February 1, 2016

Left Out In The Cold: Washington's Unreported War Against The Kurds of Turkey Is A Critical Factor In PYD's Exclusion From Geneva Talks

"Even if the existence of a Kurdish question is denied, the Kurdish problem remains." – Iranian general and ambassador Hasan Arfa, "The Kurds: An Historical and Political Study" (1966).

An excerpt from, "Turkey's ‘Fear of Kurds’ Spoils Geneva Talks on Syrian Reconciliation" Sputnik News, January 31, 2016:
The Kurds have been shut out of the Syrian peace talks in Geneva after Turkey demanded they be kept away, Saleh Muslim, the leader of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), told Kurdistan 24 news and information channel.

“Turkey’s only concern in Syria is the Kurds, instead of solving the dilemma in the country,” Muslim stated. “This intervention for selfish purposes hinders any efforts to find a solution to the crisis.”
An excerpt from, "A Brief History of American Betrayal of the Kurds" by Ted Snider, ZNET, January 29, 2016:
America’s simultaneous betrayal of the Kurds who willingly partner with it has been ongoing. Leaked documents reveal American willingness to purchase Turkish cooperation at the expense of Kurdish interests and lives. A leaked 2004 embassy cable declares that Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice promised the Erdoğan government “that the US would reinvigorate trilateral (US-Turkey-Iraq) discussions on the [Kurdish] issue” [Wikileaks 04ANKARA003352].

The cable lists several “significant efforts the USG [US government] is undertaking to ameliorate the PKK [Kurdistan Workers Party] threat.” The cable boasts that “Sharing of sensitive intelligence on PKK activities within Turkey has led to successful COIN [counter-insurgency] operations.” It also includes as significant efforts “surveillance flights over PKK camps in northern Iraq,” and “An intelligence fusion cell, which meets weekly in Ankara to pass information to the Turkish military on PKK activity.” In other words, the US has given Turkey intelligence to use against the Kurds.

In 2007, President Bush “promised to provide Turkey with ‘actionable intelligence’ to use against the PKK” [Wikileaks CRS-RL34642]. The same cable says that the Turks have used that intelligence: that “Since that time, Turkish forces have launched targeted air and ground strikes against PKK camps and other facilities located in the mountains of northern Iraq.” It concludes with the line, “They have expressed satisfaction with their results”.
An excerpt from, "U.S. Helped Turkey Find and Capture Kurd Rebel" by Tim Weiner, The New York Times, February 20, 1999:
The United States worked for four months to help Turkey arrest Abdullah Ocalan, the Kurdish rebel leader, American officials said today.

American diplomatic pressure backed by intelligence-gathering helped to put Mr. Ocalan in flight from a safe haven in Syria, to persuade nation after nation to refuse him sanctuary, and to drive him into an increasingly desperate search for a city of refuge, the officials said.

''We as a Government tried to figure out where he was, where he was going, and how we might bring him to justice,'' a senior Administration official said.

Like Turkey, the United States, whose involvement in Mr. Ocalan's capture was reported today by The Los Angeles Times, considers Mr. Ocalan a terrorist. He leads the Kurdistan Workers Party, which has fought against Turkey for 15 years seeking autonomy for the Kurdish people.
It was the end of a long journey, one that American diplomatic and intelligence officers monitored closely. From October onward, as Mr. Ocalan sought shelter in Russia, across Europe and in Africa, American diplomats and intelligence officers sought to cut off his escape routes, according to officials here.

They warned their European and Russian counterparts of the consequences of sheltering Mr. Ocalan, saying: ''If you've got him, what are you going to do with him?'' according to the senior American official, who demanded anonymity.

Mr. Ocalan had spent much of the last 15 years in Damascus, Syria. In October, Turkey stepped up pressure on the Syrian Government to expel him, threatening military action. The United States issued a parallel private demand.
An excerpt from, "No Friends but the Mountains: The Tragic History of the Kurds" by John Bulloch and Harvey Morris. 1992. Oxford University Press: Oxford. Pg. 54-60:
The host states have invariably kept their Kurdish provinces in a state of underdevelopment and impoverishment for fear of an increase in Kurdish power. There are few indigenous industries, apart from tobacco manufacture, to exploit local Kurdish resources. Local craftmanship, which was traditionally the preserve of Christians and Jews within the Kurdish towns and villages, has died out as a result of the emigration of these communities and the introduction of cheap manufactured items into Kurdistan. The isolation of Kurdish communities from each other has not been eradicated by the introduction of roads and communications since these tend to serve the needs of the modern national states. Thus, it is easier to travel from Turkish Kurdistan to Ankara or from Iraqi Kurdistan to Baghdad than it is to travel within Kurdistan itself.

But who are these people who so doggedly refuse to accept the verdict of history - that they have no separate place in the world? One negative result of state policies of assimilation and denial of Kurdish nationhood is that there has been relatively little modern research on the Kurds' ethnic and cultural origins. This means that there is no definitive answer to the question of their origins, except to say that an identifiable Kurdish people has inhabited the mountainous regions north of Mesopotamia for up to four millennia.

The first historical reference to the forefathers of the Kurds (although even this is disputed) appears in Xenophon's Anabasis, the contemporary account of the epic journey of the Greek 10,000 as they fled the Persian empire in 401 BC after the defeat of Cyrus, and of their encounters with the barbarians. As they head north from Mesopotamia to the Black Sea, Xenophon and his fellow Greeks enter the territory of the Carduchi, or Kardoukhoi. After twenty-four centuries the identity of these ancient barbarians may still be obscure, but their name and their location - north of modern-day Mosul - link them to today's Kurds, as does their attitude to central authority. 'These people,' according to Xenophon, 'lived in the mountains and were very war-like and not subject to the [Persian] king. Indeed a royal army of 120,000 had once invaded their country, and not a man of them had got back, because of the terrible conditions on the ground they had to go through.' The Greeks fought their way through the territory of the Carduchi in seven days, but Xenophon acknowledged that they suffered more against these proto-Kurds than they had against the armies of the Persian empire.

Xenophon tells us little about the Carduchi beyond their war-like qualities and their skill with the bow. Although the Greeks spoke to them through interpreters, there is no description of the language they spoke. 

The language of the modern Kurds is closely related to Persian, and belongs to the north-western Iranian group alongside the languages of Afghanistan, Baluchistan and Tajikistan. According to Herodotus, the Greek historian, Kurdish and Persian were mutually comprehensible in ancient times. By extension Kurdish is related to Sanskrit and to many of the languages of modern Europe, including English. The relationship can be seen in many basic words: erd ('earth'), new ('new'), bru ('eyebrow'), ruber ('river'), dlop ('drop of water').
An excerpt from, "The Kurdish National Movement: Its Origins And Development" by Professor Wadie Jwaideh (Syracuse University Press):
"Today the Kurds occupy an extremely important region in the heart of the Middle East. They constitute the most important single national minority in that area, forming a substantial proportion of the populations of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Despite the failure of numerous Kurdish rebellions over the past thirty years in Turkey, Iran, and Iraq, Kurdish nationalism continues to be a source of deep concern to the governments of these countries. Aroused by the success of the surrounding nationalisms – Turkish, Persian, and Arab – and goaded into desperation by its own failure, Kurdish nationalism has in recent years become increasingly radical and uncompromising. For these reasons, the Kurds have come to play an increasingly significant role in Middle Eastern affairs. Their behavior is one of the important factors in the future stability and security not only of the Kurdish-inhabited countries but of the entire Middle East. Thus it is important to know the Kurds and to understand their aims, their political orientation, and the course they are likely to pursue."