The Kurds of the Middle East, though embraced by much of the West as idealistic freedom fighters, have committed a range of human rights abuses, mainly targeting non-Muslim minorities. Their dark history of violence includes kidnapping, enslavement, and genocide.
Much of what the Kurds claim as their own unique culture is actually borrowed from older cultures, such as the Assyrians, Armenians, and Aramean. In fact, much if not all of the land in Eastern Turkey that the Kurds claim as their own once belonged to the Armenians. It is hardly surprising, then, that the Kurds assisted in the Turkish genocide of Assyrians and the 1915 genocide of Armenians.
A group of men excavates the remains of victims of the Armenian genocide in modern day, Deir ez-Zor, Syria, 1938. (Photo: Armenian Genocide Museum Institute).
Also known as “Shato du Seyfo,” or the “Year of the Sword, ” this genocide targeted Christians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I, mainly in 1915. The size of the Assyrian population was reduced by as much as 75 percent as a result.
On the Nineveh plains of northern Iraq, the Kurds dwell in cities such as “Dohuk” (formerly known by the Assyrian name of Nohadra). But these cities are “theirs” only in that they have established a relatively recent presence there.Employing the criteria of cultural identity and thousands of years of historical authenticity, these lands are, and have been, uniquely Assyrian. The Kurds were essentially “given” these lands in the early 1970s as a means of drawing their eyes away from the oil-rich lands in and around the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. To this end, there were large migrations of Kurds into Dohuk which displaced, often forcibly, Assyrians who had far greater legal and historical claims to these lands.
This is a tactic commonly employed by the Kurds when attempting to ascribe validation to their “sacred quest” of establishing a Kurdish state – something which has never existed at any point in recorded history. By defining “Kurdistan” as any place where Kurds happen to dwell at any given point, they seem to be going by the maxim “possession is nine-tenths of the law” – which may work well in determining criminal liability, but not so well in determining one’s homeland.In the early 1970s, the Kurds of Nineveh began to fall into what would become a familiar pattern of being used as a pawn of U.S. interests. In this instance, they betrayed their host country when the U.S. – through its puppet, the Shah of Iran – began arming them and encouraging them to rise up against the government.
The Iraqi government cracked down, which resulted in many Kurds being forced out of the lands they had only recently acquired. Iraq and Iran came to a diplomatic resolution and the Kurds were left holding the proverbial bag in what would also become a recurring scenario. Nearly the exact same phenomenon occurred in the 1980s and 1990s when, during the first Gulf War, a no-fly zone was established that granted the Kurds a tangible measure of international support and protection.
Kurdish guerrillas of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, guard the entrance of Irbil, Iraq, Sept. 1, 1996, after they seized the main Kurdish city from the rival Patriotic Union of Kurdistan on, Aug. 31, 1996. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s forces stormed Irbil to dislodge one Kurdish group, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, and allow its rival, the KDP, to move in. Internal quarrels have long plagued the estimated 20 million Kurds who live in the mountainous region where the borders of Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Armenia and Azerbaijan converge. (AP/Anatolia)
“Despite the oppression the Kurds have suffered at the hands of the Turks, they have not learned to be tolerant. In the Kurdish autonomous of North Iraq, The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) are acting in the same way as the Turkish government has for 90 years against Kurds and Assyrians. Reports of systematic abuses against Assyrians within the Kurdish autonomy in Iraq are constantly increasing in number. There is organized harassment, sanctioned by the Kurdish authorities. The aim is obviously the same as that of the Turks, to assimilate or expel the Assyrian indigenous people who have lived in these parts of the country for more than 7,000 years.” Augin Haninke wrote in her article The Kurds: Victims and Oppressors with Assyrian International News agency.
Watch: The assassination of an Assyrian leader by Kurdish forces:
As explained in the video above, Kurdish security forces in Syria tortured and murdered Assyrian military commander David Jindo after a false invitation under the pretense of cooperation. This was a move reminiscent of Kurdish leader Simko Shikak’s 1918 assassination of Assyrian Patriarch Mar Shimun XXI Benyamin, which took place when he invited the patriarch into his home.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of northern Iraq claims that it is $25 billion dollars in debt, despite having negotiated its own oil deals and received significant amounts of foreign aid. One has to question how much corruption exists within the Kurdish administration for it to be in the financial situation it claims to be in. This has resulted in circumstances where small charity groups are left to facilitate and distribute aid to the Assyrians and Yazidis, who are supposed to be under the governorship of the KRG.
Sporting a revised version of the phrase “Mesopotamia: The Cradle of Civilization,” this sign is located near the Assyrian heritage site of Khinis in Dohuk Province. Such sites are typically unguarded and are often vandalized. (Courtesy of aina.org)
In 2011, imams in Dohuk encouraged Sunni Kurds to destroy Christian churches and businesses. In response, shops were attacked and clubs were besieged by mobs of people numbering in the hundreds. Hotels and restaurants were attacked with small arms fire.In recent years, Kurds have continued acting disingenuously towards Christian minorities, including Assyrians and even Yazidis. Their abuses have gone far beyond historical revisionism – an example of which can be seen in the picture below. This was also seen when they took refuge in northern Syria in the early 19th century and proceeded to drive Arabs and Armenians out of numerous towns.
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Originally part of my III Part Series for Mint Press News