Kurds, Kurdistan

In the treacherous world of Islam: The enemy of my friend is my enemy. The friend of my enemy is my enemy.

It’s me against my brother;
It’s my brother and I against our cousins;
It’s my brother, I, and our cousins against our neighbors;
It’s my brother, I, our cousins, and our neighbors against their enemies;
And so it goes.

Moslems follow the teachings of Mohammed who demands to this day that all Moslem men must emulate him in every way that they can. Mohammed was a very vengeful person.
On July 4th, 1187, Kurdish General, Saladin led Moslem forces in driving Christian Crusaders out of Jerusalem and ended the second Crusade with the death of Guy, King of Jerusalem at Saladin’s hands, and two hundred Christian knights.
In later years, the Turks rule grew into the Turkish empires ruling much of the Islamic world for centuries until the Ottoman empire was defeated during world War I and was then carved up and sectioned off by the victorious allies with the Sykes-Picot Agreement. Much of that dividing was accomplished with a ruler, a pencil and a map which arbitrarily put various ethnic groups and conflicting tribes under the same roof so-to-speak creating an atmosphere for future conflict. More than a dozen nations were created on paper and one ethnic group, the Kurdish tribal homeland was left stranded without a country to call their own. Iraq was created leaving the Sunnis in charge of millions of hated Shia Arabs located in the southern part of the country. Like the Kurds up north, the Shia in the south have been brutally oppressed for centuries.
There are about 40-million Kurds spread out in northern parts of Syria, northern and eastern parts of Iraq, northern and western parts of Iran, and Eastern Turkey, with stragglers in Armenia and Azerbaijan. Thirty or so million Kurds are in Turkey. Their neighbors, especially the Turks hate them with an implacable enmity.
Over 95% of Kurds are Sunni Moslems with the remainder being Shia, living in Iran. The Kurdish Sunnis are of a different sect than the other Sunnis and this sect is in constant conflict with their neighbors.
The Kurdish territory has fertile lowlands and rugged mountains where guerilla fighters find shelter not easily accessible by non-existent roads and protected from helicopters and aircraft. The Kurds sit on top of huge oil and natural resource deposits that their neighbors want.
Stateless, the fiercely independent Kurds have been oppressed for centuries and have grown to be very tough, wily adversaries who have held their neighbors at bay. Saddam Hussein used poison gas on them. Ditto Syria. The Turks have conducted political and military actions trying to eradicate some Kurds (who don’t always get along with one-another). Turks forced Kurds to participate in the Christian Armenian genocide in order to exacerbate mutual animus between them and Christians.
The Turks don’t get along with anyone, Greeks, Syrians, Iraqis, Iranians, and Russia whom they have been in conflict with for a thousand years. Their hatred is mutual. When I lived in Turkey, I noted that the Turks disliked Americans and their NATO partners as much as they disliked one-another. They only partnered with NATO to get free military stuff – tons of it, mostly from us Americans who needed the Turks on the Russian’s southern flank.
When Russian backed North Korea invaded South Korea, the Turks were quick to enter the fray hoping to kill Russians and Chinese (China’s western borders face Turk speaking Moslems who the Chinese, like the Russians have been fending off for a thousand years) and get more free stuff from us. The “Turks” garnered a reputation of ferocity in battle with the North Korean and Chinese invaders. When the Turks joined the UN in Korea, they conscripted thousands of Kurds, shipped them off to Korea, gave them guns and then Turk officers and non-coms stood behind the Kurds promising to shoot any who faltered. Those Kurds in Korea were ferocious fighters because they were damned by one side and doomed by the other as they fought for their very lives. The ethnic Turks were NOT heroes.
During both American/allied wars with Sunni governed Iraq, the Sunni Turks denied American aircraft use of Turkish airspace and blocked us from using roads for ground supplies, etc. That made our operations more costly and more complicated. We still kept giving stuff to the Turks.
ISIS is Sunni. ISIS derived from al Qaeda in Iraq, which had its origins in Saddam’s Republican Guards. After we ousted Saddam’s government, President George “W” Bush and his ignorant leadership team foolishly turned Iraq over to the Shia who, after six hundred years of Sunni oppression have serious grudges to settle – against the Iraqi Sunnis. That moronic act by Bush & Co. set the table for the creation of ISIS. Had Bush arranged for an autonomous, free Sunni nation cut out and away from Shia Iraq, the ISIS would not have flourished as it did.
ISIS with tons of Saudi funding started making war on everyone in Iraq and in Syria. The Iraqi Kurds were targets because ISIS wanted the oil wealth that the Kurds were sitting on.
The Turks hate the Saudis and jumped into the fray for that reason, to provide munitions and safe haven to the ISIS faction not supported by the Saudis that was making war on Shia/Alawite Syrians. Some of the ISIS fighting the Shia/Alawite Syrians were in fact ethnic Turks fighting as surrogates against Syria.
The Kurds resist/fight the Iraqi central government, Iran, ISIS, the Syrians, and the Turks.
When we Americans entered the Syrian fray, we found that we could more or less rely on the Kurds to not stick a knife in our back. We allied ourselves with the Kurds who were standing against those who hated our presence in the area.
There were/are two factions of ISIS, the Iraqi Sunnis, and Turk backed Sunnis who have engaged one-another in battles.
The Kurds were valiantly battling against both factions of ISIS. The actions of the Kurds inevitably supported some of what we Americans were ostensibly trying to accomplish – the defeat of ISIS without directly confronting the Shia/Alawite Syrians.
The American involvement in Syria upset Turkish designs on both Syrian and Kurdish territory.
The Turkish backed ISIS faction (many of whom are ethnic Turks) posed a growing threat to the Syrian forces where defeats on many fronts caused Russia to become concerned for the continuing viability of the Assad government whom they have partnered with for decades. With our blessings, the Russians moved into North Western Syria and set up bases and operations protecting Syria from Turk backed ISIS.
This infuriated Grand Pubah wannabe Erdogan in Turkey because his designs on western Syrian territory were thwarted. The presence of Russian forces on Turkey’s southern border put a big crimp in his plans to expand the Turkish Caliphate southward. The developing American/Kurd alliance in Northern Syria further infuriated Erdogan regarding his plans to capture territory in northern Syria.
Still a member of NATO, Erdogan knows that the NATO partnership is unraveling and with our recently turning him down for a bunch of F35 fighter bombers, he knows that the writing is on the wall as regards the US/NATO/Turk partnership which will eventually draw to an end. In an effort to upset us, Erdogan quickly partnered with Russia for a fleet of warplanes. He failed. You readers and I should understand that Erdogan will not get the best state-of-the-art weapons from the hated Russians.
Very recently, Erdogan snubbed a meeting with President Trump’s top strategist, National Security Advisor John Bolton. This occurred at about the same time that President Trump decided to pull American forces out of Syria which let Erdogan to once again plan to steal northern Syrian territory occupied by Kurds.
There was chagrin in certain circles when Trump announced the withdrawal followed by Trump’s quickly clarifying (back-pedaled) that any withdrawal would proceed very slowly. The surprised Kurds were fearful of being abandoned and left high and dry by the Americans who they had partnered with very successfully. Now, we are providing large stocks of both light and heavy weapons, ammunition, medical supplies, and more to the Kurds who will need them against Erdogan’s Turkish forces. A lot of those war materials are intentionally depleting our stockpiles in Turkey, a huge slap of Erdogan’s face. Erdogan has his eye on those so he can wage war on his neighbors.
We are stuck in the sandy quagmire of the Middle East, and rather than muddle around as did Bush and Obama, we need to take actions that have the potential of making friends out of foes, and stabilizing the area:
-The Turk/NATO alliance will soon crumble.
-American forces will likely depart Turkey before we leave Kurdistan.
-America may establish a NATO/Kurd alliance to establish and protect long overdue Kurdish sovereignty.
-America may get the UN to recognize the Kurds and accept that they have a right to a homeland. The Saudis who hate the Turks, Iranians, and Syrians will make this happen.
-America should push very hard for parceling Iraq both to create a Sunni homeland (Anbar Province) separate from Iraq, and support Kurdish territorial independence from Iraq. Again, the Saudis who control the UN will support this.
-If Iranian forces in Lebanon and Syria commence an offensive against Israel, we Americans will need to keep Russia (and Turkey) out of that action.

About James E. Horn

Retired American Diplomat served in American embassies and consulates for 25-years, ten in Islamic societies. I am not a fan of Islam. I do public speaking and have books listed.

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