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Kurds - A History Of Western Betrayals
THE US is using armed Kurdish groups in the north of Iraq as a proxy army against Saddam Hussain's forces. Many Kurds, however, are fighting for an Iraqi Kurdistan, to include areas such as oil-rich Kirkuk.
But Turkey is bitterly opposed to any independent Kurdish entity that may encourage Kurdish separatist movements within its borders and has massed troops on the Iraq/Turkey border ready to invade.
The US, wanting to maintain its NATO links, has promised Turkey that it will 'preserve Iraq's integrity' i.e. not allow a Kurdish state. TIM LESSELS explains how the West, once again, will betray Kurdish national aspirations.
THE CURRENT alliance between US forces and Iraqi Kurds is entirely one of convenience. While the US and British governments talk about Saddam's appalling suppression of the Kurds to justify their war, both countries do nothing to aid the oppressed Kurds in Turkey, nor the plight of the Kurdish minorities in Iran and Syria.
In the 1980s the repression of Iraqi Kurds was ignored by the West. Then, Saddam was a staunch ally of the US and Britain in the fight against the newly established Islamic Republic of Iran.
At the end of the 1991 Gulf War, US President George Bush encouraged an Iraqi Kurdish uprising against Saddam only to betray them for fear of encouraging Iran's regional ambitions.
Clearly, the Kurdish people cannot rely on imperialism to defend their rights. Indeed, during the last century the Western powers carved up the Middle East to suit their interests, leaving 35 million Kurds divided into four countries.
The Kurds have continuously struggled for national liberation but to no avail. The leadership of various Kurdish political organisations must take some of the blame for this. Their rivalry and opportunism has allowed the Kurdish people to be divided with ease by the regional powers and imperialism time and again. eg the recent armed conflict between the Kurdish PUK and KDP and the PUK and PKK factions in northern Iraq.
SOCIALISTS FULLY support the struggle of the Kurdish people for national rights and self-determination, including the right to a separate state if so desired.
The regional capitalist powers and imperialism will not allow for the creation of an independent Kurdistan and as a minority in capitalist states the Kurds will always be subject to discrimination.
The Kurds should continue to look for outside support - not that of imperialism or the corrupt reactionary governments of the region, but to the working class and rural poor of the Middle East and internationally. With a socialist programme for national rights, coupled to economic and social liberation, the Kurds could start to win mass support.
A mass movement for socialism in the Middle East could sweep away the reactionary capitalist regimes and allow for genuine democracies.
The enormous wealth of the region could be taken under the control of the workers and used to benefit the masses, not creamed off by the ruling elites and Western companies.
Under socialism, the people of the region would at last be free from the divisive and destructive influence of imperialism and their previous despotic national ruling classes. Then, the Kurds and other national minorities will be able to make a free and democratic decision about the states they wish to live in.
In The Socialist 4 April 2003: