The reporting of Israeli Mossad infiltration in southern Kurdistan provides a microcosm of the problem Kurds face in perception in the world -- as judged by the reaction to the news by the Israeli and Kurdish governments, the enemy states surrounding Kurdistan and global opinion.

The veteran American journalist Seymour Hirsch brought this information to light with the same aims he had upon his unearthing of the scandal at the infamous Abu Ghreib prison. News of Kurdish "collaboration" with the Israeli Mossad was meant to be a revelation of how the Bush adventure in the region was spiraling into instability, news that is pleasing to the ears of progressive Europe and the liberal elite in America.

The Turkish foreign ministry leaked the "secret" to Seymour Hirsch with at least two aims in mind: to embarrass the Israeli government, as relations between Israel and Turkey are going through a rough period; and to deceive the Americans into thinking how once more the interests of the Turks are ignored in Kurdistan.

While the reaction of the enemies of Kurdistan and the progressive global opinion is understandable, the purpose of the vehement denials of the existence of a relationship between Israel and Kurdistan by their own leaders is not clear. This attitude is detrimental to both Israel and Kurdistan.

The Israeli and Kurdish people have a great deal in common, from their determination to live in freedom, to having a mostly common enemy. These are good reasons for Israel to ally itself with Kurdistan. For Israel, a strong Kurdistan will be a major buffer against the Arab and Islamic world. For Kurdistan, a strong alliance with Israel should bring much needed military strength and critical access to the seat of power in Washington.

Of course, major differences separate Israel and Kurdistan. In the middle of the arc linking Israel and Kurdistan lies the evil little empire of Turkey, allied with Israel and doing everything possible against its own inevitable dismemberment. How ironic that Israel, born out of the ashes of the Holocaust, finds itself allied with a country carrying the burden of a genocide. In the modern age, despite the premium placed on the Turkish-Israeli alliance in Jerusalem and Washington, the facts on the ground indicate that Turks are as anti-Israel (as well as anti-American) as the people on the Arab street. By contrast, Kurds have a natural affinity for Israelis. But the Kurdish leadership has a lot of catching up to do to persuade the Israelis that Kurdistan would be a great friend of Israel, should Israel put its full weight behind the passion and struggle of Kurds for liberty and freedom.

Notwithstanding the fly in the ointment argument that Turkey poses to an Israeli-Kurdish alliance, it is unclear why this alliance has not taken root and why it has remained in the realm of secretive Mossad-Kurdish commando operations. As usual, much of the blame lies upon the failed leadership of the Kurds, especially the PUK. Cowering to the Arab street and not heeding the calls of the Kurdish people, the Kurdish leadership continues to bow down to the interests of the tyrannies in Baghdad, Damascus, Tehran and Ankara. While Palestinian terrorists negotiate with Israelis, Kurdish leaders consider it almost taboo to utter a good word about Israel, the natural ally-to-be of an independent Kurdistan. Even the maverick Mahmoud Othman, in a disappointing interview with an Egyptian newspaper, seemed to go out of his way to make a disingenuous attempt to portray the Kurds as anti-Israeli. This serves the interests of the enemy.

For their part, the Israelis share a good deal of the blame. They have not made the mental leap to realize that Kurdistan will be the strong ally they need. In a disgraceful manner, Israeli officials refer to the Kurds as Turkey's problem in the same breath as they refer to Palestinian terrorists. This is neither acceptable nor worthy of a country that respects freedom.

What both Israel and Kurdistan need to do is enact and declare an open and full political and military relationship. In the short term, this radical move will agitate the region. But this relationship is coming, just as is the independence of Kurdistan. The sooner we see it, the better.

[This article originally appeared as an editorial on Kurdistan in July, 2004.]