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SUN, 9 OCT 2005 20:31
As the Iraq mess continues to unfold, the one people caught in the middle--who are truly deserving of our support--continue to be treated less than honorably. We abandoned them to Arab butchers more than once before. I'll develop this idea further a bit later...
Increasingly, the alliance of convenience between the Jew of the Nations and the Turks has shown widening cracks in the mold.
The same folks who have declared over one fifth of their own total population, the non-Turkish Kurds (over twelve million people), to be "non-existent" in the past (they're really just "Mountain Turks, don't you know?) and have taken steps to outlaw Kurdish language and culture (note: Arabic is one of Israel's two official languages), expressed anger at Israel for going after the Arab terrorist infrastructure in Gaza. These are the same folks who have killed tens of thousands of Kurds over the years in the name of their own security, have invaded neighboring Iraq for similar reasons, etc., etc., and so forth.
Now, don't get me wrong. I like the Turks, for the most part at least...
But Turkey's relationship with Israel must not be an unbalanced affair...something to use when relations are on the downswing with Syrian Arabs, for example. Now that they're again on the upswing, Ankara needs its excuse to back off from the Jews.
As further evidence, Ankara and Damascus recently decided to form a joint oil exploration company, and the Turks are promising heavy investment in northeastern Syria. So, Gaza schmaza...especially now that Israel is there no more.
Talk about guts...Ankara complained about Israel not wanting Arabs turning Gaza into a terrorist base and threatened to withdraw its ambassador--while Israel has agreed in theory to an Arab state being set up there--but totally nixed the idea of an independent Kurdish state being set up in adjacent northern Iraq for its own security reasons. Think about that for a minute... We'll return with vengeance to this point soon.
So, it's time to really "talk turkey," if you know what I mean.
Israel has neglected a brave people who have helped many Jews in thepast. Just ask the hundreds of thousands in Israel who originated in Iraq. Israeli leaders have done this largely to not anger the Turks over this painful issue. So the Turks' policies towards the Kurds were treated in a hands off manner.
If the Turks, however, insist on joining the rest of the world in applying hypocritical double standards towards the Jewish State, the time has come for certain truths to at long last come out in the open. So let's begin...
The ink had barely dried on the exchanged letters between President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon back in April 2004 over the Gaza disengagement plan when the State Department masters of foggy doublespeak began to whittle away at any real progress that may havebeen made.
While I welcomed ( http://www.arutzsheva.org/article.php3?id=4468) President Bush's apparently fleeting April 2004 remarksabout Israel not having to return to those 1949 U.N.-imposed armistice lines (and, for the first time, in public, I heard him call them just that, not "borders") or not having to consent to national suicide by allowing millions of real or fudged descendants of Arab refugees a "right of return" (half of Israel's Jews originated in "Arab"/Muslim lands), it could be argued that all of this was very late in the coming. An earlier dose of these facts of life could have eliminated the Arab hope of Israel being offered up on a silver platter by its "friends"--a la Czechoslovakia 1938 --and perhaps led them to negotiate more seriously. I also wish that Mr. Bush would have explained all of this to much of the world that was watching him on television in different terms, not simply as "new facts on the ground."
The territorial adjustments which Israel deserves have to do with justice...not simply the imposition of power.
Unfortunately, after the 2004 presidential election, Dubya appears to have backtracked bigtime. His more recent statements claim Israel first has to get Arab approval for any territorial adjustments that might be made. Arabs reject a 9-mile wide Israel. Forget about anything larger.
The disputed lands in question that Israel came to "occupy" as a result of renewed Arab hostilities in 1967 (being blockaded--a casus belli--etc.) were not Arab lands but non-apportioned areas of the original 1920 Palestinian Mandate that all peoples were allowed to settle in. Top legal scholars such as Eugene Rostow and others have written extensively about this. Indeed, the League Of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission and other sources recorded Arabs pouring into the Mandate from all over the Middle East and North Africa because of the economic development going on due to the Jews. Any 22nd Arab state that might be created -- and second, not first, Arab one within the original 1920 borders of "Palestine" (Jordan emerging out of the lion's share in1922 )-- must not emerge at the expense of the security of the sole, miniscule state of the Jews.
So, again, with all that's happening with the Iraqi mess right now, and in light of developments regarding the Turks, it's time to put things into a broader perspective.
Consider, for example, the world wide obsession to create an additionalArab state (supposedly in the name of "justice"), while Kurds are still not yet deemed worthy of one. When America finally withdraws from Iraq, the Arabs will likely take vengeance upon these people for their friendship and cooperation with Washington.
Now think about this...
Over thirty million Kurds remain stateless today, often at someone else's mercy. At a time when much of the world insists that justicedemands that there be yet another Arab state, there is a nauseating silence--in most of the media, in academia, at the United Nations, etc.-- over the plight of this people.
Spread out over a region which encompasses parts of southeastern Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and other adjoining areas as well, thesemodern day descendants of ancient Medes and Hurrians continue to find themselves in very precarious circumstances. While, due to America's overthrow of Saddam, the Kurds temporarily find themselves in a better position, when America leaves, their long term prospects remain far too iffy for comfort.
Kurdish culture and language have periodically been "outlawed" in attempts to Arabize or Turkify them, and in an age when other dormant nations/national groups were able to seize the moment with the collapse of empires, the Kurds were repeatedly denied this chance by an assortment of so-called "friends" and foes alike. Recently, as before, they've faced similar problems in Iran as well.
Having been promised independence after World War I, the Kurds saw their hopes dashed after the British received a favorable decision from the League of Nations on the Mosul Question in1925 . Predominantly Kurdish Mosul and Kirkuk were where much of the oil was located, and the main arm of British imperial power - the navy - had recently switched from coal to oil.
The Brits decided that their long term interests involved not angering the region's Arabs, who--by their own writings--declared that the rise of an independent Kurdistan would be seen as the equivalent of the birth of another Israel. Regardless of scores of millions of non-Arabs living in the region (including one half of Israel's Jews who were from "Arab"/Muslim lands), Arabs declared a political monopoly over what they regarded as "purely Arab patrimony." We are living with the consequences of this mindset today.
Much has been written about America's abuse of the Kurds, although the mainstream press, media, academia, and other supposedly "enlightened" folks have - with some notable exceptions - too often ignored this.
Having stood by our side and aided America continuously over the decades, the State Department has too often pulled the rug out from under the Kurds after their immediate "use" was deemed over, with deadly consequences to this people. And yet, they have remained strangely loyal to Washington.
While I won't rehash the disgraceful behavior of much earlier periods, recent and current policies are sufficient to make the point. And while I am focusing on America, the rest of the world--for the most part-- has been as bad or worse.
Because America has the power to greatly influence the course of geopolitics all around the world, my focus is mostly on my own country. But others--especially Israel, whose people were called to be the original "light unto the nations"--should pay more attention to this as well. Regarding the latter, any help that Israel might want to provide might actually, in some ways at least, actually hurt. So this must be thought out very carefully.
America should always strive to be a shining light. I say this not out of naivete.
America has the power and ability to do this as no other nation has. All it lacks is the will. And this is largely due to the clique that runs the Department of State. On the Kurdish issue, it has assumed Britain's posture in the post-World War I era vis-a-vis the Kurds.
Foggy Bottom insists--after hundreds of thousands of Kurds have been maimed, gassed, and slaughtered in other ways by Arabs just in Iraq alone over the last several decades (Syrian Arabs have recently renewed their previous slaughter of Kurds as well)--that Kurds will never gain independence. The heartland of Kurdistan had been in the region around oil-rich Kirkuk. That's why the Kurds are making such a big issue about this today in continuing negotiations with Arabs over Iraq's future. Saddam had forced many of them out of the area and replaced them with Arabs.
State insists that the Kurds remain part of a united Iraq, regardless of the bloody consequences this will quite probably have for them in the future yet again. And while I hope I'm wrong, I doubt it.
America's federal dream, while looking good on paper, had largely been rejected by the Arabs themselves, be they Shi'a or Sunni. Lately, the Shi'a have seemed to be more receptive to this, but for reasons that only neighboring Iran may rejoice over.The majority Shi'a, long suppressed by Saddam, now have other plans.
In the big picture, the Shi'a are still reluctant to grant Kurds any real control over their own fate, regardless of any alleged partial federal agreement achieved so far with America's continuous prodding. And, more and more, there is talk that federalism may lead to the collapse of a united Iraq (which may not necessarily be a bad thing)...so it's not certain what America's position will be on this down the road a bit.
Regardless, it's doubtful that Arabs, of any stripe (Shi'a or Sunni), will grant Kurds any real equality. A visit to the various Kurdish websites would be useful to any and all needing "enlightenment" in these regards. An article posted by Dr. Hussein Tahiri's "The Iraqi Shi'ites: When An Oppressed Becomes Oppressor,"posted March 8 , 2004 in www.KurdishMedia.com is revealing, for example.
While there is hope that the formula for a handoff of American power to an Iraqi government will be reasonable, the reality--after America largely vacates the scene (unless we get long term bases)--is likely to be something far different.
I hope I'm wrong, but my opinions have something to do with tigers changing their stripes or leopards changing their spots. And those tigers and leopards are very old and entrenched ones, indeed.
The same State Department - which fought President Truman over America's recognition of a reborn Israel in 1948 - insists that there be no partition of Mesopotamia/Iraq. Britain had earlier received the Mandate for Mesopotamia at the same time it received the Mandate for Palestine in the post-World War I era. But, unlike Palestine, which would undergo a number of partitions in attempts to arrive at a compromise solution between Arab and Jew, a much larger Mesopotamia was somehow declared to be incapable of doing this for its Kurds.
After World War I, the British were given control of previous Ottoman territory. Of this vast area, a small piece - they called it Palestine - was intended for the Jews. In 1922 , Colonial Secretary Churchill chopped off roughly 80% of Palestine, and handed it over to its Hashemite Arab allies. Purely Arab Transjordan--today's Jordan--was thus born. Arabs rejected another partition in 1947 which would have given them roughly half of the 20% of the land that was left. President Bush and State today insist that Arabs will get another state, their second one in "Palestine."
The main reason put forth for why Mesopotamia/Iraq is incapable of this sort of partition is the potential for instability it will cause in the region. Not only will the Arabs be miffed at someone else gaining national rights in "their" region, but the Turks, in particular, will supposedly have a fit due to their own large and suppressed Kurdish minority.
While a strong Turco-American alliance is worthy of support, the Turks are wrong on this matter, and too many have allowed them to get away with this for too long. While it is understandable that they're nervous about the potential problems, this does not give them the right to have a veto power over the plight of some thirty million long-oppressed and abused Kurds. Again, think of the irony here regarding Ankara's "concerns" over rejectionist Arabs, who could have had their additional state decades ago had they just not continued to work towards the destruction of the sole Jewish one.
An independent Kurdistan set up in northern Iraq--under the right conditions--might actually be a blessing for the Turks. Those Kurds (like those Jews, Greeks, Armenians, etc.) wishing to live in their own independent state could migrate to it. An arrangement could also be made whereby the oil wealth of the area could be shared with the Turks as well, since they feel they got robbed via the earlier decision by the League of Nations on the Mosul Question.
Putting things into the broader perspective, consider the following facts:
The CIA's Fact Book on the Internet shows Israel to have a population of roughly 6 million people, of whom about 20 % are Arab. Among the latter are some very hostile elements. Israel's territory is about 20,770 sq Km.
Turkey has a population of about 68 million people, of whom about 20% are Kurds. Turkey's territory is about 780,580 sq Km. About 38 Israels would fit into Turkey.
Despite Israel's small size, Foggy Bottom has no problem demanding that Israel allow the creation of another Arab terrorist state, dedicated to its destruction, right in its backyard. State continues to ignore proclamations by even so-called Arab "moderates" that Oslo and all
other such "peace initiatives" are but "Trojan Horses," steps along the way in the Arabs' post-'67 destruction in phases strategy for Israel.
Now, how will the fifth of miniscule Israel's population that is Arab react to this adjacent potential development? And how will the majority of Hashemite Jordan, which is also mostly Palestinian Arab (however you define that, in that many, if not most, "Palestinians" entered Mandated Palestine from elsewhere in the region during the Mandatory Period), react to this? Arafat's boys had already tried a takeover of Jordan in 1970 . They were crushed in King Hussein's "Black September." And Israel's mobilization in the north sent a message to the PLO's Syrian allies at the time as well. Yet the Foggy Folks seem not to be worried about any destablizing effects here.
The same hypocrites who declare that Israel must grossly endanger itself so that yet another Arab state might be born insist that Kurds must remain forever stateless because of some problems their freedom might cause to a Turkey nearly forty times Israel's size in territory and over eleven times its size in population, and with the same 80 % to 20% mix of potential "headaches."
There's no defense for this.
An ex-State Department career person contacted me after one of my earlier articles. In our subsequent correspondence, he told me to just accept the fact that the Kurds will never be allowed their state, while attacking me, of course, for my reservations over what State has in store for Israel. He even brought up the subject of "dual loyalty." I asked him if he would say that to some 60 million or so--if not more--Christians who are saying the same thing that I am. No answer...pathetic.
Regardless of America's good intentions (and we were correct in ridding the land of Adolf, I mean Saddam), it's likely that Iraq will become even more of a mess--rather like Yugoslavia with the death of Tito, though I really don't like mentioning him and Saddam in the same breath
--and more costly over time. America's recent disasters at home with hurricanes do not bode well for American long term financial drains abroad either.
Entrenched Arab attitudes--centuries old --are not likely to change regarding their relationships with their conquered, non-Arab populations. Any of the latter that have not agreed to the forced Arabization process--be they Kurd, Jew, Berber, Black African, Copt, Lebanese, etc. have had major problems to contend with, often deadly ones.
Asking Kurds to forsake the creation of their one, sole state for the pipedream of an egalitarian Iraq is a travesty of justice if ever there was one. Regardless of their religious coloration, the vast majority of Arabs are in no sharing mood when it comes to questions about what they see as "purely Arab patrimony." They're the rulers, the rest are the ruled. Period...
Again, when America leaves Iraq, as it will sooner or later, the backlash will very likely once again fall on the people who supported us the most--the Kurds. We have left them holding the bag too many times already.
Think about how the course of history may have been changed if an Israel existed prior to the Holocaust.
You read about the problems with Shi'a Arabs above. Saddam's regime was largely supported by Sunni Arabs...those blowing massive numbers of innocents apart these days.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, of al-Qaida fame, wrote a letter that was intercepted by U.S. forces in Iraq. He's the guy who is believed responsible for the slaughter of Shi'a in Baghdad and Karbala and others as well. In the letter he listed four enemies. America, of course, was No. 1. No. 2 is the Kurds.
Here's what the Sunni Zarqawi says about them: They are "...a lump in the throat and a thorn whose time to be clipped has yet to come."
Now, while the Foggy Folks demand some two dozen states for Arabs and actually encourages the good cop/bad cop team of Arafat and Hamas/Islamic Jihad by at least some of its actions, double standards, and doublespeak, we all need to think harder about the direction we
want the greatest country on Earth --the United States of America-- to follow regarding the fate of our strangely loyal friends, the Kurds.
We need to watch very carefully what will likely emerge in Iraq over the next few months.
The Sunnis continue to resist elections and the constitution because they dream of recreating the nightmare for Iraq they controlled before...rule by terror, but on a state-run level. And for a model, neighboring Shi'a Iran is not promising either.
The roadmap for Kurdistan is long overdue. If the Turks can join the Arab chorus in favor of terrorists bent on Israel's destruction, then it's time for Israel to reconsider its silence regarding the Kurds as well.
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