Kurdish- American honeymoon ended

  • KurdishMedia.com - By Yerevan Adham
  • 06/01/2008 00:00:00

When I woke up and checked the news on 16th, December 2007, I realized that Turkey bombed Iraqi Kurdistan. I am disappointed and saddened because of what we Kurds did for supporting the US from the first moment of their mission in Iraq until now.

Our alleged friend and ally, USA not just permitted Turkey to bomb the innocent Kurdish villages of Northern Iraq but supplied Turkey with intelligence to kill innocent people and animals under pretext of existence of PKK in the rugged mountain of Qandil in Northern Iraq.

It’s really surprising and weird that I daily get bothered by tens of the animal protectors and environmentalist when I am on my way to my lectures, shopping and etc in Austin and other cities in the USA, but their government supplies intelligence to another country to kill not just thousands of animals in the Kurdish villages of Northern Iraq but children and civilians. This makes me think that Americans have not any idea of what their government is doing overseas!

The Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK) is a Kurdish armed group which started fighting Turkish regime in early 1980s in the hope of getting Kurdish political and cultural rights. Since PKK has involved in conventional fighting against Turkey and from time to time involved in bombing Turkish government establishments.

In the past years, after kidnapping of PKK founder and leader Abdulla Ocalan in February 1999, PKK declared unilateral truce with Turkey a few times but Turkish regime’s refusal to issue a general immensity to the Guerrillas has led continuation of the conflict in southeast Turkey. There has not been a positive answer by the Turkish government for PKKs’ truces, insisting that PKK must put down their arms, surrender to Turkish regime and the guerrillas stand trail.

The Kurds have been always the victims of the US foreign policy in the past. Now it calls PKK the enemy of the United States. While not an American troop have even been hurt by PKK or the Kurdish people in Turkey or Iraq. Calling PKK the enemy of the US by President Bush certainly fuels anti American feelings in all the countries where Kurds live. It’s true that Kurds live in different geopolitical boundaries now. But we all have the same nationalist feeling to each other.

Almost every Kurd considers PKK as a legitimate group which struggles to get Kurdish rights in Turkey while they disagree with some of the tactics PKK is using for getting its objectives. The way PKK is fighting Turkey is the way Iraqi Kurdish Armed groups fought the successive Iraqi regimes since 1960s to 1991.

Given the hard and harsh backgrounds of the Kurds in the past, has caused creation of Armed groups to defend Kurdish people in these countries as the regimes of Turkey and Iraq have not showed their approval to negotiate with the Kurds and always we have been considered as a part of the Arab world or Mountainous Turks.

PKK came to existence in a time when the concept of terrorism did not exist in the world. The US and international community need to seek for the factors caused formation of PKK in early 1980s. Listing PKK as a terrorist organization by the US and European Union is another injustice committed against the Kurdish people because it does not make any sense to put a people of over 40 millions people into terrorist category.

Whenever I hear US is calling PKK terrorist, I do feel that I am called terrorist. That is not just my feeling as an Iraqi Kurd. But that is the feeling of my family, friends and most of the Kurdish people in Iraqi Kurdistan.

I visited those villages where Turkey is targeting many times in the last couple of years for reporting with the American journalists. PKK did not exist inside the villages where Turkey is bombing and destroying. The loss has been just for the Kurdish villagers. I was seeing the villagers were reconstructing those houses, schools and hospitals that were razed to the ground by former Iraqi regime they were optimistic about the future as there was not the fear of Saddam Hussein to bomb and destroy them, Children going to the schools with hope about future. But this time Turkey acted like Saddam Hussein to kill us and destroy our land.

It does seem that being a real friends of the Americans and belief in the mission the US is trying to accomplish in the Middle East, does not work as long as you are not strategic for what US wants you to be. Again US proved that it’s not changed its immoral and vicious position towards those people who served to help USA accomplish its mission in Iraq.

Iraqi Kurds have been the best allies of the US since the libration of Iraq in 2003 and Iraqi Kurdistan is the only safe place for the US troops as since 2003 up to the moment, Not a single US military personnel’s have been hurt in Kurdistan.

Kurdish quest has existed in the Middle East for more than a century and it still continues. Despite the fact the all the regimes have oppressed Kurds in the Middle East, but we have been able to preserve our identity as Kurds and always forced to take up arms to protect our Kurdish identity. Through out our history of resistance, the mountains of Kurdistan have been only our real friends, protectors and shelter!

There has been attempts by both the successive regimes of Turkey and Iraq to erase our identity and change our culture, there has been campaigns of Arabaization and Turkification of the Kurds in the past by preventing us from speaking our language and deprived from education by our language and even Kurdish music and Kurdish traditional festivities were forbidden in Turkey and for years and still continue.

I am from the town of Halabja, spent all my childhood sheltering in basements and fleeing from Iraqi regime and finally my town was gassed in 1988 by Saddam Hussein and killed thousands of people in seconds, thousands of villages were razed to the ground and more than 100,000 of men, women and children were taken and buried alive in 1980s but still international community was silent before all these crimes.

The first gulf war weakened Saddam regime and accidently gave us the chance to rise up against Saddam Hussein and get control over northern Iraq. But in the final minutes, US stopped backing the Kurdish people, and let Baghdad use its forces to crash Kurdish uprising in 1991, resulted in committing atrocities by Iraqi army against Kurdish civilians and fleeing millions of people to the neighboring countries when the former regime recaptured the Northern Kurdish part of Iraq.

Later Iraqi troops retreated and we got a partial independence from the Iraqi regime as Alliance forces provided Non fly zone protection for the Kurds in Northern Iraq through UN resolution in April 1991. This assured us that we would not be killed and bombed by Iraqi regime again as international community especially USA protects us from any aggressive regimes in the area.

But the older generation was still skeptical about American stance towards us as we have had bad experience with the western countries especially USA. We have been always used by US for its interests and in the final moment, US has left us to the ironic and oppressive hands of the regimes where the Kurds live. Betrayal followed by betrayals in the past century by the USA against us and we still trusted US for third time.

But unfortunately for another time, we put our trust in the United States government and received US troops in 2003 very warmly unlike the other parts of Iraq where US troops were resisted and fought.

By the time, I was working for the foreign press as a fixer, I was seeing how warm and friendly the Kurdish girls, boys and children from all Northern Iraq were receiving American troops when they were driving in the cities of Kurdistan. Children were throwing flowers and roses to the US troops as their appreciation for coming and liberating Iraq from the oppressive hands of Saddam Hussein.

I myself was one of the craziest and most American influenced guy and hoping that these new generation and children of the Kurds will not study in the basements because of violence and war as I did when I was a child. I did not think that again the schools of the Kurdish children would be razed to the ground by war jets of Turkey with the help of the US as my school was destroyed by bombardment during Iraq-Iran war.

Everybody was thinking that our future is bright and US is the light in the end of the tunnel to help the Kurds exercise freedom and democracy that they were allegedly brought by the US tanks to the new Iraq.

In the last couple of years we have been able to secure our area and made it as the most prosperous part of Iraq both economically, politically and security wise. Hundreds of foreign companies have invested in Kurdistan because of its good security and the tolerance of the Kurdish people towards the western values as we have embraced a lot since the US invasion into Iraq.

There are less than 400 US troops in whole Kurdistan as Kurdish Peshmargas (fighters) have been able to secure not just Kurdistan but the US troops too. Since the US invasion up to now, there has not been any US casualty in Iraqi Kurdistan because Kurdish people have always done their best to protect US troops and considered them as our best friends and alliance in the war against terrorism in Iraq.

We fought alongside the US troops for liberating Iraq and then fought and still fighting against terrorism. Kurdish peshmarga forces and American troops shed their blood against the common enemy.

US troops come to Iraqi Kurdistan for vacation and walk without the fear of IEDs being exploded and even they don’t carry their weapons when they go shopping because of the true and loyal love of the Kurdish people to them.

All the people in the Middle East with the exception of Israel call us traitors because of our help, friendly treatment with the Americans and belief in Democracy. We lost and sacrificed our trust to the Arabs, Persians and the Islamic state of Turkey for the sake of the Americans because we deeply believed the phony slogans of Freedom and Democracy that American government claimed. I can say that we put all our eggs in the basket of the Americans and did not leave any space for backup.

US have a history of rewarding its enemies and punishing its friends. The Iraqi Sunnis, who started resisting US troops and killed thousands of American troops, are rewarded well by increasing their power in the Iraqi Government, arming them and special financial aid to the Sunnis. Even the Sunni resistances made Gorge W Bush come all the way from Washington to Anbar province to have a meeting with the Sunni tribes. Bush shook hand with the leader of an Iraqi insurgent group who used to kill and fight Americans.

But now as a punishment by the Bush administration to the Kurds, US has opened Northern Iraq’s sky to let the Turkish war jets to bomb the Kurdish villages under the pretext of (PKK) Kurdistan workers party bases in those areas.

Despite the threats of Turkey to bomb and invade Northern Iraq, We the Kurds did not think that US would ever let Turkey attack the Kurdish villages of Northern Iraq, killing innocent civilians and livestock and destroying the newly built schools and hospitals. This is an event which has surprised all the Kurds, including our leadership because we strongly believed that we are protected by US.

It’s really strange that US is preserving this duplicity policy towards the Kurds. I remember the former US secretary of state Collin Powel visited my town in Sep, 2003 and addressed to the people of Halabja, giving his word that Kurds will not be bombed and oppressed again, saying I promise what happened in the past will not happen again. “No longer just the mountains are friends of the Kurds But USA is the real friend of the Kurds now” .on 16th, Dec, 2007 when the secretary of state Condoleezza Rice visited Northern city of Kirkuk, US let Turkey send its war jets to bomb the Kurdish villages.

But the American permitted Turkish bombardment proved that we don’t have real friends and it’s only the mountains which are our real friends and protectors.

Probably Kurds should fight American troops in the way the Arab Sunnis did since the invasion in 2003 so that we would be respected, protected and considered as a strategic alliance of the west. I really don’t see it far that If US continues on this double game with the Kurds, It may lead to formation of Anti American Armed groups in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Yerevan Adham, Government and international relations Major in the University of Texas – Austin, USA

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  • KurdishMedia.com - By Yerevan Adham
  • 06/01/2008 00:00:00