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Syria Update: The Coming Kurdish Insurrection?

McClatchy reports that Syria’s Kurds are dead set on reversing some historical land confiscations that’ve left them high and dry:

The land confiscation took place across the country. But in the predominantly Kurdish province of Hasaka, in Syria’s northeast corner, the resettlement of Arabs from another part of the country in the 1970s created ethnic tensions that could manifest themselves violently when the Syrian government fully relinquishes control of the area, now seen by many as only a matter of time.

“We have to ask them to give us our land back. If they don’t, we have to do whatever we need to do,” said [Kurdish farmer Sattam] Sheikhmous. “It’s not just our land, it’s Kurdish land. If they don’t leave peacefully, we will use weapons.”

We’ve kept an eye on the potential for a Kurdish spring in the region. When and if it comes, Syria is likely to become a central part of the conflict. But when the Kurds attempt to take arable and oil-rich land from the Arab population, you can be sure it won’t happen without a fight. Indeed, a similar struggle in Iraq has been raging now for nearly a decade.

And as ever, Turkey, home to 14 million Kurds its government views as troublesome nationalists, will not be happy about the prospect of a new Kurdish power along its borders. Soon, Ankara may decide that it needs to get involved as well.

Turkey’s involvement in a Syrian-Kurdish conflict isn’t likely to lessen the bloodshed.

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  • Luke Lea

    The Kurds certainly have a case. It is hard not to root for them.

  • WigWag

    “The Kurds certainly have a case. It is hard not to root for them.” (Luke Lea)

    It seems to me, Luke, that the United States should be doing alot more than rooting for them. We should be supporting them and advocating for an independent Kurdistan.

    In Iraq we should be insisting that not only Kirkuk and Erbil are part of Iraqi Kurdistan but that Mosul is too. The United States should be supporting the removal (by force if necessary), of the Arab and Turkmen populations that Saddam Hussein moved into the region.

    In Iran, we should reevaluate the characterization of PJAK as a terrorist group. The more internal turmoil in Iran the better; we should be assisting PJAK attacks on Revolutionary Guard brigades in precisely the same way that Israel is purportedly assisting MEK assassins to kill Iranian nuclear scientists. The preternaturally boneheaded Obama Administration should be delisting the MEK as a terrorist organization; it should also delist the Iranian Kurdish insurgent group. PJAK and the MEK may use unpalatable methods but they are both anxious to overthrow a government that harbors nuclear ambitions that could lead to a holocaust. Any and all methods are fair game to stop them; it’s time for Obama and Clinton to smarten up.

    In Turkey, the United States should insist that the Government stop persecuting Kurdish political parties, allow Kurdish school children to be taught in their own language and recognize Southeastern Turkey as the semiautonomous homeland of Turkey’s Kurds. Most importantly, the American Government should explain to the Turks that if they are unwilling to treat Hamas as a terrorist group than the United States doesn’t consider the PKK to be a terrorist group. The United States could even announce that it considers Abdullah Öcalan to be a political prisoner.

    In Syria, the United States should not only be arming Kurdish militias but it should be helping those militias expand their control of non-Kurdish areas so that they have unimpeded access to the sea. A landlocked Kurdistan will be a much less viable nation than a Kurdistan with access to a port.

    Of course, all of this would infuriate the Iranians, the Iraqi Arabs, the Syrian Arabs and the Turks; that’s precisely the idea. It would be a game changer in the Middle East.

    The idea that the Palestinians should have a nation of their own before the Kurds is ridiculous. It is morally repugnant for the Arabs to get a 22nd nation (Palestine) before the Kurds get their first. Kurdistan would be an American ally and a major strategic asset to the United States. An Administration that thought boldly would figure out how to get this done.

    By the way; once the Kurds have their own nation, it’s time to start thinking about how we can carve out a nation for Arab Christians. Whether its Egypt’s Copts, Lebanon’s Maronites, Palestinian or Gazan Christians, Iraqi Chaldeans or Syrian Orthodox, it’s pretty clear that the only future for Christians in Arab lands is one filled with intolerance, marginalization and violence.

    What do you say, Luke; maybe we should send the Arabs in Gaza packing back to Egypt where most of them originated and give Gaza to the Arab world’s persecuted Christians. If Gaza was populated by Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Coptic Christians, how long do you think it would take before the place was alot more civilized than it is now?

    Populated by Christians from the Arab world, how long do you suspect it would take Gaza to morph from a cesspool to a thriving nation?

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