Updated: Apr 19
What they actually seek to create is an illegal autonomous state carved out of existing sovereign countries.
The Sykes-Picot agreement, officially known as the Asia Minor Agreement, was a secret 1916 agreement between the United Kingdom and France, to which the Russian Empire assented. It set the borders for countries like Syria, Iraq, and Jordan, but the Kurds held little or no influence.
The main purpose of the agreement for the French and British was to bolster their own influence and power in the region. The Kurds have made the argument that they were promised land at the time, but were then cut out of the deal at the last minute.
The founding of the Republic of Turkey
Kurdish history in the 20th century is marked by a rising sense of Kurdish nationhood focused on the goal of establishing an independent Kurdistan in accordance with the Treaty of Sèvres of 1920.
Countries like Armenia, Iraq and Syria were able to achieve statehood, but the prospective Kurdistan was in the way of the newly founded state of Turkey, established by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
The state of Kurdistan has simply never existed
The only areas in the Middle East where the Kurds were able to establish some semblance of legal autonomy are the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq – where minorities are well-protected under new laws – and Israel.
As a result of the disparity between areas of Kurdish settlement and the political and administrative boundaries of the region, a general agreement among Kurds could not be reached regarding borders. However, the Treaty of Sèvres was not implemented and was superseded by the Treaty of Lausanne.
The current Iraq-Turkey border was agreed upon in July 1926. While Article 63 of the Treaty of Sevres explicitly granted full safeguards and protections to the Assyro-Chaldean minority, this reference was dropped in the Treaty of Lausanne.
It’s worth noting that the Iraqi Kurds are situated on the country’s oil-rich fields. Syria’s Hasakah province – which the Kurds are illegally claiming as their territory and which includes their self-appointed capital, Al Qamishli – also contains some of Syria’s most valuable oil fields. Therefore, it is no coincidence that the U.S. is putting its money on the Kurds.
Unethical and violent treatment of minorities, particularly Christians
According to Aina.org, in an article written in 2014, “Last year Ahmed Turk, a Kurdish politician in Turkey, declared that the Kurds have their share of ‘guilt in the genocide, too,’ and apologized to the Armenians. ‘Our fathers and grandfathers were used against Assyrians and Yazidis, as well as against Armenians. They persecuted these people; their hands are stained with blood. We as the descendants apologize,’ Turk said.”
The Kurds have a centuries-long history of persecuting minority groups, having committed genocide against them with alarming frequency. Historical accounts of acts of genocide by the Kurds from 1261 through 1999 are documented in Genocides Against the Assyrian Nation.
In A.D. 1261, in what was referred to as “the coming of the Kurds,” thousands of Assyrians fled the Nineveh plains villages of Bartillah, Bakhdida (Qaraqosh), Badna, Basihra and Karmlis, moving toward the citadel of Arbil to escape a substantial Kurdish emigration. King Salih Isma’il had ordered a great number of Kurds to move from the mountains of Turkey to the Nineveh plains. Assyrian villages on the plains were looted and the thousands of Assyrians who were not able to escape to Arbil were butchered by the Kurdish newcomers. A monastery for nuns in Bakhdida was invaded and its inhabitants brutally massacred.
Kurdish tribes in Turkey, Syria and Iran conducted regular raids and even paramilitary assaults against their Christian neighbors during World War I. The Kurds, acting in accordance with a long-standing tradition of a perceived Kurdish right to pillage Christian villages, were responsible for many atrocities that were committed against Assyrian Christians. A Kurdish chieftain assassinated the patriarch of the Church of the Aast at a negotiation dinner in 1918, the aftermath of which led to the further decimation of the Christian population.
Kurdish complicity in Armenian genocide
The Armenian genocide was carried out during and after World War I and implemented in two phases: the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacres and subjection of army conscripts to forced labor, followed by the deportation of women, children, the elderly, and the infirm on death marches leading to the Syrian desert. Driven forward by military escorts, the deportees were deprived of food and water and subjected to periodic robbery, rape and massacre.
Other indigenous and Christian ethnic groups, such as the Assyrians and the Ottoman Greeks, were similarly targeted for extermination by the Ottoman government in the Assyrian genocide and the Greek genocide, and their treatment is considered by some historians to be part of the same genocidal policy that targeted the Armenians. Most Armenian diaspora communities around the world came into being as a direct result of the genocide.
In the eastern provinces, the Armenians were subject to the whims of their Turkish and Kurdish neighbors, who would regularly overtax them, subject them to brigandage and kidnapping, force them to convert to Islam, and otherwise exploit them without interference from central or local authorities.
Egged on by their Ottoman rulers, Kurdish tribal chieftains raped, murdered and pillaged their way through the southeastern provinces where for centuries they had co-existed, if uneasily, with the Armenians and other non-Muslims. Henry Morgenthau, who served as U.S. Ambassador in Constantinople at the height of the bloodshed, described the Kurds’ complicity in his chilling 1918 memoir Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story:
“The Kurds would sweep down from their mountain homes. Rushing up to the young girls, they would lift their veils and carry the pretty ones off to the hills. They would steal such children as pleased their fancy and mercilessly rob all the rest of the throng…While they were committing these depredations, the Kurds would freely massacre, and the screams of women and old men would add to the general horror.”
A well-curated myth
The Kurds have gained popularity through effectively marketing themselves to Western audiences as revolutionary, feminist, Marxist “freedom fighters” who have a burning desire to create their version of a utopia where peace for all will reign — an image that Stephen Gowans recently critiqued in “The Myth of the Kurdish YPG’s Moral Excellence.”
What they actually seek to create is an illegal autonomous state carved out of existing sovereign countries. The freedom they seek is to be brought about by means of slaughtering natives in the countries that they want to Balkanize and divide on sectarian lines.
They have set about vacating areas of indigenous people, utilizing fear and forceful tactics that are supported by their sponsors but that are in violation of globally accepted human rights. To agree with their cause is to agree with genocidal actions that, in essence, tear people away from their homes and lands while fitting conveniently into the imperial views of Western nations.
Up until recently, Kurds with separatist ambitions were seen in a positive light. But their hidden agenda has now been exposed and their true intentions revealed.Their past and present alliance with Israel and the United States is indicative of these intentions. This can not be dismissed or underappreciated, as it is the hidden foundation on which they have built their mission.
To support the Kurds’ demands for autonomy, and the establishment of a federation at the expense of others in the region, is illegal, profoundly illogical, and a violation of human rights for all of the reasons that have been discussed here.
And it bears remembering as well that one of the top leaders of Daesh was a Kurd.
If the Kurds truly want to live in peace and coexist with others, they must end the excessive historical revisionism in which they incessantly partake; they must forgo alliances that threaten the stability of the countries in which they currently reside; and they must work together and unite with their brethren who share the same geographical land.
Only then will the Kurds truly have friends other than the mountains.