Why not?

The Kurds out number Palestinians several times over, and unlike Palestinians, have a real ethnic and cultural distinction from surrounding Arabs (and in Turkey, Turks). But for Europeans drawing lines on maps and Turkish national ambitions, there should have been an independent nation for the Kurds decades ago.

There currently is a de facto Kurdish republic in northern Iraq and an emerging autonomous region in Syria. Might these developments lead to a Kurdish nation?

The Times of Israel asks the question, Is a free Kurdistan, and a new Israeli ally, upon us?:

The Kurds are the world’s largest stateless nation, numbering well over 30 million spread across Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Iraq, according to figures in the CIA Factbook, though exact population numbers are hard to pin down. Iraq’s 6 million Kurds have achieved the greatest measure of independence; they run the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, within the federal Iraqi system since 2005 (though de facto autonomy began after Saddam’s army was forced out of the region during the 1991 Gulf War). But despite a booming economy and striking freedom of action, the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq still has presented no concrete plans for independence.

Will it be Syria’s Kurds who lead the way toward a Kurdish state?

The answer to the question is, of course, complex.

Kurds who run the autonomous region in Iraq and increasingly in Syria are loathe to adopt an explicit plan of independence for fear of angering the national governments. Turkey has indicated an intention to intervene if an independence movement grows even in neighboring countries, and Iran certainly would not stand for its Kurdish region breaking away.

It’s not hard to understand why these countries are afraid, looking at a map of the Kurdish region:

(Kurdish Population Map via Global Security.org)

(Kurdish Population Map via Global Security.org)

If the Palestinians, a group which did not gain a distinct identity until after Israel reclaimed the territory illegally occupied by Jordan in 1967, are on the path to nationhood in one form or another, why not the Kurds?

When will the United Nations, the European Union, and the United States speak up for the inalienable rights of the Kurdish people to a free and independent Kurdistan?

Or are “inalienable rights” only applicable to ethnic minorities in areas controlled by Israel, and for groups hostile to Israel’s existence?


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