Why, The 3,500 Years Old Kurdish Nation Has Been Denied Statehood / DR.R.S.Lissak
Why The 3,500 Years Old Kurdish Nation Has been Denied Statehood /DR.Rivka Shpak Lissak
The Kurdish nation is an ancient nation. Yet, It does not receive The World's support in its struggle for statehood – Why?
The Kurdish issue is an example of the selective commitment of the UN and its organizations for justice: the Kurds are one of the ancient nations that survived in the Middle East, despite of the upheavals it went through. But, the UN and its organizations are doing nothing to correct this wrong.
The Palestinians, on the other hand, who have declared themselves a nation less than 100 years ago, are supported in their struggle for statehood by the UN and the whole world, because they have the backing of more than 50 Arab and Muslim states and they have oil.
The Kurds live as minorities in their own homeland, which was divided between several states. They live in north- west of Iran, north- west of Iraq, south- east of Syria, south- east of Turkey and in Armenia.
The Kurds came to the region in the 2nd millennia BCE, and established a kingdom named Mithanni, in north-west Mesopotamia and north-east Syria, around the middle of the 2nd millennia BCE. They are known in the bible as Khurs, one of the ethnic groups in Canaan.
The Kurds arrived in the region the same time the Hebrew tribes came from Ur, in south- east Mesopotamia. Lavan, Lea and Rachel's father was not an Aramaic, but a family relation to our patriarchs. The ancient cities of Harran and Nachor were discovered in that area, a fact that confirms the presence of the Hebrew ancestral tribes in the area. Archives containing documents describing laws and rituals similar to our ancesters were discovered in Mari and Nuzi, in the region.
Recently, a genetic research conducted at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem by Prof.Ariella Oppenheim and Dr.Marina Fireman, using a sample of 1,847 men of varying origins from the region, revealed that the nation genetically closest to the Jews, are the Kurds. Both, according to the research had the same ancient ancestor.
Like the land of Israel, the Kurd's land has been victim of many conquerors. Since the 7th century CE, Kurdistan was subjugated by the Muslim- Arabs, Seljuks, Mongols, and the Ottomans. The Muslims forced the Kurds who believed in the Persian Zorotustrian faith, to convert to Islam, and since then, 86% of the Kurds are Muslims: 65%- Sunni, 10% - Shia, 10% - Hallawie and 15% are Christians and Yazdi (an Islamic sect formed in the 12th century ).
After the end of First World War and the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, under the Treaty of Sevres in 1919, the Allies promised the Kurds to recommend to the League of Nation the establishment of a Kurdish state. However, the promise was not kept and in the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, Kurdistan was divided between Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran, due to the Allies oil interests (oil was discovered in 1911 in the Persian Gulf area and in 1914, in Iraq).
As a result of the Lausanne Treaty the Kurds, which number, today, more than 30 million, were divided into minority groups: 50% live in Turkey, about 40% - in Iraq, 7% - in Syria, and the rest in Iran and Armenia. Over the years a large Kurdish Diaspora was created in Europe. They keep close connections with the Kurdish minorities in Turkey and Iraq.
The Kurds in Iran
During Second World War, the Soviets took over Iran and formed a Kurdish entity, but after Iran was conquered by Britain, the entity was dismantled.
According to the Iranian constitution, all minorities have the right to speak and teach their language in the educational system.
The Kurds in Turkey
During First World War Turkey promised the Kurds a state in exchange of their participation in the war against the British army. Turkey lost the war.
The Kurds consist 20% of Turkey's population. Unlike Iran, Turkey refuses to let minorities preserve their language and culture, and makes efforts to assimilate them. The Kurds have never accepted this policy and rebelled in 1925, and again in 1938/9 against the Turkish rule. Both rebellions were cruelly suppressed and thousands were killed. The Turkish army used poisonous gas in 1939.
The Kurds rebelled again in the 1990's, after they founded the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) back in the 1970's. They began a large- scale terror activity, which have caused the death of 37,000 people, mostly civilian Kurds, whose villages were bombed by the Turkish air force. The rebellion came to an end after the capture of their leader Atchulan in 1999. Atchulan was brought to court and sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted to a life- sentence under western pressure. Turkey gave up because her interest in joining the European Union.
After the fall of Sadam Hussein in Iraq, the PKK renewed its operation against Turkey from its base in the Kurdish Autonomy in Iraq. The USA, The European Union and NATO declared the PKK a terrorist organization, and Turkey renewed its operations against the PKK. Turkey complained before Israel, claiming that Israel private companies support and train Kurdish PKK fighters.
The Kurds of Iraq
The Kurds of Iraq have, also, never accepted their situation and rebelled against the Iraqi rule in 1930, 1935, and 1946. All these uprisings were cruelly suppressed. The most famous revolt between 1960 – 1975 was conducted under the leadership of Mullah Mustafa Al- Barazani. Israel and Iran, under the Shah, supported the Kurds. Israel had an unsettled account with Iraq for its part in the Arab invasion of Israel in May 1948. Israeli officers infiltrated into Iraq through Iran and trained, and armed the Kurdish fighters. Israel was forced to end its support, after the Shah reached an agreement with Iraq in 1975 on the Shat Al-Arab conflict.
The Kurds, however, refused to surrender, and in 1988 the uprising reached new levels. Saddam Hussein suppressed it with a horrendous massacre, using Mustard gas. In 2003, after the fall of Saddam, mass graves were discovered containing about 200,000 bodies of Kurds.
The USA and the new Iraqi regime gave the Kurds full autonomy in the north-west, according to the new constitution, and the region's economy has developed significantly since then.
In short, there is no doubt that the Kurds, a 3,500 years old nation, and a victim of Arab and British imperialism, has the right of self- determination, as any other nation. However, the League of Nations in the past, and the UN today, ignore their right. Turkish and Arab interests and oil interests of the West (a considerable portion of Iraq's oil is in the Kurdish region) prevent any chance of doing justice to the Kurds.
Unfortunately, the world's "sense of justice", is selective and determined by oil and other interests. There are more than 50 Arab and Muslim states, they have oil, and they are able to gather enough votes in the UN General Assembly and other UN organizations, such as the Council for Human Rights, against the only Jewish state in the world, Israel.
That is how they manage to accuse Israel as being an Apartheid state, and of war crimes. Arabs themselves have murdered hundred thousands of their own people, but Israel got the highest percentage of condemnations from the UNCHR. And now, Israel is threatened to be brought by the UNCHR, before the Hague Tribunal for war crimes, while the rulers of Sudan and Iran, not to mention Turkey for bombing Kurdish villages, are not forced to pay for grave violations of human rights. Israel's only "crime" is defending its citizens against terror, or maybe, just for being Jewish.