The Kurdish People

Kurdish people have been around for a long time. They have a history that involves oppression, manipulation, and displacement. They have been labeled terrorist organizations, much of their citizenship has been revoked, and they often must fend for themselves. Yet even through all this, they remain in existence, and they even thrive in some countries. They have developed a semi-autonomous state in Iraq, they are one of the key rivals to ISIS, and are a legitimate group in Turkey where about half of all Kurds live.

The pride they demonstrate for their group is unbelievable. When I was looking through twitter, I came across this image of a Kurdish fighter that had written on a brick wall the initials of his fighting unit, the YPG. The ink was red, and the caption explained that the Kurdish fighter had used his own blood. This demonstrates a lot about the Kurdish people in one image. For one, the Kurdish fighter has sustained injuries, but he continues fighting. Second, the Kurdish fighter is prideful and wants people to know that the YPG was there and that they were going to stay. Third and finally, the Kurdish fighter is strong, and will fight for his people until the very end, and he will do it because he wants to establish autonomous state for the Kurdish people.

Within the Kurdish state, and their drive for an autonomous state, there are several different groups that seem to have different ideologies. This could be due to the different cultural factors, but I also think that it has to do with how they are treated by the countries they inhabit. I learned from different articles that I posted on Diigo that the Kurdish people in Turkey are different from the groups in Syria, and different than the people of Iraq. The people of Turkey are seen as a terrorist organization and therefore are inclined to pursue a radicalism perspective. They want to be recognized and are consistently oppressed by Ankara. A recent peace agreement has recently been broken off, even if there wasn’t much of one to begin with. This leads the Turkish people to try more violent and radical approaches to establishing an autonomous state. In contrast, the Kurdish people in Iraq feature much more benefits and have more of a political realism perspective to globalization.

The Kurdish group in Iraq have a semi-autonomous state where they have their own economy and are isolated from the other parts of Iraq. Even with all the wars that are constantly happening in Iraq, the Kurdish people in Iraq have not been affected as much. They have there own effective military force, which enables them to fight other terrorist organizations in the region, they are trained, have weapons, and the nationalism that encompasses a good army. They also produce and sell their own oil to help their economy. This last part is not with the approval of the Iraqi government though.

The most interesting articles I read during my postings on diigo were the ones that talked about the Kurdish people in Syria. These Kurdish people are much smaller than either Turkey or Iraq. Yet they probably have the most at stake during the Arab Spring. The Kurdish people in Syria had previously lost citizenship under Bashar Al-Assads father Hafez. Yet when Bashar Al-Assad needed support from the Kurds in the earl 2000’s he granted citizenship to the Kurds that supported him. Yet this came shortly after a show of brutality by the younger Assad. This was not lost on the Kurdish people. The Kurdish people oppose Assad and stick to the realm of political realism. There main goal is to have an autonomous state and they feel that both Assad and ISIS are intervening in that.

The reason the Kurdish people were brought to the foreground of everybody’s mind was the recent developments in the Middle East regarding ISIS and their incursion in Syria. The self-proclaimed Islamic State has gone into Syria and has taken over several parts, including parts inhabited by the Kurdish people. This has led to a bloody battle between the Kurds and ISIS. Yet this has also demonstrated to the world the might of the Kurdish army, they have become the only ground force that is able to combat them. The problem of ISIS now has become critical to the world and has made the Kurdish people relevant, yet it is difficult to say the best course of action that the Kurdish people should take.

History has provided many examples of the Kurdish people supporting a group when they were promised their own state, only to be disappointed. Different nation states have manipulated the Kurdish people for centuries, just like Bashar Al-Assad is doing now. This makes it seem that the Kurdish people should not trust any nations that want them to eliminate ISIS. Yet the Islamic State made it a tricky situation because they have attacked the Kurdish people and have taken over some of their land. As I said before, the Kurdish people are very prideful, and because of the years of oppression they can not just sit back. The Kurdish groups have come together despite their different perspectives. Turkish groups have yet to be allowed to help the Syrian Kurds in great numbers because Ankara still considers the Turkish Kurds a terrorist organization. Yet Ankara now appreciates the help of the Syrian Kurds because they have been combatting the Islamic State, which is a common enemy. Ankara has allowed Iraqi Kurds to help the Syrian Kurds. This demonstrates that the Kurdish people are still being treated like puppets. Turkey allows some groups to use there borders to combat the Islamic State, but still oppresses the Kurdish people in Turkey and denies them basic rights.

In concepts of globalization there was two chapters that most connected the overall topic of the Kurdish people. One of them was the Terrorism and Security chapter. This seemed to connect to the situation in Turkey, and how Ankara treats the Turkish Kurds. Now most of the international community no longer labels the Turkish Kurds as a terrorist organization mainly because of there increased cooperation in Syria in toppling the Islamic State. From the Kurdish history it seems that there is some history of war between the Kurdish people and Turkey. This has led to them being labeled a terrorist organization. These same Kurdish people are cooperative with other countries, and are in small numbers fighting the Islamic State. While these Kurdish people do pose a national security threat to Turkey because of their continued actions against Ankara, it seems that both groups are committing atrocities. Also, it seems that the Islamic State now poses an even bigger threat to Turkey then do the Turkish Kurds. This leads some to believe that Turkey should make a peace agreement to increase their cooperation because it could benefit both groups.

The second chapter that I felt was important was the chapter in concepts of globalization that talked about military intervention when there are widespread human rights issues. Before the Islamic State there was widespread human rights issue and still the United Nations were reluctant to engage in Syria. Also, even with the Islamic State, the western powers began attacking before there was clearance by the UN. In addition the Kurdish people have been the greatest pawns for the western nations. The western nations have provided the Kurds with weapons and resources in return for fighting the Islamic State. I am curious to see in the future the returned investment that the Kurdish people receive for their efforts against the Islamic State.

The Kurdish people throughout the Middle East have one goal in mind, and that is to create their own independent state. Their constant struggle with corrupt states and negligent governments have created a sense of solidarity between the different groups. Yet they continue to fight and cooperate with other nations in hope that they will eventually reach their ultimate goal. My research first began looking at a marginalized group that was at the forefront in the fight against the Islamic State, a group that had been labeled a terrorist organization by some, and were barely citizens in the countries they lived in. My research ended with the discovery of one of the most historic, prideful, and inspiring groups in the history of the world.



The Kurdish Puppets

The first article (Found here) describes the past relationship of Ankara, the Assad regime, and the Kurdish forces in Turkey and Syria. After initially being opposed by Bashar Al-Assads father, Bashar took more of a cooperative approach with the kurdish forces in Syria. This led to growing tensions with Turkey that threatened war. My second article (Found here)  talks about how the Kurdish people still remember the way the Syrian security forces assaulted them during protest in 2004 and therefore are unsure of whether to trust Assad. This just makes me see the political nature of Assad. It shows that he is a political realist. He sides with the Kurdish forces and appeases them to try to gain there support, but also tries to destroy them if they get too out of control.

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