Kurds and their desire for independence - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

Wandering the information superhighway, he came upon the last refuge of civilization, PoFo, the only forum on the internet ...

Political issues and parties in the nations of the Middle East.

Moderator: PoFo Middle-East Mods

Forum rules: No one line posts please. This is an international political discussion forum moderated in English, so please post in English only. Thank you.
Historically, the Kurds are the most divided people, who do not have their own state formation. Living in three countries - Iraq, Syria and Turkey - they are separated by their borders. But, nevertheless, the Kurds do not lose hope to create their own state.
After the American invasion of Iraq, Kurds began to build their state quickly in conditions of weak central authority and silent support of the United States. As a result, in recent years, Kurds have possessed an unprecedented autonomy in Iraq, which allowed them to even independently dispose of oil from existing deposits on their territory. In December 2014, the government of Iraqi Kurdistan and official Baghdad concluded an agreement on the sharing of oil produced in the Kurdish territories, some of which Kurds sold on the international market through Turkey. And then they began to make claims to the oil-rich province of Kirkuk.
Meanwhile, the decision of the Kurds to hold a referendum on independence against the will of the more powerful countries, led them to failure. Immediately after the referendum, the Iraqi authorities began to think about the introduction of an army into the Kirkuk province. On the night of October 16, Baghdad launched a military operation, as a result of which the Iraqi army "took away" significant disputed territories in northern and eastern Iraq. Experts believe that Kurds lost even more than they had in 2014. The Kurdish project in Iraq failed miserably. The Iraqi government has regained everything that the Kurds have accumulated for more than a decade, and the US has done nothing to help its Kurdish "allies." As in Iraq, the hopes of the Syrian Kurds for the state grew on the basis of the war in Syria, in condition of a weak center and with diplomatic and military support from the United States. During the war years, the Syrian Kurds acquired wide autonomy in northern Syria on the border with Turkey, and now they have illegal military bases of the United States and independence from Damascus on the controlled territory. At the same time, the Syrian Kurds, replacing the IS and other terrorist groups, also have occupied territories with predominantly non-Kurdish populations. In March 2016, the Syrian Kurds proclaimed the creation of the Federation of North Syria (Rojava), consisting of three regions or cantons - Jazira, Euphrates and Afrin. Official Damascus did not recognize the new state but expressed readiness for talks on Kurdish autonomy.
It should be noted that in Turkey, which is a unitary state where there are no national autonomies, Kurds are deprived of schools and universities in their own language, and their political and civic activists are persecuted and arrested. Ankara considers the representatives of the Kurdistan Workers' Party to be terrorists, which created many civil, public, professional and political organizations, entangling them with a network of Kurdish communities. The Turkish authorities believe that the Kurdish groups, including the Democratic Union and the People's Self-Defense Forces, with the support of foreign countries and the Kurdistan Workers' Party are going to form an independent Kurdish state in the north of Syria on the border with Turkey. According to Ankara, the Kurdistan Workers' Party has created in Turkey something like a parallel state with its army, taxes, underground and legal cultural centers, as well as civil associations. That's why last year Ankara introduced troops to Syria, occupying a large territory between the Kurdish cantons of Afrin and Jazira, to prevent them from uniting. And on January 20, 2018, Turkey has launched a military operation called the Olive Branch and attacked the Kurdish formations of the "People's Self-Defense Forces" and the Democratic Union Party in the Syrian city of Afrin. Afrin is an important stronghold of the Kurds in the north of Syria, and the Turkish authorities said that the military operation will continue until the Kurds leave it. Moreover, the Turkish troops will continue their offensive on the Syrian territories after the capture of Afrin and will pursue the Kurds up to the Euphrates.
Ankara warned that Turkey would launch an operation against the Kurdish forces in advance, demanding that the Kurds leave their positions within a week. Moscow advised the Kurds in Afrin to go under the control of Damascus to avoid Turkey's attack and defeat of the Kurdish forces: in this case, the Syrian state will become a single entity responsible for its northern border. Damascus's claim was the return of oil deposits in Deir ez Zor. However, the Kurds did not agree to moderate their territorial ambitions and refused the offer, hoping for US assistance.
Also, Kurds and the most influential force in the Syrian Kurdistan - the Democratic Union party, refused to participate in the Congress on the Syrian issue in the Russian city of Sochi on January 29-30. The task of the forum is the creation of a commission on the Syrian constitution and the adoption of final documents.
It should be noted that a major influence on the Kurds is provided by their main sponsor - the USA. It is the US that is trying to persuade the Syrian Kurds not to engage in dialogue with Damascus and to encourage separatist sentiments among them. Washington has long been heading for the creation of alternative authorities on a large part of Syrian territory. And the US statement about the establishment in the north of Syria of a military formation of the "border security forces" from among the "Syrian Democratic Forces", mainly Kurds, give them confidence. Moreover, the Pentagon, which helped the Kurds with weapons and military equipment, supplied them with portable anti-aircraft missile systems delivered from Iraqi Kurdistan. However, this US statement on the permanent occupation of the northeast Syria with the help of 30,000 soldiers was the reason for the beginning of the Turkish attack.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon agreed with Turkey's legitimate security concerns and said that Ankara warned of air strikes in advance. Also, it was also noted that "American servicemen in the region will not suffer from Turkey's operation in Afrin." At the same time, the Pentagon warned the self-defense forces of the Kurds that if they move from the northeast of Syria to the Afrin area, where the operation of the Turkish Armed Forces "Olive branch" is taking place, the US will stop supporting them. According to experts, "The US does not defend the canton of Afrin and never took responsibility for his defense." The Pentagon, which pursues only its own interests in Syria, does not care about the interests of the Afrin Kurds, who will not receive any help from it. The United States are building Syrian Kurdistan to fragment Syria and to consolidate its positions in the Middle East.
According to Syrian political scientists, now the "People's Self-Defense Forces" of the Kurds are not a recognized military or political force, but they have a powerful military organization supported by the United States. " That is why the Kurds hope for Washington, which can not protect them. The loss of Afrin could be as tragic for the self-proclaimed Kurdish autonomy of Rojava as the loss of Kirkuk and its oil fields for the Iraqi Kurds. However, the Kurds believe in the omnipotence of the US. At the same time, the Kurds refused to come close to Damascus, which would be the best way to solve their national problems. Also, the Kurds refused to participate in the congress of the Syrian national dialogue held by Russia in Sochi, at which it was possible to discuss Kurdish autonomy.
Try to format your article.

From what is said here, I have a feeling that ISIS has "stolen" the land intended for the Kurds.

Both the current Iraq government and the Syrian rebels must face the fact that on their victory, the Kurds are going to leave them, and they might need to explain to their supporters -- if these people have a concern on their countries' "integrity" (IMHO land integrity of a country should be screwed if it doesn't fit the situation)
Refusal to support Kurds and others in their desire for autonomy demonstrate the hypocrisy in our world. It clearly shows the different ideologies are just a charade and power and domination of others is all that matters.
Patrickov wrote:Try to format your article.

Tintin storm's a bot. I'm not quite why its been allowed to stay around for so long.
@One Degree

I like Rojava. A lot of my own ideas for governance are derived from Democratic Confederalism to some extent and while I don't fully agree with Democratic Confederalism (I disagree with many aspects of it, particularly it's inclination to being anti-capitalistic), I greatly respect both Ocalan and his ideology. Furthermore, I think he's on the right track with his thinking and he's probably the only Middle Eastern political thinker who actually what the Middle East needs. Instead of regurgitating European ideologies without understanding them and maintaining that a nation state will solve all of the Middle East's problems, he creates a new ideology that is distinctly Middle Eastern in it's temperament and execution.

In any sense of the word, I want Rojava to succeed because through it's success it will allow everyone in the Middle East, especially those in the Levant, to understand that maybe a nation state isn't necessary after all.
Oxymandias wrote:@One Degree

I like Rojava. A lot of my own ideas for governance are derived from Democratic Confederalism to some extent and while I don't fully agree with Democratic Confederalism (I disagree with many aspects of it, particularly it's inclination to being anti-capitalistic), I greatly respect both Ocalan and his ideology. Furthermore, I think he's on the right track with his thinking and he's probably the only Middle Eastern political thinker who actually what the Middle East needs. Instead of regurgitating European ideologies without understanding them and maintaining that a nation state will solve all of the Middle East's problems, he creates a new ideology that is distinctly Middle Eastern in it's temperament and execution.

In any sense of the word, I want Rojava to succeed because through it's success it will allow everyone in the Middle East, especially those in the Levant, to understand that maybe a nation state isn't necessary after all.

Very true. Even though I talk of autonomy, it does not have to be independence, just enough decentralization for our differences. Centralization and insisting others accept our truth seems to be so hardwired, I find independence the only road. But, with understanding, it does not have to be a nation state. But as you alluded to, even confederalist seem to always want more uniformity than is required. Letting people experiment with their views could be very enlightening.
@One Degree

For a majority of it's history, the Middle East has been ruled by composite monarchies or nations consisting of several smaller communities and territories under one ruler (usually a cultural or religious figure; under the Sassanids it was the King of Kings and under the Caliphate it was of course the Caliph) which administers it's territory as if they were separate countries in accordance to local traditions and legal structures. Basically, your run-of-the-mill MidEastern empire would be a collection of small polities with great deals of autonomy to the extent where the ruler would deal with them as if they were separate countries.

The only purpose the government served was to protect those communities through a professional army, make sure that the communities didn't infringe the rights of individuals, provide a distributed network of markets so that commerce can be done, and, through tariffs, protect that commerce. This was the basic system of governance of the Middle East from the Achaemenids to the Ottomans despite some differences.

However, this all began to fall apart after the centralization of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of Turkish nationalism. These two forces along with the British, broke the system of administration that the Middle East was known for. Just as the Middle East was industrializing and adapting it's traditional form of administration to the 21st century, it suddenly found itself to be destroyed and fractured by the those who held it's torch. The Ottoman Empire has been beaten, tortured, gutted, and finally, to end it's suffering, killed and what arose from her rotting corpse were orphans. Naive and afraid, the only person there to greet them was Europe, who introduced himself as their father who "had their best interests at heart".

As the fledgling nations, ignorant of any governance after years of centralized, nationalistic rule took the advice of father, emulated father, and regarded everything that father said as right. Father had absolute authority. Yet father always remained distant, always chiding the orphans. He never considered them his own and thought that raising the orphans was a necessary evil despite clearly only taking care of them for his own benefit. The orphans managed to find something that pleases their father. By throwing away their identity and replacing it with an aspect of father, father always praised them. He was proud of them and would always gloat to his other friends about their achievements. "My, my. Why my sons are becoming westernized!" he always said. This was convenient for the father as it meant that they would less willing to leave his sphere of influence. By replacing their identities with his, they would need to rely on him more as he would become a part of them and they would become unable to produce their own goods and products.

But the orphans always felt something was wrong. Whenever they would throw away their identity and replace it with a part of father's, a part of their gut would wrench and their heads would spin. The pieces didn't fit together, they don't make sense. Where was the development, the evolution. Their identities became disjointed. Certain aspects of father's identity was necessary but the context and the way it was utilized was alien and didn't fit with the rest of them. Eventually they slowly began to become unhinged. Certain fragments of their identity which they abandoned would come back and a vague sense of what the world was like before faded in and out of existence. Some orphans sought our this specter yet it was always out of reach. Generations of hurt and suffering made such a vision in-achievable. As some orphans filled their identities with father's they slowly grew unstable and became insane as the conflict between both parts of themselves grew to greater heights.

This began to scare father. Soon he began to fear that all the orphans would become deranged and decided to punish them and stomp out the parts of the orphans which they inherited from their biological mother. This lead to the strengthening of their Middle Eastern identities and an even greater conflict. This only motivated father to push even harder fearing all orphans. He grew even more distant and the orphans even more rebellious but even more fragmented. As the orphans tried to find their own identities, to discard father's, and to build their own they struggled and this struggle continues to this day.

So what does this entire allegory mean? Well basically after the Ottomans fell, the Arab countries which rose from it's ashes didn't know how to do governance so Europe was like "Hey I can mandate you and teach you how to government" and the Arab countries as like "ehhhh, I don't know. I need an adult." and Europe's like "I AM an adult". So the Arab world is then semi-forced to be ruled over by Europe to Europe's benefit. States are made for Europe's benefit but disguised as for the ME's benefit. During this period, the Middle East is westernized and the ideas of the nation-state are embedded into political consciousness "[they] emulated father" through a joint effort between Western powers and the Ba'athists. As the Middle East becomes more westernized and due to Western culture not being a ray of sunshine either, the Middle East feels that something is very, very wrong and there are great deals of tension throughout the Middle East.

The West is then really concerned about this because if the ME is unstable then who's going to give it oil? So the West meddles in the Middle East and attempts to westernize it even more. The traditional culture of the Middle East then says "Oh no, I'm not going to fall for that again!" and fully resists Western influence. Iraq and Syria happen in joint effort by the West and traditionalists who don't know the culture they want to return to. The West gets really scared and generalizes the entirety of the ME in fear that this will happen in all of these countries and finally decides to not deal with the ME while casually fighting for it's interests.

Now Syria and Iraq are in Civil Wars but at least it's their Civil War. Before there was no way they could have any control over their own fates but now, even though the war is still influenced by other Great Powers, the actions of the Syrian and Iraqi population now have an actual affect on the world. The West is now just tired of the ME, just wanting some stability and so is willing to take anything that isn't fascistic. This leaves a lot of untapped potential for new political experiments native to the Middle East and Rojava is one of it's most interesting and successful.

Rojava is not a nation state and doesn't intend to be one. Rojava seeks to integrate Middle Eastern values into the 21st century and improve the region instead of just falling into mindless alien value structures such as Marxism and Western "Democracy". While Rojava should not be the model that all of the ME adopts, it is a good starting point for the future of governance in the Middle East. It could be a sign that the Middle East, at least in the Levant and Iraq, will be more inclined to experiment with new forms of governance outside of the nation-state.


Rojava doesn't intentions to leave Syria once the Civil War is over. Rojava did a referendum on whether or not to leave Syria and a majority of votes wanted to stay in Syria although with a large degree of autonomy. I think, overall, this is a good decision. If Rojava is integrated into Syria, it's influence will permeate throughout Syrian society and ergo, it's governance. While we may not see a direct copy of Rojava's government nor a "Kurdistan model" which is followed by other Middle Eastern countries but we will see an integration of traditional modes of governance with Rojava's anarchist tendencies sprinkled in. If Syria formalizes this governance, we could see a very interesting and even hopeful future for the Middle East.
I can’t really judge since I am not from the ME, but my gut says you described the situation beautifully. That ‘sense of something missing’ is also what drives the populist movement in the West imo. Most aren’t old like me to actually remember a world not dominated by liberal thought, but they know something is missing.
@One Degree

Liberalism in general isn't against human nature. Social liberalism to some extent can be beneficial to humanity and question what could be the irrational social structures of our society*. It's economic counterpart, neo-liberalism is the antithesis to natural human living. It systematically destroys domestic culture and innovation in favor of the whims of the market, an entity which cares little for the standards of living of the population which provided it with suffrage in the first place. it doesn't bring prosperity those who implement it. Quite the contrary actually, it actively destroys it's benefactor. As a person who has heard stories of Pahlavi Iran where neo-liberalism was rampant I know the havoc which neo-liberalism wrecks. I have heard about how difficult it was to get a job, how infrastructure was practically non-existent, and how the dictator of Iran at the time wasted taxes on decadent passion projects and distributing it to the economic elite instead of on the population. You see pictures of women in mini-skirts and modern architecture and you think to yourself that the Pahlavi Dynasty must've been heaven. Yet I could show you pictures of the economic elite of Congo and Libya and you would say the same thing.

This disconnect between the 1% and the rest of the population is what causes class warfare. The different economic classes are completely different cultures from one another and yet none of them, especially the 1% understands them. The woes of the majority of the population are unheard of in the closed off villas and mansions of nobles. If the majority is suffering then it is their problem, not ours. The rich cannot understand that they are the ones perpetuating the current system and often chastise most of the population by saying that they aren't working hard enough or that their problems can be easily solved if they just copy them despite not having the same circumstances. Let them have cake indeed.

*The only issue with Western social liberalism at least is the idea that everyone must adhere to the same social principles and rights they express. Anything less and you are written off as a problem, a savage so to speak incompatible with the modern world. This, I think, is not only bad for social liberalism (which relies on the idea that everyone can have their own values) but bad the entire world. It is simply Western imperialism on a wider scale. Who says that countries need to subscribe to the Western idea of feminism or the Western idea of sexuality? In the Middle East your sexuality didn't matter. It wasn't an identity or something that you made a part of yourself. So homosexual actions, both by heterosexuals and homosexuals alike, were perfectly fine. Men used to write passionate poetry for each other talking about how much they appreciate their friendship or how much they miss them or etc. Men used to slap each other's butts in the hamam and friends would hold each other's hand (you still see this in Oman!). Today this would be considered gay, but back then this wasn't the case because being gay didn't matter. You were considered straight by default so the idea that you could be gay at all was considered impossible.

Now of course there are some problems with this mentality however there's no reason why we can't have something similar today. Why should being straight or gay matter in anyway? Such categories aren't necessary anyways as there are straight people who commit "gay" actions and gays who commit "straight" actions. It's not as if sexuality is gender or something that has significant influence. You can screw who you want to screw.
@One Degree

Maybe you're actually a closet Middle Eastern! :lol:

In any case your political beliefs do align significantly with Middle Eastern values and administration. If you were to go to Abbasid era Middle East you would see an early form of what would be comparable to English liberty. The idea of being one's own master and having the capacity to to act upon one's free will in however they wish, to achieve self-realization and that neither the state nor society should be capable of stopping such a will. In the Middle East, a slave could become a sultan, a couple of mere bandits could found an empire, and your local preacher could found the largest religious denomination in the world. This is all possible through this sense of civic liberty.
Mr_D wrote:The only people who consider the Kurds a legitimate threat are Turkish ultranationalists.

And the Kurds themselves … lets not leave them out …

US bombs Syria


One of my favorite ancient stories outside of Scri[…]

Election 2024 Thread

Saw a poll that said Trump is polling at 54% among[…]

Election 2020

I'll name ten: Boris Berezovsky Stanislav Markel[…]