by Sarah Abed
In Part I of independent analyst Sarah Abed’s three-part analysis for MintPress News, Abed began exposing the modern day Kurdish/Israeli alliance that both parties have tried to keep hidden in order to avoid drawing the public’s attention to their ultimate plan, as well as the U.S.’ use of Kurdish factions in destabilizing the Middle East.
The Kurds have engaged in such relationships in part because of internal divisions and disunity, which have also made it difficult to fulfill their goal of establishing a fully autonomous Kurdistan spanning over the four countries they currently occupy.
Abed also examined the Syrian government’s attempts at keeping the country united by addressing and implementing constitutional changes that benefit the Kurds – attempts that have still failed to convince separatist Kurds to abandon their goal of Balkanizing and illegally confiscating parts of Syria at the cost of the people who reside there.
Part II examined this topic in greater depth in hopes of raising awareness of this little-known but imperative part of the Syrian puzzle. Abed analyzed the Kurds’ link to apartheid Israel and why the country has taken such a strong interest in the group, as well as the strange phenomenon of Western military veterans traveling to Syria to fight alongside the Kurds.
The Kurdish link to Daesh (ISIS) was also covered, as a number of Kurds have chosen to fight on their side. Kurdish alliances with armed terrorist groups in Syria – particularly Daesh – are very telling signs as to what extremes some Kurds will go to in order to bring their ideological manifestation of an independent, autonomous Kurdistan into existence.
In Part III of Abed’s analysis, she will cover human rights violations, both past and present, that have been committed by the Kurds against Arabs and Christian minorities, as well as address misconceptions as to why the Kurds remain stateless.
It’s important to reiterate that this three-part analysis is not meant to be understood as a sweeping generalization of the Kurdish ethnicity at large. The points being addressed are specifically in reference to the corrupt factions. The West has effectively preyed on the Kurds’ internal divisions and has used some factions to fulfill an imperialist goal of dividing and weakening the Near and Middle East. The Kurdish people are diverse, and in recent years, aspects of their culture and customs have been discussed in mainstream media. But the behavior of some of their more corrupt factions must be addressed.
Part I: The Kurds: Washington’s Weapon Of Mass Destabilization In The Middle East
Historical accounts of the Kurds have been a subject of mystery and perplexity for years, and have been seldom discussed by major Western media outlets until recently. Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the ongoing conflict in Syria, Kurds have been romanticized by mainstream media and U.S. politicians alike to justify a Western interventionist narrative in those countries. Ever since the U.S. invaded Syria, the U.S. and Israel have supported the semi-autonomous Kurdistan, with Israel purchasing $3.84 billion dollars worth of oil from them, a move that could have geopolitical and economic ramifications for both parties.
In 2015, the Financial Times reported that Israel had imported as much as 77 percent of its oil supply from Kurdistan in recent months, bringing in some 19 million barrels between the beginning of May and August 11. During that period, more than a third of all northern Iraqi exports, shipped through Turkey’s Ceyhan port, went to Israel, with transactions amounting to almost $1 billion, the report said, citing “shipping data, trading sources, and satellite tanker tracking.”
The sales are a sign of Iraqi Kurdistan’s growing assertiveness and the further fraying of ties between Erbil and Baghdad, which has long harbored fears that the Kurds’ ultimate objective is full independence from Iraq.
In 1966, Iraqi defense minister Abd al-Aziz al-Uqayli blamed the Kurds of Iraq for seeking to establish “a second Israel” in the Middle East. He also claimed that “the West and the East are supporting the rebels to create [khalq] a new Israeli state in the north of the homeland as they had done in 1948 when they created Israel. Interestingly enough, history is repeating itself with their present-day relationship – the existence of which is only acknowledged in passing by either side for fear of retribution.
For much of the conflict in Syria, several Kurdish militias have become some of the U.S.-led coalition’s closest allies within the country, receiving massive amounts of arms and heavy weapon shipments, as well as training from coalition members. Kurdish militias also dominate the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the U.S.-backed group best known for leading the coalition-supported offensive targeting the Daesh (ISIS) stronghold of Raqqa.The weapons that the United States has provided Kurdish and Arab fighters in the anti-Islamic State coalition include heavy machine guns, mortars, anti-tank weapons, armored cars and engineering equipment.
In May, U.S. President Donald Trump approved arming Kurdish militiamen in Syria with heavy weaponry, including mortars and machine guns. Within one month of Trump’s approval, 348 trucks with military assistance had been passed to the group, Anadolu added. According to the news agency’s data, the Pentagon’s list of weapons to be delivered to the group includes 12,000 Kalashnikov rifles, 6,000 machine guns, 3,000 grenade launchers and around 1,000 anti-tank weapons of Russian or U.S. origin.
The United States’ shipments included 130 trucks, with 60 cars passing on June 5, and 20 vehicles on June 12, per Sputnik News.
On June 17, Sputnik News reported that the United States is still supplying the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria with ammunition to fight Daesh, delivering 50 truckloads in one day alone, according to Turkish media reports. Earlier in the day, the trucks reached the city of al-Hasakah in northwest Syria.
Both historical and modern day ties between Israel and the Kurds have brought benefits to both sides. In the past, Israel has obtained intelligence, as well as support, for a few thousand Jews fleeing Ba’athist Iraq. The Kurds have received security and humanitarian aid, as well as links to the outside world, especially the United States. The first official acknowledgment that Jerusalem had provided aid to the Kurds dates back to Sept. 29, 1980, when Prime Minister Menachem Begin disclosed that Israel had supported the Kurds “during their uprising against the Iraqis in 1965 to 1975” and that the United States was aware of this fact. Begin added that Israel had sent instructors and arms, but not military units.
The Kurds are the largest group of nomadic people in the world that have remained stateless since the beginning of time. This fact has allowed Western powers to use the “stateless” plight of the Kurdish people as a tool to divide, destabilize and conquer Iraq and Syria, where colonial oil and gas interests run deep.
The U.S.-led coalition of war criminals is using elements of Syria’s Kurdish population to achieve its goal of destroying the non-belligerent, democratic country of Syria, led by its popular, democratically-elected President Bashar al-Assad. Washington seeks to create sectarianism and ethnic divides in a country that, prior to the Western-launched war, had neither.
However, Kurdologists reject this characterization because it does not fit into their account of historical events that attributes a state to them at one point in time. Their estimated population is 30 million, according to most demographic sources. They also reject the idea that they are being used as pawns.
Responding to a question about where the autonomous administration would “draw the line” on U.S. support and the support of other superpowers, the co-leader of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Salih Muslim Muhammad, stated “Our guarantee is our mindset. It depends on how much we educate and organize our people. If we defend our morals and ideology, then bigger powers cannot use us as pawns.”
Perhaps no other group of people in modern times has been as romanticized in the Western conscience as the Kurds. Consistently portrayed as “freedom fighters” who are eternally struggling for a land denied to them, the Kurds have been frequently utilized throughout history by other countries and empires as an arrow and have never themselves been the bow.
In today’s case, the Kurds are being used by NATO and Israel to fulfill the modern-day colonialist aim of breaking up large states like Iraq into statelets to ensure geopolitical goals. When nations are divided into smaller statelets, they are easier to conquer by foreign entities. This is a signature move that powerful imperialist nations use for the purpose of colonizing smaller and less influential nations. The Kurds have been utilizedas pawns in this “divide and conquer” strategy throughout history and continue to allow themselves to be used by colonial powers.
Ultra-leftist opportunists or real revolutionaries?
In an article written in 2007, NPR senior news analyst Daniel Schorr stated that the Kurds of Iraq have a long history of being used as pawns in regional power struggles. Now, they are finding themselves in the middle of a contest between the United States and Iran for dominance in the Middle East.
In 1973, President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had the CIA instigate a Kurdish uprising in northern Iraq against Saddam Hussein. The United States walked away from the rebellion when Saddam and the Shah of Iran settled their differences, leaving the Kurds to face their own fate. Interestingly, the Kurds seem to have developed amnesia by once again choosing to cooperate with Washington, which has repeatedly used them solely for its own benefit.
In the Gulf War over the Iraqi seizure of Kuwait in 1990, President George H.W. Bush appealed to the Kurds, as well as the Shiites in the south, to rise up in rebellion against Saddam.
Victorious in that war, the American military permitted Saddam to retain his helicopter gunships, which he used to retaliate against the Kurds, along with Shiites, by the hundreds. American public opinion eventually forced the administration to establish northern and southern no-fly zones to protect the two populations.
Kurdish loyalty to America has cost them quite a bit, and so it is with a certain narcissism that the Bush administration presumed to tell the allegedly autonomous Kurds what kind of relations they could entertain with other countries in the region, including American rival Iran. But the Kurds appear to be finding themselves in a contest between the U.S. and Iran for dominance in the Middle East yet again.
Andrew Exum, a former top Pentagon Middle East policy official who served as an Army Ranger, stated “… this decision – to arm a group closely associated with a foreign terrorist organization, and one that has waged a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state – will likely reverberate through U.S. relations with Turkey for decades to come.” The Turkish government has long insisted that the Kurdish militia is closely linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a separatist group known as the PKK. That group is listed by Turkey, the United States and Europe as a terrorist organization.
A rough estimate found in the CIA Factbook sets the Kurdish population at 14.5 million in Turkey, 6 million in Iran, about 5 to 6 million in Iraq and less than 2 million in Syria, which adds up to close to 28 million Kurds in what they refer to as “Kurdistan” and adjacent regions.
However, other sources state that there are only about 1.2 million Kurds left in Syria due to the carefully calculated and planned imposed war by NATO and its Gulf Allies. Roughly the same number migrated to Germany during the past six years.
It’s important to differentiate between Kurdish people who have assimilated in the countries they now reside in and reject the idea of establishing an illegal Kurdistan and those who are power hungry and are allowing themselves to team up with the West and Israel to assist in the destabilization of the region. Some Kurdish people in Syria, especially those that reside in areas that are not controlled by the Kurds, such as Damascus, are loyal to the Syrian government and have stated that they voted for Assad in 2014.
This free and democratic election saw Assad win 88.7 percent of the popular vote over the other two nominees. In the beginning of the war in Syria, there were Kurds fighting in the Syrian Arab Army, who received arms and salaries just like their Syrian counterparts. There are a small number that are still in the Syrian Arab Army in the southern Syria.
But in northeastern Syria, many Kurds have defected to the U.S.-led SDF where arms, salaries, and training are provided by the U.S. Syrians consider the Kurds who have remained loyal to Syria as their fellow Syrian brothers and sisters and the descriptions of Kurdish treachery in this article do not apply to them.
Independence and disunity
An important thing to remember is that the ethnic marker “Kurd” refers to speakers of several different related, but distinct, languages. The two most important are Sorani in Iraq and Iran and Kurmanji in Syria, Turkey and smaller contiguous regions in Iraq and Iran. Sorani tends to use Arabic script, while Kurmanji uses Latin script, which shows how different they can be from one another.
Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is predominantly made up of Sorani speakers, while the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), PYD and other nationalist groups in Syria and Turkey speak Kurmanji. This division naturally maps these divergent political expressions. It is not as simple as superimposing the KRG’s borders over the PYD and PKK-controlled territory.
On the other hand, Turkey does not contest Sorani speakers’ aspirations to the same extent as it does Kurmanji speakers. Encouraging the autonomy of the Iraqi Kurds should not entail the same problems for the Turco-American alliance as encouraging Syro-Turkish Kurdish nationalism would.
The quest for independence is intrinsic to Kurdish identity. However, not all Kurds envision a unified Kurdistan that would span the Kurdish regions of four different sovereign countries. Most Kurdish movements and political parties are focused on the concerns and autonomy of Kurds within their respective countries. Within each country, there are Kurds who have assimilated and whose aspirations may be limited to greater cultural freedoms and political recognition.
Kurds throughout the Middle East have vigorously pursued their goals through a multitude of groups. While some Kurds established legitimate political parties and organizations in efforts to promote Kurdish rights and freedom, others have waged armed struggles. Some, like the Turkish PKK, have employed guerrilla tactics and terror attacks that have targeted civilians, including their fellow Kurds.
The wide array of Kurdish political parties and groups reflects the internal divisions among Kurds, which often follow tribal, linguistic and national fault lines, in addition to political disagreements and rivalries. Tensions between the two dominant Iraqi Kurdish political parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) escalated to a civil war that killed more than 2,000 Kurds in the mid-1990s.
Political disunity stretches across borders as well, with Kurdish parties and organizations forming offshoots or forging alliances in neighboring countries. Today, disagreements over prospects for Kurdish autonomy in Syria or Iraqi Kurds’ relations with the Turkish government have fostered tensions that have pitted the Iraqi KDP and its Syrian sister organization, the KDP-S, against the PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD. Still, adversarial Kurdish groups have worked together when it has been expedient. The threat posed by Daesh has led the KDP-affiliated Peshmerga to fight alongside Syrian PYD forces.
Kurdish groups have, at times, bargained with not only their own governments but also neighboring ones – in some cases at the expense of their relations with their Kurdish brethren. The complex relationships among Kurdish groups and between the Kurds and the region’s governments have fluctuated, and alliances have formed and faltered as political conditions have changed. The Kurds’ disunity is cited by experts as one of the primary causes for their inability to form a state of their own.
The Kurds’ illegal, unjustified claims for autonomy
The West claims that the Kurds are one of the most moral and dignified forces in the Middle East fighting against Daesh. But if their focus is on defeating Daesh, as they claim, why are they committing genocide against Syrians in the process? Taking this into consideration, it is hard to justify the West’s persistent claim that armed Kurdish terrorist groups are trying to help Syria. The reality on the ground contradicts these empty compliments, which the West uses to save face while supporting these terrorist organizations. This false narrative was in fact used to arm the Kurds in Syria in order to create instability and division.
It is strange that the Kurds would be so antagonistic towards Syrians, as the country has largely been welcoming for them. For example, reforms were made in Syria in 2012 to benefit the Kurds. “President Assad issued a decree granting Arab Syrian citizenship to people registered as foreigners in the (governorate of Hassake),” said the SANA news agency. The measure, which benefited about 300,000 Kurds, came a week after Assad tasked a committee with “resolving the problem of the 1962 census in the governorate of Hassake.”
In January 2015, SANA news reported that then-Syrian Prime Minister Dr. Wael al-Halqi said “the Kurds are a deeply-ingrained component of the Syrian society and Ayn al-Arab is part of Syria that is dear to the hearts of all Syrians.” Al-Halqi’s affirmation came during his meeting with a Kurdish delegation which comprised Kurdish figures. He also urged all to discard violence and spread amity, reiterating that a solution to the Syrian crisis could be achieved “through national dialogue and consolidating national reconciliations,” indicating that dialogue will definitely be “under the homeland’s umbrella away from foreign dictates.”
In 2014, The Civil Democratic Gathering of Syrian Kurds said that the steadfastness of the people of Ayn al-Arab in the face of terrorists was a form of expression of the Syrian Kurds’ commitment to their affiliation to their homeland of Syria. The gathering’s Higher Council of Secretaries said that the steadfastness of Ayn al-Arab was cause for admiration, and that attempts to transgress against the territorial integrity of Syria were parts of a plot to cause chaos and division and undermine the resistance axis.
These are just a few examples of the Syrian government’s attempts to unify all of those who live within the country’s borders. But even with these actions of good faith, the SDF has chosen to side with Syria’s enemies rather than work with the Syrian army.
A recent agreement – initiated and brokered by the U.S. between a Free Syrian Army (FSA) faction and the Kurdish-led SDF lays out conditions whereby U.S.-initiated negotiations would allow the FSA faction al-Muatasim Brigade to peacefully take over 11 villages in northern Syria that are controlled by the SDF. The general outlines of this unprecedented agreement were announced on May 10, stating that the U.S.-led coalition had delegated to al-Muatasim the task of being in charge of and administering the designated villages.
١- ان الكتاب الصادر عن التحالف الدولي هو نتاج جهد وعمل دام لأكثر من شهرين ويهدف بالدرجة الأولى إلى إعادة 300 ألف نازح ومشرد في الخيام . pic.twitter.com/hXCkIsLlvs
— مصطفى سيجري (@MustafaSejari) May 10, 2017
Al-Muatasim is known to be a strong ally of the U.S., which is why it was chosen to be in charge of the designated villages. This further proves the point that the U.S., SDF and FSA are still working together. Their cooperation is part of an effort to counter the progress being made by the Syrian Arab Army and its allies.
Part II: The Kurdish Connection: Israel, ISIS And U.S. Efforts To Destabilize Iran
Syrian Kurds claim to be fighting against terror as they strive for autonomy, a goal that they have yet to achieve even after decades of effort. But their efforts are being co-opted by Western powers that are using them to achieve their own ends in the Middle East.
Kurdish ties to Israel
The Kurdish-Israeli relationship has matured significantly. Since at least the 1960s, Israel has provided intermittent security assistance and military training to the Kurds. This served mostly as an anti-Saddam play – keeping him distracted as Israel fought two wars against coordinated Arab neighbors – but mutual understanding of their respective predicaments also bred an Israeli-Kurdish affinity. All signs point to this security cooperation continuing today. Israeli procurement of affordable Kurdish oil not only indicates a strengthening of economic ties, but also an Israeli lifeline to budget-starved Erbil that suggests a strategic bet on the Kurds in an evolving region.
The people closest to the Jews from a genetic point of view may be the Kurds, according to the results of a recent study by Hebrew University.
The Kurds are allied with Syria’s fiercest enemy – Israel – whose planned Greater Israel project coincidentally aligns almost perfectly with the Kurds’ plans for “Kurdistan.” In the Oded Yinon plan, which is the plan for a “Greater Israel,” it states the imperative use of Kurds to help divide neighboring countries in order to aid in their plans for greater domination. Interestingly enough, Kurds brush this alliance off as being just another step in achieving their ultimate goal of creating an autonomous Kurdistan.
Every major Kurdish political group in the region has longstanding ties to Israel. It’s all linked to major ethnic violence against Arabs, Turkmens and Assyrians. From the PKK in Turkey to the PYD and YPG in Syria, PJAK in Iran to the most notorious of them all, the Barzani-Talabani mafia regime (KRG/Peshmerga) in northern Iraq. Thus it should come as no surprise that Erbil supplied Daesh (ISIS) with weaponry to weaken the Iraqi government in Baghdad. And when it becomes understood that Erbil is merely the front for Tel Aviv in Iraq, the scheme becomes clear.
Israel has reportedly been providing the KRG with weapons and training even prior to its military encounters with Daesh. On the level of economic strategy, Israel granted critical support to the KRG by buying Kurdish oil in 2015 when no other country was willing to do so because of Baghdad’s threat to sue. KRG Minister of Natural Resources Ashti Hawrami even admitted to the arrangement, saying that Kurdish oil was often funneled through Israel to avoid detection.
In January 2012 the French newspaper Le Figaro claimed that Israeli intelligence agents were recruiting and training Iranian dissidents in clandestine bases located in Iraq’s Kurdish region. By aligning with the Kurds, Israel gains eyes and ears in Iran, Iraq and Syria. A year later, the Washington Post disclosed that Turkey had revealed to Iranian intelligence a network of Israeli spies working in Iran, including ten people believed to be Kurds who reportedly met with Mossad members in Turkey. This precarious relationship between Israel and Turkey persists today.
Western veterans take up the Kurdish cause
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and its Syrian spinoff, the YPG, are cult-like radical movements that intertwine Marxism, feminism, Leninism and Kurdish nationalism into a hodge-podge of ideology, drawing members through the extensive use of propaganda that appeals to these modes of thought. Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the PKK, took inspiration from American anarchist Murray Bookchin in creating his philosophy, which he calls “Democratic Confederalism.”
The PKK spin-off group YPG represents most of the SDF in Syria. With Western political support, they have gained popularity and garnered an impressive amount of support from many military veterans in the West, some of whom have left the comfort of their home countries to fight with the group. One of their most productive marketing tools has been to use young, attractive female fighters as the face of the guerrillas. During their fight against Daesh, the PKK has saturated the media with images of these young female “freedom fighters,” using them as a marketing tool to take their cause from obscurity to fame.
Watch a BBC report on female Kurdish fighters in Syria, featuring Kurdish singer ‘Helly Luv’:
But what doesn’t get reported is how the movement has carried out kidnappings and murder – not to mention its involvement in trafficking narcotics.
Kurdish families are demanding that the PKK stop kidnapping minors. It started on April 23, the day Turkey marked its 91st National Sovereignty and Children’s Day. While children celebrated the holiday in western Turkey, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) kidnapped 25 students between the ages of 14 and 16 on the east side of the country, in the Lice district of Diyarbakir.
Although the PKK has kidnapped more than 330 minors in the last six months, the Bockum family was the first in the region who put up a tent near their home to start a sit-in protest, challenging the PKK and demanding that it return their son. Sinan was returned to the family on May 4. Al-Monitor reported this incident from the beginning in great detail.
As Bebyin Somuk reported in her article, the PKK and PYD still kidnap children in Turkey and Syria. She states: “As I previously wrote for Kebab and Camel, the PKK commits war crimes by recruiting children as soldiers. Some of the PKK militants that surrendered yesterday were also the PKK’s child soldiers. The photos clearly show that these children are not more than sixteen years old. The Turkish army released video of the 25 PKK militants surrendering in Nusaybin.”
SouthFront reported on female PKK fighters who have killed Turkish soldiers. “The women fighters command of the Kurdistan Worker Party (PKK) have released a statement, claiming PKK female fighters killed 160 Turkish military servicemen in 2016. According to the statement, the women fighters command of the PKK carried out 115 operations against Turkish government forces in 2016. The group also vowed to ‘proceed the struggle during the new year for a life of freedom and until victory is achieved.'”
The PKK is also killing Kurds under the guise of protecting their rights. “Senior PKK leader Cemil Bayık, in an interview with the Fırat News Agency (ANF) on Aug. 8, said, ‘Our war will not be confined to the mountains like it was before. It will be spread everywhere without making a distinction between mountains, plains or cities. It will spread to the metropolises.’ Terrorist Bayık’s statement signaled that the PKK would take increasing aim against civilians, targeting civilian areas more than ever. And it is happening. Since July 15, the day when the Gülenist terror cult, FETÖ, launched its failed military coup attempt to topple the democratically-elected government, the PKK perpetrated dozens of terrorist attacks, killing 21 civilians and injuring 319 others – most of them Kurdish citizens.”
According to The Washington Institute “On November 18, FBI Director Robert Mueller met with senior Turkish officials to address U.S.-Turkish efforts targeting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), also known as Kongra-Gel. A press release from the U.S. embassy in Ankara following the meeting stressed that U.S. officials ‘strongly support Turkey’s efforts against the PKK terrorist organization’ and highlighted the two countries’ long history of working together in the fight against terrorism and transnational organized crime.
These discussions are timely. Despite Ankara’s recent bid to alleviate the Kurdish issue – a bid referred to as the ‘democratic opening’ – the PKK is one of a growing number of terrorist organizations with significant stakes in the international drug trade. In October, the U.S. Treasury Department added three PKK/Kongra-Gel senior leaders to its list of foreign narcotics traffickers. The PKK, along with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), is one of only a few organizations worldwide designated by the U.S. government as both a terrorist organization and a significant foreign narcotics trafficker.”
Drug smuggling is reported to be the main financial source of PKK terrorism, according to the organization International Strategic Research, whose detailed report can be seen here.
Their exaggerated triumphs against Daesh have helped them evolve from a radical militia to an alleged regional power player. Have they been successful in fighting against Daesh in Syria? Yes – but while the Syrian Arab Army has been more effective, it does not receive a fraction of the praise or recognition that the PKK does.
Pato Rincon, a U.S. military veteran, recently wrote about his experience training with the YPG in Syria. Although initially interested in their desire for autonomy, he soon got to know a different side of the group:
- “While they are a direct ideological descendant of the Soviet Union, their take on Marxism has a much more nationalistic bent than that of their internationalist forebears. At their training camp that I attended, they constantly spoke of their right to a free and autonomous homeland – which I could support. On the other hand, they ludicrously claimed that all surrounding cultures from Arab to Turk to Persian descended from Kurdish culture. One should find this odd, considering that the Kurds have never had such autonomy as that which they struggle for. All of this puffed-up nationalism masquerading as internationalism was easy to see through…not only was their idea of Marxism fatuous, their version of feminism was even worse.”
Accounts such as this will certainly not make it to mainstream media, as they do not fit the narrative that the Kurds and their sponsors promote.
In another example of Western support for the YPG, Joe Robinson, an ex-soldier and UK national, recently returned to the UK after spending five months in Syria fighting with the group. He was detained and arrested by Greater Manchester Police officers on suspicion of terrorism offenses as soon as he returned. He joined the British military when he was 18 and toured Afghanistan with the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment in 2012.
He left the UK when an arrest warrant was issued after he failed to appear in court. Robinson is pictured here in Syria with YPG fighters.
SDF working with Daesh
The most evident contradiction to be noted is that the Kurds in the SDF are working with the U.S. through its so-called “Operation Inherent Resolve,” which is the official name for its anti-Daesh operations. But at the same time, the U.S.-led coalition, including Kurdish armed units, lets “militants of the Islamic State terrorist group leave Raqqa instead of killing them,” according to Sergey Surovikin, the commander of Russia’s force grouping in Syria.
“Instead of eliminating terrorists guilty of killing hundreds and thousands of Syrian civilians, the U.S.-led coalition together with the Democratic Forces enters into collusion with ringleaders of ISIL, who give up the settlements they had seized without fighting and head to the provinces where the Syrian government forces are active,” he said.
Sputnik Arabic was able to talk to Husma Shaib, a Syrian expert on armed groups in Syria who explained why the SDF is comparable to the al-Nusra Front and what the actual aim of their operations in Syria is.
“In Syria, we regard these forces as unlawful military formations which operate outside of the legal environment. They are the same as terrorist units like al-Nusra Front and Daesh. The Syrian Democratic Forces do not coordinate their activities with the Syrian Army. We regard them as terrorists,” Shaib told Sputnik.
The SDF is mostly comprised of the Kurdish YPG militia, which unanimously declared the “federalization” of what they call “Rojava,” or “Western Kurdistan,” in March 2016.
The leaders of the SDF announced that they’ll try to annex the majority-Arab city of Raqqa if they manage to liberate it.
The Kurds are ethnically cleansing Arabs from Raqqa en masse in order to pave the way for the city’s annexation to their unilaterally declared “Federation” after its forthcoming capture.
Hostility against SAA forces
On June 18, a U.S. jet shot down a Syrian Su-22 fighter-bomber near the city of Tabqa. The U.S.-led coalition said the Syrian aircraft attacked SDF positions, adding that the coalition downed the Syrian jet as part of “collective self-defense of coalition partnered forces,” according to Sputnik News.
However, the SAA stated that they were, in fact, attacking Daesh, not the SDF. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) then sent in a rescue mission to retrieve the downed pilot. Al Masdar News (AMN) reported that they encountered intense resistance from the SDF, which would imply a serious escalation between the two.
The Syrian Army General Command responded with an official statement that the flagrant aggression undoubtedly affirms the US’s real stance in support of terrorism which aims to affect the capability of the Syrian Arab Army- the only active force- along with its allies that practice its legitimate right in combating terrorism all over Syria.
“The attack stresses coordination between the US and ISIS, and it reveals the evil intentions of the US in administering terrorism and investing it to pass the US-Zionist project in the region.” The statement added.
It affirmed that such aggressions would not affect the Syrian Arab Army in its determination to continue the fight against ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations and to restore security and stability to all Syrian territories.
Earlier in the week, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Sputnik that the U.S. strikes on SDF aircraft are aiding terrorists. “In the case of strikes [by U.S. forces on the aircraft and drones of the Syrian Armed Forces], we are dealing with an open complicity with the terrorists operating on Syrian soil,” Ryabkov said.
CIA-armed Kurds in Syria
The U.S.-led coalition has on numerous occasions stated that it is working with the SDF to try to defeat Daesh in Syria. However, there have been numerous reports of U.S.-led airstrikes targeting Syrian civilians, military and infrastructure. These deadly and avoidable mistakes clearly illustrate how the US-led coalition’s presence in Syria has had a harmful impact on civilians. On June 26, the SDF cut off water supplies to 1 million civilians in Aleppo. Some sources stated that this was out of spite, whereas others stated they were unaware of the reason(s) behind such a destructive and deliberate against innocent civilians.
On July 5, 21st Century Wire reported on U.S. efforts to establish a greater military presence in Syria. “The U.S. is setting up its military bases in the territories that were liberated from Daesh by our fighters during the fight against terrorism,” a senior SDF representative stated.
The Syrian government considers separatist Kurds to be just as dangerous as Daesh and other terrorist groups in the country. Their plans to destabilize the country are more dangerous than those of Daesh, especially since the West provides them with moral support, weapons, training, financial aid, armed vehicles and even air support. “We’ll be recovering [weapons] during the battle, repairing them. When they don’t need certain things anymore, we’ll replace those with something they do need,” stated U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis in late June.
Kurds selling weapons given to them from Germany to fight against Daesh
Reporters from German broadcasters NDR and WDR found several G3 assault rifles and a P1 pistol, all engraved with the initials “BW” for Bundeswehr – Germany’s military – in the northern Iraqi cities of Erbil and Sulaymaniyah.
The weapons apparently came from stocks that the German government delivered to the Kurdish autonomous government in northern Iraq. The weapons were intended to be used in the fight against the Daesh. Several members of Germany’s Green and Left parties have long raised concerns in parliament that arms delivered to Peshmerga fighters could fall into the wrong hands.
There have been several credible reports since the U.S.-led military alliance formed to help combat Daesh in Syria and Iraq of American-supplied weapons falling into the hands of unallied militias and even Daesh itself.
The U.S. has armed the Kurds and supported their efforts since helping them establish the Syrian Democratic Forces on Oct. 10, 2015. The U.S. needed to fund a group within Syria that was fighting against Daesh, but that was not as extremist as the Free Syrian Army, which was outed as being affiliated with al-Qaeda. The U.S. has stated that its main reason for being in Syria is to fight Daesh, but its actions have proved otherwise. Its true mission is to destabilize the country by assisting the Kurds through the SDF and other armed opposition forces in liberating land that can be used as a bargaining tool in future negotiations.
Ron Paul explains why arming the Kurds was a dangerous idea:
Washington has repeatedly brushed aside Ankara’s irrefutable evidence that the YPG is an extension of the outlawed PKK terrorist organization, which has terrorized Turkey for more than three decades. U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis has sent a letter to his Turkish counterpart Fikri Işık pledging that the United States will retrieve the weapons it sent to the YPG immediately after Daesh is defeated.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Defense will supply Turkey with detailed lists of the military materials and equipment dispatched to the YPG, implying that the U.S. aims to guarantee transparency in their bilateral relationship. This itself is an attempt to backtrack on a terrible decision that the U.S. may or may not believe they have made. If the reality hasn’t sunk in yet, it most certainly will when the Kurds refuse to give back the weapons or decide to sell them. Washington will then have to deal with an even more disgruntled Turkey.
Why Are Kurds Joining Daesh?
For over a year, Kurdish forces have united in defense against bloody Daesh attacks. So how has Daesh still managed to recruit hundreds of young Kurds to fight for the caliphate against their own families?
“There are Kurdish families in Halabja whose sons are in IS [Daesh] and their hearts are broken, but I’ll never go to their funerals,” said the grieving mother of Kaihan Borhan, a Kurd who died fighting with the Peshmerga against Daesh. Her family is distraught that the people responsible for his death could well be Kurdish nationals.
“I have a friend whose brother died fighting for ISIS,” said Kaihan’s brother. “I never grieved for him and my friend cannot bear to look me in the eye.” Here, we can see the path to extremism that many Kurds have taken. Dissatisfaction with the Kurdish intelligence service, Asayish’s persecution of Muslims and domestic grievances are being skilfully exploited by Daesh through the use of propaganda, led by Khattab Al-Kurdi and his Saladin Brigade.
“With God’s permission we will sow the seeds of the Caliphate throughout our land,” said Khattab, who has been one of the most persuasive forces in luring Kurds towards the caliphate. Even with Khattab’s reported death in April 2015, the threat of more Kurds joining Daesh seems unlikely to diminish, with a new Kurdish imam carrying the rhetoric forward.
Kurds being used to destabilize Iran
Documents leaked by WikiLeaks in 2010 suggested that Israeli Mossad Chief Meir Dagan wanted to use Kurds and ethnic minorities to topple the Iranian government. The Israeli spy service was aiming to create a weak and divided Iran, similar to the situation in Iraq, where the Kurds have their own autonomous government, the spy chief told a U.S. official.
The Partiya Jiyana Azad a Kurdistane (PJAK), a militant Kurdish nationalist group based in northern Iraq, has been carrying out attacks on Iranian forces in the Kurdistan Province of Iran (Eastern Kurdistan) and other Kurdish-inhabited areas. Half the members of PJAK are women. The PJAK has about 3,000 armed militiamen. They represent yet another example of the Kurds finding themselves in the middle of a conflict and being used as a pawn by the West.
The party is closely linked to the PKK. Iran has often accused PJAK and other Kurdish nationalist groups from Iran of being supported by Israel. Journalist Seymour Hersh has also claimed that the U.S. supported PJAK and other Iranian opposition groups. However, both the U.S. and Israel have denied supporting PJAK. In fact, the U.S. Treasury branded PJAK as a terrorist organization last year.
As Hersh noted in 2004: “The Israelis have had long-standing ties to the Talibani and Barzani clans [in] Kurdistan and there are many Kurdish Jews that emigrated to Israel and there are still a lot of connection. But at some time before the end of the year , and I’m not clear exactly when, certainly I would say a good six, eight months ago, Israel began to work with some trained Kurdish commandos, ostensibly the idea was the Israelis – some of the Israeli elite commander units, counter-terror or terror units, depending on your point of view, began training – getting the Kurds up to speed.”
Why are the so-called Kurdish “freedom fighters” willing to get in bed with any and every group that has an interest in destabilizing Syria? The provocative manner in which the SDF has teamed up with terrorist organizations during the war in Syria is a blaring contradiction to the “revolutionary” public relations image that they have fought hard to establish in recent years.
Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran, continue to oppose the notion of having their borders and sovereignty divided by the U.S. for yet another U.S./NATO-dictated social engineering experiment in the Middle East.
Attempts to rewrite geographic history
An estimated 30 million Kurds reside primarily in mountainous regions of present-day Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. They remain the world’s largest nomadic population without a sovereign state. The Kurds are not monolithic, however, and tribal identities and political interests often supersede a unifying national allegiance.
Some Kurds, particularly those who have migrated to urban centers, such as Istanbul, Damascus and Tehran, have integrated and assimilated, while many who remain in their ancestral lands maintain a strong sense of a distinctly Kurdish identity. A Kurdish diaspora of an estimated two million people is concentrated primarily in Europe, with over a million in Germany alone. These migratory wanderers never possessed their own country at any point in their history, but were always part of a larger country or empire that took them in and provided them refuge.
The version of events that the Kurds present is in staunch contrast with the account that is supported by most historians. This has proven to be a point of contention between the Kurds and the citizens of other countries.
The Kurds claim to have been conquered and occupied throughout their history, for instance. Here is an example of their attempt to rewrite history to fit their narrative: “The Kurdish region has seen a long list of invaders and conquerors: Ancient Persians from the east, Alexander the Great from the west, Muslim Arabs in the 7th Century from the south, Seljuk Turks in the 11th Century from the east, the Mongols in the 13th Century from the east, medieval Persians from the east and the Ottoman Turks from the north in the 16th Century and most recently, the United States in its 2003 invasion of Iraq.”
Part III: A History Of Violence – The Myth Of The Moderate Kurdish Rebel
The Kurds of the Middle East, though embraced by much of the West as idealistic freedom fighters, have committed a range of human rights abuses, mainly targeting non-Muslim minorities. Their dark history of violence includes kidnapping, enslavement, and genocide.
Kurds and Assyrians: a tumultuous past and present
Much of what the Kurds claim as their own unique culture is actually borrowed from older cultures, such as the Assyrians, Armenians and Suryoye. In fact, much if not all of the land in Eastern Turkey that the Kurds claim as their own once belonged to the Armenians. It is hardly surprising, then, that the Kurds assisted in the Turkish genocide of Assyrians and the 1915 genocide of Armenians.
Also known as “Shato du Seyfo,” or the “Year of the Sword, ” this genocide targeted Christians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I, mainly in 1915. The size of the Assyrian population was reduced by as much as 75 percent as a result.
On the Nineveh plains of northern Iraq, the Kurds dwell in cities such as “Dohuk” (formerly known by the Assyrian name of Nohadra). But these cities are “theirs” only in that they have established a relatively recent presence there.
Employing the criteria of cultural identity and thousands of years of historical authenticity, these lands are, and have been, uniquely Assyrian. The Kurds were essentially “given” these lands in the early 1970s as a means of drawing their eyes away from the oil-rich lands in and around the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. To this end, there were large migrations of Kurds into Dohuk which displaced, often forcibly, Assyrians who had far greater legal and historical claims to these lands.
This is a tactic commonly employed by the Kurds when attempting to ascribe validation to their “sacred quest” of establishing a Kurdish state – something which has never existed at any point in recorded history. By defining “Kurdistan” as any place where Kurds happen to dwell at any given point, they seem to be going by the maxim “possession is nine-tenths of the law” – which may work well in determining criminal liability, but not so well in determining one’s homeland.
In the early 1970s, the Kurds of Nineveh began to fall into what would become a familiar pattern of being used as a pawn of U.S. interests. In this instance, they betrayed their host country when the U.S. – through its puppet, the Shah of Iran – began arming them and encouraging them to rise up against the government.
The Iraqi government cracked down, which resulted in many Kurds being forced out of the lands they had only recently acquired. Iraq and Iran came to a diplomatic resolution and the Kurds were left holding the proverbial bag in what would also become a recurring scenario. Nearly the exact same phenomenon occurred in the 1980s and 1990s when, during the first Gulf War, a no-fly zone was established that granted the Kurds a tangible measure of international support and protection.
“Despite the oppression the Kurds have suffered at the hands of the Turks, they have not learned to be tolerant. In the Kurdish autonomous of North Iraq, The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) are acting in the same way as the Turkish government has for 90 years against Kurds and Assyrians. Reports of systematic abuses against Assyrians within the Kurdish autonomy in Iraq are constantly increasing in number. There is organized harassment, sanctioned by the Kurdish authorities. The aim is obviously the same as that of the Turks, to assimilate or expel the Assyrian indigenous people who have lived in these parts of the country for more than 7,000 years.” Augin Haninke wrote in her article The Kurds: Victims and Oppressors with Assyrian International News agency.
Watch: The assassination of an Assyrian leader by Kurdish forces:
As explained in the video above, Kurdish security forces in Syria tortured and murdered Assyrian military commander David Jindo after a false invitation under the pretense of cooperation. This was a move reminiscent of Kurdish leader Simko Shikak’s 1918 assassination of Assyrian Patriarch Mar Shimun XXI Benyamin, which took place when he invited the patriarch into his home.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of northern Iraq claims that it is $25 billion dollars in debt, despite having negotiated its own oil deals and received significant amounts of foreign aid. One has to question how much corruption exists within the Kurdish administration for it to be in the financial situation it claims to be in. This has resulted in circumstances where small charity groups are left to facilitate and distribute aid to the Assyrians and Yazidis, who are supposed to be under the governorship of the KRG.
In 2011, imams in Dohuk encouraged Sunni Kurds to destroy Christian churches and businesses. In response, shops were attacked and clubs were besieged by mobs of people numbering in the hundreds. Hotels and restaurants were attacked with small arms fire.
In recent years, Kurds have continued acting disingenuously towards Christian minorities, including Assyrians and even Yazidis. Their abuses have gone far beyond historical revisionism – an example of which can be seen in the picture below. This was also seen when they took refuge in northern Syria in the early 19th century and proceeded to drive Arabs and Armenians out of numerous towns.
Modern day horrors as Kurds allow Daesh to murder Assyrians
In July 2014, as Daesh began its incursion into Iraqi territory, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) began its systematic disarmament of Assyrians and several other ethnic groups so that it could use their weapons in its own struggle.
Notices were circulated threatening severe punishment for noncompliance. Assurances were given that the Peshmerga would provide some degree of protection.
But as Daesh advanced, the Peshmerga took the weapons and fled, following the same example as the Iraqi Army.
This left the Assyrians and Yazidis with no means to resist or defend themselves against Daesh. Reports even surfaced of these same Peshmerga gunning down Yazidis who tried to prevent them from fleeing with all the weapons.
Haydar Shesho, a Yazidi commander who managed to procure weapons from the Iraqi government, was then arrested by KDP authorities for organizing an “illegal” militia.
This scene was repeated elsewhere throughout the country, as 150,000 Assyrians were forced to flee the Nineveh plains, their ancestral land.
These actions can only be seen as a deliberate ploy by the Kurdish leadership to allow foreign forces to violently cleanse these areas of all non-Kurdish residents and then, with the help of their U.S. allies, retake and “liberate their lands.”
Watch: Assyrians demanding an end to the Kurdish occupation of their land:
On April 13, 2016, Kurdish security forces blocked hundreds of Assyrians from participating in a protest outside of the Kurdistan Regional Government Parliament building. The protest was planned in response to the ongoing confiscation of Assyrian land by Kurds in northern Iraq.
Many testimonies have surfaced, such as a statement given to the UK Parliament by Yazidi ex-captive Salwa Khalaf Rasho, in which it is said that the Peshmerga, eager to flee first ahead of Yazidi civilians, has refused requests to stay and protect Yazidis or at least leave them their weapons. They had even reassured the Yazidis that they should return to their homes, where they would be defended.
Some Peshmerga ultimately started firing on Yazidis when their protests grew forceful – killing some of them – in order to clear the way for their convoy of vehicles to pass unhindered. Yazda, an organization that campaigns for Yazidi genocide recognition, wrote in its last report in January 2016: “Had they [Yazidis] been defended for one day, they could have been evacuated safely and the massacres and enslavement crisis could have been averted.”
The following is an excerpt from Rasho’s testimony to the UK Parliament in which she pleaded for help after escaping eight months of Daesh slavery, rape and multiple attempted suicides:
- “My name is Salwa Khalaf Rasho. I was born in 1998 and was in the ninth grade. I was leading a simple and modest life with my family until the day when Daesh attacked Shengal on August 3, 2014. I liked my city, Shengal, very much. I grew up under the principle of coexistence with all societies within the community, regardless of one’s religion or sect, because the values of my religion do not allow to hate others and discriminate against them.
Therefore, Shengal was well known as the city of tolerance and ethnic diversity. What happened was shocking and unexpected, because we saw Daesh as our brothers. With this, I mean the Arab tribes of the villages that belong to Shengal. Suddenly, they became monsters and wolves. They collaborated with Daesh when Yazidi women and children were enslaved and men were killed.
There were about 9,000 Peshmerga in my city who were armed with various types of weapons. They said to us, ‘We will protect and defend Shengal, and Daesh will only enter Shengal over our dead bodies. We will defend Shengal until the last bullet.’
Unfortunately, they ran away without any resistance and without warning or giving notice to the civilians so we could escape from falling into the arms of Daesh monsters. They left us women and children to our cold-blooded fate. I and the people with me tried to flee into the mountains like the others.”
Watch: How Kurds disarmed Assyrian Christians and abandoned them to Daesh:
A history of human rights abuses
In light of these horrors, it should easily be understood why the Kurds would have a vested interest in claiming Arab, Assyrian or Armenian history as their own. Failing in that endeavor, they often resort to destroying any relevant history altogether. In this aspect, they operate in a similar manner to Daesh.
Every time the Kurds failed in an attack against Turkey, they would migrate to Syria and try to claim Syrian land as their own. For instance, they tried to claim the Syrian city of Ayn al Arab, naming it “Kobani.” The origin of the name is the word “company,” a reference to a German railway company that built the Konya-Baghdad railway. The Kurds also claimed Al Qamishli, another Syrian city, as their illegal capital and renamed it Qamishlo.
It’s worth mentioning that the Kurds are not even a majority in the land they claim as theirs in northeast Syria. For example, in the governorate of Al Hasakah, they amount to about 30 to 40 percent of the population. That number has decreased since the outbreak of the current Syrian conflict, as many Kurds have left for European countries.
Most of the have fled to Germany, where their numbers are about 1.2 million, a little less than the number of Kurds living in Syria. However, they do not seem concerned about seeking autonomy there. They only seek it in the Middle Eastern countries that have provided them with refuge all of these years – these are the countries they want to stab in the back instead of thanking them for their hospitality.
Watch: Widely-documented human rights abuses:
Amnesty International‘s many refutable allegations against the Syrian government and the Syrian Arab Army cannot be taken at face value in the absence of other corroborating reports. In some cases, however, they do report truthfully, such as when they released a report in 2015 accusing the YPG, the militia of Syria’s Kurdish population, of a range of human rights abuses.
“These abuses include forced displacement, demolition of homes, and the seizure and destruction of property,” the group wrote. “In some cases, entire villages have been demolished, apparently in retaliation for the perceived support of their Arab or Turkmen residents for the group that calls itself the Islamic State (IS) or other non-state armed groups.” Amnesty International has also documented the use of child soldiers, according to Lama Fakih, a senior crisis advisor for the group.
The Kurds claim that their “Kurdistan” is “multicultural and multireligious,” which is disingenuous when you consider that those additional cultures consist of people now dwelling amongst a Kurdish majority in lands the Kurds took by force. These people will be faced with the prospect of casting meaningless votes on Kurdish independence since, even if they all voted “no,” they would nonetheless be outvoted by the Kurdish “yes” majority and as a result would still find themselves subject to a Kurdish government and agenda.
Why are they stateless?
The Sykes-Picot agreement, officially known as the Asia Minor Agreement, was a secret 1916 agreement between the United Kingdom and France, to which the Russian Empire assented. It set the borders for countries like Syria, Iraq, and Jordan, but the Kurds held little or no influence. The main purpose of the agreement for the French and British was to bolster their own influence and power in the region. The Kurds have made the argument that they were promised land at the time, but were then cut out of the deal at the last minute.
Kurdish history in the 20th century is marked by a rising sense of Kurdish nationhood focused on the goal of establishing an independent Kurdistan in accordance with the Treaty of Sèvres of 1920. Countries like Armenia, Iraq and Syria were able to achieve statehood, but the prospective Kurdistan was in the way of the newly founded state of Turkey, established by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The state of Kurdistan has simply never existed.
The only areas in the Middle East where the Kurds were able to establish some semblance of legal autonomy are the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq – where minorities are well-protected under new laws – and Israel.
As a result of the disparity between areas of Kurdish settlement and the political and administrative boundaries of the region, a general agreement among Kurds could not be reached regarding borders. However, the Treaty of Sèvres was not implemented and was superseded by the Treaty of Lausanne. The current Iraq-Turkey border was agreed upon in July 1926. While Article 63 of the Treaty of Sevres explicitly granted full safeguards and protections to the Assyro-Chaldean minority, this reference was dropped in the Treaty of Lausanne.
It’s worth noting that the Iraqi Kurds are situated on the country’s oil-rich fields. Syria’s Hasakah province – which the Kurds are illegally claiming as their territory and which includes their self-appointed capital, Al Qamishli – also contains some of Syria’s most valuable oil fields. Therefore, it is no coincidence that the U.S. is putting its money on the Kurds.
Unethical and violent treatment of minorities, particularly Christians
According to Aina.org, in an article written in 2014, “Last year Ahmed Turk, a Kurdish politician in Turkey, declared that the Kurds have their share of ‘guilt in the genocide, too,’ and apologized to the Armenians. ‘Our fathers and grandfathers were used against Assyrians and Yazidis, as well as against Armenians. They persecuted these people; their hands are stained with blood. We as the descendants apologize,’ Turk said.”
The Kurds have a centuries-long history of persecuting minority groups, having committed genocide against them with alarming frequency. Historical accounts of acts of genocide by the Kurds from 1261 through 1999 are documented in Genocides Against the Assyrian Nation.
In A.D. 1261, in what was referred to as “the coming of the Kurds,” thousands of Assyrians fled the Nineveh plains villages of Bartillah, Bakhdida (Qaraqosh), Badna, Basihra and Karmlis, moving toward the citadel of Arbil to escape a substantial Kurdish emigration. King Salih Isma’il had ordered a great number of Kurds to move from the mountains of Turkey to the Nineveh plains. Assyrian villages on the plains were looted and the thousands of Assyrians who were not able to escape to Arbil were butchered by the Kurdish newcomers. A monastery for nuns in Bakhdida was invaded and its inhabitants brutally massacred.
Kurdish tribes in Turkey, Syria and Iran conducted regular raids and even paramilitary assaults against their Christian neighbors during World War I. The Kurds, acting in accordance with a long-standing tradition of a perceived Kurdish right to pillage Christian villages, were responsible for many atrocities that were committed against Assyrian Christians. A Kurdish chieftain assassinated the patriarch of the Church of the Aast at a negotiation dinner in 1918, the aftermath of which led to the further decimation of the Christian population.
Kurdish complicity in Armenian genocide
The Armenian genocide was carried out during and after World War I and implemented in two phases: the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacres and subjection of army conscripts to forced labor, followed by the deportation of women, children, the elderly, and the infirm on death marches leading to the Syrian desert. Driven forward by military escorts, the deportees were deprived of food and water and subjected to periodic robbery, rape and massacre.
Other indigenous and Christian ethnic groups, such as the Assyrians and the Ottoman Greeks, were similarly targeted for extermination by the Ottoman government in the Assyrian genocide and the Greek genocide, and their treatment is considered by some historians to be part of the same genocidal policy that targeted the Armenians. Most Armenian diaspora communities around the world came into being as a direct result of the genocide.
In the eastern provinces, the Armenians were subject to the whims of their Turkish and Kurdish neighbors, who would regularly overtax them, subject them to brigandage and kidnapping, force them to convert to Islam, and otherwise exploit them without interference from central or local authorities.
Egged on by their Ottoman rulers, Kurdish tribal chieftains raped, murdered and pillaged their way through the southeastern provinces where for centuries they had co-existed, if uneasily, with the Armenians and other non-Muslims. Henry Morgenthau, who served as U.S. Ambassador in Constantinople at the height of the bloodshed, described the Kurds’ complicity in his chilling 1918 memoir Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story:
- “The Kurds would sweep down from their mountain homes. Rushing up to the young girls, they would lift their veils and carry the pretty ones off to the hills. They would steal such children as pleased their fancy and mercilessly rob all the rest of the throng…While they were committing these depredations, the Kurds would freely massacre, and the screams of women and old men would add to the general horror.”
Discrimination against Feyli Kurds in Iraq
It is important to reiterate that there are many Kurds to whom some of the characterizations presented in this analysis cannot and should not be applied. There are Kurds who have assimilated into their current cultural societies and reject the ideals of the separatist Kurds. Their concerns are mostly political in nature and specific to the nations in which they reside.
They are not interested in establishing a united Kurdish country in the four countries they occupy, through Balkanization, land theft, genocide or any of the other violations against humanity that have been addressed here. In fact, these Kurds have faced discrimination from the Kurdish community as a result of their unwillingness to support the establishment of a Kurdish state.
The Feyli Kurds in northern Iraq are a prime example. Many of them expressed opposition to a referendum on independence announced by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on June 7, 2017, as they feared it could lead to an escalation of the area’s ongoing crisis.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi laid out the Iraqi government’s official position on June 18, stating, “The Kurdistan Regional referendum on secession is illegal, and the federal government will not support it, fund it or participate in it.” The United States and Iraq’s neighbors, including Turkey, Iran and Syria, oppose the country’s territorial division.
Fouad Ali Akbar, a Feyli member of the Baghdad provincial council, told Al-Monitor, “They are Shiite Kurds…neither Shiites nor Kurds have done Feylis justice. Most Feylis are moderate and culturally diverse, and this has prevented them from earning the trust of Kurds and Shiites, who, for ethnic and sectarian reasons, have not wanted them to have a stable identity with normal rights like other Iraqi citizens.”
Feyli activist Hassan Abdali said, “We, the Feyli Kurds, consider ourselves original Iraqis. We have deep historical and social roots in Iraq. We defended the country and its people in all the Iraqi liberation movements, in the Iraqi revolt against the British, and we took part in Kurdish movements and Shiite revolutions and also in the fight against the Islamic State (IS). And we faced persecution from Arab and Kurdish nationalist movements.”
Ali Akbar also told Al-Monitor, “The majority of Feylis are voicing concerns about the potential displacement, killing, confiscation of funds and systematic looting that they might face in the event of the declaration of independence of Kurdistan as a result of the threats they receive whenever a dispute between the central government and the KRG erupts.”
Sarwa Abdel Wahid, head of a KRG parliamentary bloc in Gorran (an Iraqi Kurdish political party), said at a joint press conference with Feyli representatives, including legislators, “The referendum to be held in September in Kurdistan is a partisan referendum that does not represent the ambition of all the Kurdish people, as it has failed to go through the legitimate national institutions.”
Kurdish racism against Arabs – especially Syrians
Finnish investigative journalist Bruno Jantti described his experience working in Iraqi Kurdistan while investigating Daesh:
- “When working in Iraqi Kurdistan, I was struck by the prevalence of regressive attitudes, including racism and sexism. I returned recently from Iraqi Kurdistan where I spent a couple of weeks investigating the Islamic State (IS) group. Working mostly in the vicinity of Sulaymaniyah and Dohuk, I could not help but notice a great many societal and cultural characteristics that somewhat surprised me.
Considering what is happening right next door in Syria, the level of anti-Syrian racism did catch me off guard. I came across such prejudice almost daily. A taxi driver quipped in Sulaymaniyah: ‘These Syrians are ruining our country.’ Another taxi driver was quite upset at Syrian kids who were washing car windows and selling tack. ‘These are dirty kids.’ he said. It was all but unusual that internally displaced persons of Iraqi or Syrian Arab descent who had fled to Iraqi Kurdistan were discussed using such language.
It wasn’t just taxi drivers. In the Sulaymaniyah governorate building, an officer deemed it appropriate to prep us for our interviews in refugee camps in the area. She told me, verbatim, that Syrian refugees ‘complain about everything.’ In another city, a police chief was astonished and disappointed that my colleagues and myself were applying for a permit to work in a camp inhabiting Syrian refugees. The police chief stated: ‘But these are Syrian refugees!’ There was no shortage of contempt in his voice.
I had been fully aware that Kurdish nationalism flirts with highly questionable portrayals of Arabs, Persians and Turkish people. In Iraqi Kurdistan, I was surprised at how prevalent some of those attitudes seemed to be.”
A Well-Curated Myth
The Kurds have gained popularity through effectively marketing themselves to Western audiences as revolutionary, feminist, Marxist “freedom fighters” who have a burning desire to create their version of a utopia where peace for all will reign – an image that Stephen Gowans recently critiqued in “The Myth of the Kurdish YPG’s Moral Excellence.”
What they actually seek to create is an illegal autonomous state carved out of existing sovereign countries. The freedom they seek is to be brought about by means of slaughtering natives in the countries that they want to Balkanize and divide on sectarian lines. They have set about vacating areas of indigenous people, utilizing fear and forceful tactics that are supported by their sponsors but that are in violation of globally accepted human rights. To agree with their cause is to agree with genocidal actions that, in essence, tear people away from their homes and lands while fitting conveniently into the imperial views of Western nations.
Up until recently, Kurds with separatist ambitions were seen in a positive light. But their hidden agenda has now been exposed and their true intentions revealed.Their past and present alliance with Israel and the United States is indicative of these intentions. This can not be dismissed or underappreciated, as it is the hidden foundation on which they have built their mission. The Greater Israel project is in full swing and needs to be halted before it makes any further headway.
To support the Kurds’ demands for autonomy, and the establishment of a federation at the expense of others in the region, is illegal, profoundly illogical, and a violation of human rights for all of the reasons that have been discussed here. And it bears remembering as well that one of the top leaders of Daesh was a Kurd. If the Kurds truly want to live in peace and coexist with others, they must end the excessive historical revisionism in which they incessantly partake; they must forgo alliances that threaten the stability of the countries in which they currently reside; and they must work together and unite with their brethren who share the same geographical land. Only then will the Kurds truly have friends other than the mountains.