President Donald Trump ordered a withdrawal of U.S. troops from North Syria followed by a Turkish assault in the name of “operation Peace Spring” on the Kurdish Peoples Protection Unit (YPG) or renamed Syrian democratic forces (SDF) of Kurd on October 13. The Turkish city of Ankara views the YPG as “terrorists” due to their links with banned Turkey-based Kurdistan workers (PKK).
“Where the Americans once hailed as helping the Kurds defeat ISIS, today, many in Northeast Syria jeered and pelted American convoys with rotten vegetables and stones,” Judy Woodruff reported on Oct 21. This is a buzzword among the KURDS as “Trump betrayed us.”
A dramatic shift was observed in the balance of power in the Middle East, as Russia stepped in and agreed on a deal with Turkey over a buffer zone in Northern Syria to push Kurd forces. They said they will not allow any separatist agenda on Syrian territory. The deal is perceived to have good results for both Russia and Turkey but negative for Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
As we know, the Middle East is the most complex and destabilized region in the world. Kurds are the fourth ethnic group in terms of the population. It’s an irony that the Kurds are the largest nationality without a state consisting of approximately 30 – 35 million people spread across Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Armenia.
Since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War 1, the conflict started in the Middle East with the demarcation of international borders as per nations. Kurds have been the victim up until now.
Here is a summary of deep research conducted by Middle East Journalist John Bulloch & Harvey in his book titled as “No friends But the Mountains” (The Tragic History of the KURDS):
“Bulloch and Morris show how they were exploited by the Turks and the Great powers of the days of the Ottoman Empire, how the British, French, and the new Turkish republic Woodrow Wilson’s promise of a Kurdish state in 1918 and how the Kurd’s revolts and insurrection led to further repression. Later the peshmerga guerrillas were funded and manipulated by Saddam Hussain, the Shah of Iran, Israel, and the CIA While the Turkish government has harshly repressed any signs of Kurdish language until only recently.”
“As American tanks came to a halt on the Euphrates at the close of war against Saddam Hussain, President Bush called on the oppressed peoples of Iraq to rise up against their ruler. Thousands of Peshmerga (Kurdish guerrillas) responded, seizing the towns and countryside of northern Iraq. But after Saddam signed the truce with the U.N. forces, he sent his surviving units north, slaughtering the lightly – armed Kurds and driving millions more into exile while the Allies stood aside. For the Kurds, it was one more betrayal in their long and tragic history.”
Who are Kurds:
Before the coming of Islam in the seventh century, A.D. people followed the Zeroqtrian religion as Persians. Once converted to Islam, the Kurdish tribe became the most vigorous and devoted to the new faith. The fact is, the most prominent figure of Islamic history is Saladin (Kurdish Origin) who became the sultan in 1181 and regained Jerusalem in 1187.
An interesting historical fact excerpt from the book about Saladin’s exemplary war ethics in terms of the amnesty, co-existence and treatment with another religious group is:
“Initially, Saladin was happy to coexist with the christens, and he signed a truce with the Kingdom of Jerusalem, which the Christians, rather than the Muslims were the first to break. In response, he sent for thousands of Kurdish, Turkish and Arab reinforcements to come to Damascus to prepare for a holy war against infidels. On 4 July 1887, the Muslim army defeated the Crusaders at a hill in Galilee known as the Horns of Hitten. Within a month Saladin had conquered most of the cities of Palestine and by September had encircled Jerusalem. The following month the crusader defenders of the holy city surrendered, and on 2 October the Kurdish sultan entered its gates. Unlike the crusader capture of Jerusalem in 1099, when its inhabitants, Muslim and oriental Christians alike, had been put to the sword, there was no massacre or pillage, and the inhabitants were allowed to go in peace.”
The Kurdish dynasty lasted a few more decades as the Sultan died in 1193. There is no acknowledgment that the savior of the Muslim orient was Kurd not Arab. The Kurdish community is no longer an aspect of the world atlas and their struggle has been suppressed or exploited as a proxy by the international powers for their vested interest.
It’s an amazing fact that (PKK) is an outlawed organization of Kurds in Turkey by NATO Allies, whereas the U.S. has been an ally in North Syria with its offshoot as YPG/SDF to crush ISIS (another terrorist organization).
In light of the above fact, the United Nations and the international community need to address the issue of Kurd independence and a separate state or autonomy and ensure basic human rights of Kurds from host states as a minority. It may reduce the conflict in the Middle East and curb the human crisis as refugees, as well as reactionary forces in the form of terrorist organizations or armed struggle of the Kurd.
However, it’s an open argument needed to consider to resolve the issue if there were to be a Kurdish state, what territory it would be and who would-be inhabitants. Divided, as they are, among the states of Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria and Russia.