Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Arabs and Kurds, and Emma Sky

My Hudson-NY piece this week is about the Arab-Kurdish tensions that seem to be coming to a boil. I argue that long-standing tensions are being whipped up at the current time because it serves several political agendas:
Kirkuk is saddled with very difficult issues involving many interested parties. The critical urgency for tackling these issues—energy, demographics, a history of ethnic cleansing—is now being impeded by political expediency: the Arab-Kurdish disputes are being played up, because ganging up on the Kurds would bring the Sunnis and the Shias together, or so think the likes of Maliki, Mutlag and Sky.
The “Sky” I’m referring to is Emma Sky. I’ve been watching her rise for some time, and couldn’t tell whether this was a remarkably deft penetration of the American decision-making process courtesy of the ‘cousins’ across the pond, or that it was just an accident of history when mediocre characters, thrust into the eye of history, begin making irresponsible and ill-conceived choices. I’m still wavering between the two.

Sky has maneuvered herself into becoming General Ray Odierno’s brain.

Emma Sky

Sky has been recently quoted as saying:
“It is a fascinating society,” she said of Iraq. “They have got things here that we have totally lost in the West: the appreciation of each other, whether it is the family, the clan or the tribe; values that aren't capitalist.”
How foolish is that? What toxic mix of cluelessness and self-righteousness is necessary to allow someone to string together these words? Is Emma Sky arguing for a pre-capitalistic society for Iraq? Where’s the sense of irony here?

But I’ll hand it to her, she has been quite clever in rallying the ranks of her fellow travelers among the western media (think Tom Ricks), as well as the left-leaning think-tankers. She’s managed to manipulate them into adhering to a disciplined message about Iraq, one that is heavily colored by her politics.

But what really galls me is that she has the audacity to compare herself to Gertrude Bell. Apart from both of them being British, middle-aged and in a capacity to direct events in Iraq, there is really no way that Sky can measure up to Bell. I have a complex relationship to the latter: on the one hand I see how her personal biases negatively influenced her instincts, but on the other I’m awed by the intellectual heft and bravery she kept demonstrating. One of my favorite books is the Desert and the Sown, an account of Bell’s travel’s in what we’d now call the interior of the Levant around the turn of the century; a journey she undertook on her own. To me this book, one that is always handy for the leafing, is a testimony to how uniquely brilliant this lady was, a set of personal triumphs that one should think twice of before claiming them for themselves.

And guess what? Emma Sky has her eye on greener pastures: the Rose Garden. That’s right, she wants to start working for the Obama administration.
After a year or so away from the front line, Ms Sky will consider her next move. “I would love to go and work for the President in the White House,” she said, admitting that her favourite TV series was The West Wing.
God help us all.


Anonymous neil said...

God help us all indeed! For Sky's
previous activities in Jerusalem
(she never stayed more than a few
hours 'in Gaza')see comments and links attached to this web-site:


6:29 AM, April 23, 2009

Anonymous neil said...

Michael Busch of CUNY is also very
sceptical of Sky and Odierno - and
critical of Tom Ricks pointing out that he was 'embedded'. Ricks has
subsequently conceded that he did
not speak Arabic and was therefore
limited to focussing on internal
dynamics within the US military:


7:20 AM, April 23, 2009

Anonymous neil said...

'Clientitis' was a criticism of Emma Sky in Palestine as well -
and most of her 'insights' were,
in my view, pretty superficial.
Her so-called 'PAID project was
it transpired 'non-existent'(her
words in a British Council memo
after she was finally rumbled!)

But British Council hush that up and Emma Sky's rise continued -
despite evidence of 'mediocrity'.
She was then embraced by Bremer,
and also by Paul Wolfowitz here:


Your own assessement rings true:

"Sky has developed an unfortunate case of “clientitis” involving the chieftains of the principal Arab tribe in Kirkuk’s vicinity, the ‘Ubaid, who flatter her with platitudes about her magnificent role in history, which consequently drives the garrulous Sky to see things their way; which is to say, the Kurds are the aggressors, even though many of the ‘Ubaid chiefs hunted down the Kurds in the Saddam years, much like how the Ukrainian auxiliaries massacred Jews on behalf of the Waffen SS. "

7:43 AM, April 23, 2009

Anonymous neil said...

As for her being a left-wing tree-hugging pacificist ...... nothing
could be further from the truth!

She struck me as an arrogant and upper class public-school bully
(Old Decanian from Cheltenham!)
with no discernible ideologies
aside from playing one group off
against another cynically for the
advantage of the ruling hegemon?

The only evidence of 'tree-hugging' was her garrulous
enthusiasm for 'The Hash' -
an expat orienteering game
involving dead-letter drops
and trees ... And pacifists
do not get involved in any
way with military matters!

7:56 AM, April 23, 2009

Anonymous Neil said...

The comparison with Gertrude Bell seems to have begun with Kurds in
Kirkuk, however, who thought Sky
was biassed against them - or at
least that is how I read George
Packer's critique of Sky in a
2004 article in 'The New Yorker':


There was it seems at that point a suspicion that the Iraq Property
Claims body Sky was sponsoring at
that time was a political 'sop'- a bit like ('non-existent') public
admin reform projects in Palestine being used as "political" levers?!

8:36 AM, April 23, 2009

Anonymous Neil said...

Perhaps she was 'against invasion of Iraq' but so was Saddam ......

8:39 AM, April 23, 2009

Anonymous neil robertson said...

More of the same - but still no answers on Sky's 'non-existent' (her words not mine) British Council/UK DfID'PAID' project
in Palestine which attracted
the attention of auditors not
to mention a PNA Minister who
complained to HM Consul General
Robin Kealey in East Jerusalem!


12:39 PM, November 21, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the north facethe north face
north face jacketnorth face jacket
north face jacketsnorth face jackets
north facenorth face
north face outletnorth face outlet
North Face Mens JacketsNorth Face Mens Jackets
pandora pandora
pandora bracelets pandora bracelets
pandora charms pandora charms
Pandora BanglePandora Bangle
pandora charms braceletspandora charms bracelets
charm bracelets pandoracharm bracelets pandora
pandora bracelets ukpandora bracelets uk
links bracelet links bracelet
links london bracelet links london bracelet
links london charms links london charms
links charms links charms
charm bracelets charm bracelets
links bracelet sweetie links bracelet sweetie
charm links bracelet charm links bracelet
sweetie bracelet sweetie bracelet
links of london links of london
links london links london
ugg boots ugg boots
As Seen On TV As Seen On TV
Video Game AccessoriesVideo Game Accessories
Laptop Batteries Laptop Batteries
ed hardy clothing ed hardy clothing
Abercrombie And Fitch Abercrombie And Fitch
tiffany jewellery tiffany jewellery

1:32 AM, April 15, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spot on assessments of this annoying woman. There was one person you hoped some indirect fire would land on, Emma Sky.

1:44 PM, June 10, 2010

Blogger Mathew J. said...

generic viagra
buy viagra
viagra online

1:33 PM, June 18, 2010

Anonymous nike shox said...

(Had she waited until nike shox about 6 p.m. Jordan Basketball Shoes, she could have been the recipient of 42 of the biggest baby Michael Jordan Shoes in the nike air max 90 of baby nike dunk shoes. Heck, Joe Gibbs Racing might have even bought her a winter nike air max in the jordan shoes. Instead, she'll have to settle for the standard baby nike sb dunks and rattles as the mid-week birth means that Johnson won't miss any seat time at Chicagoland this weekend.) .. Buy cheap Jordan 1 shoes here! We sell Jordan 2 online. Do you like Jordan 3 shoes? This is a Jordan 4 shoes ! Get your Jordan 5 now! Cheap Jordan 6 for sale! Buy Jordan 7 on line! Who have Jordan 8 ~~? I love Jordan 9 shopping! Here my Jordan 10? Are your Jordan 11 here? Cheapest Jordan 12 store! Buy this Jordan 13 now. Discount Jordan 14 for sale! Buy my Jordan 15 now. My friend's Jordan 16 here! A pair of Jordan 17 shoes there! I lost Jordan 18 tomorrow! I picked your Jordan 19 shoes. Do you find Jordan 20? Here my Jordan 21 shoes! They sell Jordan 22 there! Buy Nike Shox NZ from USA. Buy discount Nike Shox OZ in UK? Wow , look Nike Shox R4 !I love Nike Shox R5 so much! I can wear Nike Shox TL3 everday! Can I keep Nike Shox R3 today?

12:29 AM, July 09, 2010

Blogger pandorasell said...

Silver pandora jewelry store comprises replacement atomic number 79 equally the metal by choice in that pandora jewelry website flavors manners. .925 alright superlative Ag Jewelry checks 92.5% complete silver pandora jewelry online and comprises assorted with extra debases to beef up them and abbreviate maculating pandora style jewelry coming through a hard-nosed alloy as pandora bracelet beads . The rise in metal prices, especially gold, have begun to alter pandora leather bracelets dashes. Designers are applying sterling pandora style bracelets a lot of today because of its gold pandora bracelets appeal and affordability. Designers care Jacques Louis pandora charm necklaces David Yurman and those from pandora’s cause changed their focus and are making A-list assembles by .925 Fine Sterling pandora necklace charms Although Silver is affordable its price has quietly risen 300% inch the last 5 years and is astir across 50% pandora silver beads these class entirely. Many investment advisers* recommend a portion of your wealth be inward Ag and amber. Trend setters who comprised the first to begin wearing pandora necklace leathers metal to match tatto last word and additional electric current styles as well do good along accepting pandora bracelet charms worth more than they paid for it.

10:23 PM, November 22, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

xbox 360 card
xbox 360 points
xbox 360 live points
xbox 360 cards
xbox 360 live points card

11:36 PM, November 29, 2010

Blogger yurake said...

this tentions do not boil itself, someone is boiling them

1:45 AM, December 24, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Max Mara Show in Milan: The actress, who is the recipient of the 2011 Women In Film Max Mara " Face of the testeriuy Future? " Award wore a chocolate brown jumpsuit by the designer in the front row of the Fall 2011 show earlier today.REVIEW JUST IN: max mara outlet The mod was the inspiration for MaxMara's autumn winter max mara website 2011 show and classic 60s shapes were re-interpreted with the max mara weekend does great coat and it was ever-present with cream hooded cashmere coats,highlighted by blanket tartan max mara coats with unfinished hems and kilts.transparent stripes with a max mara 2011 featuring horizontal pink and white ones looked positively tame.Bottega Veneta achieved the opposite, with neutral colours such as grey, beige, milky white or max mara collection cream, grey and blue-black underpinning a look described as "unobtrusive sophistication." in a silk and leather max mara clothing overlain with fine chainmail.collection inspired by the max mara dresses ,Herald Tribune told AFP. "Those of us mulberry who have been in journalism for a long time know that there is no such thing as a free lunch."

2:57 AM, March 15, 2011

Anonymous dell laptop batteries said...

nice your blog and very nice dear your blog Ranking is too Good we like its you can see our also website for online shopping......
laptop batteries

11:48 PM, April 05, 2011

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I need to think fsdjhjhl of a two of oakley frogskins .After an extensive time operating under the sun, I feel rather uncomfortable, and I can have a couple oakley frogskins to support me protect my little brown eyes. I've lived with bad eyesight for virtually every lengthy time period, I need to think of a two of oakley jawbone to support me view items obviously and guard the eye by powerful sun light and extra violet radiations. Subsequently, I want to purchase a couple oakley flak jacket at on-line spectacles shop to be a end reaction to their higher high class and tolerable prices.Make a gross sales pitch and train your people today to consequence your shoppers to obtain your oakley radar . in scenario you could have perfect sales guys and saleswomen, it may improve ones margins. with comparability to help clothes, Oakley sunglasses tend to be attempted oneasily with not significantly more than something like 20 seconds. with scenario people exhibit most of these in check-out companies, your people can sporting them whilst delaying with regard to their change and own it within their buy which shows extra profit.

8:55 PM, July 17, 2011

Anonymous xlpharmacy said...

I think that this is a really intere4sting post , I would like to read more about it because I feel so interested in th topic, excelhttp://acertainvintage.blogspot.com/2011/08/haircuts-apple-trees.html#comment-formlent post , nice picture !

7:51 AM, November 24, 2011

Blogger qinbincai123 said...

This certainty is beautiful, even w81nx81 more beautiful than uncertainty.
Cheap New Era Hats
New Era Fitted Hats
Wholesale Cheap Hats
Cheap Hats
Cheap NCAA Hats

6:33 PM, April 27, 2012

Anonymous price per head said...

This is highly informatics, I've joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks!Thanks for writing the pattern.

4:51 PM, May 30, 2012

Blogger دردشة ومنتديات عراقنا said...

شات عراقنا
دردشة عراقنا
جات عراقنا
شات كيكه
دردشة عبدالله
شات العراق
منتدى عراقنا
منتدى دردشة عراقنا

5:10 AM, October 22, 2012

Blogger chenlina said...

the north face
coach factory outlet
louis vuitton outlet
air max uk
louis vuitton handbags
abercrombie & fitch
canada goose coats
louis vuitton handbags
uggs on sale
uggs on sale
uggs clearance
louis vuitton
ugg boots
adidas uk
ugg boots sale
louis vuitton outlet
cheap oakley sunglasses
nike huarache shoes
prada handbags
ugg sale
oakley sunglasses
cheap air jordans
cheap uggs
kids lebron shoes
michael kors handbags
ralph lauren uk
michael kors outlet
oakley sunglasses
nike air max
louis vuitton outlet online
ugg outlet
nike roshe run women
oakley outlet
uggs on sale
adidas originals
nike huarache
abercrombie fitch
coach outlet online
ed hardy clothing

5:09 PM, December 09, 2015

Blogger dong dong23 said...

nike free run
coach outlet
pandora jewelry
coach factory outlet
adidas trainers
cheap oakleys
insanity workout
hollister clothing
true religion
nike air max
true religion shorts
toms shoes outlet online
louis vuitton
nike air max
michael kors outlet online
kobe 11
michael kors outlet
michael kors purses
cheap jordan shoes
beats headphones
nike uk
air jordan 13
coach outlet
coach outlet
louis vuitton bags
oakley sunglasses
designer handbags
ralph lauren outlet
hollister outlet
coach outlet online
christian louboutin outlet
michael kors bags
coach factory outlet
nike free run
michael kors outlet online
giuseppe zanotti
michael kors
coach outlet online
oakley outlet
nike trainers

6:51 PM, June 07, 2016

Blogger Fangyaya said...

nike air max 90
fitflops sale clearance
juicy couture
coach outlet online
coach outlet store online clearances
michael kors outlet
asics shoes
ralph lauren
louis vuitton handbags
oakley vault
cheap ray ban sunglasses
louis vuitton bags
michael kors handbags
true religion outlet
louis vuitton outlet
jordan 8s
louis vuitton handbags
nike outlet store
cheap jordan shoes
louis vuitton handbags
fake watches
michael kors outlet online
coach factory outlet
hollister clothing
supra shoes
air jordan retro
nike air huarache
nike sb shoes
kate spade handbags
toms wedges
true religion
kevin durant shoes
louis vuitton
toms outlet
louis vuitton outlet
michael kors outlet
cheap oakley sunglasses

1:34 AM, July 25, 2016

Blogger dada24 Xu said...

adidas superstar
nike air force
adidas trainers
michael kors handbags
uggs outlet
michael kors handbags clearance
michael kors outlet canada
cheap nike sneakers
hermes bags

6:16 PM, January 15, 2017

Blogger Unknown said...

michael kors handbags outlet
nike free
ecco shoes outlet
cheap michael kors handbags
true religion jeans
nike trainers uk
ed hardy uk
colts jerseys
fitflops sale clearance

2:13 AM, March 27, 2017

Blogger raybanoutlet001 said...

nike air force 1
golden state warriors
jets jersey
rolex replica
san antonio spurs jerseys
michael kors handbags
nike blazer pas cher
jimmy choo
cleveland cavaliers
cheap oakley sunglasses

7:15 PM, March 27, 2017

Blogger raybanoutlet001 said...

jordan shoes
nike blazer low
nike outlet
michael kors uk
ugg boots
nike blazer
ralph lauren
chargers jerseys
true religion outlet
yeezy boost 350

6:07 PM, June 12, 2017

Blogger raybanoutlet001 said...

jaguars jersey
ray ban sunglasses outlet
michael kors handbags
carolina panthers jersey
ugg boots
nike free 5
michael kors handbags sale
supra shoes sale
ray ban sunglasses outlet
cheap basketball shoes

6:09 PM, June 12, 2017

Blogger raybanoutlet001 said...

true religion outlet
ferragamo outlet
ugg outlet
cheap nfl jerseys
coach factory outlet
atlanta falcons jerseys
adidas nmd
ralph lauren uk
mont blanc outlet
adidas nmd

12:51 AM, August 01, 2017

Anonymous Obat Tradisional Radang Tenggorokan said...


It is great to have visited your website. Thanks for sharing useful information. And also visit my website about health. God willing it will be useful too

Pengobatan Alternatif Penyakit Hepatitis
Obat Tradisional Cedera Lutut/Keseleo Lutut
Obat Penambah Berat Badan Alami
Cara Mengatasi Sakit Perut saat Haid
Pengobatan Sakit Pinggang secara Cepat & Efektif

7:46 PM, April 23, 2018

Blogger raybanoutlet001 said...

soccer shoes
coach outlet online
michael kors outlet
mbt shoes
coach factory outlet
michael kors handbags
basketball shoes
mulberry uk
seahawks jersey
coach outlet online

8:35 PM, April 25, 2018

Blogger techreview said...

Sure i agree Droni
droni droni
drone drone
droni professionali droni professionali
drone drone
drones for sale drones for sale
drones drones or
drones drones
Stampa 3d
stampa 3d stampa 3d
stampante 3d stampante 3d
zortrax zortrax

3:48 AM, June 13, 2018

Blogger Yaro Gabriel said...


fitflops sale clearance
michael kors outlet
michael kors outlet
canada goose outlet
fitflops sale
wizards jerseys
adidas soccer shoes
cheap jordans
prada handbags
nike air max

6:17 PM, July 02, 2018

Blogger Stjsrty Xtjsrty said...

oakley sunglasses wholesale
pandora outlet
nike chaussure femme
fitflops sale clearance
cheap snapbacks
ed hardy uk
jordan shoes
true religion jeans
pandora outlet
off white clothing

7:33 PM, July 15, 2018

Blogger 5689 said...

pandora charms
oakley sunglasses
coach outlet
ugg boots clearance
canada goose jackets
nba jerseys
kate spade handbags
off white clothing brand
nike huarache

12:32 AM, August 27, 2018

Blogger Yaro Gabriel said...


ferragamo belt
ray ban sunglasses
mbt shoes
christian louboutin outlet
canada goose outlet
nike shoes
tod's outlet
canada goose jackets
christian louboutin shoes
true religion jeans outlet

6:54 PM, October 17, 2018

Blogger jeje said...

true religion
nike shoes
pandora charms
nike blazers
canada goose outlet
red bottom shoes
nike outlet factory
tod's outlet
coach outlet factory
pandora jewelry

6:09 PM, October 23, 2018

Blogger ww we w said...

nike air force 1
goyard handbags
yeezy boost 350 v2
fake rolex
zx flux
stephen curry 5
air max
caterpillar boots
retro jordans

12:36 AM, October 26, 2018

Blogger Yaro Gabriel said...


christian louboutin outlet
canada goose outlet
louboutin shoes
hugo boss
james harden shoes
moncler outlet
prada handbags
off white jordan
adidas outlet
bottega veneta

12:59 AM, November 15, 2018


Post a Comment

<< Home