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The Kurdish-American honeymoon has ended
by Ovi Magazine Guest
2008-01-06 09:51:16
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The Kurdish-American honeymoon has ended
By Yerevan Adham

When I woke up and checked the news on Dec 16th, I realized that Turkey had bombed Iraqi Kurdistan. I became very sad and disappointed because of what we did by supporting the US from the first moment of their mission in Iraq until now.

Our allegedly friend and ally, the US not only permitted Turkey to bomb the innocent Kurdish villages of Northern Iraq but supplied Turkey with intelligence to kill innocent people and animals under the pretext of the existence of the PKK in the rugged mountains of Qandil in Northern Iraq.

It’s really surprising and weird that daily I get bothered by tens of animal protectors and environmentalists when on my way to my lectures, shopping, etc, in Austin, Texas, and other cities in the USA, but this government supplies intelligence to another country to kill not just thousands of animals in the Kurdish villages of Northern Iraq but children and civilians. This makes me think that Americans have no idea of what their government is doing overseas!

The Kurdistan Labor Party (PKK) is a Kurdish armed group which started fighting the Turkish regime in the early-1980s in the hope of getting Kurdish political and cultural rights. Since PKK has been involved in conventional fighting against Turkey and, from time to time, has been involved in bombing Turkish government establishments.

In the past years, after the kidnapping of the PKK founder and leader Abdulla Ocalan in February 1999, the PKK declared a unilateral truce with Turkey a few times, but the Turkish regime’s refusal to issue a general acquittal to the Guerrillas has led to a continuation of the conflict in southeast Turkey. There has not been a positive answer by the Turkish government for PKKs’ truces, insisting that PKK must put down their arms, surrender to the Turkish regime and the guerrillas stand trial.

Kurds have been always the victims of the US foreign policy in the past. Now it calls the PKK the enemy of the United States, while not even a single American troop has ever been hurt by the PKK or the Kurdish people in Turkey or Iraq. Calling the PKK the enemy of the US by President Bush certainly fuels anti-American feelings in all countries where Kurds live. It’s true that Kurds live in different geopolitical boundaries now, but we all have the same nationalist feeling to each other.

Almost every Kurd considers PKK as a legitimate group which struggles to get Kurdish rights in Turkey, while they disagree with some of the tactics PKK uses for reaching its objectives. The way PKK is fighting Turkey is the way Iraqi Kurdish Armed groups fought the successive Iraqi regimes since the 1960s to 1991.

Given the hard and harsh backgrounds of the Kurds in the past, this has caused creation of armed groups to defend the Kurdish people in these countries as the regimes of Turkey and Iraq have not showed their approval to negotiate with the Kurds, and we have always been considered a part of the Arab world or Mountainous Turks.

PKK came to existence in a time when the concept of terrorism did not exist in the world. The US and international community needed to seek factors that caused the formation of PKK in the early-1980s. Listing PKK as a terrorist organization by the US and European Union is another injustice committed against the Kurdish people because it does not make any sense to put a people of over 40 million into a terrorist category.

Whenever I hear the US calling PKK a terrorist group I feel as though I am also called a terrorist. That is not just my feeling as an Iraqi Kurd, but that is the feeling of my family, friends and most of the Kurdish people in Iraqi Kurdistan.

I visited those villages where Turkey has targeted many times in the last couple of years, while reporting with the American journalists. PKK did not exist inside the villages where Turkey is bombing and destroying. The loss has been just for the Kurdish villagers. I saw that the villagers were reconstructing those houses, schools and hospitals that were razed to the ground by the former Iraqi regime and they were optimistic about the future as there was not the fear of Saddam Hussein to bomb and destroy them. Children were finally going to the schools with hope about the future, but this time Turkey acted like Saddam Hussein by trying to kill us and destroy our land.

It does seem that being a real friend of the Americans and have belief in the mission the US is trying to accomplish in the Middle East does not work; it lasts for as long as you are strategic for what the US wants you to be. Again the US proved that it’s not changed its immoral and vicious position towards those people who served to help the USA accomplish its mission in Iraq.

Iraqi Kurds have been the best allies of the US since the libration of Iraq in 2003 and Iraqi Kurdistan is the only safe place for the US troops, since 2003 up to today - once again, not a single US military personnel has been hurt in Kurdistan.

Kurdish problem have existed in the Middle East for more than a century and it still continues. Despite the fact that all the regimes have oppressed Kurds in the Middle East, we have been able to preserve our identity as Kurds and have always been forced to take up arms to protect our Kurdish identity. Throughout our history of resistance, the mountains of Kurdistan have been our only real friends, protectors and shelter!

There has been attempts by both the successive regimes of Turkey and Iraq to erase our identity and change our culture, there have been campaigns of Arabization and Turkishiziation of the Kurds in the past by preventing us from speaking our language and depriving us from education in our language; for years even Kurdish music and Kurdish traditional festivities were forbidden in Turkey and it still continues.

I am from the town of Halabja and I spent all my childhood sheltering in basements and fleeing from the Iraqi regime. Finally my town was gassed in 1988 by Saddam Hussein and killed thousands of people in seconds, thousands of villages were razed to the ground and more than 100,000 of men, women and children were taken and buried alive in the 1980s, but still the international community was silent before all these crimes.

The first Gulf War weakened Saddam's regime and accidently gave us the chance to rise up against Saddam Hussein and gain control over Northern Iraq. However, in the final minutes the US stopped backing the Kurdish people and let Baghdad use its forces to crush the Kurdish uprising in 1991 resulting in the Iraqi army committing atrocities against Kurdish civilians and leaving millions of people to flee to neighboring countries once the former regime recaptured the Northern Kurdish part of Iraq.

Later Iraqi troops retreated and we received partial independence from the Iraqi regime as Alliance forces provided a No Fly Zone protection for the Kurds in Northern Iraq through a UN resolution in April 1991. This resolution reassured us that we would not be killed and bombed by the Iraqi regime again, as the international community, especially the US, would protect us from any aggressive regimes in the area.

But the older generation was still skeptical about the American stance towards us as we have had bad experiences with the western countries, especially the US, before. We have always been used by the US for its interests and in the final moments they have left us to the ironic and oppressive hands of the regimes where the Kurds live. Betrayal followed by betrayal has taken place in the past century by the US and yet we still trusted them for a third time.

Unfortunately for the third time, we placed our trust in the United States government again and warmly received US troops in 2003, unlike the other parts of Iraq where US troops were resisted and fought.

By the time, I was working for the foreign press as a fixer, I was seeing how warm and friendly the Kurdish girls, boys and children from all over Northern Iraq were receiving American troops when they were driving into the cities of Kurdistan. Children were throwing flowers and roses to the US troops as their appreciation for coming and liberating Iraq from the oppressive hands of Saddam Hussein.

I was one of the craziest and most American-influenced guys and I hoped that these new generation and children of the Kurds will not study in the basements because of violence and war as I did when I was a child. I did not think that again the schools of the Kurdish children would be razed to the ground by war jets of Turkey with the help of the US as my school was destroyed by bombardment during Iraq-Iran war.

Everybody was thinking that our future is bright and the US was the light at the end of the tunnel to help the Kurds exercise freedom and democracy that they were allegedly brought by the US tanks to the new Iraq.

In the last couple of years we have been able to secure our area and made it as the most prosperous part of Iraq both economically, politically and security wise. Hundreds of foreign companies have invested in Kurdistan because of its good security and the tolerance of the Kurdish people towards the western values as we have embraced a lot since the US invasion into Iraq.

There are less than 400 US troops in whole of Kurdistan as Kurdish Peshmargas (fighters) have been able to secure not just Kurdistan but the US troops too. Since the US invasion up to now, there has not been any US casualty in Iraqi Kurdistan because Kurdish people have always done their best to protect US troops and considered them as our best friends and alliance in the war against terrorism in Iraq.

We fought alongside the US troops for liberating Iraq and then fought and still fight against terrorism. Kurdish peshmargas and American troops shed their blood against the common enemy.

US troops come to Iraqi Kurdistan for vacations and walk without the fear of IEDs being exploded and even they don’t carry their weapons when they go shopping because of the true and loyal love of the Kurdish people to them.

All the people in the Middle East, with the exception of Israel, call us traitors because of our help, friendly treatment with the Americans and belief in Democracy. We lost and sacrificed our trust to the Arabs, Persians and the Islamic state of Turkey for the sake of the Americans because we deeply believed the phony slogans of Freedom and Democracy that the American government proclaimed. I can say that we put all our eggs in the basket of the Americans and did not leave any space for backup.

The US have a history of rewarding its enemies and punishing its friends. The Iraqi Sunnis, who started resisting US troops and killed thousands of American troops, are rewarded well by increasing their power in the Iraqi Government, arming them and special financial aid to the Sunnis. Even the Sunni resistances made George W. Bush come all the way from Washington to Anbar province to have a meeting with the Sunni tribes. Bush shook hand with the leader of an Iraqi insurgent group who used to kill and fight Americans.

But now as a punishment by the Bush administration to the Kurds, US has opened Northern Iraq’s sky to letting the Turkish war jets bomb Kurdish villages under the pretext that (PKK) Kurdistan Workers' Party bases are in those areas.

Despite the threats of Turkey to bomb and invade Northern Iraq, we, the Kurds, did not think that the US would ever allow Turkey to attack Kurdish villages of Northern Iraq, killing innocent civilians and livestock and destroying the newly-built schools and hospitals. This is an event which has surprised all the Kurds, including our leadership, because we strongly believed that we are protected by US.

It’s really strange that the US is preserving this duplicity policy towards the Kurds. I remember the former US Secretary of State Colin Powel visiting my town in September 2003 and addressing the people of Halabja, giving his word that Kurds will not be bombed and oppressed again, saying that he promises what has happened in the past will not happen again. “No longer just the mountains are friends of the Kurds, but the USA is the real friend of the Kurds now,” proclaimed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice when she visited the northern city of Kirkuk on December 16th 2007, so why does the US let Turkey send its war jets to bomb the Kurdish villages?

The fact that the Americans permitted a Turkish bombardment has proved that we don’t have real friends and it’s only the mountains which are still our real friends and protectors.

Kurds should probably fight American troops in the same way the Arab Sunnis did since the invasion in 2003 so that we would be respected, protected and considered a strategic alliance of the west. If the US continues with this double game with the Kurds I really don’t see the formation of an Anti-American Armed group in Iraqi Kurdistan too far away.

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Abelardo2008-01-07 10:40:21
I dont agree with Mr. Adham's comments on this issue. For thousand years, Turkish and Kurdish people have lived together like brothers. And it was Turkish State who protected Kurdish people in Northern Iraq when Saddam attacked and killed Kurdish people, but of course such kind of facts are not mentioned in your article. As a result, I dont think PKK represent all Kurdish people and it is a terrorist group. Bulgarians and Greeks tried to assimilate the Turkish population in their countries. Look what happened. They still live together, so we will with our Kurdish brothers no matter what happens. It is the high time we got peace and not to protect terrorists. Regards.

Asa2008-01-07 16:11:03
Thank you Yerevan and Abelardo for two sides to a very interesting issue.

Thanos2008-01-07 21:35:48
Mr. Abelardo this story of ...'protecting' is very old and has led in the end in ...occupations just like in Cyprus. The militaristic Turkish state from its beginning has tried hard and violently to exhaust and evaporate the Kurdish language, customs and ethnic identity and nowadays targets the only chance the #Kurdish people have in peace and dignity.

Thanos2008-01-07 21:38:02
Apparently the example of Greeks and Bulgarians shows poor historic knowledge, and I like to remind you that PLO was a ...terrorist organization a few years ago!

John2008-01-07 22:20:20
Mr. Abelardo, you need to remember that Kurdish people were not allowed to speak thier language. Kamal Ata Turk prevented Kurdish language and culture that is why PKK came to exisance. PKK has widespread of popularity among Kurdish people. Kurds have been opressed and killed under the name of brotherhood. if you think you are brothers of the Kurds, let them decide on their fate, let the Kurds live in peace, give back the occupied lands of the Kurds. Media just talks about the Israili-plastinian issue in Middle East. but I think Kurdish issue is much bigger. Thanks Yerevan for the writing.

Alan2008-01-08 11:40:49
Well said Mr Adham

Abelardo2008-01-10 15:48:22
Dear Sirs,
Of course, I am not going to discuss the historic facts here but the last thing I would like to say that it is really sad to use the word 'US invasion into Iraq.' If this were an invasion, Mr Adham conflicts with himself because he says in his article they relied on the US troops to save themselves. Another thing, he needs to name those countries when Kurdish civilians and leaving millions of people to flee to neighboring countries are in his article. You will see that one of them was Turkey. In response to that accusation against our founder Ataturk, there was a big alphabet revolution after the foundation of Turkish Repuclic and Latin alphabet was enforced and new Turkish Language has been accepted as the official language of Turkey and was welcomed by the any ethnic group within Turkey. Regards.

Sirwan H. Jafr2008-04-03 14:58:11
really, Yerevan is right about the report. there is not any tolerance between Turkish and Kurdish people. they are always seeing their differences not shared points, so they can not live together.

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