MIDDLE ISRAEL: WHAT ARE THE KURDS DOING WRONG?
Kurdistan Flag ( Source )
Let every nation know,” vowed John Kennedy in his inaugural address, “that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
Donald Trump’s amendment of this brave statement – “every nation except the Kurds” – is obviously a disgrace, but lamenting his betrayal can be no substitute for the introspection in which the Kurds must engage, and which Zionist experience can inform.
Faced with their most recent abandonment, Kurdish nationalists must first ask themselves why they are repeatedly betrayed, and then draw several lessons from Zionist history.
BETRAYAL HAS been a fixture of Kurdish life for a century. Their first betrayers were the European powers that promised Kurdish statehood in the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres, only to abandon this commitment in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne.
Then came the Soviets, who backed the Kurdish Republic of Mahabad which existed in northwestern Iran in 1946, until the Red Army withdrew from Iran and abandoned its Kurds to their devices.
Then came Iran, whose shah first encouraged the Kurds’ revolt in Iraq in the 1970s, but abandoned them in 1975 to Saddam Hussein’s fury, in return for territorial concessions over the Shatt al-Arab waterway.
Then came the US, whose betrayal of the Kurds began not with Trump but with George H.W. Bush, in 1991, when he encouraged Iraq’s Kurds to confront Saddam, only to stand by when Saddam quelled their revolt.
That such geopolitical misfortune keeps befalling the Kurds is puzzling enough, but it is altogether mind-boggling considering the assets they possess.
The Kurds are big, numbering some 40 million people scattered contiguously along a landmass the size of Japan, which connects Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. Ethnically non-Arab, the Kurds speak their own language and take pride in literature that harks back centuries.
In others words, the Kurds deserve national determination no less than the French, the Saudis and the Vietnamese, especially at a time when Lilliputian nationalities like Estonia, Kosovo and East Timor have their own states.
Yes, the Kurds did obtain one autonomous region, in northern Iraq, in the wake of last decade’s removal of Hussein. However, the autonomy, which is roughly the size of Maryland and is home to less than one-fifth of all Kurds, has failed to capitalize on this decade’s upheaval across the Arab world. In fact, it did the opposite of that – and that is where Zionist history’s first lesson to Kurdistan’s freedom fighters comes in.
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