The Kurds in Kobane in northern Syria have been fighting ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Group in a desperate and heartbreaking hopeless situation. The Kurdish fighters are outnumbered almost ten to one, lack tanks or anti-armor weapons while facing main battle tanks and APCs, have little indirect armaments against artillery and mortars and lack heavy weapons which ISIS has in abundance. Many reports speak of the Kurds fighting to the last man but they miss a large part of this desperate and heartbreaking reality that the Kurds are fighting to the last man, woman and child who is capable of fielding a weapon as they have little choice. The reality is they are sandwiched between ISIS and their allies on three fronts; the south, east and west; and to the north are a solid line of Turkish tanks, troops, heavy weapons emplacements and infantry blocking any retreat and promising to shoot any Kurd regardless of age or gender if they try to cross into Turkey and also to do the same to any Kurd attempting to join and assist in their desperate fight. Turkey is blocking any aid and refuses to even allow United States or allied spotters to be stationed on Turkish soil or to cross into Syria to assist in making the bombing more effective. Syrian Dictator Bashar al-Assad refuses to assist the Kurds seeing this as his opportunity to be rid of what he perceives as disloyal and bothersome people. Even President Obama has feared to even speak with Turkish President Recep Erdogan after the blowup and demand for apology from United States Vice President Joe Biden after the American Vice President stated some hurtful but true accusations against President Erdogan. President Erdogan also sees this as an opportunity to rid the world of a number of what he considers an accursed people, the Kurds. Everyone is blaming the Kurds for being different and not melting seamlessly into what for them is alien cultures.
What brought this about and how did the Kurdish people end up living as an alien group in four different nations, Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran, and in each treated as a threat and often blamed for any and all ills the government is facing. Saddam Hussein used nerve agent on his own nation’s Kurdish population just to test its lethality and rid himself of what he saw as a threat to his rule, the Kurds living in the north. The problem came after World War I just as most of the problems in the Middle East. Mark Sykes, a British Parliament member, and Francis George-Picot, a French diplomat, were tasked with organizing and setting the boundaries for the separate nations which were formerly under the rule of the defeated Ottoman Empire. The committee was tasked with forming the borders and fulfilling numerous contradictory promises which were made to the many separate tribal leaders in exchange for their assistance in defeating the Ottoman Turks. Among the promises was one given to the Kurdish people promising them the return of their nation of Kurdistan. Exactly where this promise fell apart is unclear, but if you asked me, my answer would be that it weighed heavily on the oilfields which ended up in northern Iraq near and around Mosul. The British had probably already made a deal with the Iraqi leadership for rights to their oilfields and figured why try to make a deal with the Kurds who might not be as cooperative as the British appointed leader in Iraq and thus the lands which would have likely made up Kurdistan ended up split between four nations. Why would they split up the Kurds placing them as an extreme minority in four separate countries instead of keeping them all together? The odds on this are the British and French preferred straight lines rather than actually thinking and making the nations viable. If instead each nation was set up from the beginning to have sufficient internal turmoil and internecine fighting the rulers would have to put out fires constantly and be too busy to reestablish the Caliphate which they had just defeated in World War I. There was no internal unity and tribes were intentionally split and placed on opposite sides of the seemingly randomly chosen borders. Giving the Kurds their promised homeland would have been contrary to the apparent theme of disharmonious nations based on maximizing internal strife, thus no homeland for the Kurds. The sole homeland which did manage to survive the acrimonious pens of the allied European powers was Israel which may in par explain why those very same European powers are at the forefront of the efforts to erase Israel and give it to the Palestinian Arabs or simply break it up between Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. Could this have been behind the recent British parliament voting 274 to 12 for the government to recognize the Palestinian state, though they did not set any borders which might define said state, nor did all the Ministers vote as over 300 abstained so one could say ‘don’t care’ won the day. Meanwhile, will anyone come to aid the Kurdish stand in Kobane, Syria or will this simply become another horrid historic event lamented often silently just like the Turkish genocidal actions against the Armenians in 1913 or the Chinese absorption of Tibet in 1951 when Tibetan rulers were forced to sign the Chinese drafted “Seventeen Point Agreement” which dictated their surrender to Chinese rule. Are we now facing the Islamic slaughter of the Kurdish Syrian population of 2014? If the world continues to slumber and ignore the plight of the Kurds I am afraid so. The question we will never get an answer to is why, why when what is necessary to save the Kurds and possibly right the wrong of the British and French perfidy of the Sykes-Picot agreement.
Beyond the Cusp