The uneasy alliance with our cousins, the Kurds

Samson Blinded

Iraqi Kurdistan is Turkey’s West Bank. Historically part of Turkey, it was severed from the Ottoman Empire by Britain, supported later by the US and EU, and now turned into a terrorist nest. Kurds, genetic relatives of Jews, are way more civilized than Arabs. Iraqi Kurdistan is a very safe place by the Middle East’s standards and a progressive country with relatively transparent government, equal rights for women, and decent education. Unlike Arabs, Kurds are law-abiding and honest people. They created a state of the kind the Palestinians can never build. Kurds claim the territory which is theirs by any standard: they settle it since the time immemorial. Settling the land, however, doesn’t automatically provide for sovereignty, as Basques or Chechens have learned. An ethnic group has to show its viability and claim its sovereignty forcefully. So do the Kurds.

Supported by lush oil revenues, Kurds fight for independence at least since 1920s. They enjoy support from many corners. Iran supports Kurds to bleed Iraq, Israel – to obtain regional bases against Iran and Iraq, America – to subvert Saddam and now Iran, oil interests – to receive concessions without tenders. Russia seems to support the Kurds to bug its historical rival, Turkey. None of these countries, however, wants to upset Turkey, everyone’s ally against Islam.

Turkey cannot afford to lose its Kurdistan. The loss of the Ottoman Empire still reverberates in Turkish society. Turkey never acquiesced to the humiliating loss of a piece of Cyprus to Greece. Independence of Turkish Kurdistan would humiliate Turkish military and unleash a wave of Islamism in Turkey. America abandoned the Iraqi Kurds to Saddam after inciting them to revolt; Turkey expects the US to do nothing about large-scale Turkish operation in northern Iraq against the Kurds.

PKK and other Kurdish guerrilla groups stain the image of good Kurds, but they have no choice. Nice nations do not secede or are awarded sovereignty. The PKK is deliberately smeared. They are not a Marxist group but operate many businesses. They trade in drugs; so did the British Empire just eighty years ago. Besides, supplying drugs to Europe is not a matter of creating new markets but rather wrestling the existing markets from organized crime groups. The PKK benefited Europe by acquiring a large chunk of drug trade: the proceeds fund Kurdish struggle rather than gang fights and street crime in Europe. PKK’s drug trade, so to say, sucks the dirtiest money from Europe.

Turkish Kurds rightfully claim a state of their own. Preventing them would result in considerable bloodshed. Carving a land for Kurds from Turkey entails unacceptable costs for the West. The best way to deal with the Kurdish issue is to abandon the US Administration’s obsession with preserving the artificial Iraqi state, that Frankenstein state stitched together by the British. Kurds must get a state of their own in Iraq. That would justly reward them for their help against Iraq and create a welcome source of perpetual conflict between Kurds and Arabs who consider Kurdistan an Arab land. Perpetually endangered Kurdistan will be Israel’s ally. Independent Kurdistan will be more wary of close relations with Iran than now, when Iran is the Kurds most reliable ally against Iraq. Independent Kurdistan’s territorial dispute with Turkey will be a conflict between these two states, and won’t draw the entire West into the dead-end war the West has no business in. And the Arabs will get the message: mess with America, and risk your state being cut into pieces.

November 4, 2007 | 1 Comment »

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