Discussion: the possible ways of solving the Middle East problem
Published on: 2013-03-02 @ 15:07
Discussion: the possible ways of solving the Middle East problem
Presenter: Mark Avrutin, writer, executive director of the public movement “Internationalsupport for Israel”
Let me introduce members of our virtual discussion.
Dr Boris Altshuler, a writer who specializes in the ancient history of the Jews;
Miron Amusia, professor of theoretical physics, publicist;
Arie Baratz, religious philosopher, writer;
Vadim Makarenko, a writer and historian, PhD economy, chief editor of KURDISTAN.RU.
Dmitry Radyshevsky, religious philosopher, writer and social activist;
Alex Tarn, writer.
Dan Shapiro, a professor of Middle East history.
The need for such discussion is now overdue, since the relocation of the center of interests of the United States’ foreign policy from the Middle East to the Eastern Asia could turn the Middle East region into a zone of geopolitical chaos. Perhaps this explains the increased activity of the Kurds in search for support.
The President of the Kurdish Autonomous Region of Iraq, Massoud Barzani, has visited Russia and was hosted by by the President of Russia on 20 February 2013. Barzani was assured that the autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq can count on the political, economic and moral support from Russia.
Thus, Russia has sought to strengthen itself in the Middle East whilst the United States moved the priorities from the Middle East to the Eastern Asia. But can Russia avoid making the Middle East a zone of geopolitical chaos? And does consolidation of stability present its interests? We believe the stability in the Middle East could only be in the best interests of an independent Kurdistan, whether it is created, and Israel.
After the First World War, when the most favourable conditions for the establishment of statehood of Kurds were formed, England prevented it. Kurdistan was divided between the four countries of the region and remains that divided.
Northern Iraq, populated mainly by Kurds, became de facto independent since 1991. Baghdad’s attempts to reintegrate Kurdish territories after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, had a limited impact.
Israel has been traditionally sympathetic to the Kurdish national movement. In late 2003, the government decided to establish a strategic alliance with the Kurdish autonomy in Iraq. However, in Turkey it was not the case. In 1990, being a strategic partner of Ankara, Israel entered into an open confrontation with the Turkish Kurds.
However, the Kurds are taking steps in the direction of Israel. One of the leaders of the Syrian Kurds offered the Israeli leadership to establish contacts. Cooperation offered to them, in his opinion, is aimed at promoting stability and security in the Middle East. The writer proposes to initiate an informal meeting with representatives of both sides.
We see it as a wrong strategic behaviour by both the Israeli government and the leaders of the Kurdish national movement. Israel has made a bid on reinforcing of one of the most aggressive states in the region and has already paid for it.
With the American military presence in Iraq, the Kurds have a choice, but they chose to remain part of Iraq and demanded their own state. Kurds then decided: “We are Iraqis and Kurds at the same time.” But the establishment of stability and security in the Middle East would gain from creating a united and independent Kurdistan.
Unlike many peoples of Western Asia and Northern Africa, islamized by Arabs, Kurds have not been assimilated and retained the ability to further ethno-national development.
Consequences of collision with the Arabs still affect relations between the Islamic world and Kurds. The Kurds, although accepted Sunni Islam, “diluted” it with many pre-Islamic rituals and customs.
During the Gulf War, President George H.Bush urged Iraqi Kurds to rise up against Saddam Hussein. When they rebelled hoping for independence, the Bush administration abandoned them, and they were defeated.
After the fall of Saddam Hussein’s, Iraqi Kurdish leaders had hoped that a democratic Iraq will be built on the principles of federalism and Kurds make up an important part in the new Iraqi leadership. The rejection of violence as a means of solving political problems, respect for pluralism, etc were considered as basic principles.
Undoubtedly, much is predetermined by the current international situation and various factors. In South Kurdistan, the principles of a Kurdish sovereignty have been laid, but it would be nice to see it was followed by a foundation of an independent Kurdistan and not three more autonomies.
Dr B.E. Altshuler presents a brief historical background.
Israel assisted the Kurds in their struggle with Baghdad back in the 70′s. About 45 years ago, Israel along with Iran, was involved in the creation of the Kurdish intelligence agency “Parastin” which was used to destabilize the Baghdad regime of Saddam Hussein. Nowadays, Kurds speak on behalf of the independent state body. Such body since 1992 has been the Kurdish Autonomous Region of Iraq (KAR). In March 2004, they even put into circulation their own money with Kurdish symbols, minted in Sweden.
This step is the political leadership of the Kurds in northern Iraq has not without reason been regarded in neighbouring Turkey as continuation of policy of creation of an independent Kurdish state.
Politically, KAR is being controlled by two major Kurdish parties – the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) led by their leaders M.Barzani and J.Talabani.
Kurdish leaders are trying to adhere to its own policy that meets the interests, above all, of the Kurdish people. To meet this, they accept all possible alliances with the forces on whom they depend in obtaining real help in realization of the Kurdish dream – to create a separate independent state – the Greater Kurdistan.
As one of the powerful forces, the Kurds have long considered the state of Israel. They rely, and not without reason, on the support of not only the government agencies in Israel but the hundred thousands of Kurdish Jews of this country that have lived in the territory of Kurdistan. Cooperation between Israel and the KAR is maintained at the highest level. In 2004, the Israeli newspaper “Haaretz Newspaper” reported that officials met with M.Barzani and J.Talabani and the Prime Minister Ariel Sharon confirmed the existence of good relations with the Iraqi Kurds.
Kurdish cooperation with Israel is taken very sensitively by the Arabs and Iranians. In 1999, the leaders of Iran rather strictly oppressed the Kurds in Iranian Kurdistan, rallying in connection with the arrest of PKK leader A.Ocalan, who was seen as the result of the “Turkish-Israeli conspiracy.”
There is a strong stream among the Kurds who suggest that political Islam manifested by “Ansar al-Islam” threatens the Kurdish national movement and is rather deadly. And they are ready to give all the efforts to their Israeli partners to combat the phenomenon because in the whole region, only the Kurds and Israel are fighting with political Islam that threatens their very existence.
The representatives of such stream in the Kurdish movement believe that the Kurdish areas can function as a buffer zone which prevents the spread of radical Iranian Shia Islam that the Kurds especially hate.
Sherkoh Abbas, president of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria (KNA), has recently been telephone interviewed by Jerusalem Post. Abbas criticized the American idea that the Kurds should cooperate with the Syrian National Council. Abbas said that Syria must “break up into ethnic enclaves.” “A series of federal agencies will be based on the nature of the various ethnic groups of the country,” said Abbas.
Federal Syria will not turn into a Sunni theocracy dominated by Salafis and the “Muslim Brotherhood.” Abbas said Israel can greatly help him and other enthusiasts in destruction of Syria. According to him, the federal Syria, divided by 4-5 regions along ethnic and religious lines, will serve as a “natural buffer” between Israel and radical Sunni and Shiite Islam.
Not questioning a geopolitical significance of Kurdish problem, I do not see whether it could have a decisive influence on the Arab-Israeli conflict.
As for “otherness” of Kurdish Islam, there is no more hostile to each other type of Islam than Shiyya and Sunnah. However, they speak with one voice against Israel. Not a single Muslim country will be siding Israel. Not a one. Even Azerbaijan, which still maintains tolerable relations with Israel, is a member of the League of Islamic states and therefore is responsible for all
Islamic anti-Israel resolutions. See no reason why the Kurds should be an exception. Do you really and truly believe that if you put a hypothetical Kurdish state in a dilemma “Israel vs League of Islamic countries” the Kurds will choose Israel?
You can’t fire guns with sticks
The Kurdish parties in all parts of the Great Kurdistan have definitely proclaimed that they are eager to establish their own Kurdish state. In order to estimate the perspectives of the Kurdish national independence movement we need to analyze the conditions within which it is developing. And we need to go well beyond the traditional frames of discussing of this problem.
The Kurdish national independence movement has to realize a paradox experience of the Israel state. The essence of the paradox is that the most countries of Africa and Asia which started the way to their independence much later than Israel, in 1960-es, have long ago established as such, though the grounds for the establishment were often much controversial, and most of such countries up to now are on the brinks of being considered as the “failed” states. Israel, though having a great intellectual potential, well developed financial and human resources, good connections is still locked in the position when its future is not finally settled. Israel is continuing to preserve itself by the military force and is risking to follow the historical model of the crusader’s states which had to leave this region after the two centuries of heroic struggle. Israel cannot get the recognition as the Jewish state even within the borders lined by the UN from the small autochthonic population – from Palestine’s population whose own historical status and roots are not clear, whose self identification is under the question.
The Kurds can repeat the Israel’s way to independence, i.e. try to prove their right for independence by the force. It’s a popular idea among that part of Kurdish intelligence who live outside the Kurdistan region of Iraq and are out of the Kurdistan state’s structures. Israel managed to defend its independence in the war campaigns of 1947 – 1949, 1967 and even in 1973. Should the Kurds now, after many previous attempts including in Mahabad republic in 1947 in (Iran, former soviet occupation zone) and the great revolt in Iraq in March of 1991, with the latter attempt almost ending up in a catastrophic exodus of the Kurdish population when Kurdish people were saved by Madam Mitterrand who persuaded her husband to start military operation to cover Kurds, try to get the independence by following the framework of the Arab-Israel war of 1947-1949? There are some people who believe that yes, as the freedom is not a given thing, one should take it. They permanently alarm that the suitable time for separating from Iraq is going out. They are sure that it’s necessary to proclaim the independence and then be ready to fight for it. Sometimes they prove their position considering Iraqi premier Maliki cannot be compared with Saddam Hussein. Of course it’s possible to run along the Israel’s path, but one can say in the very beginning of this way that even if this start would be successful Kurds will not manage to bear cost of this campaign as Israel did because they don’t have even a small part of the outside support which managed or could manage Israel for itself. It’s not the question of bravery or ability to fight, because the conditions in which they will occur would be above the bravery and self-sacrifice.
In fact, the opinion that the Kurds were in power to get full independence in 2003 is out of facts. The Kurds were to act according to the plans for the operation and they were assigned to fulfill a certain role during the occupational period which was planned in other way than was realized in fact. But the change in the coalition’s occupation plans was in favor of the Kurds, because if everything stayed in force as it was supposed to in 2002-2003 and according to the models of a half a century long occupational periods in Germany or Japan, the Kurds would lost more in the sense of obtaining the independence. Now it’s unreal to even think of restoring Bavaria or Kingdom of Saxony in Germany or Satsuma or Choshu in Japan as the autonomies, however the Kurdistan region in Iraq de facto has the independence which even in their dreams cannot be imagined by the federal units of Russia or Germany. Though in Russia there are some possibilities in perspective, but not in a short run. If USA managed to fulfill its initial occupational plans, the 20 – 30 years of economical and political development under the American strict guidance would produce the United Iraq forgetting or putting far aside all the ethnical or sectarian watersheds. Refusing from these plans because they were considered unrealistic led to the bloody division of Sunni and Shiite Arabs even in those places where it was likely that they formed semi-modern ethnos, i.e. in the cities of Central Iraq. It empowered the Kurdish positions in the north of the country providing a chance for further self isolation from Iraq.
The Kurds had received maximum they could in 2003 by using the driving force of the international coalition campaign which cleared Iraq from Saddam’s regime. In 2003 they multiplied their force through allying with the coalition and they were clever and experienced enough not to lose this momentum. We should fairly assess this period – no other party in Iraq was able to use that period the way the Kurds did, including through Sunn Arabs’ boycott of the occupational structures during the first years of occupation of the post-Saddam Iraq. They received much more because they were prepared better than others: they had political parties, were well experienced in the armed struggle, their own territory was covered by American and Britain air forces and was not involved into the fighting, and they’ve already been through the period of the inter-region conflicts. Their strong parties competing for power were appeased by Americans.
Today the Kurds have status and political positions in Iraq which are much above the level they could reach by acting on their own and, especially, if they acted against the coalition’s plans. The international coalition didn’t desire to accept the Turkish demands though its territory was an ideal place to start invasion into Iraq. If Erbil tried to demand its own interests to be put beyond the coalition’s plan its destiny would have been much worse. One of the today problems is connected to the possible retreat, because the Kurds in Iraq keep much more than Arabs consider natural for them according not only to their place in Iraq but also to their international positions. Preserving their political positions is one of the priorities for the Kurdistan region’s authorities. It’s not occasional that they have done a lot in a foreign policy area. But up to now they are going in the framework of the Israel’s model. It’s not enough. In order to understand how the Kurdistan could lead itself to the full independence, we need to see clearly the handicaps of the Israel’s way.
Respected Mr Makarenko titled his speech “You cannot chop wood with a penknife.” The very title, as well as the text, is imbued with pessimism: “You can try to go the Israeli way, but you can just say that the Kurds, even with successful development of the campaign at the beginning, cannot withstand what Israel has withstood, because they do not have a hundredths part of the support that Israel counted on. The courage and the ability to fight is not an issue. The circumstances in which it is necessary to act are above courage and sacrifice.”
1. What kind of support could expect Israel in 1948? The U.S. and Britain declared embargo on the supply of military equipment to Israel. Only Czechoslovakia (by Stalin) sold Israel some captured German aircraft. Israel has started the production of the primitive machine guns and mortars.
2. Israel’s mobilisation capabilities were very limited, because the whole population numbered about half a million people, under-military age dominating.
3. The quality of the arms of the Arab countries and their mobilisation capabilities far surpassed Israel’s.
4. Mobilising forces of Kurds are significantly higher than Israel’s. According to the most conservative estimates, there are 20 million Kurds in the world. The maximum estimates show 40 million. It is believed that in the late twentieth century, there were about 34 million Kurds in the world.
5. Kurds live in the mountainous regions of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, making it impossible to use the armoured armies of these countries.
6. Now the Middle East, home to Kurds, covered the so-called Arab “spring” and a stand-off between Shiites and Sunnis. If the Iraqi Kurds have autonomy, possibly temporary, the other countries do not have self-government. Lack of autonomy has always threatened reprisals against the people of the titular nation. You cannot miss the moment.
I stick to Mr Eylman’s position. You can add the following to what he has said. Through thousands of years of Christian preaching, the Jewish people have acquired a title of people who killed Jesus Christ. Therefore, the world has always been ready to blame and not support the Jews and now – the Jewish state. This was evident at the Evian Conference of 1938, when all states have refused to grant asylum to European Jews. Nowadays, instead of condemning the ongoing terror against Israeli civilians, the whole world through the United Nations, condemns Israel for falsified genocide of a fictional, artificially created Palestinian people. Nothing of a kind can occur in relation to the Kurdish people. In addition, through thousands of years the vast majority of the Kurds have been living on their land. Unlike them, the Jews were expelled from their historic homeland. Although their connection to the land of Eretz Yisrael has been never broken completely, the vast majority of people lived in exile prior to rebirth of Israel. This is the basis for the prosecution of Jews in the occupied Arab territories.
It is worth recalling the Kurds. Not once I mentioned them as people who are far more suitable for governmentalisation than the Arabs of former Palestine. But will such state be a really strong support to Israel – it is extremely difficult to say. Once created, the 35 millionth state of Kurdistan highly likely, in my opinion, will become the 22nd Islamic state in the existing alliance of 21 countries and it won’t take long. But this is a side issue, little related to Israel – then we think of something else that may hurt our movement support for Israel. Sane people in South Korea, Taiwan and South Africa follow the example of Israel. I have been there and I know this not by hearsay.
To create a stable and peaceful New Middle East (NME) one should go back to the ancient, pre-Islamic Middle East: the Phoenicians, (a)Syrians, Copts, Kurds. Whilst it is impossible to finally de-islamize these peoples, it is feasible to weaken the Islamic element of their identity and revive the element of civilization (“we are the heirs of the ancient pre-Islamic cultures”, including the cultures of the ancient Eastern Churches). This requires a new meeting on the Elbe – the sacred Christian Union of Russia and the U.S. – in which two superpowers, two wings of Christianity, should unite in a joint task of returning the Middle East in the field of biblical civilisation. It is in the interests of both Russia and the U.S., and Europe, and – above all – the residents themselves in the region. It is reasonable to begin construction of the NME with the destruction of the political map: the borders drawn after the post-colonial section do not match the history, culture and justice. It is quite executable to destroy the rotten house of cards by pulling the Kurds out, i.e. giving them a long-deserved independence. In so doing, we will reduce the area and deservedly shorten ambitions of Turkey, Iran and Syria and make life easier for Iraq.
The next step should be circumcision of Iran (a painful procedure that promotes healthy life in the future) to the size of ethnic Persia – depriving them of the Turkish north and returning it to Azerbaijan and the Sunni west – to Iraq. To circumcise Syria in favour of Lebanon and Israel. And most importantly – to circumcise Turkey. Constantinople should be returned to Greece, Ararat – to Armenia.
No doubts these are messianic, eschatological plans – but it will happen one day to justify the historical truth and according to the God’s plan. An independent Kurdistan should be the first. Its armed uprising is necessary but it will be successful only if the U.S. could help. To make this happen, there should be another man in the White House. A man who will understand why you need to cut Turkey and Iran in favour of the Kurds, why it requires an alliance with Russia, why a union should not be based on democracy but a Christian mission to bring the light of the Bible to all nations and unite all nations around the restored Israel. Similarly, there should also be other people sitting in the Kremlin.
Yes, Mr Radyshevsky’s viewpoint is very interesting. Unfortunately, hardly feasible at least for the next four years because the White House as well as the Kremlin will likely change anything.
Alex Tarn and professor Amusya hardly have any doubt that the hypothetical Kurdish state, faced with the dilemma of “Israel vs League of Islamic countries” will not choose Israel. I would like to know how Mr Makarenko sees this problem. I expect that Mr Shapira favours on the discussion.
I already mentioned the fundamental differences between the Kurdish and Jewish people. But in my opinion, Kurdish autonomy in Iraq can give nothing but only strengthening of Iraq. Can it turn Iraq democratic? In geopolitical terms, of interest may be only an independent united Kurdistan. Should the Kurds are limited in the short term by only Kurdish autonomy on the wreckage of Iraq (which is hostile to Israel) not thinking seriously about creating a bigger Kurdistan, then my opponents – Alex Tarn and professor Amusya – are correct in asserting that they see no link of the movement “International support for Israel” to the Kurdish issue. I see it as the Kurdish , not Kurdish -Iraqi problem.
From my point of view, for the Kurds, Israel can only play a role of an example in institutional, cultural, scientific and technological potential of its people. Remarks by Mr V.Makarenko such as “Israel still holds the power being at risk of repeating the experience crusader state formations in the area, which, after two centuries of heroic efforts were forced to leave the area.” do not contribute to the success of the discussion.
Kurds are the heirs of the ancient people of the Middle East and the Hittites of Asia Minor, which had more than three thousand years ago been massively represented in the region and in Eretz Yisrael. The Kurds have strong familial and genetic relationships with Jews, some of them are descendants of the islamized Jews. In antiquity and the Middle Ages, the Jewish states, the “kingdoms”, like Mahozy, exited on the territory of Kurdistan.
And yet, somewhere after the battle and peace between the Egyptians and the Hittites at Kadesh in 1274 BC, the New Hittites kingdom collapsed, the Hittites left the political arena of the East, a period of expansion of the”the Sea Peoples” and establishment of Israel commenced. Only in the 19th century, the New Age, a new Kurdish national movement emerged. With the advent of Islam and especially after the capture of Palestine under the leadership of Saladin (Salaha-ed-din) in the late Middle Ages the Kurds gained in the world of Islam (“Ummah”) a large authority which satisfied them until the 20th century. In Israel today, they play an important role in the so-called mosaic of “Palestinian people” – from the descendants of the Sudanese people to Roma, converted to Islam. They total up to 100,000 people there.
Israel does not have any special interests in Kurdistan. As one of the major political players in the region, a state has interests in all the neighbouring countries and wants to live in peace with all peoples. Kurdish problem compounded by the fact that they are culturally very fragmented and the so-called “National idea” is not accepted by all Kurds alike. In this respect, the present political Islam is perceived as no alternative political position. With excessive zeal, Israel risks once again to find itself in a situation like today, when Turkey is clearly trying to emphasize its neo-osman position in the Islamic world, rapidly demolishing the old friendly relations with Israel.
An important difference between Kurdistan and Israel is that the Jews for over three thousand years have never lost connection with Eretz-Israel and God of Israel. It is this circumstance that enabled the Jewish people to survive the unprecedented two Great Diaspora – after the defeat of the Assyrians of ancient Israel in 732-720 years BC and the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD, and two thousand years later – even the Holocaust. Kurds do not have such historical memory – their story is different.
“The Kurds story is different” – this can be said of every nation. It is not the common history of the Jews with the Kurds that we are interested in, I reckon. It is rather the difference of Kurds from other Muslim countries and, above all, the position of women. The Kurds woman has never been a slave and therefore, gave birth to non-slaves.
Also, Mr Altschuler states that “Israel does not have any special interests in Kurdistan.” I thought we were discussing the situation in the region. Israel is interested in changing the position mainly
in the region, and the emergence of an independent Kurdistan simply can not but lead to a fundamental change in the situation. I do not see sufficient grounds for approval of inevitability of merger of Greater Kurdistan with the entire Muslim world. I see it more likely that Kurdistan is opposed to four states, to which it was artificially appended.
“The Kurds woman has never been a slave and therefore, gave birth to non-slaves.”
Without going into details of this statement, let me say I am not quite sure what the Kurds are referred to? Alevis(?) – So those have other sociology and their Islam is more modern. They, for example, do not need a mosque and a woman plays a much more emancipated role in everyday life. It is common for Christian Yezidis, many of whom fled to Europe, that their daughters who date with men of other faiths, are just being killed, like in some families of the Muslim Turks. Reports from the German courts tell about this custom. In Turkey, Kurds are declared “highlanders Turks” and thoroughly assimilated. In my opinion, they already had a Kurd president and there are many cross-cultural marriages. Therefore it’s permissible to speak of a cultural genocide against the Kurdish language, numbering many dialects and the ban on its teaching, etc. But nowadays, apparently, a lot has changed for the better, though, for example, Anatolia is very backward compared with the flourishing Turkish Mediterranean coast. All these contradictions are plastered with a thick layer of political Islamism. And I must say that this policy, very noticeable in the modern revival of activity in the economy, has hit Turkey. Another thing is this is a nonsense – people with at least thirty millionth population does not have a national state and only one autonomous province in Iraq.
In Syria neighbouring Israel, the Alevits minority is in power. This minority for all its modern Shiite definition of Islam, has always firmly believed in anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism. So the Kurds have their own problems, Israel and the Jews also have their own, despite the strange views of Vadim Makarenko that Jews and Israel (?) have almost unlimited financial resources.
Israel is interested, as well as Germany for example, in friendly relations with all the peoples of the Middle East, including the Kurds. Kurdish problem will be solved one day. This will happen when the Kurds themselves decide what to do (or not do) with the national government. Israel, of course, will be happy to develop friendly relations with the Kurdish people. On the other hand it would be very sad if such interest is one-sided and limited to a certain initial Israeli help in achieving the goals of Kurdish nationalism. The experience of recent years relationship with Turkey favours alertness of the Israelis.
I do not understand how one can set an example of relationship with Turkey, pondering about the relationship with the Great Kurdistan, which could be the result of a separatist struggle for the allocation of part of Turkey, Iran, Syria, Iraq, the struggle for independence, the creation of a large state of the ancient people with millennial culture. The absence of a Kurdish state is just nonsense, which can be explained only by the cynical behaviour of other countries, primarily Britain, which has stamped enough around the world.
It’s counter – productive to taboo the real problems of Israel and neglect a theoretical possibility that the Israeli experiment can lead to a negative result. I hope that the complicated situation will be overcome and the worst scenario will be avoided.
Basing on the current Israeli experience I’d like to understand whether there were any possible steps which, if taken, could have eliminated the capital danger to Israel. My question is not about the economy or the armed forces, because these are the areas where Israel has very well succeeded. I’m interested in the non-power aspects of this problem. For example, if Israel had adopted Yiddish as the state language instead of Hebraic, could it led to a situation when the population of the country would now be 16 millions instead of 8 millions? Are there estimations of this or similar aspects?
There are a lot of questions about the regional policy of Israel and its allies. For a long time they haven’t staged any real efforts to protect the rights of the Kurds in Turkey, Iraq, Syria or even Iran .
Throughout 2003-2011, the USA had a real opportunity to establish an independent Kurdish state on the Northern Iraq territories, but rejected such opportunity and had not even completed (in fact, had not even started) the de-arabization of the Kurdish territories that is stipulated by the Iraqi Constitution (2005). These Kurdish territories were inhabited by the Arab population implanted by Saddam Hussein’s regime, while several hundred thousands of Kurds were forced out.. The USA had all the taps in their hands, especially, provided that the Kurds were direct victims of the genocide policy (including cases of massive usage of the chemical weaponry) of the ousted Saddam’s regime, giving USA a solid moral right to immediately recognize the independency of Kurdistan. The USA possessed all the keys to the Kurdish independency, however they preferred to keep the previous structure of the Iraqi state so that the main hostile to each other groups of population – Sunni Arabs, Shiite Arabs and Kurds – impeded each other. When leaving Iraq, the USA troops handed the key objects located on the disputed territories to the central authorities of Iraq.
The Kurdish problem has not developed even in the field of the social sciences. The Studies of The Kurds were almost neglected in Russia. In the western countries, including Israel, the situation in this area was only a little bit better. The establishment of the Great Kurdish state with population of 40-45 million people could change the geopolitics of the Middle East, but up to the recent time the Kurds have been locked within themselves, have not received deserved support, which makes the appearance of Great Kurdistan unlikely or very remote in time.
Not enough effort was put into supporting the autochthonic minorities of the Middle East. For example, Kurds, Druz, Christians and now Alleviates in Syria are under the great pressure from the Sunni Arabs who, on the contrary, are receiving the international support. It’s necessary to defend the minorities before it’s too late. If it’s impossible to do so within the today borders of Syria, then under the supervision of the world community this country is to be divided by ethnic or confession lines. We should not repeat Iraqi mistakes which the international community will still have to rectify in the future.
The ethnic and confessional situation in Egypt where Copts are being squeezed out is degrading.
Even in Turkey the Turkish or Kemalistic ideological component is weakening losing to the Islamic identification and this tendency is taking place among the Kurdish population too.
The fundamental interests of Shiites in the Middle East are being ignored. The subsequent damage caused in the Middle East is increasing since the Islamic revolution in Iran took place.
At the end of the XX-th century the moment of political spurt of Islam was overlooked. Islamists propaganda has obtained modern means of communication (radio, TV, internet, print editions)
At the same time, in my opinion, the history of Islam is formulated too loose and often utmost uncritically. This lets Islamists to view the whole period of the Islam history, starting from Muhammad, as a continuous rise and expansion of Islam.
The whole Middle East history is basically considered as Arab and Islamic and so the whole Middle East itself is treated, but its historical background was completely different. There is possibility to look at the history of the Middle East in another way, not as “unknown kingdom”. This would give a chance to put down the aggressive pressure of Islam against Israel and other non-Arabic ethnics and confessions of Syria, Iraq and the countries of the Persian Gulf.
I think your questions, Mr Makarenko, could best of all be answered by prof. Dan Shapira. I could have your questions answered with mine ones. Why, for example, you remember Yiddish: “If the country has chosen not Hebrew but Yiddish, it would lead to the fact that its population is made up of, say, 16 million and not 8 million people as of now? Are there any such estimates?” I don’t know about such estimates, but I know that, apart from Yiddish there was and probably is Ladino – the language of the Sephardic Jews, who almost all have moved to Israel. Hence, it is not a language, but the living conditions which became unbearable.
You blame Israel and its allies, but then only write about America, and it is, in my view, correct.
Next, you write that “Creation of 40 – 45 million Great Kurdistan could significantly change the regional situation …”. And I, unlike most of the participants of the discussion, see it as obvious. But I do not understand what kind of support Kurds require or why are you pedalling their insecurity, stressing the need to “protect the minority.” Aren’t the disconnection of Kurdish leaders, rivalry in Kurdish communities in Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq more important? Why the Kurds in Iraq, who were gas poisoned, still fought for autonomy rather than secession? Why did they prefer to be the Iraqi Kurds and not the Kurds of independent Kurdistan?