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Putin’s Eurasian Union, The USA and the future for Kurdistan

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It is only few weeks since I published the article titled “Is there a future for Kurdistan with Russia?” Below quote is from the mentioned article:

One thing however is for sure, and it is that Russia’s leadership must show its citizens that it is once again a reputed global power. This will require to show some muscle here and there. And this is not good news for Kurdistan.

Not long has passed and Putin wrote an article on his new Eurasian Union project. This is basically Russia reclaiming whatever it can from the ex-Soviet soil, which was the soil of tsar era before the World War I age. Short, Russia follows the same strategy map, still after what the tsars were after.

Here I would like you to read the third chapter (The Partition of Asiatic Turkey) of the book Secret Treaties and Understandings, prepared and published by F. Seymour Cocks, long long ago. You can read the book from this link.

If you have read;

In short in this book, ancient Cilicia and Western Kurdistan was given to the French and rest of the Kurdistan to Russia. If we look at today’s maps, we see that this partitioning of Kurdistan between the French and the Russians is what did not happen at the end of the World War I. Thsu, we can speculate on the interests of these three and their agreement on the borders they agreed upon if things did not go wrong.

* Was what is Eastern Kurdistan in Iran today (Kermanshah, Urmiyah, Sine, etc) left to Russians is kind of unclear in this partitioning. Which power was going to take this part? Or, was it another agreement between the same powers on partitioning of Iran?

The question is not why they had interest in the land of other peoples, that would be stupid, but rather who asked which land and why. Why Russia took only the north of Kurdistan and not further south all the way to the mediterranean. Why did the French took only western Kurdistan and not further north all the way to Azerbaidjan.

Here is what these powers agreed to take from Kurdistan and its periphery with Kurdish political description and geographical naming of the land, which is also clearly the terminology of those partitioners;

  • The French takes western Kurdistan and Adana. Ottoman province of Mossul, an arab city remains with them as well, however Kurdish city of Kirkuk, Sulaymaniah, Hewler and Dohuk is kind of unclear on the partitioning map. Should have been left to Russia because these lands were left to Britain’s mandate, which later became Iraq today. *
  • Russia takes the rest of Kurdistan all the way down to Botan (should include Siirt and around in Kurdistan today, Botan region of Kurdistan) *
  • The British takes central and south of Iraq today.
  • Port of Alexandretta, Iskenderun today remains a neutral port, not pointed out well in this map.

Now, why Alexandretta, Iskenderun is an important point to be mentioned and agreed upon on such a big partitioning? As a Kurdish geostrategy writer my answer is that it is the gateway to Kurdistan and it is Kurdistan’s gateway to the world. Moreover, Kurdistan itself is a gateway Central Asia if thought together with Azerbaidjan.

It is clear that the agreement on such partitioning between these three powers, the one including Alexandretta (of which was named Hatay and annexed to Turkey in 1939):

  1. there was a special interest in Kurdistan, and more importantly:
  2. noone could get Kurdistan in unity

In the same agreement between the Russians and the west (French and British), it is agreed that Russia would get the control of Constantinople, Istanbul today. In short, northern and central Kurdistans to the Russians, its west to the French. It is mentioned in the same agreement that Russia would get Constantinople or Istanbul.

One should have a look at this grand Russia picture and see that Russia would control the access to / from Black Sea and none of the western powers would have access to Central Asia. Central Asia, which is in the center of the map for Putin’s Eurasia Union.

The west has changed in power balance since then. After the Bolshevik revolution Lenin gave up all the claims of tsarist Russia on Kurdistan. The west, namely the French gave up claims on western Kurdistan and Adana.Everything, later on including Alexandretta (Iskenderun) was given to Turkey. It was just Mossul and its Kurdish territories that was later decided by the League of Nations under British hegemony to be left under the British mandate, which has become Iraq. Kurds were clearly to get nothing under the British mandate or Iraq until the US intervened there with the first and second gulf wars.

Thus created modern day Turkey, republic of the Turks and enemy of the Kurds.

Turkey seems to be the lock on an unrealized deal on Kurdistan between Russia and the west. The west agreed on partitioning of the Ottoman land but Lenin spoilt everything.

It is most probably that Lenin’s Russia and the direction this communicst state would take was not known that the west agreed on the sealing of an unrealized geopartitioning deal: the grave Kurdistan and the Kurds burried in to.

It was in 1921 when Lenin agreed with the Turks and ‘secured’ ‘revolution’s border there. Such a shame on Lenin knowingly burrying Kurds for the sake of his revolution and an ideology. Such a pragmatism he himself loved to criticize in his famous polemics.

Then, Soviets collapsed, then Russia started losing in from its Soviet time geographical dominancy with Yeltsin and then Putin rose to power to put and end to the retreat. Now Putin comes back only to reclaim Central Asia. He can not yet imagine of more than this without doing more at home.

What interests the Kurds in this is not what Russia is interested in, not that Russia has interest in Kurdistan. No, not today. It is rather if the USA will stop its interest for Central Asia. Kurdistan would be meaningful for the US only in such a scenario.

There will be more on this in future articles.


Written by M. Husedin

24 October 2011 at 3:07 PM

The US and the Middle East | The Turks and the Kurds

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Erdogan announced proudly to his nation: they were going to receive predators from US to use in their fight against the Kurds.

Erdogan is either over excited about this issue or he is openly manipuating it. The predators, according to the news, are going to be based in Incirlik, where Turks virtually have no control on.

Are they really going to be given to the Turks, then? Stop joking.

Are they going to be based in Incirlik for Turkey’s fight against the Kurdish insurgency against Turkish racism? Well, this is already continuing besides the shame scores US continues receiving.

Israel was receiving the shame scores until recently with their UAVs navigating over Kurdistan to aid the Turks in their Kurdish guerilla hunt. Not that the Israelis remembered their own oppression history and decided to stop taking sides with the likes of the Nazis. No, unfortunately this is not the case behind. It was a crisis Turkey created, not Israel, that yielded Israel to stop providing its UAVs to the Turks. We can only hope today about Israel, that one day the Israeli will remember that sometimes the societies need universal values and principles in statebeing rather than real-politic alone.

Turks are far from such values. Look at what’s going on about the Kurds in Turkey. Kurdish is forbidden to be used in education, yet it is the language of 40 million only in the Middle East, and the demand for Kurdish identity is still welcomed in Turkish prisons. And what an identity; of about twenty million Kurds in Turkey alone. This Turkey is an ally of the West. An example democracy for the Middle East. More shame scores for the west..

It is clear that US does not give any predators’ control to any Turks. First of all, technically speaking, these aircrafts are piloted by who-knows-who guys located somewhere known to noone. Secondly, I do not believe the Kurdish guerillas who pose no threat at all to the US or its interests in the Middle East will be attacked by the US by its most advanced and one of the most expensive war machines. For sure, they will continue their air controls over Iraqi territory from their new location after leaving Iraqi soil, and for sure they will continue giving the same service to Turkey which they have been giving. The way I see this news is relocating the predators close to Syrian soil, basically a half an hour flight.

As followers of this blog will know, I am of the opinion that a rapid logistical prepositioning and ally making of the US against Syria is ongoing. Turks have assumed the main role happily, since last thing they want to see in any part of Kurdistan is another KRG like entity, Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq. With fresh memories of how the US can punish after they rejected to ally with the US for the invasion of Iraq, they are more than willing to be with the US in Syria. They blame themselves for the KRG establishment. They are of the opinion that they could prevent the KRG if they took sides with the US and invade Iraq together.

This is how the Turks opened their doors to Syrian opposition to have their meetings and organize themselves. As for the Kurds, since they are received in hostility by the Turks and likewise by the Syrian Arabs, they are discussing to form their own alliance in what is Southwest Kurdistan. In their distrust to the Arabs they demand an autonomy or a federation of their own. Just like KRG!

How much will the Arabs welcome the Turks in Syria, we do not know. As the saying goes in Turkish, ‘that who falls to the sea, hugs the snake in despair’. The Syrian Arabs may be accepting the Turkish hand for the moment, however, I do not believe they will accept the Turks as their rescuers. Arab politicians may not be the most intelligent on Earth, but at the same time I do not believe they can be that stupid to trust to Turkey after the centuries long Ottoman experience.

As for the Kurds, they do not trust the Turks as they do not trust the Arabs. This is globally known. What will the strategy of the US in Syria be then? Going in with the Turks? Ignoring the Kurds in Syria’s north and allowing the Turks to go into a fight with the Kurds there as well?

Ignoring the Kurds in Syria’s north and allowing the Turks to oppress the Kurds there can not really be called a policy, can it?

US will eventually contact the Kurds. Since the change of status quo in the Middle East scares the Turks more than anyone else (it gives hope to the Kurds to end the denial they have been facing), US must be approaching to the Turks tactically to convince them that US interests in the region are not against those of the Turks.This is what I believe. This is what the Americans did in Iraq’s north.

Time will show if I am right, but meanwhile the Kurds will follow what proved to be the best Kurdish saying: ‘no friends but mountains’, until the tide turns.

Written by M. Husedin

04 October 2011 at 9:04 PM

Is there a future for Kurdistan with Russia?

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One thing many Kurds do reactively at desperate times when they lose hope from the West is looking to the Russians for help. Their mind tricks them into thinking that Russia “will support the Kurdish cause because of its antagonist stance with the west”. Many Kurds almost always automatically assume the Russians to be their ally. This thinking is wrong and where this thinking comes from is very clear: from having no understanding of the geo-strategy map Kurdistan creates.

Russia is preparing to stretch its arms once more with a dedicated nationalist leader. The new tsar has nothing to offer but a re-secured reputation for his once-proud Russians. Whether this is good news for the Kurds, I do not think so.

First of all, Russia has to start a new rise by reclaiming what it lost with the collapse of the Soviet Empire. Since Eastern Europe is very unlikely a territory the Russians can do so in the current power balance US follows there, there remains not much but the Central Asian plateau and the Caspian, the vast energy fields these territories promise.

There will of course be much more to do in the house than the geographical dominance Putin’s leadership will pursue and promise. An industrialization campaign is very likely. A re-modernization of the industrial infrastructure, investments in war machinery, etc. These are all to be seen. One thing however, is for sure, and it is that Russia’s leadership must show its citizens that it is once again a reputed global power. This will require to show some muscle here and there. And this is not good news for Kurdistan.

Dr Ismail Besikci, one of the few important people in the modern history of Northern Kurds, Kurds in Turkey, repeatedly asks one question in the last few years: why did the British and the French decided to erase Kurdistan from the map and deny the Kurds existence by parting Kurdistan into four between Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. Difficult question to answer, since, for example, the British open all their archives of the World War I, except the ones concerning the Kurds and Kurdish policy of the time!

We do not know why the British decided to design the Middle East in a way that the Kurds would get nothing in the end and lose everything, including their land, identity, culture and history. Whatever the reason was, it still affects the Middle East and Kurdistan policy of the Britain.

We know that the Americans did not agree to the Lausanne Treaty of 1924, they were late to take part in the dealing. The treaty effectively erased the Kurds from the maps. Americans made their comments by defending the rights of Kurds for a land and also remarking on the borders the treaty drew. That was it, and modern Turkey came into presence.

We can assume by analyzing the American policy at the time that, whatever the British and the French agreed for, the Americans did not benefit from it. What was the deal then? What should it be? What was the big benefit in denying Kurds their identity and erasing their land from the maps? What benefit did the west of the time had from such a brutal deal?

I rather suggest looking at a broader picture rather than seeing only the western powers of the time. Bolshevik Russia under Lenin’s rule promoted self determinism all over the world, except the Kurds! Isn’t this interesting?

Here I remember the Odyssey and how Odysseus chose to sacrifice some of his men to the six-headed monster Scylla for the safe passage of most, instead of risking losing all at the whirlpool of Charybdis. Lenin must have made a difficult choice of either promoting the same rights for the Kurds and getting into an unending war with the ‘imperialist’ west or giving up the Kurds, keeping mute on them and securing his Soviets. How was the map in front of him and different alternatives it proposed, we do not know. But one thing we know, the Bolshevik Russians were not friends with the Kurds. Kurds continued to receive this no-friend approach from the Bolshevik Russians under Stalin’s rule, when Qazi Muhammad, president of Mahabad Kurdish Republic, what is Eastern Kurdistan under Iran’s occupation today, was supported for independence by the USSR and left to the Persians to be crashed when whatever deal was reached with the West, again the British. Sounds like the ever repeating stupıdity of the Kurds in their modern times in ‘finding’ an ally in the west or the east…

I know, many Kurds reading this article quickly remember the criminal treason of Henry Kissinger. He was orchestrating a Kurdish uprising in South Kurdistan, Northern Iraq, from behind the Shah in Tehran.. Kurds, led by legendary pehmerga leader Mele Mustafa Barzani had hope for a grand federation and trusted its ally, the US, only to be left alone in the fields against the Iraqi Army with immediate effect when in Algeria Kissinger could broker the deal he was after, between Shah and Saddam. It was 1974, 28 years after the Soviets’s treason of Kurds in Mahabad to a similar faith.

However, I do not think Kissinger’s crime had anything to do with what we are trying to understand in this article in relation to Russia’s Kurdish / Kurdistan policy: how and why was Kurdistan divided? What was Russia’s role?

My mind tells me that agreement to “bury Kurdistan in Kurdistan” was how the Russians and the West could conclude their peace deal to leave what was once Russian Empire soil to the new communist rule. Why, then? What was the importance of Kurdistan?

A true Kurdistan map will stretch in the west to reach the Mediterranean and not that much in the North to reach Black Sea

In a strategy map, Kurdistan is

  • either the road to Central Asia from the Mediterranean via Caspian,
  • or the road to the Mediterranean from Central Asia via Caspian.

It is either of these depending on where you stand. Now, Lenin would not want the western imperialists to gain access to its Central Asia and the west would not want the communists to have direct access to the Mediterranean, would they? The agreement to conclude this strategic deal has to be the one signed in Montreux, few kilometers to Lausanne, on the rights to passage to Bosphorus and Dardanel. Once the access to and from Black Sea was secured between the West and the East with this treaty, Kurdistan was sealed in its tomb.

Returning back to Russia and the assumption that the Russian bear will have to stretch its muscles with the renewed presidency of Putin; Kurds should understand their position for Russia.

Turkey took side in the Black Sea with Russia by continually opposing US navy presence there. Turkey and Russia are the only countries opposing to such demand, and in opposition Georgia, Romania, Bulgaria and even Ukraine invites the Americans there. All the countries coasting the Black Sea, even the non-NATO members, want the Americans in the Black Sea, except Turkey and Russia. And yet this does not affect Turkey’s relationship with its ‘strategic ally’. Hmm..

This means one thing to me, that there should a bigger strategic agreement elsewhere that gives Turkey such a great power in going against the US. It has to be related with the deal that resulted in the agreement between the west and the east to bury the Kurds alive in Kurdistan.

Despite what that great and undisclosed deal was, Kurds are alive, claim their land and are looking for opportunities to come back to the world stage.

Will Russia be an ally for the Kurds, I do not think so. If the deal between the west and the east was to bury the Kurds alive in Kurdistan in order to deny access to each other to each others’ territories, none of the parties to such an agreement will dare to change the ‘status quo’ it created. Noone will want to open Pandora’s box to uncertainty. Russia will not. Besides, Russia is not looking for any allies. Why would they get into any trouble at all to support the Kurds? What is the benefit, forget the potential and unncessary headache it will bring.

Supporting Kurds for independence will mean for the west that Russia looks for access to the Mediterranean and in exchange they will not hesitate to show hostility to the bear elsewhere. So is the deal and Russia will respect. It is also a deal the Europeans follow dearly. Kurds can march in millions in Amed (Diyarbekir), the Kurdish capital or gather annually in hundreds of thousands in Cologne, in Germany but there will be no mentioning of them in any important newspaper. Kurds are not to be covered but rather ignored. They are buried, remember? Such is the shame for Europe.

One point here is the Americans. They do not benefit from such a deal between the West of the time, Europe and the Russians. We shall write about this at a later article.

Written by M. Husedin

02 October 2011 at 8:04 PM