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Re: [casi] [Fwd: Harvest time: occupier vs. occupied



Dear Peter & List

As much as I was glad that Peter found my comments on
Alexander Sternberg's message interesting enough to
merit reading them, I was disappointed a the
one-sidedness of his conclusions.
Peter has interpreted my views wrong without giving me
the benefit of the doubt. At the same time he has
found Alexander Sternberg's message positive and worth
defending. The reason seems to be "embedded" between
the lines, because to Peter, Alexander Sternberg is
the expert and authority on the Kurdish issue. My
fifty years of knowledge of the place and the people
are not of value...

To begin with, Alexander Sternberg's previous messages
all indicate that he is pro-sanctions and pro-war, and
it is my conviction that he is not an objective person
in this matter, neither should his words be taken as
the absolute truth. He is an outsider, if anyone is..

I did not say nor even implied that "Kurds have no
right to the land they lost through President
Hussein's Arabization policy". I only made my comments
in response to the way Sternberg presented the issue.
To speak of people of the same country as "occupiers"
and "occupied" is not only ridiculous and na´ve, but
also shows an attempt at distorting  history. I wanted
to show how ridiculous the whole argument was...

How long does a group of people live in one land to
start claiming it as its own? Can the Arabs claim
Spain for themselves? Can the Native Americans claim
North and South America?
If the Kurds, who came after the Arabs to Iraq, can
claim the areas where they live as their own, can they
deny the Turkomans the same right to Kirkuk? And in
fact they do, because they claim that Kirkuk is
Kurdish and should be given to them. In maps published
by Kurds during the 1990s, they have demanded all of
North Iraq and a strip of its East extending down to
Basrah!!! The reason is that they lived there
sometime... Sounds very much like Zionist claims!

And that is why I ask again: how far back in history
do we go to establish ownership of any land? Does
history start with the year the Kurds came into Iraq?
What about before that date?
If Arabization of Kurdish areas is bad and to be
condemned, should Kurdization of Arab areas also be
condemned? After all that is how the future Kurdistan
State is envisaged... And if Kurds do not want
independence as they claim, but a unified Iraq, why is
this talk about Kurdish and Arab areas, and occupiers
and occupied??
Should the English be considered "occupiers" and the
people of Wales, Scotland and Ireland "occupied"?

There is very little knowledge about the Kurdish
issues; and what is known is biased and one-sided, as
Alexander Sternberg has on many occasions shown. As I
said previously, to go into the history of the Kurdish
issue needs pages and pages, and CASI is not perhaps
the best place for it. But I guess I have to explain
things in some detail.. It is enough to say that the
Kurdish problems did not start with Saddam Hussein and
they will not end now that he is no more in power.

Saddam Hussein and his regime are not the only ones to
blame for the suffering of the Kurdish people. The
Kurdish leaders are also to blame, for making wrong
decisions and going into alliances that have damaged
their people. I am not saying that I accept what has
been done to the Kurds; not at all. I have always
opposed oppression of the Kurds, and some of my best
friends are Kurds. What I am saying is that the
history of the Kurdish leadership's behavior is one of
betrayal to Iraq; one of always allying with Iraq's
enemies.

In the 1950s, Barzani allied himself with the Soviet
Union which supported the rights of the Kurdish
people, a surprising feat for Marxism. But the
monarchy was anti-communist, and so
my-enemy's-enemy-is-my-friend principle prevailed. And
the Kurds mistakenly believed in their value to the
Soviets.. But when Abdul-Karim Qassem refused Kurdish
demands, the Soviets did not support them, and they
took up arms in 1961. By that time, Iraq was a Soviet
ally, and so Barzani allied himself with the Shah of
Iran and the CIA, the enemies of the Soviets... This
uprising continued during the first Ba'th rule in
1963, the Arif brothers' rule from 1963-1968, and the
second Ba'th rule from 1968.
In 1970, the GOI and Barzani reached an agreement to
end the fighting and establish an autonomous region in
Kurdistan. The 11 March accord was announced and the
cultural rights of the Kurds were recognized in Iraq,
with the establishment of schools, universities, TV
and radio stations and newspapers. Kurdish language
became an official language.
The accord collapsed because the Kurds wanted Kirkuk
and Khanaqin, which the GOI refused because the
majority of their inhabitants were not Kurds. And
soon, the Kurds took up arms again, this time directly
and openly receiving support from the Shah of Iran,
from the CIA and from the Israelis. Henry Kissinger
was personally involved, and prominent Kurdish
leaders, like Dr. Mahmood Uthman, have admitted these
contacts.
In 1973, when the October war started between the
Arabs and Israel, Iraq found itself in a crooked
position, because its army was facing the Kurdish
revolt and the Iranian threat. The Ba'th took a huge
risk by withdrawing parts of the army from the fronts
and sending them to Syria... Arabs in Iraq, who make
up about 85% of the population, did not look favorably
at the Kurdish behavior. It is one thing to demand
autonomy and seek your rights; but it is another thing
to cooperate with the country's enemies, endanger your
country's unity and safety and expect to be accepted
and supported by the people.
It is strange that the claims by the Kurdish leaders
for respect for Iraq's unity and integrity is not
supported by their actions, especially when, since
1991, they didn't fly the Iraq flg, but each had his
own flag..

I don't think that the Kurds as people deserve what
happened to them. But I am sure most British think
that the IRA receiving assistance from Gaddafi makes
them "a contemptible people and it doesn't matter what
happens to them." Or am I wrong? If I am wrong, why
don't the British withdraw and give the land to the
rightful owners without making any fuss about it??
What would the US do if, for example, one of the
tribes of the Native Americans allies itself with
China or Russia and rises in an armed revolt against
the US Government? Wouldn't the US wipe their villages
and cities out, and make the Anfal campaign look like
a nice picnic??

Without defending the Ba'th rule, one has to admit
that the Kurds in Iraq have enjoyed more rights than
anywhere else they exist. Kurds in Turkey make up over
30% of the population. But Turkey refuses to even call
them Kurds (they are Mountain Turks), does not allow
them the use of their language, and Turkization has
been going on for centuries. Thousands of their
villages have been wiped out, and millions have been
displaced. None of that merits even a mention from
Alexander Sternberg..
The same treatment of Kurds takes place in Iran. So
why is Iraq singled out??

How can the Kurds support Turkey's massacres of its
Kurds and assists it in killing PKK members in Iraq,
yet are surprised when the GOI does the same to them??
How does Alexander Sternberg feel about the PKK and
their struggle?

In 1982, the Kurds cooperated with Iran, which was
fighting a war with Iraq. Saddam considered that an
act of treason, and the Kurds were viciously attacked.
The Anfal was his reply to the Kurdish Iranian
alliance, and he carried the attacks out at the end of
the war with Iran. And so, even though I condemn what
has been done to the Kurds, I can not absolve the
Kurdish leaders from responsibility for what happened
to their people. They are as bad as Saddam Hussein;
all they are interested in is power and money, and the
rest can go to hell..

In 1991, Talabani's forces took Iraqi soldiers
prisoners. There are reports that those prisoners were
killed by Talabani's forces without trial and in cold
blood. Saddam didn't forget that, and in 1994 sent his
army to assist Barzani against Talabani.
In 1992, the GOI negotiated with the Kurds, and an
agreement was reached with Barzani for a pluralist
system and a move to democratic rule. Barzani went to
Kurdistan to negotiate with the other leaders and get
their signature, but he only returned to Baghdad last
April, 11 years later... This time he came with the
American invaders, and Talabani now demands a Kurdish
(ie. Talabani!) President or Prime Minster.... Why
should someone who claims to want a democratic and
equal Iraq want positions to be divided on ethnic
basis? And in that case, why would the majority accept
the President or Prime Minister to be from the ethnic
minority??
How can someone who keeps changing alliances and sides
expect people to trust him? What is to prevent
talabani or Barzani from changing sides tomorrow?

The news I saw and read tells me that it is not true
that the Kurds were leaving long established Arabs
undisturbed. What happened when the Kurdish forces
entered Mosul (which is a majority Arab city), was a
campaign of terror, killings, destruction and
lootings, carried out by the Talabani Pesh Merga. They
only left after being threatened by the US army..
People in Kirkuk were thrown out of their houses, some
by force, and their houses taken over by Kurds who
claimed these were their houses. Even if that was
true, in a state where there is a rule of law, these
matters are solved legally after establishing
ownerships and after due process is followed. If
everyone just grabs what he can, then what is
difference between Saddam's rule and Talabani's or
Barzani's??

I hope this time Peter and the List will understand my
views and my comments, and accept that I may be
looking at things from a distance, but I have the
advantage of belonging there, in body and soul. I am
not an outsider.

HZ



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