There are 30 million Kurds without a state yet the international community obsesses on the 600,000 Palestinians that fled Israel rather than live in a Jewish state. Whether you believe Palestinians should have a state before or after they stop killing Jews, how can anyone who supports them not equally support the Kurds?
Joshua Landis shares the views of Syrian Kurds in a recent post Kurds Commemorate the “Intifadah” of 12 March 2004. As Joshua notes the uprising of ’04 is rumored to have started at a soccer game.
How the riots began has been the subject of some debate. The version I heard many times is that a football game was being played in Qamishli, a north-eastern provincial capital, which has a mixed Kurdish and Arab population. Kurdish fans began to chant, "Long live George Bush," Arab fans responded by chanting, "Long live Saddam Hussein." A melee broke out and quickly spread to other northern Syrian towns where the Kurdish population is concentrated.The Kurds, be they Iraqi, Syrian, Iranian, or Turkish, love the United States. Michael J. Totten explains:
Kurds have “no friends but the mountains,” or so an old saying goes. It’s hard for Westerners to grasp just how isolated these people feel. That partly explains their fanatical pro-Americanism: A friend, at last!How good a friend remains to be seen, we have abandoned them before and if Pelosi gets her way we will again. We remain dumb and blind to human rights abuses the Turkish Kurds suffer from our NATO ally. The ally we could not count on when we needed our bases in Turkey. We have also not heard much from the Bush administration on the condition of Iranian or Syrian Kurds which is one reason Joshua’s post is so welcomed. Again the reason we are not supporting natural allies against the tyrannical Governments of Iran and Syria is because we don’t want to anger our Turkish ally.
The success of Southern Kurdistan, (aka Northern Iraq), is the great untold story of the Iraq War. Iraqis vacation there to get away from the violence. Christians and others being persecuted by Shia or Sunni are fleeing to Southern Kurdistan. International investment is pouring in and new construction is continuously popping up like weeds. Michael also explains why this is happeniing:
There are no insurgents in Kurdistan. Nor are there any kidnappings. A hard internal border between the Kurds’ territory and the Arab-dominated center and south has been in place since the Kurdish uprising at the end of the 1991 Gulf War. Cars on the road heading north are stopped at a series of checkpoints. Questions are asked. ID cards are checked. Vehicles are searched and sometimes taken apart on the side of the road. Smugglers, insurgents, and terrorists who attempt to sneak into Kurdistan by crossing Iraq’s wilderness areas are ambushed by border patrols.
The second line of defense is the Kurds themselves. Out of desperate necessity, they have forged one of the most vigilant anti-terrorist communities in the world. Anyone who doesn’t speak Kurdish as their native language—and Iraq’s troublemakers overwhelmingly fall into this category—stands out among the general population. There is no friendly sea of the people, to borrow Mao’s formulation, that insurgents can freely swim in. Al Qaeda members who do manage to infiltrate the area are hunted down like rats. This conservative Muslim society does a better job rooting out and keeping out Islamist killers than the U.S. military can manage in the kinda sorta halfway “safe” Green Zone in Baghdad.Hopefully Kurdistan can hold its own should we cut and run. Against the insurgents and Sadr they should do quite well. Against our friends the Turks, who could well invade if they feel Iraqi Kurds are getting to strong, they may find themselves again persecuted by outsiders. They have already threatened to do so should Kurdistan get control of oil rich Kirkuk. And what would the US do?