Op-Ed: The World Hears Only Arab Claims-What About the Kurds?
Gerald A. HonigmanThe author is an educator who has done extensive doctoral studies in Mid-East...
The widely-published AP report by Mohammed Daraghmeh on October 29th announced that Arabs were preparing to once again push for creating their 22nd state in the United Nations. It cannot be stated too often that this would be their second, not first, created in the original April 25, 1920 Mandate of Palestine. What is now Jordan sits on almost 80% of that territory since its creation in 1922. That Arabs claim that Jews were given all or most of the land is nothing short of a blatant lie.
Arabs are firm believers that everywhere their own prior (and continuing) imperial, colonial conquests took them after they burst out of the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century C.E. entitles Arabs to create states solely for themselves on all of those forcibly Arabized lands.
In order to further this goal, the very languages and cultures of scores of millions of native, non-Arab, subjugated peoples in the region (those who were not slaughtered in the process, that is) have been suppressed and outlawed.
Coincidentally, on that very same date, a report by Shirzad Shikhani in Saudi Arabia's Asharq al-Awsat stated that Iraq's KRG president, Massoud Barzani, was informed that "alongside Turkey, the US will not support the proclamation of a Kurdish state." The report made clear that this was the position--whether the Kurds wanted to come to the negotiating table over specific terms for independence or not.
Mere mention of the Turks on this subject would be funny if not so tragic.
While one of the Hashemite Arab princes was handed the lion's share of Palestine, renamed the Emirate of Transjordan, the other was being gifted all of Mesopotamia.
Ankara's notorious subjugation of some twenty million of its own Kurds (renamed "Mountain Turks" to deny their distinct Kurdish identity)--who predate the invading Central Asian Turks in what's now "Turkey" by millennia--matches the worst that Arabs have put into practice themselves, with the possible exception of Saddam's genocidal Anfal Campaign. The latter took the lives of some 200,000 Kurds in Iraq in the 1980s--not to mention many others slaughtered by Arabs earlier in both Syria and Iraq or those dispatched by the Iranians as well.
It's worth recalling that Iraq, which others now insist Kurds must remain a part of (no matter what the additional cost), is where Kurds were promised independence after World War I, when it was still known as the Mandate of Mesopotamia after the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. They were subsequently shafted, however, after Great Britain received a favorable decision over the fate of the predominantly northern Kurdish area's oil in the Mosul Decision handed down by the League of Nations in 1925. "Arab" Iraq was created in its place--a direct collusion between British petroleum politics and Arab nationalism.
While one of the Hashemite Arab princes was being handed the lion's share of Palestine, renamed the Emirate of Transjordan, the other was being gifted all of Mesopotamia.
Substitute the American State Department for the British Foreign Office, and nothing has really changed in almost a century regarding the use and abuse of the region's Kurds (and attitudes towards Jews as well). While Arabs have seen the birth of almost two dozen "Arab" League states during this time period (carved out of mostly other peoples' lands), Kurds are still denied their one.
And while it is also true that the United States has announced that it would not support a renewed unilateral move by Arabs, Washington has made very clear that it indeed supports the creation of that 22nd Arab state as an end result of "negotiations"--even if, in an Obama Administration, that translates into Jew arm-twisting.
Not so, however, for Kurdish aspirations--not even word games regarding such ideas.
And not for others' neither…some forty million non-Arabized (and many other Arabized) Imazighen/"Berbers" in North Africa, for example. The one chance an Amazigh state finally had for independence, when the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) broke away from northern Mali, was recently avoided like the plague--despite the pleas of the secular Touareg people for help so that Islamists would not gain the upper hand…which they now have.
While this duplicity is really nothing new, it can't be repeated often enough how nauseating the stench of hypocrisy is when it comes to the pursuit of any semblance of real justice in the region. If the cause is not an Arab one, very few folks want to hear about it, let alone act upon it.
Think about the absurdity, for example, of Turks launching a flotilla to protest Israel's defensive blockade of Hamas's Arabs in Gaza, who have launched tens of thousands of rockets, mortars, and missiles deliberately against Jewish civilians, while the Turks are slaughtering or subjugating tens of millions of Kurds in Turkey at the same time.
That a Shi'a Arab dominated Iraq is fast becoming more aligned with its Shi'a Iranian counterparts to the east is also very troubling. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government is trying hard to turn the democracy experiment, which America envisioned and helped sire after the fall of Saddam, into just another Arab dictatorship. It is this current trend that KRG President Barzani was addressing when he threatened to assert Kurdish independence--only to get immediately shot down by those who, for one reason or another, envision justice in Arab and Turkish terms only on such issues.
Add to the above the tragic situation unfolding in Syria, affecting about five million Arabized and non-Arabized Kurds in addition to millions of other people, and Iran's five million or more suppressed Kurds as well, and the duplicity regarding those two news articles on October 29th should demand that some forty million truly stateless Kurds finally make their own move in the United Nations at the same time that Arabs demand a 22nd state of their own.
What a great opportunity that would be to unmask the world's disgraceful double standards on these issues...