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Springtime for Kurdistan

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Posted on Aug 29, 2006
Kurdish women dance
AP / Hasan Sarbakhshian

Iraqi Kurdish women wearing traditional clothes dance during a 2003 wedding party in Sulaymaniah City, northern Iraq, which is controlled by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).

By Parag Khanna

(Page 3)

The lobby of the Erbil International Hotel (also known locally as the ?Sheraton?) exudes a cosmopolitan vibe, night and day. Cabinet ministers regularly meet with locals and each other there, pouring over investment proposals, greeting foreign delegations and fielding questions from journalists. They have no time for formality or pretense. ?We were always taken advantage of because we were asleep,? Falah Mustafa Bakir, a senior minister in the Barzani government, told me. ?Now we have to be awake round-the-clock.? 

Iraqi Kurdistan is now the freest and most productive of all Kurdish-populated regions, and has become the melting pot for the region?s Kurds and a hub from which resistance to subjugation in particularly Iran and Syria is planned. Syrian Kurdish men in particular have fled en masse to study in Sulaymaniah, where they can freely associate and make plans to return home and agitate for greater rights.

But to measure Kurdistan?s merits purely on the basis of comparison to the frightening mayhem of Iraq would be a straw-man approach. Kurdistan needs to accelerate its political development if it is to convincingly distinguish itself from its politically regressive neighbors. With Kurdistan no longer divided and ruled by Saddam, the two ruling parties—or rather families—Barzani?s KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) and Talabani?s PUK, still divide and rule Kurdistan. They have mafia-like control over business interests in the region and high-level stakes in Baghdad itself. A rivalry between the parties has meant that the two cellphone operators in Kurdistan remain incompatible, utterly corrupt nonsense for a population so small. More fundamentally, they have resisted efforts for the formation of new parties such as the ?People?s Front,? maintaining a patronage duopoly which dictates the terms of elections. Anger at both parties is simmering, as demonstrated by the gains made by the Kurdistan Islamic Union Party in the most recent elections. Anger at PUK and KDP corruption recently boiled over in Halabja, where hundreds of demonstrators torched the very monument inaugurated by Colin Powell two years ago to commemorate the victims of Saddam?s chemical gas attack in 1988.

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Ultimately, the remaining task of consolidating Kurdistan?s position vis-à-vis more powerful and manipulative neighbors will require that its leaders stick together and cooperate. With the exception of America—and more recently Israel, which prefers that Iraq remain weak—Kurds still realize that they have, as their saying goes, ?no friends but the mountains.?

Because America continues to officially seek a united Iraq, little news of Kurdistan?s unique success makes the headlines. But as America?s standing hits new lows among Iraqis and remains high in Kurdistan, its need for a reliable, secular ally in the region may force it to concede even greater autonomy to the Kurds, perhaps in exchange for support for Washington?s increasingly confrontational policies on Syria and Iran.

What Kurds want most in the post-Iraq settlement is Kirkuk. The oil-rich city was a central point of contention with the Kurds as Iraq was formed in 1921, and judging from the two-hour-long litany of complaints given to an audience of card-carrying PUK members by their man on the ground there, the situation remains far from resolved. Saddam?s campaign to isolate the Kurds meant they had no major power stations, railways, airports or refineries. Though there are oil deposits elsewhere in Kurdistan, its autonomy is unsustainable without a major industrial center. The Kurds have already demographically reversed Kirkuk?s violent Arabization under Saddam, but they will have to wage a nonviolent, democratic campaign to become the masters of its oil fields through a referendum scheduled for 2007. If they can complete a refinery for Kirkuk oil in its outskirts in the next five years, the last foundation for independence would be in place.

But as a landlocked country, Kurdistan cannot amount to much more than a Middle Eastern Bolivia without reassuring its neighbors that it has no regional ambitions beyond claiming Kirkuk. Though the ideal united Kurdistan state, the dream of mid-20th century Kurdish hero Mustafa Barzani, would stretch from the Syrian city of Afrin through Iraq?s Badra district to the Ilam region of Iran, Kamal Fuad, an elder statesman in the PUK Politburo, makes clear that ?our responsibility stops at Hamri mountain,? which lies 100 kilometers south of Kirkuk and constitutes a natural land boundary with the rest of Iraq. Mosul, which was the Ottoman and then Baathist administrative center for northern Iraq, holds no interest for Kurdish leaders.

Few neighbors want a strong Iraq to emerge from the ashes, and even fewer seem to want a strong Kurdistan encroaching on their borders. The Turkish government, for example, has shown little sympathy in closing its border to Kurdish oil refined in Turkey and needed back in Kurdistan, leading, ironically, to long lines for petrol throughout Kurdistan and the common sight of plastic gas containers being sold on the roadside. But in one of the most hopeful examples of globalization trumping geopolitics, it is Turkish companies applying the most pressure on their government to back down. As the master construction engineers of the region, Turkish contractors are speedily building both of Kurdistan?s international airports, as well as tunnels, flyovers and ring roads.  Interestingly, the Turkish government?s recent steps to recognize Kurdish rights, combined with its concerns over the pan-Kurdish rhetoric of Kurdistani satellite television, have led it to launch two ?moderate? Kurdish-language satellite stations of its own, a net plus for Kurdish identity.

Ultimately, having Kurds remain as minorities in the neighboring states—rather than entirely consolidating into Iraqi Kurdistan—would serve Kurdistan?s interests. Minority status helps to build international pressure for greater rights. For example, in the wake of the recent Kurdish protests across Turkey, particularly in Diyarbakir in the Kurdish-dominated southeast, a Kurdish TV station plans to open a case before the European Court of Human Rights against Turkey for restricting its airtime and content. Minorities straddling Kurdistan?s borders will also preserve trade relations. The smuggling of fuel, tea, sugar, and drugs has for centuries linked the markets of Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan—with Kurdistan right in the middle. The famed Hamilton Road along the Zagros range (built by New Zealand engineer A.M. Hamilton in 1928-32) can once again be the modern artery for this branch of the Silk Road. The Zagros mountainscape is pinch-yourself magnificent, the site of thousands of impromptu family picnics throughout the week of Nowrouz, the Zoroastrian-derived celebration of spring. Kurdish women in colorful, flowing gowns and men in their baggy peshmerga suits with matching headdresses and cummerbunds dance in the markets and hills like a scene from a Bollywood movie.

If geopolitics has an end state, it is when borders, populations, resources and interests find equilibrium. In Palestine and Kurdistan, new quasi-states are emerging in response to a need to correct the mistakes of the post-Ottoman settlement as well as the more modern imperative to transcend the rigid state system altogether. Kurds will undoubtedly have, in some form, all the freedoms they deserve. They should get them sooner rather than later.



Parag Khanna is a fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C., and author of ?The Second World,? a book about the clash between the forces of geopolitics and globalization, forthcoming from Random House.


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By zainab, August 14, 2007 at 8:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is not a question of Kurds or not, it is innocent people that got killed and for what because kurds want the independence and freedom let them have it and they do.I think kurds are lovely people and have great culture and language. I am married to one so I know what kind of people they are.Whatever happened to them was in the past but was an absolute tradegy that no human deserves. But the kurdish youths need to understand what they elders have been through and that calling each other names doesn’t get you anywhere. We have to remember that god made us equal to eachother and whatever happens whatever culture, religion we are all one and all need to live in peace and unity.

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By Kregg, August 7, 2007 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wow those Kurdish women are seriously HOT! They blow away any of the other mideast/turkish and westernized women by far.

At least they have women to fight for unlike the rest of the world fighting for arrogant fat pigs.

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By Online Peshmerga, July 10, 2007 at 8:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“bahadir” You Are Double BrainWASHED! One By turkish Media’s And By turkish Government.

The Media’s Shows You What Wanna See, Of Course Anything Bad About Kurds Will Be Most Welcome.

And What They DO Is Simple Basicly Just Kill Kurdish Children Women, Tape It, And Air It, And Say “These Are turkish Children PKK Or Kurds Killed Them” And Of Course You Believe That Because You Are Such A BrainWashed Moron. And Same Goes For The Dictator Government.

And The ONLY Thing turks Good At Is Making Up Bullshit! Cuz You Have No Shame So It Doesn’t Matter What You Say.

“Selling Their Daughters”?!“Raping 2 Year Old”?! What Kinda Sick Mind You Have?! What Do You Think We Are As Sick As You turks Are? I Don’t Think So.

And PKK Are Those Who Their Family Got Killed By turkish Police And Soldiers, So Its Their Turn To Shoot Your Ass Off!

I Already Said Much And Answered Alot, So I’m Not Gonna Make This Long, I Only Say: To AnyOne Who Read This, If You Believe All That Crap Or Not, Come To KURDISTAN See It For Yourself.

And Here, See What turks Do To KURDs For Yourself

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdnXOKnk17g

P.S Forgot To WriteSome Words So I RE-Writ It.

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By Online Peshmerga, July 9, 2007 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“bahadir” You Are Double Brain! One By turkish Media’s And By turkish Government.

The Media’s Shows You What Wanna See, Of Course Anything Bad About Kurds Will Be Most Welcome.

And What They Is Simple Basicly Just Kill Kurdish Children Women, Tape It, And Air It, And Say “These Are turkish Children PKK Or Kurds Killed Them” And Of Course You Believe That Because You Are Such A BrainWashed Moron. And Same Goes For The Dictator Government.

And The ONLY Thing turks Good At Is Making Up Bullshit! Cuz You Have No Shame So It Doesn’t Matter What You Say.

“Selling Their Daughters”?!“Raping 2 Year Old”?! What Kinda Sick Mind You Have?! What Do You Think We Are As Sick As You turks Are? I Don’t Think So.

And PKK Are Those Who Their Family Got Killed By turkish Police And Soldiers, So Its Their Turn To Shoot Your Ass Off!

I Already Said Much And Answered Alot, So I’m Not Gonna Make This Long, I Only Say: To AnyOne Who Read This, If You Believe All That Crap Or Not, Come To KURDISTAN See It For Yourself.

And Here, See What turks Do To KURDs For Yourself

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdnXOKnk17g

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By bahadir, July 1, 2007 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am glad to be able to writea comment on this page, since internet makes it available to let people see the facts. Let me tell you about the true facts about kurds.
1. They are very capable of creating crime organizations by the members of 1 single family. A regular kurdish family consists of 1 father, 4 mothers, 14 kids. (They never mind making new kids, because more kids mean more money to them.) While they breed, kurds never send their daughters to school, because kurds mostly SELL their daughters to their neighbour kurds when the daughters get to 14 years of age.
2. The leaders of the most sophisticated crime gangs in major cities of Turkey (such as izmir and istanbul) are  from diyarbakir and mardin. Kurds are really very capable of organizing crime gangs. For example, all the drugs sold in Turkey are sold by kurds, most of the thieves and burglars (called “kapkacci” in Turkish) are kurds, Kurdish family councils never hesitate to make a decision about the execution of one of their daughters due to her refusal to marry someone that she doesn’t want to marry with.
3. Kurds (their terrorist organization PKK) have killed 329 Turkish teachers in 20 years, who were not armed in any way, and who were only trying to educate their pupils.
4. The only thing a kurd knows is to yell as “nerede devlet?” which means ” where is the state? where is the government? “. In 1999 during the major earthquake in Turkey many people died, and many more became homeless. The shock of the event was very big, and the government was incapable of helping the citizens in many times. At that time, while Turkish citizens were getting organized, and trying the help the officials for distributing the essential items (trying to survive), the kurdish citizens were mostly shouting “where is the government?” and vandalizing the streets, mostly looting the trucks which were trying to bring food and drugs.
5. If you ever come to Istanbul, and try to park your car, somebody will probably come to your door, and ask for parking money. You will probably say, “well my friend, this is not a parking lot, this place is for free parking, and you are not officially a parking lot officer” Then probably he will call for 15 of his brothers and they are gonna beat the hell out of you.
6. Most of the child rapes in Turkey are executed by our beloved kurds, who always keep off of making normal friendships with girls during their childhoods and adulthoods. They never know how to make friendship with a girl, instead they prefer to rape, and sometimes, not to have difficulties when killing her, they choose the girls between the ages of 2 and 5.
7. Kurds are kidnapping the children from the schools, from the streets, from the parks; to sell their organs (mostly the kidneys) mercilessly.

I swear in the name of every virtue you believe that, there is nothing to be said about “kurdish civilization”. They are just insects which suck the blood of those who work, who produce, who earn. The kurds now are the toy of great powers (such as USA and Israel), but one day the petroleum in the region will run out, and all those powers will stop playing with that toy, and that day we are gonna make them pay for every treason they made.

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By azzi, April 3, 2007 at 1:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

you gunkor. i tell you something. how powerfull turkey is and how pwerfull turkey gets. turkey cant make any decition with out the americans involved in it. if us stops its financial support for turkey turkey will become like one of those aferican country.And your countries millitary. even if tis nember passes a million it can not get rid of PKK like it hasnot for 3 decades think about it. our kurdish movements have been crashed one by one and they never end they instead get stronger like now the iraqi kurdistan for example what possiply can stop the kurds in iraq from being anything they want. one last thing if i were you i would never call my self a turk cman what kinda country doensot recognise 40 million people it just doesnot make any sence if you wana stop them from setting up thier own country its ok but this just doesnot make sence 12 million kurds living in turkey cant say we are kurds. its a shame.

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By Fazil Shawro, January 21, 2007 at 7:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

we, as kurdish people, have been dreaming for thousands of years.  An Independent State is our New-Old dream. Noone can deny that we offered hunderds of thouthands of our souls as sucrifies for that Dream. But , I think that there is a historical Mistake in all our revolutions and struggles, ( each part of Kurdistan tries to get its freedom alone far from all the other parts) If we want to make our bream come true we have only one way : All Kurdistan take part in a universal Uprising from North to South and from East to west in one day and together , without paying any attention to Turkish, Iraqi, Iranian and Syrian governments. One uprising though all Kurdistan is our only Solution.

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By hiwaomer, October 14, 2006 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

really this is a dream
I hope one day this will turn truth

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By Online Peshmerga, September 29, 2006 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Why did Saddam hated Kurds?
Why not others?
Why was the reason Saddam went after Kurds and killed 182000?”

the ANSWER is all because we are KURDISH.

“and then decided to kill 37000 people for no reason” <——-  this is a BIG LIE! HOW DARE YOU?! have you NO shame?!

“Just Imagine 250 thousand Turks marching down into Northern Iraq!”

“There are over 250 thousand Turkish troops on the border already waiting and watching Kurds to make their stupid move”

Ahahahaahahahaahah….

dumass gungorkaya , looks like you have never heard of PESHMERGA!

well, i tell you what, 1000 PESHMERGA is enough for your stupid 250.000 army!

looks like you have never heard of MAME RISHE!

* when Saddam soldiers hearing the name of MAME RISHE they were running 100 miles away! they were calling him “regul al-hadidy” = (the iron man)!

we are son of MAME RISHE , and thousand heros like him.

and if anyone try to sneak in to our land , even our 10 year old sons and daughters will be a PESHMERGAs and fight for their land.

you better get busy with something else than threatening us! we are NOT afraid of DUMASS turks or ANY other force in the whole world.

its been a dcade we are getting killed , just because we are KURDISH.

Saddam took 200,000 kurdish people including women and five year old children in 1988 (they have NO destiny and nobody knows where they are).

Saddam Killed 5.000 kurdish people in 5 minute with chemical weapon.

Saddam destroyed 5.000 kurdish villages.

after all this we are still standing, and a dumass TURK like you trying to threaten us?!!! THATS SO FUNNY!

AND YOU (ALL) HAVE KNOW THIS:

1. Kirkuk will return to KURDISTAN in 2007.

2. we will get our independency SOON (with OR without americans).

3. the OTHER parts of KURDISTAN will return to GREAT KURDISTAN.

4. you guys (all of you who hate kurd) can go and F-CK yourselves.


( We are like a toxic snake, don’t step on our tail we don’t bite you, if you do, JUST GOD HELP YOU )

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By gungorkaya, September 14, 2006 at 4:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dr Sirwah H. Quaradaghi
Saddam is a very sick men. Question is, how he happened to rule Iraq for so long and who put him there in the first place. People of Iraq from all ethnic back grounds,just happened to be fallowing him around because they had a gun on their head.I don’t think so.
Why did Saddam hated Kurds?
Why not others?
Why was the reason Saddam went after Kurds and killed 182000?
Did the Kurds tried to kill Saddam?
Did Kurds uprise against Saddam?
Did the CIA payed Kurdish leaders to uprise against Saddam?
Did the CIA promised Kurds that They would get a independant state if they uprise against Saddam?

There are so many questions you have to answer before you make a sound judgement. Any one who has some logic behind their statements will understand that your dreamy history lesson does not have grounds and people like you is the cause of this bloody mess in the middle east and anywhere else.
I don’t blame you for dreaming of an indipendent State of your own but Kurds have been this way right from the beginning and they don’t have a lot of choices. You are land locked, surrounded with nationalists, don’t have to many friends, you are not unified, and your path of going for your “so called Great Kurdistan” is just plain stupid. If I was you I would raise many young generations whom are educated, succesfull, and actually have some common sense, and make your culture the number one nation of a “freemind” nation. And then maybe you can be free in Iraq not as a seperatist but as ONE. The ONE that can save you and others, not The one who destroys. You are either smart or you are nothing but smart as a logical, not emotional.

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By Dr Sirwan H. Quaradaghi, September 14, 2006 at 3:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is a real talk on facts which were masked before during the cold war time. Now as the time is not like before,whewn a crazy man like Saddam
could kill 182000 kurds in few days and displace more than two millions people on their way to be irradicated because they are just kurds. In this time it is optimum for kurds ro breath the air of liberty
Dr Sirwah H. Quaradaghi
Ass. Professor/Surgery
College of Sulaimani
Sulaimani/Kurdistan Region/Iraq

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By gungorkaya, September 13, 2006 at 10:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

DR. Kawa Ibrahiem,
Yes I need help to show you the real face of Kurds. You lived peacefully with Turks, Iranians and Arabs, and then decided to kill 37000 people for no reason. You say Kurdistan is a reality and every one has to except it. At what cost?
What is your difference then Hezbollah and Hamas?
Why don’t you understand that Kurds are not going to carve out Iraq, Turkey, Iran or Syria?
Only thing that you are going to create is that another timeline of total destruction and death.
I see it clearly and you don’t, because you are blinded by your ignorant dreams. Because you read some book about whatever, it does not make you an educated person who can understand the reality clearly. If you take your head out of sand you will see it.
For your information, History will tell you that Turks have a tolerant nature and only thing that they will not tolerate, is separatism.
Who protected Jews when others killed? Ask yourself the question of why Kurds are still living in this conditions and why not others. You can make a clear judgment if you stop thinking like a president of a labor Union. You are not going to get a coffee break every time you get a chance and just because you are in the union does not mean you own the company.

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By DR. Kawa Ibrahiem, September 12, 2006 at 8:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My response to Gunkor kaya is you need help. I suggest to you to read a ( prisoner of hate ) by DR. Aron Beck, and if your country have a mid- care you might ask for counselling. Good Luck, and remember we ( Kurd ) have no hatered against any specific nation and for years we lived peacefully with the Turks, Iranian and Arabs.
Future is ours and no doubt, radicalism , extreminism and hatred bound to disappear, where is Hitler? Stalin? and Ottaman Empire? again reading history is beneficiary for all of us.

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By gungorkaya, September 7, 2006 at 10:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kurdish history is full of tragedy and heroism, all those countries know that!!!

And full of Ignorance! When was the last time Kurds had a state?...
They are dreaming of Sunflowers and whatever else..keep dreaming. Only thing that you can have with your state of mind is,more ignorance.
Wait and see what is going to happen in Northern Iraq. You are going to wake up from your sweet dream and face the reality of military boot.
Don’t forget why you are still dreaming about Kurdistan and why you have never had it?

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By Not Fooled For One Minute, September 6, 2006 at 6:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

OK, people: it’s clear that the neocons are embarked on a major p.r. blitz, trying to seduce us liberals with idealistic fairy stories that will impel us to urge our government to aid in the creation of Greater Kurdistan — sure to be a benign and glorious enterprise.

If you want to know why the neocons are suddenly in love with Kurdish ethnic nationalism, here’s a good essay that puts together the pieces of the puzzle:

“Pawns of the War Party”

http://antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=9658

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By aso, September 6, 2006 at 11:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

kurdstan indepedency is like a sunflower shinning in a dark pool, lighting, opening closed old ancient mind.

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By DR. Kawa Ibrahiem, September 6, 2006 at 6:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

History tells us that a fate of a nation is in the hand of their sons and daughters. Kurds institutes and progress undeniably are the most obvious light in the history of democracy in middle east.
One could ask if Turkey , Iran and Syria could allow Kurdistan to be Born? the answer is No.
how much Hitler prevent Poland from being a state, and Serb prevent Bosnia to be a state, Turk, Syrian and Iranian might try the same, BUT no way.
Kurdish history is full of tragedy and heroism, all those countries know that.
I have no doubt in my mind that 21 century is the KURDISH Century, Turk , Iranian and Syrian have no choice to accept that and live peacefully with it.

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By Nature, September 6, 2006 at 3:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kurds have the right to live the way they want ,but firs they have to unite and get rid of internal conflicts and ignorance . doctor2003

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By William Timberman, September 5, 2006 at 3:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

An interesting article.  Even more interesting, for an American reader, are the comments from people who actually have a stake in the future of Kurdistan.  To the Kurds, Turks, Persians and Indians who have added their experiences and opinions here, may I say how glad I am to hear your voices?

We Americans, despite our government’s involvement—for better of worse—in distant regions of the world, rarely have a chance to hear the thoughts of people whose interests should be paramount.  Whatever happens in the future, these thoughts are much appreciated. I hope my government is also listening, and takes what you’ve said here into account in its future actions.

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By gungorkaya, September 5, 2006 at 12:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kurds should know that Turkey, Iran, and Syria will not let Kurds go all crazy and seperate from Iraq. Just Imagine 250 thousand Turks marching down into Northern Iraq! That would be the end of what’s know as possible piece in Middle east. Iran, Syria supports Turks, America rejects it but cannot do anything about it.Next thing you know, you got yourself a big mess. A mess bigger then any one has seen since the WWII. Turkey will not tolarate any seperation of any sort. They already said that would be a declaration of war. I hope every one knows that
America like it or not Turks will do whatever it takes to stop that.There are over 250 thousand Turkish troops on the border already waiting and watching Kurds to make their stupid move. That would be the day, America can forget about middle east forever.And Europe can buckle up!

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By TOC, September 4, 2006 at 6:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Whether there is a eventually a Kurdistan or not has nothing to do with the US, nor should it. The price of involvement in the Middle East is the same as it has always been, a willingness to kill human beings on a massive scale.

If the US is unwilling to do this(as of now they seem to have no problem with it)they should stay out.

The existence or non-existence of Kurdistan has nothing to do with the US. To argue that a “weak” landlocked state surrounded by Hostile neighbors as an island of stability to be perserved is idiotic.

Look at the Map of Kurdistan, It seems to me that the reaction in the area to this sort of state would make the reaction to Israel seem like a class picnic.

I have nothing against the Kurds and their aspirations. I have a lot against hare-brained ideas like the ones offered here. If the Kurds are to get a state they should do so without the support of the U.S. unless we want to get involved in a fight that goes back to the days of Xenophon and the 10,000 Spartans.

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By Spinoza, September 4, 2006 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

THE SEVEN RULES OF NATIONALISM

1. If an area was ours for 500 years and yours for 50 years, it should belong to us - you are merely occupiers.

2. If an area was yours for 500 years and ours for 50 years, it should belong to us - borders must not be changed.

3. If an area belonged to us 500 years ago but never since then, it should belong to us - it is the Cradle of our Nation.

4. If a majority of our people live there, it must belong to us - they must enjoy the right of self-determination.

5. If a minority of our people live there, it must belong to us - they must be protected against your oppression.

6. All the above rules apply to us but not to you.

7. Our dream of greatness is Historical Necessity, yours is Fascism.

(unknown author)

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By No such right, September 4, 2006 at 5:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“No one can stop Kurdish dreaming of independency because it is the simplest right for any human being.”

There is no right of ethnically similar people to have their own ethnicity-based state. The idea is in fact dangerous when there are many people living in the area who do not belong to the ethnic group in question.

This is a recipe for another war for Greater Serbia or Greater Israel.

The United States of America should stay out of this. Go do your dirty work by yourselves.

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By Sirwan Hassan, September 3, 2006 at 10:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hi guys,

It is my pleasure to add my comment to this page about the holly subject Kurdistan Independency.

No one can stop Kurdish dreaming of independency because it is the simplest right for any human being.

USA and his alliances should care more about Kurdish people and their case especiallly at this sensetive situations in Iraq and M.East. they are in need of each other to creat strongest unit and alliance to fight against the terrorists.

Iraqi new government is acting just like Saddam H. in standing against the Kurds’ rights and demands so that Kurds do need better support and care from the US and other guys.

We have to decide our destiny and future of ruling ourselves without depending on the central gov. and to try to unify all the other parts of dettached Kurdistan regions and creat new big Kurdistan and to decide to have relations with Israel or other countries that we see them in the same interest of Kurds.The Kurdish leaders are demanded to be stronger in their steps and decisions and not afraid of Maliki or other Iraqi and Arabic leaders.

I hope Big Kurdistan will come true very soon.

Thanks,

Sirwan Hassan,
Sulaimani- Kurdistan

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By WarningAgainstEthnicNationalism, September 3, 2006 at 9:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Regarding Comment #21590 by gungorkaya, reminding us that there are non-Kurdish ethnic minorities in northern Iraq, such as the Turkomans,  whom the Kurds may want to “cleanse”:

This is what I mean. This Kurdistan ethnic nationalist stuff is a recipe for trouble, and the US should have no part of it. It’s more neocon garbage, and we liberals must not let ourselves be fooled by this romanticizing propaganda.

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By gungorkaya, September 3, 2006 at 4:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Faculty members of the University of Sulaimani and all your students!
Do you have any regards to Turkmens in Northern Iraq? Do you care about them? What are they to you? Do you care that There are as many Turkmens living in Northern Iraq as your people? What are you going to do with them when you ” Separate from Iraq and devide the country into pieces”? Are you going to kill them just like you killed 30000 people in Turkey? Are you going to do the same thing in Iran and Syria?
Do you care what happens to rest of the Iraq?
Kurdistan is a nightmare and will be a nightmare for your people as soon as you act on your clueless ideas. Your education has not given you anything but more ignorance!
You are going to spill a lot of people’s blood just like Hezbollah, Hamas, IRA…You get the picture.

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By ahmad, September 2, 2006 at 11:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Mr. Parag Khanna,

Greeting from Sulaimani, Kurdistan.

  On behalf of 8000 undergraduate students, 550 PhD and MSc graduate students, and 700 faculty members of the University of Sulaimani we would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciations for your excellent article titled “springtime for Kurdistan”. We have devoted our vote for the INDEPENDENT KURDISTAN. We are working on that 100%. We are pleased to inform you that we have not seen a strong article like this before supporting Kurdish case. Once more we really do appreciate your efforts.


Kurdish Academic Association ,
Sulaimani, Kurdistan,


A. N. M. Amin, Professor,
A. H. Ameen, Assistant Professor

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By EthnicStatesAreCrap, September 2, 2006 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“With the exception of America—and more recently Israel, which prefers that Iraq remain weak—Kurds still realize that they have, as their saying goes, ‘no friends but the mountains.’ “

And there you have it: the real reason the neocons are pushing this propaganda about the happy prospect of a Kurdish ethnic state: it’s all about Israel keeping all the other countries in the region small, weak, and divided — and using America to pay for it all, in more ways than one.

“See?” they say: “All we have to do is fund and arm the Kurds so they can drive out the ethnic minorities and grab the oil-rich parts of northern Iraq for themselves! Then they’ll owe everything to us! This will be fun!”

America should not TOUCH this.

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By No, we shouldn't go there, September 2, 2006 at 2:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think you paint an unrealistically rosy picture of the Kurds.

If the Kurds were to go for separate statehood, they would probably have to embark on an endless war to ethnically cleanse the less purely Kurdish parts of northern Iraq that they would want to incorporate, such as the oil-rich areas and the major cities. Then they would certainly be looking to incorporate parts of Turkey and Iran, which they regard as being part of Greater Kurdistan.

The US should not sign on to this. We’d have another Israel on our hands: an ethnocentric semi-democracy, armed to the teeth by US aid, and thriving on a ceaselessly invoked victimhood as it bullies its neighbors and minorities.

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By Zana Kurda, September 1, 2006 at 2:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gungor Kaya,
Independent Kurdistan is shaping.
Independent Kurdistan is not any more a dream. It is a reality. If you look at the developments since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, You will see how much progress kurds have made towards independence.
Yet, the only remaining obstacle is the issue of Kirkuk, which also will not remain within one year from now.
I know very well that creation of an Independent Kurdistan will be a historicall major blow to Turkey. But you just have to dont get too emotional (angry) but remain realistic and see the facts on the ground.
America knows very well that creating Republic of Kurdistan, will also serve their interests, simply because the Kurds are the most pro-american, pro-western nation in the Middle-East region.

Another important factor which also Parag has mentioned, is the huge investment of Turkish busnissmen in Kurdistan. The growing economical interests of turkey in Kurdistan, will make help Turkey accept a Independent Kurdistan.

Independent Kurdistan is shaping.

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By Gungor Kaya, August 31, 2006 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

toc!
Your knowledge of history is limited to History Channel or Fortune cookies.
Genocide! The comment you do not understand or care! Again, read some books and get some education. You have not idea about what happened with Ermenians or Kurds. Just like ignorance, it is easier to be ignorant then be educated and make sound desicions and comments. Because what you say today will define your future tomorrow!
I hope you understand that have your children become better then you.

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By Gungor Kaya, August 31, 2006 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I can see that every one is living in a dream world. Stop smoking pot and get a reality check.
Kurdistan, so called unified brothers in arms, killed 30000 people in Turkey, just to think that they want an indipendent Kurdistan is like cat just wants to play with a mouse. You way as well leave your kid with serial child molestor. Fish smell from head to tail! Well, take your head out of their behind and take a look at their history.Maybe, then you will realize that free kurdistan will never happen. Why? Same reason the American Indians will never have New York as an indipendent country, or Mexicans take southern US as their own. What would you do, if American Indians start to terorize america to get their own country? Even that,they might have a point, it will never happen. Well, maybe When Jesus start to walk on water again!..

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By toc, August 31, 2006 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment
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Mehmet,

I think a root cause of the perception of the Turks as opressors goes back to the Armenian genocide and the refusal of the Turks to own up to a horrible part of their history.

I do not like this misperception of the Turkish people, but is a reality.

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By toc, August 31, 2006 at 1:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Someone other outsider’s plan number 73,892 to for the partition of the Middle East.  This one is as good as any other outsiders and should ensure that the 6,000 year old bloodbath in the region continues unabated..

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By Mehmet, August 31, 2006 at 4:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why does Turkey get a bad rep as oppressors all the time. Fact is after Gulf War I, when Saddam started attacking Kurds, they all ran to Turkey. More than 500,000 crossed the border and were given food and shelter, already straining a fragile economy.

After that, for 12 years till the Iraqi invasion, the Kurds of Northern Iraq were protected by the No-Fly zone. The American & British planes enforcing the zone were based in Turkey, with the consent of the government.

Yes there was a bloody war in Turkey, yes the some officials tried to impose some stupid ideas like “mountain Turks” or bans, but today Turkey is healing and moving forwards. Appereantly PKK is not, you can see that they just bombed 6 places with 3 dead and +40 injured.

Turkey’s fight is with PKK, NOT Kurds. But as Bush said, either you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists.

So before dreaming of independent Kurdistans and new borders, Kurds should think about this: When the Americans leave, which they will certainly do, and the Arabs start butchering them by the thousands, which they will definitely do, who will they run to for help? They will seek Turkey’s hand once again. As they say, don’t bite the hand that’s going to feed you…

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By Karim, August 31, 2006 at 12:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As an Iranian let me say that extremism in the region is due to Islam, and not due to racial profiles or ethnicity.  Persians are in general quite tolerant people, except for when they fell for the Islamism of Khomeini and who then started to kill the democrats in the name of Islamic revolution.

Funny thing is that today, western post-colonial leftists are supporting Ahmadinejad and its anti-semetic program, even though these very same Islamist radicals are responsible for killing and torturing 100,000 Iranian leftists and dissidents in 1980 and 1988.  Have you seen a western leftist decry the construction of multiple atomic warheads by Ahmadinejad?  I have not.  Have you seen western leftists decry religious fascism in Iran?  I have not.

Kurds are naturally pagans at heart and once the standard of living improves in Kurdistan, they will be making sure that mollas and sheikhs and Mohammedan assassins are all rounded up and deported to Jaziratol Arab, and Kurdish schools stop brainwashing children with gutter Islam.

Nobody can stop the Kurds from gaining their secular sovereignty against dictatorial Islamism, which is pushed by Arabs and Islamicized Persians and Turks alike.

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By ThinkAgainAboutKurdistanFantasy, August 30, 2006 at 10:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Um, gee ... if we support Kurdistan going independent, exactly how much violent ethnic cleansing of non-Kurds, from how much of what is now Iraq — all done with our aid and blessing — will that entail?

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By jb, August 30, 2006 at 11:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A thought-provoking article, Parag. It has always seemed to me that the future of Iraq is spelled ‘Kirkuk’. We shall see.

Thanks for bringing to notice that Turkish commercial interests are pressuring their government not to get paranoid about an independent Kurdistan. Interesting that there are such significant projects being built by Turks.

I wish the world would turn its attention to the main game: Pakistan.

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By Herb F, August 30, 2006 at 7:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well Written and informative. I did not know of some of the religious freeedoms that the Kurds have allowed to resume. I hope that they keep on pressing for their independance. Hf

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By Lee driver, August 30, 2006 at 6:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is very heartening to read of something hopeful growing in this part of the world.

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By Lt Gen (retd)K.M.Seth,Governor,Chhattisgarh,India, August 30, 2006 at 5:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Parag,
  springtime for Khurdistan is an eye opener.Facts havebeen presented in simple and very concise form thus making an otherwise stiff reading material into a pleasure reading.What is the way ahead and timeframe for next few years is really going to decide the fate of Khurdistan.
  Best wishes.
Gen Seth.

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By David Zohar, August 30, 2006 at 2:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think this is an excellent idea.
As Yugoslavia was eventually partitioned at Dayton, Ohio a decade ago, leading to peace and reconstruction, that is what should be done to Iraq. Kurdistan already exists. Southern Iraq is de facto under Iranian-Shia control. The central Sunni region should accept the fact that it no longer rules over the Shiis and the Kurds, and by making peace can reintegrate itself into the Sunni Arab world, preferably under Jordanian tutelage. Such a solution would be a gain for US diplomacy-as was Dayton- and would enable an honourable exit for US troops.

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