if the coalition of Shia parties isn't the largest bloc and/or quickly breaks up the president's action may be declared unconstitutional.

Discuss

Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 11:11 AM PDT

The Legendary Peshmerga

by InAntalya

Note: The Peshmerga is the name given to the military of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
In the past 10 or so days the Peshmerga have suffered a long series of major defeats.

This has been a shock for many because for many years the Peshmerga have enjoyed an almost legendary reputation as being one of the the hardest and most effective forces in the world.

The polite explanations for this are:

- They spread themselves very thinly when they moved into areas in northern Iraq after the Iraqi military abandoned them.

- They didn't take recent developments seriously enough.

- They are not good at warfare in open desert areas.

- They suffered from bad planning and logistics.

There have also been some attempts by the Iraqi Kurdish leadership to justify the Peshmerga's recent defeats. They have put forward that:

- The Peshmerga face IS on a front 1,000 km long,

- IS has heavy weapons,

- The Peshmerga don't have enough heavy weapons, and

- The Iraqi government doesn't supply the Peshmerga with weapons.

However, in the past few days some have begun to question these justifications.

- The Peshmerga face IS on a front 1,000 km long.

IS faces the Peshmerga and the Iraqi military on a much longer front.

- IS has heavy weapons.

So do the Peshmerga.

- The Peshmerga don't have enough heavy weapons.

The Peshmerga have more heavy weapons than IS does. There are at least ten times more Peshmerga soldiers than IS fighters. And what happened to the Peshmerga that could block and even defeat the army of Saddam without any heavy weapons?

- The Iraqi government doesn't supply the Peshmerga with weapons.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) insists that the Peshmerga are completely separate from and independent of the Iraqi government and the Iraqi military. The KRG can't have it both ways, either the Pesmerga are completely separate and independent or they aren't.

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Commentary Magazine has an interesting article related to the Peshmerga:

Explain Failures or Abandon Training Missions
Michael Rubin
08.08.2014

...

From the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom until September 2012, the United States spent approximately $25 billion to train the Iraqi army. Some of the most prominent (and press hungry) American generals took the job and spoke of their success. Martin Dempsey, currently chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, headed the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq between 2005 and 2007. Bush administration officials often exaggerated the numbers of competent trained forces (full disclosure: I served briefly in the Bush administration’s Pentagon but not in a capacity that involved troop training) and generals did not clarify. Part of the reason for this, it seems, is that some generals have either become too sensitive to political winds thereby corrupting their willingness to assess honestly, or that they self-censor in order to make themselves look more successful. In a way, it’s a return to the U.S. Army’s Cold War-era “zero defects” policy which at times contributed to inaccurately positive assessments.

American special forces trained the Kurdish peshmerga as well. Unlike with the Iraqi or Afghan armies, the peshmerga’s recent failures cannot be written off as the result of ethnic or sectarian discord within the ranks. Perhaps the problem here is hagiography: ...

So too does corruption as well as nepotism. For Kurdish President Masud Barzani’s son Mansour, how nice it must be to have become a general in your 30s and command the region’s Special Forces. When nepotism trumps competence and experience, any training is a waste. ...

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/...

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Note: There are actually two rival Peshmergas; the KDP Peshmerga is in the northern half of Iraqi Kurdistan and the PUK Peshmerga is in the southern half of Iraqi Kurdistan.

It is the KDP Peshmerga who have been suffering most, maybe all, of these defeats.

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Discuss

Update 3 - 8:00am Tuesday local time in Turkey:

The semi-official Turkish news agency Anadolu Agency has publish a series of photographs of the evacuation of Yazidis yesterday from Mount Shingal/Sinjar to areas in Syria controlled by Syrian Kurdish forces:

http://www.aa.com.tr/...

and a video of the same:

http://www.aa.com.tr/...

- * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * - * -

Today Syrian Kurdish Forces continued to evacuate Yazidis from Mount Shingal to the areas they control in Syria just across the border.

There are no numbers given for today but more than 10,000 (up to 25,000) Yazidis were evacuated yesterday.

They were also able today to bring in food and water by truck for the Yazidis on the mount from the areas in Syria they control just across the border.

This is a video of some of today's events on the mount. The video seems to have been filmed near one of the three small villages located near the middle of the mount.


Mount Shingal is about 40 km long and about 15 to 20 km from the Syrian-Iraqi border.

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Update 1 - 11:30pm: I've just seen reports that the USAF has dropped two bombs on IS positions (an APC and 'heavy guns') at the northeastern corner of Mount Shingal, it seems this happened late this afternoon.

The location is reportedly where the Syrian Kurds and Peshmerga have been battling IS for three days.

From a comment I added below:

It seems this bombing was to help stop IS forces the Syrian Kurds and Peshmerga have been battling for three days.

These IS forces were trying get to and cut the escape routes north of the mountain.

This could make it easier for the Syrian Kurds and Peshmerga to protect the escape routes.

It could also cause IS to send even more forces to the area.

We will see in the next day or two.

Hopefully all of the Yazidis can be evacuated in the next two days.  

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Update 2 - 12:20am: This is just a short summary. It's late here and I'm tired.

The Iraqi Kurds are still being pressed very hard by IS near Erbil and Kirkuk.

The Iraqi Air Force is working with Iraqi Kurdish forces and bombing IS forces, especially those around Erbil and Kirkuk which are attacking Iraqi Kurdish positions.

IS also seems to have begun moving on more Kurdish areas north and northwest of Mosul and the residents of towns and villages (mostly Christian) there are reportedly fleeing.

The USAF has bombed several IS targets in the past two days, mostly northwest and southwest of Erbil.

The Iraqi military is reportedly attacking areas near Tikrit and Fallujah, possibly to keeep IS forces occupied there so that they can't be sent to the Kurdish fronts.

Discuss

I just thought I'd let anyone interested know.

I've been trying to get information about northern Iraq out to those interested and writing something about his marriage just got lost in all of it.

Discuss
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