Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The State of the Kurds

People flashed victory signs in Istanbul on May 24 during 
an election rally for the leader of the pro-Kurdish 
Peoples' Democratic Party, Selahattin Demirtas. 
Photo: Getty Images
With a political win in Turkey, victories over Islamic State and autonomy in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Kurds are enjoying a triumphant moment—and thinking of a country of their own
It is a time of good news for the Kurds, a people more accustomed to tragedy than to triumph.
Supporters cheer Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the 
pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party, HDP, as he 
addresses an election rally in Istanbul, Turkey, in 
May. Photo: Emrah Gurel/AP
Just last week in Turkey, a political party rooted in the struggle for Kurdish rights vaulted over the 10% threshold for parliamentary representation, giving the Kurds their biggest say ever in Turkish politics. Days later, allied Kurdish fighters in Syria seized a crucial border crossing from Islamic State, thus uniting Kurdish areas that now stretch from Iraq halfway to the Mediterranean Sea.
A soldier with the Kurdish peshmerga pauses at an 
outpost on the edges of the contested city of Kirkuk 
in 2014. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
In Iraq, the Kurds repelled an assault by Islamic State last year, and their budding autonomous government in northern Iraq has taken advantage of the collapse of the Iraqi army to seize full control of the disputed northern city of Kirkuk—often dubbed the “Kurdish Jerusalem” because of its historic significance—and the all-important oil fields nearby.
Amid an imploding Middle East ravaged by religious hatreds, the Kurds are providing a rare bright spot—and their success story is finding fresh support and sympathy in the West. By contrast with the rest of the region, all the main Kurdish movements today are broadly pro-Western and secular (though their politicians often don’t practice what they preach, and many Kurds are very traditional).
20,000 Yazidi & Christians rescued by Kurdish Fighters
“We are now living a Kurdish moment in the history of the region,” said Kendal Nezan, director of the Kurdish Institute of Paris, a think tank formed in 1983 to unite Kurdish intellectuals and rally Western support. “The Kurdish project is a project of pluralism, democracy and protection for minority rights—which is something new for the Middle East as we know it.”
IMHO the Kurds have earned Independence!
The Kurdish awakening has emerged from the upheaval of the 2011 Arab Spring, and it is adding fresh disruption to the region’s old order. “The events in Iraq, in Syria and in Turkey have profoundly altered the place of the Kurds in the Middle East—they provide fresh impetus and momentum toward Kurdish independence in some form,” said Ryan Crocker, who served as U.S. ambassador to Iraq and to Syria and is now dean of the Bush School of Government at Texas A&M University. Such Kurdish independence, he cautioned, “could produce permanent fragmentation of Iraq and Syria—and launch a whole new dimension of instability in the Middle East.”
Numbering some 30 million people, the Kurds are one of the world’s largest ethnic groups without a state of their own, scattered since antiquity in the mountainous lands straddling today’s Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq. Their language, Kurdish, is part of the Indo-European family of languages—close to Persian (Farsi) but unrelated to Arabic or Turkish. Unlike Iranians, who are mostly Shiite Muslims, most Kurds are Sunnis.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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1 comment:

cimbri said...

This makes me very happy for the US soldiers. They made all this happen. Not sure it's worth 4500 dead soldiers, but at least they accomplished something.