Syria and the Kurds Politics, History

By pjain      Published Oct. 14, 2019, 12:29 a.m. in blog Geo-Politics   

Kurds Keys in 2019

Who are the Kurds

The Kurds are a non-Arab very brave, hard working and proud people.

The Kurds are the largest stateless nation in the world. The fourth largest ethnic group in the Middle East, yet they are ignored by rest of the world.

There are 35 million Kurds larger in size of Canada and Australia.

Right now they are weak, and fragmented across 4 countries, but as they gain oil power possibly as much as 4 m bpd, they could rise to be a world force and balance Shiite Iran.

They form a distinctive community, united through race, culture and language, even though they have no standard dialect. They also adhere to a number of different religions and creeds, although the majority are Sunni Muslims.

They live in a mountainous territory that spans the borders of modern-day Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Armenia.

Kurds have a distinct community, united by race, culture and language - although several dialects exist. Due to the cross-border nature of their nation since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Arabic and Turkish are also widely spoken.

From the end of World War I to the Gulf War in 1990, the Kurds in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria fought separate campaigns to achieve autonomy.

Kurdish women have power unlike most in Islamic countries

Kurdish women lead the world in female fighters, accounting for 40 percent of the military.

  • Beware of the Brave Kurds Women fighters defeated ISIL - Never again will Arabs rape em!

Kurds will fight for every mile of Syrian-Iraqi Kurdistan

Map of Kurds Location

Kurds Reunification Chances and Factors

Chances of Kurdish Unification

Many Kurds are hoping to expand the current borders to include "contested" areas, many of which were Arabised under Hussein, including the Kurdish-majority city of Kirkuk - an oil-rich province the Kurds consider their "Jerusalem".

Kurds Economy 101

Oil is major asset

Kurds remain dependent on their neighbours for access to markets and to export oil, the Kurds' main economic resource.

Kurds Politics 101

Leaders and Parties - Divide and Conquer works!

  • Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) mainly in Iraq after 1992 and 2003 Iraq wars.

  • Formed in 1992 alliance of political parties, the Iraqi Kurdistan Front, held parliamentary and presidential elections. As a result, the Iraqi Kurdistan Front established the KRG, an autonomous government for Iraq's Kurdish region.

The KRG has not yet defined its boundaries. However supported factions and interference has split the Kurds into many factions.

Patriotic Union Party (PUK)

PUK and KDP fought a civil war from 1994 to 1997.

Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP)

PUK and KDP fought a civil war from 1994 to 1997.

Why are Kurds stateless? Mainly due to Turkish influence and British partitioning

From the end of World War I to the Gulf War in 1990, the Kurds in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria fought separate campaigns to achieve autonomy, but all these were brutally put down.

Iranian Kurds - a lost cause due to strong regime

Armenian Kurds

Iraqi and Syrian Kurds

Iraqi Kurds - Core strength and oil economics

Kurds make up an estimated 15% to 20% of Iraq's population.

At least 5.2 million people live in Iraq's Kurdish region. They have their own parliament, military (the Peshmerga), borders and foreign policy.

They have historically enjoyed more national rights than Kurds living in neighbouring states, but also faced brutal repression.

Timeline

  • 1946, Mustafa Barzani formed the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) to fight for autonomy in Iraq. But it was not until 1961 that he launched a full armed struggle.

  • Late 1970s Iraqi administrations, forcibly and ruthlessly displaced hundreds of thousands of Kurds from northern Iraq, particularly around the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, and forcibly relocating Kurds.

This was a policy also conducted in Sunny Syria, known as "Arabisation", and repopulated the areas with Arabs from central and southern Iraq. For example Iraqis displaced the entire Kurdish population from an area reaching from the town of Khanaqin, close to the Iranian border, to the Syrian and Turkish border areas around Sinjar.

  • 1980s. The Arabisation policy was accelerated in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq War, in which the Kurds backed the Islamic republic. Saddam Hussein's government destroyed at least 4,000 villages and forcibly moved their residents to collective towns.

  • In 1988, Hussein unleashed a campaign of vengeance on the Kurds that included a poison-gas attack on Halabja. Iraq attempted to annihilate the country's Kurds through military operations in 1988 that killed at least 50,000 civilians and destroyed thousands of homes.

  • 1991, during the first Gulf War, Bush-led coalition established a partial no-fly zone in northern Iraq.

    When Iraq was defeated in the 1991 Gulf War, Barzani's son Massoud and Jalal Talabani of the rival Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) led a Kurdish rebellion. Its violent suppression prompted the US and its allies to impose a no-fly zone in the north that allowed Kurds to enjoy self-rule. The KDP and PUK agreed to share power, but tensions rose and a four-year war erupted between them in 1994. The stability allowed Kurdish forces to steadily gain control of the territory. This paved the way for the 2005 constitutional agreement.

  • 1992 alliance of political parties, the Iraqi Kurdistan Front, held parliamentary and presidential elections. As a result, the Iraqi Kurdistan Front established the KRG, an autonomous government for Iraq's Kurdish region.

  • In 1994, a power-sharing arrangement between the PUK and the KDP collapsed.

  • 2003 US invaded Iraq and allied with the Kurds' Peshmerga in the fight to overthrow Hussein. Hussein's removal marked the destruction of Sunni dominance in Iraq. The Kurdish KDP and PUK parties co-operated with the US-led invasion in 2003 that toppled Saddam and governed in coalition in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), created two years later to administer Dohuk, Irbil and Sulaimaniya provinces. Massoud Barzani was appointed the region's president, while Jalal Talabani became Iraq's first non-Arab head of state.

  • 2005 Kurds in Iraq secured constitutional recognition of an autonomous Kurdish region in the north of the country. Iraq's autonomous Kurdish areas, also known as Iraqi Kurdistan, largely escaped the chaos and destruction that existed in the lead-up to after US destroyed Iraqi regime.

  • 2006, the PUK and KDP arranged to unify administrations under Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani.

Iraqi Kurdish Referendum - Loud and Clear!

  • Sep 2017, a referendum on independence was held in both the Kurdistan Region and the disputed areas seized by the Peshmerga in 2014, including Kirkuk. The vote was opposed by the Iraqi central government, which insisted it was illegal.

More than 90% of the 3.3 million people who voted supported secession. KRG officials said the result gave them a mandate to start negotiations with Baghdad.

Then Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi demanded that it be annulled.

The following month Iraqi pro-government forces retook the disputed territory held by the Kurds. The loss of Kirkuk and its oil revenue was a major blow to Kurdish aspirations for their own state.

Syrian Kurds

Kurds long suppressed despite being ~10% of Syria's population

Kurds make up between 7% and 10% of Syria's population. Before the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in 2011 most lived in the cities of Damascus and Aleppo, and in three, non-contiguous areas around Kobane, Afrin, and the north-eastern city of Qamishli.

Syria's Kurds have long been suppressed and denied basic rights. Some 300,000 have been denied citizenship since the 1960s, and Kurdish land has been confiscated and redistributed to Arabs in an attempt to "Arabize" Kurdish regions.

SDF and Syrian Kurds bled to grab Eastern Syria

The destabilization of Iraq, the war in Syria, and the rise of the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) have presented new challenges for the Kurds, as Kurdish forces have played an increasingly important role in the battle against ISIL.

In Syria, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) is one of the most prominent Kurdish opposition parties.

In the chaos of the Syrian civil war, Kurdish fighters took control of key cities from the Syrian army, and defended them from Islamic State when the group began to expand after 2014. The US, desperate for a reliable ally in Syria, assisted the Kurdish fight against IS with air strikes and, eventually, money and weapons.

  • During the Syrian conflict, it managed to carve out a mini-state in three provinces in the country's north - Aleppo, Raqqa and Hassakah.

NE Syria has 90% of the oil

Syria is currently in a state of de-facto partition, with the SDF controlling virtually all of the country’s northeast. This area—about one-third of the country—contains more than 90 percent of Syria’s remaining oil reserves and a significant portion of its viable agricultural land.

Fragmentation or are the Syrian Kurds close to Iraqi Kurds?

  • While they are both Kurds, I think there are fragmentation between the Syrian Kurds and Iraqi Kurds. After all while "volunteers" may have come from Iraq, those that bled and died in Syria will want to keep control of oil assets gained by them. - PKJ.

Turkish Kurds

  • Half of the Kurdish nation resides in Turkey, where they make up about 20 percent of the local population.

Dictatorial Turkey fears Kurd resurgence even in Iraq or Syria

There is deep-seated hostility between the Turkish state and the country's Kurds, who constitute 15% to 20% of the population.

Kurds received harsh treatment at the hands of the Turkish authorities for generations. In response to uprisings in the 1920s and 1930s, many Kurds were resettled, Kurdish names and costumes were banned, the use of the Kurdish language was restricted, and even the existence of a Kurdish ethnic identity was denied, with people designated "Mountain Turks".

Turkey brutally repressing Kurds

Turkey's constitution denies the existence of distinct ethnic sub-groups - but there are few other than Kurds - so it is very clearly meant to control south-eastern Turkey which would split off quite rapidly.

Ankara has consistently shut down Kurdish attempts to politically organise, and any action that hints at Kurdish nationalism is considered an offence punishable by imprisonment. The Turkish government has also been accused of systematically withholding resources from the country's Kurdish areas.

Since the country's founding, any expression by Kurds or other minorities of their unique ethnic identity has been repressed.

US and UK support Turkey killing tens of thousands of Kurd "terrorists"

The Kurdish nationalist struggle had a resurgence in Turkey in the 1980s with the formation of the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK). The militant group has waged a guerrilla war against the Turkish state for 35 years. The conflict has killed an estimated 40,000 people.

The PKK is classified as a terrorist group by the US, EU and UK, among others.

Turkey's government says the YPG and the PYD are extensions of the PKK, share its goal of secession through armed struggle, and are terrorist organisations that must be eliminated.

It is no wonder a lot of the developing world hates the Anglo "Uncle Sam" for their stupid bombs-by-air policies that kills millions.

UK led US by the nose, US,Syria,Turkey united to screw over the Kurds

The WWI tired French and British tore up those plans and divided Kurdish-inhabited lands between Turkey, Iraq and Syria. The British only cared about control about easy oil fields in Arabia.

While the ultra-racist Winston Churchill rabidly hated all brown and black folk, it is not clear why the French opposed the Kurds.

  • Over the next 80 years, any move by Kurds to set up an independent state was brutally quashed.

  • However the PYD declaration of Mar 2016 was rejected by the Syrian government, the Syrian opposition, Turkey and the US. It is ironic that all these different and fighting parties united to suppress Kurdish rights!

Turkish Kurds Timeline

  • After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I, the great European powers divided up the former Ottoman territory.

  • 1918 armistice at end of WWI, the Treaty of Sevres was drafted to deal with the dissolution and partition of the Ottoman Empire, providing for a referendum to decide the issue of the Kurdish homeland. The Treaty of Sevres — promised the Kurds their own continguous and sovereign entity for the first time in modern history.

  • But it was opposed by the new Turkish Republic. So three years later, after a series of military victories by the former Ottoman Brigadier General Kemal Pasha (now known as Ataturk), the great powers had to relent to Turkish pressure and replace Sevres with the Treaty of Lausanne.

  • 1923 the Treaty of Lausanne was negotiated and signed. This new treaty established the new Republic of Turkey and squashed Kurdish hopes for a state of their own. The land of the Kurds would be divided between four different countries, splitting tribal lines, villages, and even families. This gave control of the entire Anatolian peninsula, or Asia Minor, to the new Turkish Republic, including the Kurdish homeland in Turkey. It had no support for any potential Kurd state or a referendum.

  • 1924 it is little known that British actively suppressed the Kurds. A short-lived Kurdish kingdom inside modern-day Iraq was crushed by 1924 with the assistance of the British.

Iraq-Iran war screws Kurds, Turks brutally suppress Kurds in Turkey

    1. Saddam Hussein made a surprise peace deal with the Shah of Iran. American guns and money that had been flowing to the Kurdish peshmerga forces fighting Hussein were abruptly cut off. The Iraqi dictator’s army promptly counterattacked the stranded Kurdish fighters.
  • 1978 Abdullah Ocalan established the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in 1978, calling for an independent state inside Turkey. Six years later, the group began an armed struggle. Since then, more than 40,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced. However, most of these are probably due to Turkish repression not "terroris".

  • 1980s the Shah of Iran was overthrown, and mainly British oil interests were nationalized which caused them to influence stupid Americans led by Ronald Regan to distort all sanity and now Hussein became a "friend" against Iran. Reagan administration supported Hussein war against the now-Islamic Republic of Iran even as his soldiers gassed and bombed Kurdish communities in a campaign that Iraqi courts have now recognised as a genocide.

  • 1984, the PKK launched an armed struggle against the Turkish state, which eventually left between 30,000 and 40,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced, according to the International Crisis Group. The PKK launched attacks against government property, government officials, Turks living in Kurdish areas and Kurds it accused of collaborating with the government.

  • 1988 US continued to support Hussein even after a chemical weapons attack in the northern city of Halabja in March 1988 killed up to 5,000 people, mostly civilians.

  • 1991 - The Kurdish language, spoken by millions in Turkey, was outlawed until 1991.

2011-19 Syrian War blows up with ISIL _ Ongoing PKK and Turkish Army fighting

The PKK has attacked Turkish soldiers and police, while the Turkish government has launched what it called a "synchronised war on terror" against the PKK and ISIL.

  • 2012, the Turkish government and the PKK began peace talks

  • 2013 a ceasefire was agreed on, although clashes continued.

  • July 2015, the ceasefire collapsed a few days after a suicide bombing blamed on ISIL killed at least 33 young activists in the mainly Kurdish town of Suruc, near the Syrian border.

  • Aug 2016. Turkey invaded northern Syria to prevent YPG control. Turkey sent troops and tanks over the border to support a Syrian rebel offensive against IS. Those forces captured the key border town of Jarablus, preventing the YPG-led SDF from seizing the territory itself and linking up with the Kurdish enclave of Afrin to the west.

  • 2018 Turkish troops and allied Syrian rebels launched an operation to expel YPG fighters from Afrin. Dozens of civilians were killed and tens of thousands displaced.

  • Oct 2019 - Trump withdrawal from Northern Syria allowed Turkey to mass through Kurdish strongholds there. The reward for suppressing ISIL was brutal back-stabbing by the US administration.

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