by liberal japonicus
Hate to pull you all away from something as world shattering as the IRS and their backup policies, but as I wrote last year, I went to Bishkek to do some teacher training and I'm headed back this year. Amazing country, and this article explains some of the fascinating undercurrents involved.
One thing that the article misses is the underlying layer of Turkic culture. Turkey would be definitely punching above its weight if one imagines it competing in the same division as Russia and China.
In addition, Kyrygz (the last time I was there, several people said the country's name was Kyrgyz, not Kyrgyzstan, in order to put some distance to the generally bad rep that any country with a -stan at the end has) was part of the Silk Road, and you can see the diversity of faces in the pics on the Wikipedia page of the people of Kyrgyz.
My looking at flight plans makes for an interesting lead in to other geopolitical problems. I was wondering how I will get to Bishkek, previously I took Air Astana from Seoul, but I was thinking about going through Istanbul and was wondering what things were like. wj points out that if the Kurds get their own nation, Turkey will benefit. While Turkey would certainly benefit if it didn't have to spend resources and attention on the Kurds, these two links (here and here), point to a realignment.
In the politics makes strange bedfellow category, Turkey seems to have been supporting the ISIS against the Kurds, or at least allowing foreign fighters to go into Iraq on the idea that they would keep the Kurds occupied, but having an actual Kurdish state that could work with Turkey could sort out Turkey's energy needs (as the first link points out, Kirkuk (recently taken as Iraq falls apart) has reserves of 10 billion barrels of oil) This link gives a good description of who's taking what, who is fighting who.
One wonders how Iran would view a Kurdish nation consisting of chunks of Syria and Iraq, though the Kurds are more of a known quantity compared with a Sunni group that was kicked out of Al Queda for being too vicious (ISIS). I also wonder how much the Kurds would demand from Turkish Kurdistan and how much the Turks would be willing to give up. Of course, I'm sure everyone has heard that Maliki requested the US provide drone strikes against the ISIL and this article.
“What is needed is a coordinated air and ground action consisting of both a heavy dose of precisely applied firepower and a sufficiently executed ground defensive,” Dubik said in an opinion piece published by The Washington Post. “The Iraqis are incapable of such action alone. The firepower will have to be delivered by United States and allied aircraft augmented by Iraqi assets.” Dubik, who commanded U.S. troops in Iraq in 2007 and 2008, also advocated sending U.S. military advisers to Iraq to coordinate air support and create capable Iraqi military units.
Plus ça change...
Anyone with more knowledge or interesting articles they have come across are welcome to wade in.