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article imageOp-Ed: Kurdish comrades

By Paul Iddon     Oct 13, 2013 in Politics
Iraqi Kurdistan's President Barzani's recent comments reinforces the notion that the Kurdish people see themselves as a nation. A nation that will do its utmost when it comes to protecting its citizens.
In a recent interview the president of the autonomous Iraqi Kurdish province Massud Barzani reiterated his view that there is “a natural right for there to be a state for the Kurdish people.” He went on to insist that “this will not be achieved by violence, and must be done in a natural way.”
The Kurdish people are the largest people in the world not to have a state of their own. Situated as they are on and around the international borders of Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey they have often been victimized and oppressed by the governments of these countries. Most notably by the Saddam Hussein regime which used to rule Iraq and gassed the Kurds in their thousands.
Now that the Kurds in Iraq are essentially independent and have their own army and security forces they are committing themselves to be ready and willing to enter battle if their fellow Kurds may be in danger. Including neighboring Syria where the Kurdish minority have also been granted semi-autonomy shortly after the outbreak of the present ongoing Syrian crisis in March 2011 by the Assad regime in Damascus. Barzani seemed to be implying that the Kurdish forces in his domain of control, hence the Kurdish Peshmerga army, are ready to confront other militants. Particularly the Al-Qaeda forces that are currently fighting against the Syrian regime and large segments of the Syrian rebels who are also engaged in battle against the Syrian regime.
Al-Qaeda's forces in Iraq and Syria are fighting to fulfill their ultimate dream of establishing an Islamic caliphate extending from Iraq up to northern Syria. They are fighting against the governments and rival militias in both countries. The branch of Al-Qaeda fighting for this ultimate goal calls itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). They have already seized border crossings and established checkpoints across the country and are terrorizing large swaths of Syrian civilians in an attempt to have them submit to their rule – there have been numerous reports since last year which inform us that many Syrians in areas captured by such Islamists are forced to abide by these militants strict variant and interpretations of Islamic law. This kind of warlord-ism is typical of such brutal terrorist groups. They also despise the Kurds given the fact that those people live in the areas they want to control, and aren't prepared to submit to their rule, or to be terrorized by their thugs.
The Obama administration seems to have changed its policy from one of seeing Assad step down to power to one of waiting for the next round of negotiations in Geneva. The Central Intelligence Agency seems to be following this government policy. In a bid to keep the radicals at bay they are arming and training the more 'moderate' of the Syrian rebels. This is clearly to ensure that they don't lose against Assad or their Al-Qaeda enemies.
As far as regional stability is concerned there is even more to be worried about. The Turkish governments talks with the PKK rebels that have been fighting for cultural autonomy in Southeast Turkey since 1984 seem to be in disarray. The PKK forces in Turkey were supposed to withdrawal over the border to bases back in Iraq. Now there are complications. Those aforementioned Kurdish PKK guerrillas are claiming the Turkish government isn't following up on many of the mutually agreed stipulations of the peace agreement. They have accordingly frozen this withdrawal process. Also, just a couple of days ago, Turkey's parliament has extended, for another year, a mandate that would authorize the Turkish government to launch air strikes against Kurdish insurgent bases in Iraqi Kurdistan.
But on the other hand there have been steps to making cultural reforms in Turkey whereby its Kurdish population is concerned. And indeed the fact that the Iraqi Kurds, a people whose homeland was turned into a killing field by Saddam Hussein's forces some 20-years-ago, now have their own home base and home rule. They are now even taking in refugees from neighboring Syria.
The recent elections, which I wrote about last month, also show that this semi-independent Kurdish entity is very open and democratic. In fact it is in many regards a beacon of emulation for those suffering oppression which demonstrations that there is in fact light at the end of the tunnel. No matter how dark and endless that tunnel may sometimes seem.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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