Laith Marouf is the Chapter Coordinator of SPHR, the largest network of students working on Palestinian human rights in North America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He has been published in Global Research, Electronic Intifada, rabble.ca, marktaliano.net, In Gaza, and other publications./Laith Marouf (published 2 years ago)
If you are really interested in the issues of Kurdish future, please begin by reading about history of the region. You have to understand the roots of Kurdish presence in the areas we are talking about in northern Syria and Assyria.
I will take a moment here to explain geographic names for you. Syria geographically, is the land bordered by the Taurus Mountains in the north, the Euphrates River in the east, the Mediterranean Sea in the west, and al-Hijaz and Najd in the south. Syria can be further divided into three subculture zones, Costal Syria stretching from Adana to Gaza, Syrian Desert, and Nabatean Syria in the Aqaba-Dead sea basin. Assyria is the island between the two rivers, locally referred to as al-Jazeera. Assyria ends at Baghdad, where the two rivers meet and geographic Iraq starts. Syria, Assyria and Iraq, together are the Fertile Crescent and the lands of the Canaanite people, the people who birthed Aramaic and Arabic, through marriage with the Qahtaanites of Yemen.
At the end of the 1800s, the Fertile Crescent was occupied by the Ottomans. As the empire was collapsing, and fearing an Arab revolt, Turkish nationalists within the empire began a program of ethnic cleansing and population transfers across all of the area. Part of the plan included building a chain of villages populated by transferred Turkic peoples, stretching from the Anatolian Plato to Aleppo, Mosul, Damascus and Jerusalem. This is where you get all the Turkmen villages and militias you heard about in the last few years in Iraq and Syria. This is how Erdogan can talk about protecting Turks in Iraq and Syria. The plan to transfer Turkic populations was not successful, not many wanted to move from their far away Turkic territories, and Arabs and Assyrians resisted violently.
So the Turkish elite figured out a better solution, use the Kurdish peoples that inhabit the close by, infertile Kurdistan Mountains, and entice them with the fertile lands of Arminians, Arabs and Assyrians. The results are the Arminian genocide, followed by the genocide of Assyrians and Arabs. All the scenes that played out at the hands of ISIS in north Syria and Iraq in the past 7 years; they are nothing in comparison to what Kurdish militias did to the local inhabitants, men, women and children, at the time. This is where all the local resentments to Kurdish people in Iraq and Syria comes from. No one excepts their claim to oppression, it rings hollow to the ears of survivors of their ethnic cleansing campaigns. Resentment is even more exasperated when Kurdish refugees on our land, claim the land, and demand a state.
By the end of WW1, the newly relocated Kurdish populations, emerged as a very important tool in imperial pressures on the defeated Turks. Iran, at the time a British vassal state, started to maneuver for a piece of Turkey. Here I will take a moment to point out that Kurdish people and their language are actually a subcultural isolate of Persian language and culture. The majority of the indigenous lands of the Kurdish peoples, the Kurdistan Mountains is actually in Iran and not Turkey. The resulting negotiations, through the use of the Kurdish card, resulted in Turkey accepting most of the conditions for the end of the war. In return, France allowed Turkey to complete the ethnic cleansing of northern Syria and Assyria, and in the late 1920s and early 30's, Turkey expelled all the Arab, Assyrian and Greek inhabitants of all the major cities stretching from Adana in the west to Mardin in the east.
Since that day, almost all regional and international powers used the transferred Kurdish populations as tools in the war for territorial control. Israel using them against Iraq, Iraq using them against Iran, Syria using them against Turkey, the US using them against Iraq, the US using them against Syria, the US using them against Turkey, and probably soon, the US using them against Iran.
In any case, if you are still a supporter of Kurdish separatism in Syria, one based on conquest by genocide, I offer one last point: Kurdish transferees and refugees in Syria represent less than 10% of the population of the country. And when looking at North Syria alone, Kurdish people represent only 30% of the population! So are Arabs and Assyrians to live as a majority ruled by a minority! Wouldn't that be Apartheid? Are Kurds to be given the same uber-rights that Zionists have?
I am all for equality and internationalism, but please understand that I will never accept your versions of equality and internationalism; for they seem always paved with Arab blood and under the feet of colonial armies. Go ahead, read more history, before you pontificate, these are events that are fresh on peoples mind in my homelands.
LAITH MAROUF ON RECENT EVENTS IN SYRIA