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Tags: rpg | kurdistan

Proud, Fighting Kurds No Ragtag Group

kurdish flag

(Konstantin Semenov/Dreamstime)

Micah Halpern By Friday, 25 October 2019 01:57 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

The U.S. has abandoned the Kurds.

The decision by President Donald J. Trump to withdraw troops from Syria at this juncture was, in my opinion, and in the opinion of many other thinkers, a lapse in judgment and poor guidance on the part of the president's advisers.

This was not the correct time to extricate U.S. forces from the area.

That Turkey and Russia would step in to fill the vacuum, alter the balance in the region and lash out against the Kurds was an obvious consequence of Mr. Trump's decision.

The Kurds are not some tiny, ragtag group.

The photos and videos we are shown of men in well worn keffiyehs and dusty sandals holding outdated RPGs on their shoulders are not a true representation of who these people are. They are a nation, a nation without their own homeland.

And they are a large nation.

The independent and non-political Kurdish Institute of Paris totals the world population of Kurds to be 45.6 million people.

Identifying where the Kurds live is easy. These are the approximate numbers: 20 million live in Turkey. Turkey has a total population of 80 million. It's simple math. Kurds comprise 25% of Turkey. 12 million Kurds live in Iran out of a population of 82 million, that's 15% of the total population. 8.5 million Kurds live in Iraq out of 37 million, making them about 25% of Iraq's population. There are 3.5 million Kurds in Syria out of a total population of 18 million. That means that the Kurds of Syrian are more than 1/6 of the population. That is 16% of the total population.

Kurds are often called an ethnic group. They are much more than that. Certainly, they are united by ethnic ties. But that's not all they are. Kurds are bound by a land and a culture.

They have their own language and it is called Kurdi, which is three different dialects of the same language. They have a flag and a symbol — the Kurdish Sun. While almost all Kurds are Sunni Muslims, a significant minority are Shiites and there are even some Christian Kurds.

They have been oppressed for a very long time. They are outsiders and insiders at the same time. In that part of the world where Kurds live, oppressed is code for targets for death. So they learned to fight.

They learned strategy.

They organized to form a better, more structured, defense. Women are part of their military forces, and that strongly upsets many of their arch enemies.

Kurdish women pay dearly when captured.

They are brutally tortured and horrifically murdered because a women's very presence on the battle field, certainly with a weapon and in uniform, is an insult to many of their surrounding cultures.

Kurds fight because if they did not fight, they would no longer exist. If they lost their battle, they would be murdered en masse. In the Mideast today there are two societies that need to fight and to keep fighting. And they need to win. If they lose they will be slaughtered without mercy by the victors. The Kurds are one, the other is Israel.

The history of resentment between Turkey and the Kurds goes back many years. Post World War I, two important treaties impacting the Kurds were signed. The first was the Treaty of Serves, signed on Aug. 10, 1920. The Ottoman Empire had fallen and Western Allies created a provision in the Treaty of Serves to carve out a state for the Kurds. But three years later, when the Treaty of Lausanne was signed in July of 1923, it did not mention the Kurds.

The Ottoman Empire came to an end and it was divided up. The Kurds then fell under the control of their hosts, whoever and wherever they were. And so, the path towards Kurdish persecutions and massacres was paved.

And it has not yet stopped — or been stopped.

Kurds still want a territorial home, a state called Kurdistan.

But where? Who will give them the necessary swath of land? After a long protracted back and forth and with the intervention of the United States, in September of 2017 the people of Kurdish-Iraq held a referendum and voted 93.25% in favor of independence and Iraqi Kurdistan was established as a state within the State of Iraq. But that did nothing for the Kurds of Turkey, Iran and Syria.

Turkey will never permit a Kurdish state.

They will not part with any Turkish territory and there has been a protracted conflict between Kurds and Turks over this point. That is why the Turks refer to the Kurds in Syria as terrorists and why they are so brutally striking them. And that's why Kurds have attacked Turkey using terror tactics — they are trying to influence or forece Turkey to grant them an autonomous region.

And now Russia is working with the Turks to clear the Kurds from the Syrian area bordering Turkey. Russia does not care about the Kurds or Turkish interests. It cares about the land. Much of the area the Kurds now occupy has oil fields that will now be controlled by Turkey and Russia. This was part of Russia's plan all along.

The oppression and the slaughter continue. And as for those photos we see of Kurds not in tanks or planes, but with shoulder held RPGs, that's not going to change either.

According to agreement, Kurds will not be outfitted with sophisticated weaponry.

Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern" a weekly TV program and "My Chopp" a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. To read more of this reports — Click Here Now.

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Kurds are often called an ethnic group. They are much more than that. Certainly, they are united by ethnic ties. But that's not all they are. Kurds are bound by a land and a culture.
rpg, kurdistan
Friday, 25 October 2019 01:57 PM
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