In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful




[Shamim A Siddiqi, New York]


Kurds are a different race and are of different ethnic origin.  They were somehow living a normal life as people when they were under the paramount Khilafah of Ottomans. Their aspiration to live independently within their geographical bounds is centuries old. They never reconciled with any foreign domination.  They established a big empire under Ayyubadis. Sultan Salahuddin was one of their most famous kings who defeated the combined forces of Crusaders from Europe and recaptured Palestine in 1187 AD.


“In the course of the 16th to 18th centuries, vast portions of Kurdistan were systematically devastated and large numbers of Kurds were deported to far corners of the Safavid and Ottoman empires. The magnitude of death and destruction wrought on Kurdistan unified its people in their call to rid the land of these foreign vandals. The lasting mutual sufferings awakened in Kurds a community feeling of nationalism, that called for a unified Kurdish state and fostering of Kurdish culture and language. Thus, the historian Sharaf al-Din Tbilisi wrote the first pan-Kurdish history the “Sharafnama” in 1597, as Ahmad Khani composed the national epic of “Mem-o-Zin” in 1695, which called for a Kurdish state to fend for its people. Kurdish nationalism was born.” [History of Kurdistan]


However, the British-French hegemony in the wake of First Great War of 1914-18 not only destroyed the institution of Khilafah but also dismantled the solidarity of Kurds as a people and divided them into four different "pockets" living in Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq.

The Treaty of Sevres (signed August 10, 1921) anticipated an independent Kurdish state to cover large portions of the former Ottoman Kurdistan. Unimpressed by the Kurds' many bloody uprisings for independence, France and Britain divided up Ottoman Kurdistan between Turkey, Syria and Iraq. The Treaty of Lausanne (signed June 24, 1923) formalized this division. Kurds of Iran, meanwhile, were kept where they were by Tehran.” [Ditto]

Since then they are living under the “illusion” of independence and aspiring for their homeland. This is the age of “nationalism.” Whether Muslims like it or not, it has enveloped every part of this globe. Muslims must take the advantage of this “secular” trend in fulfilling some of their national aspirations that otherwise could not be attained.  We have to analyze the world situation in the same measure.  When the tiny ethnic/racial minority like Jews can claim a “free state” of their own and the world accepts it what harm if Kurds aspire for their legitimate independent homeland. It should not be considered as a crime. The USA did good job, though in its own interest, by giving a kind of "protection" to Kurds in the north of Iraq and a sense of "homeland security" that they are cherishing and not the least prepared to give it up. They have consolidated their position in the foregoing elections in Iraq. There is every possibility they will enjoy an autonomous position in the North, building the “foundation” of free Kurdistan in near future.


Within the Muslim Ummah, this issue should forcefully be undertaken earnestly by OIC. It should on its own accord negotiate with Iran, Syria, Turkey and Kurds of Iraq for the emergence of a brotherly autonomous state of Kurdistan with a common currency, a homogenous foreign policy, a regional defense strategy and the vision to invite Afghanistan, Pakistan and the five Sheikhdoms of Persian Gulf to join subsequently, creating a Muslim Common Market [MCM] of its own. This is an inevitable course for the Muslim Ummah and let the emergence of Kurdistan be its forerunner. This strategic move will give new bargaining power to Turkey to have better and quick deal with ECM. Alternatively, if the “Christian Club” of Europe insists to deislamize Turkey before it “accepts” it as member, it would be easy for her to say “good-by” to ECM and be the most natural partner with MCM.


Equally, the UN must undertake the issue of Kurdistan, respect their inspiration in terms of its own Charter, and urge the other three states - Iran, Turkey and Syria, to acknowledge the freedom movement of Kurds and “help” in establishing their independent state after having referendum in the Kurdish areas of each country. It would pave the way towards the emergence of a united Kurdish state in near future, Insha Allah.


If UN can meet the aspirations of “East Timor” and carve out an independent tiny state out of the giant Indonesia why not Kurds should have their own homeland? It is long over due and justice demands it. It would be a “modern” Muslim State with fraternal relations with all the Muslim countries around it. Kurds are fighting people. Their history is very inspiring.  They have always behaved like die-hard Muslims and history proves it.


There is every possibility that the process towards building the autonomous Kurdistan may produce the desired leadership from amongst them that Muslim Ummah needs currently. It may “augment” the liberation of the Muslim world from the “interference” and spread of western “cults and culture” and the onslaughts of the third “Crusade” of President Bush which is rampant with all its “vices” in the Muslim world. There is every possibility that in the way the political influence and physical “subjugation” of the first Crusade was defeated by a Kurdish Sultan in Twelfth century AD. Similarly, a Kurd leadership may emerge in due course to free the Muslim world from the evil effects of “liberalism” and the “export” of American culture to the Muslim world in the garb of so-called “democracy.” Thus a “Khair” [good] may come out of the “Shirr” [evil] of the “occupancy” of Afghanistan, Iraq and the hanging “sword of threat” to Iran. 



Shamim A Siddiqi

February 13, 2005
















     The Kurdish History


Being the native inhabitants of their land. there are no "beginnings" for Kurdish history and people. Kurds and their history are the end products of thousands of years of continuous internal evolution and assimilation of new peoples and ideas intro- duced sporadically into their land. Genetically, Kurds are the descendants of all those who ever came to settle in Kurdistan, and not any one of them. A people such as the Guti, Kurti. Mede, Mard, Carduchi, Gordyene, Adianbene, Zila and Khaldi signify not the ancestor of the Kurds but only an ancestor.

Archaeological finds continue to docu- ment that some of mankind's earliest steps towards development of agnculture. domes- tication of many common farm animals (sheep, goats, hogs and dogs). record keep- ing (the token system), development of domestic technologies (weavmg, fired pot- tery making and glazing), metallurgy and urbanization took place in Kurdistan, dating back between 12,000 and 8.000 years ago.

The earliest evidence so far of a unified and distinct culture (and possibly, ethnicity) by people inhabiting the Kurdish moun- tains dates back to the Halaf culture of 8,000-7,400 years ago. This was followed by the spread of the Ubaidian culture, which was a foreign introduction from Mesopotamia. After about a millennium, its dominance was replaced by the Hurrian culture, which may or may not have been the Halafian people reasserting their domi- nance over their mountainous homeland. The Hurrian period lasted from 6,300 to about 2,600 years ago.

Much more is known of the Hurrians. They spoke a language of the Northeast Caucasian family of languages (or Alarodian), kin to modern Chechen and Lezgian. The Hurrians spread far and wide, dominating much territory outside their Zagros-Taurus mountain base. Their settlement of Anatolia was complete-all the way to the Aegean coasts. Like their Kurdish descendents, they however did not expand too far from the mountains. Their intrusions into the neighboring plains of Mesopotamia and the Iranian Pteau, there- fore, were primarily military annexations with little population settlement. Their economy was surprisingly integrated and focused, along with their political bonds, mainly running parallel with the Zagros- Taurus mountains, rather than radiating out to the lowlands, as was the case during the preceding (foreign) Ubaid cultural period. The mountain-plain economic exchanges remained secondary in importance, judging by the archaeological remains of goods and their origin.

The Hurrians-whose name survives now most prominently in the dialect and district of Hawraman/Awraman in Kurdistan- divided into many clans and subgroups, who set up city-states, kingdoms and empires known today after their respvi hective clan names. These included the Gutis, Kurti, Khadi, Mards, Mushku, Manna, Hatti, Mittanni, Urartu, and the Kassitis1es, to name just a few. All these were Hurrians, and together form the Hurrian phase of Kurdish history.

By about 4.000 years ago, the first van- guard of the Indo-European-speaking peoples were trickling into Kurdistan in limited numbers and settling there. These formed the aristocracy of the Mittani, Kassite, and Hittite kingdoms, while the common peopies there remained solidly Hurrian. By about 3,000 years ago, the trickle had turned into a flood, and Hurrian Kurdistan was fast becoming Indo-European Kurdistan. Far from having been wiped out, the Hurrian legacy, despite its linguistic eclipse, remains the single most important element of the Kurdish culture until today. It forms the substructure for every aspects of Kurdish existence, from their native reli- gion to their art, their social organization, women's status, and even the form of their militia warfare.

Medes, Scythians and Sagarthians are just the better-known clans of the Indo- European-speaking Aryans who settled in Kurdistan. By about 2,600 years ago, the Medes had already set up an empire that included all Kurdistan and vast territories far beyond. Medeans were followed by scores of other kingdoms and city-statesQall dom- inated by Aryan aristocracies and a populace that was becoming Indo-European, Kurdish speakers if not so already.

By the advent of the classical era in 300 BC. Kurds were already experiencing massive population movements that resulted in settlement and domination of many neighboring regions. Important Kurdish polities of this time were all byproducts of these movements. The Zelan Kurdish clan of Commagene (Adyaman area), for example, spread to establish in addition to the Zelanid dynasty of Commagene, the Zelanid kingdom of Cappadocia and the Zelanid empire of PontusQall in Anatolia. These became Roman vassals by the end of the Ist century BC. In the east the Kurdish kingdoms of Gordyene, Cortea, Media, Kirm, and Adiabene had, by the I st century B C, become confederate members of the Parthian Federation.

While all larger Kurdish Kingdoms of the west gradually lost their existence to the Romans, in the east they survived into the 3rd century A D and the advent of the Sasanian Persian empire. The last major Kurdish dynasty, the Kayosids, fell in AD 380. Smaller Kurdish principalities (called the Kotyar, "mountain administrators") however, preserved their autonomous existence into the 7th century and the coming of Islam.

Several socio-economic revolutions in the garb of religious movements emerged in Kurdistan at this time, many due to the exploitation by central governments, some due to natural disasters. These continued as underground movement into the Islamic era, bursting forth periodically to demand social reforms. The Mazdakite and Khurramite movements are best-known among these.

The eclipse of the Sasanian and Byzantine power by the Muslim caliphate, and its own subsequent weakening, permitted the Kurdish principalities and "mountain administrators" to set up new, independent states. The Shaddadids of the Caucasus and Armenia, the Rawadids of Azerbaijan, the Marwandis of eastern Anatolia; the Hasanwayhids, Fadhilwayhids, and Ayyarids of the central Zagros and the Shabankara of Fars and Kirman are some of the medieval Kurdish dynasties.

The Ayyubids stand out from these by the vastness of their domain. From their capital at Cairo they ruled territories of eastern Libya, Egypt, Yemen, western Arabia, Syria, the Holy Lands, Armenia and much of Kurdistan. As the custodians of Islam's holy cities of Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem, the Ayyubids were instrumental in the defeat and expulsion of the Crusaders from the Holy Land.

With the 12th and 13th centuries the Turkic nomads arrived in the area who in time politically dominated vast segments of the Middle East. Most independent Kurdish states succumbed to various Turkic kingdoms and empires. Kurdish principalities, however, survived and continued with their autonomous existence until the 17th century. Intermittently, these would rule independently when local empires weakened or collapsed.

The advent of the Safavid and Ottoman empires in the area and their division of Kurdistan into two uneven imperial dependencies was on a par with the practice of the preceding few centuries. Their introduction of artillery and scorched-earth policy into Kurdistan was a new, and devastating development.

In the course of the 16th to 18th centuries, vast portions of Kurdistan were systematically devastated and large numbers of Kurds were deported to far corners of the Safavid and Ottoman empires. The magnitude of death and destruction wrought on Kurdistan unified its people in their call to rid the land of these foreign vandals. The lasting mutual suffenng awakened in Kurds a community feelingQa nationalism, that called for a unified Kurdish state and fostering of Kurdish culture and language. Thus the historian Sharaf al-Din Bitlisi wrote the first pan-Kurdish history the Sharafnama in 1597, as Ahmad Khani composed the national epic of Mem-o-Zin in 1695, which called for a Kurdish state to fend for its people. Kurdish nationalism was born.

For one last time a large Kurdish kingdomQthe Zand, was born in 1750. Like the medieval Ayyubids, however, the Zands set up their capital and kingdom outside Kurdistan, and pursued no policies aimed at unification of the Kurdish nation. By 1867, the very last autonomous Kurdish principalities were being systematically eradicated by the Ottoman and Persian governments that ruled Kurdistan. They now ruled directly, via governors, all Kurdish provinces. The situation further deteriorated after the end of the WWI and dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

The Treaty of Sevres (signed August 10, 1921) anticipated an independent Kurdish state to cover large portions of the former Ottoman Kurdistan. Unimpressed by the Kurds' many bloody uprisings for independence, France and Britain divided up Ottoman Kurdistan between Turkey, Syria and Iraq. The Treaty of Lausanne (signed June 24, 1923) formalized this division. Kurds of Persia/Iran, meanwhile, were kept where they were by Teheran.

Drawing of well-guarded state boundaries dividing Kurdistan has, since 1921, aMicted Kurdish society with such a degree of fragmentation, that its impact is tearing apar the Kurds' unity as a nation. The 1920s saw the setting up of Kurdish Autonomous Province (the "Red Kurdistan") in Soviet Azerbaijan. It was disbanded in 1929. In 1945, Kurds set up a Kurdish republic at Mahabad in the Sovie, occupied zone in Iran. It lasted one year, until it was reoccupied by the Iranian army.

Since 1970s, the Iraqi Kurds have enjoyed an official autonomous status in a portion of that state's Kurdistan. By the end of 1991, they had become all but independent from Iraq. By 1995, however, the Kurdish government in Arbil was at the verge of political suicide due to the outbreak of factional fighting between various Kurdish warlords.

Since 1987 the Kurds in Turkey by themselves constituting a majority of all KurdsQhave waged a war of national liberation against Ankara's 70 years of heavyhanded suppression of any vestige of the Kurdish identity and its rich and ancient culture. The massive uprising had by 1995 propelled Turkey into a state of civil war. The burgeoning and youthful Kurdish population in Turkey, is now demanding absolute equality with the Turkish component in that state, and failing that, full independence.

In the Caucasus, the fledgling Armenian Republic, in the course of 1992-94 wiped out the entire Kurdish community of the former "Red Kurdistan." Having ethnically "cleansed" it, Armenia has effectively annexed Red Kurdistan's temtory that forms the land bridge between the Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia proper.




The Kurdish Struggle For National Self-Determination

By Jack Barnes, the Militant,
Vol. 63, no 9, 8 March 1999

The following selection on the Kurdish struggle for national self-determination is excerpted from The Opening Guns of World War III: Washington's Assault on Iraq, the lead article in issue no. 7 of the Marxist magazine New International. The article is based on a talk given by Socialist Workers Party national secretary Jack Barnes on March 30, 1991, just weeks after the U.S.-organized slaughter of the Gulf war in Iraq. It is copyright (c) 1991 by 408 Printing and Publishing Corp. Reprinted by permission.

The U.S. rulers' military victory put an international spotlight on another unresolved fight for national self- determination in the region - that of the Kurdish people. Prior to the Gulf war the Kurdish struggle had largely been in retreat, having been dealt repeated defeats over the past half century by the Iraqi, Turkish, Iranian, and Syrian ruling classes, with the complicity of Washington, London, Paris, and Moscow. The consequences of the Gulf war have now posed Kurdish national self-determination more sharply than at any time since the close of World War II and the years just after the 1958 revolution that overthrew the monarchy in Iraq.

Some twenty million to thirty million Kurds are divided between southeastern Turkey, northeastern Syria, northern Iraq, and northwestern Iran, as well as a small region in the southern part of the USSR. An independent Kurdish republic came into existence in northern Iran after the establishment of a workers' and peasants' government in neighboring Azerbaijan in December 1945.(1)

Although the Kurdish republic was crushed by the Iranian monarchy a year later, the Kurds continued their struggle during the decades that followed. The U.S. rulers have alternately doled out aid with an eyedropper to Kurdish nationalist groups, and then abruptly cut off this backing, depending on Washington's shifting relations with regimes in the area, especially Baghdad and Tehran.

The Kurdish people took advantage of the weakening of the Saddam Hussein regime as a result of the war to press forward their struggle once again, holding many villages and towns - including the major city of Kirkuk - for a week or more in March. Baghdad used helicopter gunships and heavy armor to crush the Kurdish rebellion with ruthless brutality, causing two million or more Kurdish refugees to attempt to cross the Turkish and Iranian borders.

As we discuss here today, the U.S. and European imperialist powers have declared a temporary refugee enclave for the Kurds north of the thirty-sixth parallel in northern Iraq near the Turkish border. Washington is sending troops, Special Forces units, into northern Iraq to function as what amounts to little more than a police force for Saddam Hussein. Along with Turkish soldiers, the U.S. troops are forcing the refugees out of Turkey and off nearby mountains into ill- provisioned and barren transit camps. Washington's aim is to push the Kurds back to the towns and villages from which they fled.

At best, this enclave will be the temporary equivalent of an Indian reservation in the United States or one of the many blocked-off areas near Israel's borders containing Palestinian refugee camps. The imperialists share a common interest with the capitalist regimes in Baghdad, Ankara, Damascus, and Tehran in ensuring that such a haven for the Kurds is short- lived. All of them know that any more-or-less-permanent Kurdish area can only breed aspirations for more land that is justly theirs, as well as potential intifadas among young generations of Kurdish fighters. Bush will have nightmares about setting up a very large reservation, nightmares about a modern-day Geronimo leading a new breakout.(2)

This is another of the unresolved and uncontrollable social forces in the Gulf that has been unleashed, rather than contained, by the results of Washington's war against Iraq.

As we continue campaigning against imperialism and war today, we must call not only for All foreign troops out of Iraq! but also Open the U.S. borders! - to the Kurdish people and to all Iraqi and Kuwaiti refugees fleeing the Baghdad regime and the al-Sabah monarchy.

For the ruling class in Turkey, which joined Washington in the war against Iraq in hopes of winning trade favors and military aid and hardware, the results so far - nearly one million refugees pounding at its borders -are nothing short of a catastrophe. (The Turkish regime is also suffering major economic blows from honoring the continuing blockade, which shuts off Turkey's oil pipeline with Iraq and the resulting flow of funds into the state treasury.) These events have brought to greater world attention once again the Turkish rulers' own suppression of the Kurdish people, until recently legally denied the right even to speak their own language in Turkey - and they are still denied the right to read, write, or be educated in Kurdish.

Above all, the Kurdish people have come to the center stage in world politics as never before, not primarily as victims, but as courageous and determined fighters for national rights....

The U.S. rulers did not anticipate the scope of the rebellions by Kurds and other oppressed toilers in Iraq, nor the bloody suppression unleashed by Saddam Hussein and its embarrassing media results at home. But the most important point is that such matters were never part of Washington's calculations one way or the other. The U.S. rulers have no interest in the national rights of the Kurds. The depth of the national pride and determination of the Kurdish people - like that of the Palestinians and other fighting peoples - is a mystery to them; it will always catch them by surprise. To the contrary, Washington's interest is in forging stronger ties of imperialist domination with a subjugated Iraqi government and with other historic butchers of the Kurds: the Turkish government, the Syrian government, and, to the degree possible, the Iranian government.

1. The Kurdish regime held power for nearly a year. When the Iranian monarchy moved to crush the two governments and reoccupy the areas in December 1946, the Soviet government opposed the resistance efforts by the Azerbaijani and Kurdish peoples. This led to a split in the Azerbaijani leadership, with the majority following Stalin's dictate and calling off armed resistance. The Stalinist leadership in Azerbaijan capitulated without a struggle. The fall of the Azerbaijani government quickly led to the fall of the Kurdish republic. Kurdish forces, however, organized a fighting retreat.

The retreat was organized by Mustapha Barzani, the military commander of the Kurdish Republic of Mahabad, who had earlier led Kurds from Iraq to join the republic in northern Iran led by Ghazi Muhammad. Fighting the shah's army, they crossed the border into Iraq, where they came under attack by the armed forces of the Iraqi monarchy backed by British imperialism. Barzani then led his forces in a fighting retreat through Turkey and Iran into the Soviet Union. They remained there until the overthrow of the Iraqi monarchy in the July 1958 revolution when they returned to Iraqi Kurdistan and continued the struggle for self-determination.

2. Geronimo, an Apache warrior, was an outstanding leader of the struggle by the American Indian peoples against the U.S. government's genocidal policies and dispossession of Indian lands and rights. In May 1885 he and his followers broke out of the San Carlos reservation in Arizona, where they had been driven by U.S. government forces. They then went to Mexico, where they were ultimately pursued by five thousand U.S. soldiers, a force equivalent to nearly one-third of the U.S. army's combat strength, as well as thousands of Mexican army troops. Geronimo and a few dozen followers finally surrendered in September 1886. The entire band was then deported to Fort Marion, Florida.

The Militant

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