Indeed, Salah al-Din, a
Kurd, became the terror of Christendom. Religion
served as a cover for political conquest of millions
of native peoples.
For millennia, Turks of various stripes, Iranians, and Arabs largely ruled
most of the region. By the 19th century, however, a
new wind began to blow in the region bringing with
it renewed dreams of independence among various
subject populations. By the end of World War I,
statesmen such as Britain's Lord Cecil and Sir Mark
Sykes, America's President Woodrow Wilson, and
others were calling for Arabia for the Arabs,
Armenia for the Armenians, Judea for the Jews, and
Kurdistan for the Kurds .
While some might say that this was just a foreign
imperial ploy to divide and conquer the region for
their own benefits, while this ingredient may indeed
have some truth attached to it, there is also no
doubt that native imperial powers were also acting
solely to further their own interests.
Seeing itself as the only real legitimate heir to
the Turks' centuries of imperial rule, Arab
nationalism, in its own various stripes, proclaimed
the entire area simply to be "purely Arab
patrimony," and none--besides Arabs--were to be
allowed to see their own dreams of independence
fulfilled in the new age of nationalism fast coming
into this region and elsewhere with the
disintegration of former empires.
The following oft-quoted (by myself) excerpts of
statements by a major, native, non-Arab "Berber" (Amazigh)
spokesman from North Africa hits the nail square on
the head. Please pay close attention to this Special
Dispatch of MEMRI on May 3, 2007, written by
Belkacem Lounes of the World Amazigh Congress, as he
responded to Libya's Mu'ammar Qaddafi's denial of
the very existence of the Amazigh people:
The people of whom you speak...speak their own
Amazigh language daily...every day live their
Amazigh identity...What worse offense to elementary
rights is there than denying the existence of a
people...30 million in North Africa? You menace the
Amazigh, warning that whosoever asserts his identity
will be a traitor...identical problems in Algeria
and Morocco...There is no worse colonialism than
internal colonialism--that of the Pan-Arabist claim
that seeks to dominate our people. It is surely
Arabism--an imperialist ideology that refuses
diversity--that constitutes an offense to history
Or, check out how these excerpts and paraphrases
from the New English Review on January 18, 2008 and
reported in the former North-of-Africa.com on July
In Algeria, Berbers were forbidden to use their own
language, Tamazight...riots erupted, reported in
France but ignored elsewhere in the West...America,
of course, had been sufficiently subject to ARAMCO
(the Arabian American Oil Company) propaganda, a
payoff to the Saudis by Big Oil, to allow the latter
to produce and market Arab oil. So, ARAMCO's message
to America was that there is just an Arab world in
this region in which there are no Copts, Armenians,
Assyrians, Chaldeans, Turkmen...and, of course, no
Berbers and no Jews--they all came to Israel, you
see, from Europe for everyone in this region is just
The American State Department has been in bed with
ARAMCO since its creation...Does its historical
animosity towards Israel now become a bit clearer?
So, what we have seen over the last century has
actually been a combination of internal and external
imperial forces colluding for their mutual,
parochial interests at the expense of other native
peoples. This has led to such things as the forced
Turkification, suppression, murder, and/or
subjugation of scores of millions of Copts, black
Africans (not only in the Sudan), Imazighen/"Berbers,"
Kurds, native kilab yahud ("Jew dogs"), Assyrians,
and so forth. Kurds and Berbers are often not even
allowed to practise their own culture, speak their
own language, etc. and so forth. Imagine Israel
doing this sort of thing to Arabs living in its
territory. No doubt, there would be hell to pay by
the Jews on the international scene, yet who is
demanding justice for those folks mentioned above?
Which brings us to the present...
As Marshall Tito kept the violently antagonistic
populations of "Yugoslavia"--forged together by
others after World War I's break up of the
Austro-Hungarian Empire--from slitting each others'
throats (literally), there was never a real question
that when he died the nation would implode into
Saddam Hussein served as an even more brutal uniter
of Great Britain's own earlier creation, Arab Iraq.
The latter was forged, upon the break- up of another
empire (the Turk's), by shafting the Kurds after the
favorable Mosul Decision by the League of Nations in
1925 uniting the oil of their northern areas with
the other Arab regions of the new British Mandate to
make the whole entity more economically viable.
With Saddam gone, Iraq seemed/seems destined to go
the way of Yugoslavia. This remains to be seen...
There has always been competition between those who
espouse a more tolerant, more encompassing Iraqi
nationalism versus Arab nationalism in the state.
The latter has always won out in the long run.
The semi-autonomous situation Kurds find themselves
in today is, at best, a temporary necessary evil in
most, if not all, Arab eyes.
The Kurds are seen as a necessary buffer Shi'a Arabs
can--and have--used against Sunni Arabs who like to
blow both of the former folks apart.
Sunni Arab leaders declared the Kurds to be a thorn
in their sides in the past, declared the potential
birth of Kurdistan to be "another Israel," and
launched the Anfal Campaign a while back which
slaughtered, gassed, and so forth hundreds of
thousands of them. And a look at how Shi'a Iran
treats its own millions of Kurds is probably a fair
gauge of what the Shi'a in Iraq have in mind as well
after they feel they have gotten a better handle,
one way or another, on the Sunni problem. Oh yes,
the latter slaughtered tens of thousands of Shi'a
too not that long ago.
In the meantime (prior to the emergence of Iran's
sister state, the Shi'a Islamic Republic of Iraq?),
America has helped to create a delicate balancing
act in the country. What will happen, however, when
America has largely exited is not too promising to
those who are students of the area.
Under this balancing act, the three main
populations--Shi'a Arabs, Sunni Arabs, and
Kurds--share power, to one extent or another, and
hold the top positions in government.
Largely a symbolic position, the Kurds have come to
occupy the President's position, Jalal Talabani the
current office holder. But, as a March 13, 2010 New
York Times article on this subject (and more recent
ones) points out, even this symbolic postion is a
bone in Arab's throats.
Muqdad Jaafar, a professor of physical education at
Baghdad University, put it this way:
I prefer him to be an Arab...We’re an Arab country,
surrounded by the Arab world.
Once again, as we've seen earlier, scores of
millions of non-Arab peoples in the region simply
don't exist or are to be merely discounted in Arab
On a similar note, Egypt's late President Sadat's
Foreign Minister, Dr. Boutros Boutros Ghali, told
visiting Israeli author, Amos Elon, that for Israel
to be "accepted" in the region, it must do what he
did--accept Arabization...or else.
Read all of this yet again very carefully, for, in
this, you will indeed discover the real root cause
of the Arab-Israeli conflict...the inability of most
Arabs to grant anyone else but themselves even a
tiny sliver of the very rights they demand for
Gerald A. Honigman is a Florida educator who has
done extensive doctoral studies in Middle Eastern
Affairs. He has created and conducted counter-Arab
propaganda programs for college youth, has lectured
on numerous campuses and other platforms, and has
publicly debated many Arab spokesmen. His articles
and op-eds have been published in dozens of
newspapers, magazines, academic journals and
websites all around the world. Visit his
Gerald A. Honigman, a longtime contributing writer
for ekurd.net. Honigman has published a major book,
Quest For Justice In The Middle East--The
Arab-Israeli Conflict In Greater Perspective."
By Gerald A. Honigman for eKurd.net,
December 11, 2010. You may reach the
author via email at: honigman6 (at) msn.com.
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