A Nation without a Country – Kurdistan

by DARLENE CASELLA June 17, 2014

Bermuda Triangle of the Middle East - Kurdistan disappeared.   In 1920 the League of Nations carved Kurdistan into Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran. 

Kurds date back to 2400 BC where they live today.  After the 7th Century they became followers of Mohamed.  Saladin was a Kurdish Muslim and the Sultan of Syria and of Egypt.  He led forces against King Richard I during the Crusades.  Various empires ruled until the Ottoman Empire.  WWI Allies promised a "Great Kurdistan". It did not happen.  Britain and France divided rule over Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran until each was granted statehood.  

Kurdistan has rugged beauty, mountains, and waterfalls.  The size of Ohio, it is within countries created by the League of Nations:  Turkish Kurdistan, in eastern Turkey; Iraqi Kurdistan, in northern Iraq; Iranian Kurdistan, in northern Iran; and Western Kurdistan, in northeast Syria. 

Saddam Hussein's 1988 genocidal campaign was led by his cousin, Chemical Al.   The town of Halabja was attacked with nerve gas and chemical weapons; killing 5,000 people.  Sixty Kurdish towns were gassed in the "Arabization" campaign.

After the Gulf War of 1991 the Iraqi Peshmerga Kurds, trained by the CIA, took over parts of northern Iraq. US and Britain established a no fly zone.  United Nations gave them safe haven.  The Kurdistan National Assembly was founded and based in Erbil.  

UN Security Council Resolution 1441 stated that Iraq was in breach of the cease fire, weapons of mass destruction, and had not complied with Resolutions from 1991 to 2002. Hans Blix addressed the Security Council twice in 2003; stating that Iraq had misplaced 1,000 tons of VX nerve agent and that issues of anthrax and long range missiles remained unresolved.  March 19, the US led a coalition of nations that started the War with Iraq, which ended on May 1. 

Economic development in Iraqi Kurdistan includes high level foreign investments.  Millions of barrels of crude export through Turkey. Other oil and gas pipeline projects are in the works.   President Massoud Barzani participated in the World Economic Forum in Davos.  Perhaps he is paving the way for Kurdish independence. 

Insurgence of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) brought Iraq Kurdish Peshmerga into headlines.   ISIS released prisoners, occupied military buildings, police stations, and banks; and held public beheadings and hangings.  Before the US withdrawal in 2011, US Military trained Iraqi Generals.  Prime Minister Maliki removed those generals.  Under attack and without leadership, Iraqi troops abandoned posts including Kirkuk.  Peshmerga fighters swept into Kirkuk and seized control. 

ISIS leader Abu Bakral Baghdadi was in detention at the US camp Bucca in Iraq, and released in 2009.  This week he posted an image of a decapitated head "This is our ball."  Abu Muhammad Al-‘Adnani, spokesman for ISIS, released a statement vowing to capture Baghdad.  He criticized United States policy saying the US supports ISIS in Syria and opposes it in Iraq...while the war in Syria and the war in Iraq are the same war. 

From ancient times until today, war shaped the destiny of Kurdistan.  Will Peshmerga fighters be a factor in their international recognition as an independent state?  Is it plausible that Civil War in Syria; and Turmoil in Turkey will be ingredients towards independence for Kurdish populations?   Fifty million Kurds would like to know.  

Darlene Casella was, before her retirement, an English teacher, a stockbroker, and president/owner of a small corporation. She lives in La Quinta, California, and can be reached at darlenecasella@msn.com

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