The Kurdish Conflict: Aspirations for Statehood within the Spirals of International Relations in the 21st Century - By Saeed Kakeyi


The ability of the Kurds, a scattered, divided and stateless people, to engage in International Relations (IR) never ceases to surprise. Perhaps most astonishing events were due to their alliance with the Coalition Forces in March 2003 which replaced Saddam’s dictatorship regime with democratically elected multi-party, plural and federal new Iraq combating bloody fight against global terrorism. Along with the aforementioned events, the sensational capture of Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), by the Turkish intelligence team in Kenya in early 1999 and his sentencing to death then changed to life-imprisonment by a Turkish court later in 1999, are the most recent in a series of Kurdish-related events that have impacted the international relations. In the aftermath of Cold War, IR has witnessed the massacre, by chemical weapons and ethnic cleansing, of Kurdish villagers in Iraq after the Iran–Iraq war (1980–88) and a failed Kurdish uprising and massive refugee crisis after the 1991 Desert Storm, to be followed by the creation of a Kurdish enclave in Iraqi Kurdistan. The post-Cold War era has seen some horrible scenes of murdering three Iranian Kurdish opposition leaders in Europe and elsewhere. So significant has been the Kurdish mark on the contemporary IR, that some politicians have suggested that the Kurdish issue today can only be solved by creating an independent state of Kurdistan in the heart of the troubled Middle East.


Because we live in a world of nation-states, International politics, therefore, is a politics of disparity which cultivates the need for conflict as a recurrent phenomenon (Matthews et al. 3 -7). In such an anarchic environment, the position of the 40 million Kurds is a profoundly difficult one. Their indigenous homeland, Kurdistan, is divided against their will between four sovereign states, none of which recognizes their lawful rights for self-determination.

The Kurds, scattered between Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria as the largest minorities in these states, claim that their worldviews are incompatible with those of their ruling nations. Their needs and interests are coherent vis-à-vis the norms and values of the international community, and their positions are in match with the requirements of Balance of Power and Balance of Threat. Yet, parties to the Kurdish conflict think otherwise. The regional powers think of Kurds as historically, socially and culturally are a challenged people and tend to destabilize their authorities. As for the International community, however, Kurds are perceived an elusive element in the Middle East which should be kept passive and be used as needs arise as effective bargaining chips.

Hence, to understand Kurdish politics within International Relations (IR), one has to begin with looking into some historical facts about the origins of the Kurds and their homeland, Kurdistan.

Origins of the Kurds

Although Kurds have inhabited their highlands for several millennia BC, but due to the lack of precise scientific studies, their prehistory is distantly treated. According to Mehrdad A. Izady’s “The Kurds, A Concise Handbook,” the earliest known evidence of a unified and distinct culture in the Kurdish mountains dates back to the Hurrian era in northern Mesopotamia and Zagros-Taurus mountains which lasted from 6,300 to about 2,600 years ago. As they settled, the Hurrians divided into a number of clans and subgroups, founding city-states, kingdoms and empires with eponymous clan names. These included the Gutis, Kurti, Khaldi, Nairi, Mushku, Manni, Mitanni, Urartu, Lullubi and the Kassites among others. All these tribes were part of the larger group of Hurrians, and together helped to shape the Hurrian phase of Kurdish history (1992, 26-29).

One of the first mentions in historical records appears in cuneiform writings from the Sumerians 3,000 BC, referring to ”Kurdistan” as the "land of the Karda" in Zagros-Taurus Mountains of the northern and northeastern parts of Mesopotamia. The Babylonians called the inhabitants of “Karda” as "Gardu" and "Qarda". In south neighboring area of Assyria, they were known as "Qurti" or "Guti". When the Greeks entered the territory, they referred to these people as either "Kardukh", "Carduchi" or "Gordukh". The Armenians called the Kurds "Gortukh" or "Gortai-kh" and the Persians knew them as "Gord" or "Kord". In the Hebrew and Chaldean languages they were respectively referred to as "Qardu", "Kurdaye" and "Qurdaye" (1992, 31).

Kurds, therefore, claim that the origin of their language was influenced and gradually replaced by the arrival of the Medes from Southwestern Caspian Sea to Kurdistan near the end of the second millennium B.C.

By 836 BC, the animosities and crisis grew between the Medes and the Assyrians, to the extent that the former sought alliance with the bitter enemies of the latter; the Chaldeans. Approximately, around 700 BC, the Medes were able to form their political domains to grow into an empire extending their influence over the present day Iran at the center, all the way to western Pakistan and north of Anatolia. Fearing the Medes expansion toward the Mediterranean Sea, the Assyrians tried to engage them in southern Anatolia with series of attacks which led to the total destruction of the Assyrian Empire in 612 BC. The Medes alliance with the Chaldeans not only helped in getting rid of the Assyrian Empire, but also contributed to the peaceful management of Mesopotamia and Minor Asia affairs (1992, 32).

Early in Sixth century BC, Astakias, the late Medes King, hoping to subdue the Persian tribes, married a Persian woman from the Achaemenid tribe. But, by 550 BC, his maternal grandson, Cyrus, revolted against him in the capital, Ecbatana—present-day Hamadan, destroying the Medes Empire and founding the first ever Persian state to be known as the Achaemenid State (1992, 34).

With the beginning of the classical era in 300 BC, Kurds massively expanded in population movements settling and dominating many neighboring regions. The Zelan Kurdish dynasty grew into the Zelanid kingdom of Cappadocia and then the Zelanid Empire in Anatolia which by the end of the first century BC became Roman vassal. In the east the Kurdish kingdoms of Guti, Kurti, Medes, Mard, Gordyene, Carduchi Khaldi and Adiabene had, by the first century BC, become confederate members of the Parthian Federation and survived into the third century AD (1992, 35-36).

Accordingly, many scholars and orientalists consider the Kurds and their Kurdish language to be Indo-Europeans. For instance, according to Vladimir Minorsky, a Russian diplomat and orientalist, Kurds are direct descendant of Medes (1968: 43). Similarly, many Kurdish historians, anthropologists and scholars assert that the Medes are the ancestors of the Kurds who were the first in ranking and organizing their military system which the Greeks and the Romans made use of them later.

However, others think of the origins of the Kurds differently. Ali Ibn Al-Masudi, an Arab Abbasid historian (c. 896-956), recorded asserting that the Kurds are “Sons of Jinns—Genies” (1989: V.2, 123), Rasheed Yasami, a Persian historian, claims that “Kurds are not a separate nation, rather, they are of Persian origin” (Ghassemlou: 2000, 25) and with official Turkey’s encouragement, some scholars even suggested that Kurdish was a dialect of Turkish. Ironically, even Mehrdad Izady—a well respected Jewish scholar—think that the Aryan influence on Kurds has been superficial (1992-183). Such claims can only be looked at as chronic hostile climates for endless conflicts with the Kurds.

Kurds and Islam

With the advent of Islam, Kurds were subjects of the Sassanid Empire. They were not comprehensible with their Persian cousins and were actively engaged in agriculture, politics and military. To this end, the Bedouin Arab tribes’ expansion from the Arab Peninsula toward northern Persian Gulf, especially in Basra and Kufa, carried with it a violent Islamic culture based on the Arab Ignorance era.  Being accustomed by their governing rule of laws, Christian and Mandean Chaldeans, Zoroastrian Kurds and Persians, fiercely resisted the new Muslim conquerors. But lack of coordination and concessions for the rights of non-Persian subjects, namely the Kurds and the Chaldeans, had contributed to the eventual downfall of the Sassanid Empire by the Arab Muslims in 642.

It is worth mentioning that Kurds had cooperated with Islamic forces in their bid to control Iraq and subsequently go further beyond Iran, According to Hussein A. Al-Zirbatti, the eastern banks of the Tigris River—from the Mosul, in northern Iraq, to Basra in southern Iraq—then known as “The Foreign Iraq”, were populated mainly by the Luri, Faili and Ayyubid Kurdish tribes (2007: 130).

However, Arabs still consider Kurds and Persians as sources of evilness and fire. It is, therefore, no wonder why we read and hear from many Muslims who consider the Ezidi and Kakeyi Kurds as the Devil worshippers.

With such thinking in minds, Muslim conquerors pressed into Kurdistan killing at least 200,000 Kurds in Diyarbakir and Shahrazur and confiscating their properties, sons and daughters as war gains and forcing the rest of the population to convert into Islam. The negative consequences of the mass surrender of the Kurds to Islam were evident in the total destruction of Kurdish literature and their pre-Islam history and culture. As a matter of fact, as Sidiq Safi-Zada notes in his first volume of “History of Kurdish Literature,” some Muslim Kurds, acting out of fear of being punished by Allah and non-Kurdish Muslims, had to burn and destroy any records written in Kurdish Medes alphabets (1997: 13-46).

After the disappearance of the Sassanid and Byzantine empires by the Muslim forces, and the subsequent Islamic internal struggle over the caliphate system, Kurds were able to set up their own semi-Islamic independent principalities. The Shaddadis and the Marwandis of northern Kurdistan, the Hasanwayhids, and Ayyubids of the southern Kurdistan and the Shabankara of Eastern Kurdistan are some of the medieval Kurdish states. According to Izady, “[t]he Ayyubids stand out from these [principalities] by the vastness of their domain…they were instrumental in the defeat and expulsion of the Crusaders from the Holy Land” (1992, 46).

Being fully committed to the service of Islam, Kurdish religious leaders and their feudalistic dynasties, surprisingly were able to survive the massive westward attacks of the nomadic Mongols. During the 13th century and while Persia lapsed into petty dynasties, the Turkic nomads were able to ransack Persia, Mesopotamia, Kurdistan, Anatolia and Armenia; and, eventually set up their Ottoman Empire to replace the badly weakened Byzantine Empire in mid fourteenth century (Fisher and Ochsenwald: 1990, 148-159).

Although Kurdish principalities survived and continued with their autonomous existence until the 17th century; however, when the Safavids took control of Persia, the infamous Chaldiran War of 1514 between the Sunni Ottomans and the radical Shiite Safavids devastated Kurdistan and practically partitioned it into two dependencies, to be ratified in a treaty signed in 1555 by the two imperials.

Furthermore, from sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, vast portions of Kurdistan were steadily depopulated by deporting Kurds to far corners of the Safavid and Ottoman empires. The scale of death and destruction wrought on Kurdistan unified its people in rethinking of their religious obligations toward the Turkish caliphates and the Persian Imams. The lasting reciprocal miseries awakened Kurdish notables, local leaders and some intellectuals with a sense of nationalism called for a unified Kurdish state. Ahmadi Khani, in his composed epic of Mem-u-Zin in 1695, called for a Kurdish state to protect its people. Twelve decades later, this call was materialized in 1816 when the Soran Emirate in central Kurdistan proclaimed its independence to be quashed by a plot between the Ottomans and the local religious leaders in 1835. Hence, a delicate form of Kurdish nationalism was emerged (Olson: 1991, xvi).

Kurdish Nationalism

The secularist attitude of the Ottoman rulers early in nineteenth century encouraged some Kurdish princes to reform their Turkic-Arabic correspondences and suggested, against the will of their religious figures, Kurdish as gradual substitute. Coinciding with this, the Soran Emirate’s independence proclamation, the Ottoman policymakers sought the religious sheikhs to preach otherwise against such feelings. Although some Kurdish scholars and Kurdified orientalists think that the origin of Kurdish nationalism began at the aforementioned time, many trace it to Mir (prince) Bedir Khan Beg of Botan who consolidated his power in 1843 and 1846 with other mini Kurdish principalities in south central Kurdistan after the defeat of the Ottomans in 1839 by Ibrahim Mohammad Ali Pasha of Egypt. With this claim, they are trying to link Kurdish nationalist movement with that of Arab nationalism which was affected by early the early stages of French nationalism (Muhammadamin: 2000, 16-17). However, Wadie Jwaiddeh, Marten van Buruinessen and Robert Olson, all highly respected scholars in Kurdish affairs, do trace Kurdish nationalism to Sheikh Ubaydallah Nehri, who revolted against the Ottomans in 1879 and then the Persians in 1880 seeking the establishment of a pan independent Kurdistan (1991, 2).

In his citation, Olson quotes passages from British Vice-Consul Clayton in baskale—Turkey, originally quoted by Arshak Safrastian in his “Kurds and Kurdistan”, as following:

“The Kurdish nation is a people apart. Their religion is different (to that of others), and their laws and customs are distinct. They are known among all nations as mischievous and corrupt…The chiefs and rulers of Kurdistan, whether Turkish or Persian subjects, and the inhabitants of Kurdistan (the Christians) one and all are united and agreed that matters cannot be carried on this way with the two governments, and necessarily something must be done so that the European governments having understood the matter shall enquire into our state…We want our affairs to be in our hands…Otherwise the whole of Kurdistan will take the matter into their own hands, as they are unable to put up with these continued evil deeds, and the oppression which they suffer at hands of the two governments of impure intentions” (1991, 2).

In this diplomatic communication, reported by Vice-Consul Clayton to his superiors in Britain on 11th July 1880, one can not only find the maturity of Kurdish nationalism, but also a clear understanding of IR and its objectives.

For Sheikh Ubaydallah, a supreme moderate leader of the Sunni Naqishbandi order of Sufism, Russian and the European colonial powers were the core of modern the Kurdish problems. Olson asserts that cause which pushed Sheikh Ubaydallah to publicly declare his will to establish” independent Kurdish state was the Treaty of Berlin signed on 13 July 1878 as a conclusion to the Russo-Turkish war” which “had brought devastation, famine, and general hardship accompanied by disease, banditry and violence”, especially in north and southern Kurdistan (1991,5).

Colonial Wars and Kurdistan

Along with its economic market exploitation objectives, colonialism spread its negative culture and anarchic political ideas on its domains on equal footings. Early missionaries and intelligence agents minded with negative perceptions on non-Christian communities and nations and played a significant role in colonial international politics. Failing to convert others into Christianity, they exaggerated the significance of Christian communities as subjects of the Ottomans. Their actions not only created implication for their colonial powers, but also jeopardized the historical coherent livings amongst religiously different communities. As a matter of fact, the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries’ animosities existed between Christians and non-Christian peoples were direct results for the petty actions of the early missionaries. It is no wonder, therefore, to see Article 61 of the above mentioned Treaty of Berlin to state that the Sublime Porte would undertake “improvements and reforms demanded by local requirements in the provinces and inhabited by the Armenians, and to guarantee their security against the Circassians and Kurds” (1991, 5).

Also, the Franco-European nationalist struggle was present throughout North Africa and the Middle East. French—English and German—Italian nationalism forms played a dominant role in the newly emerged Arab and Kurdish nationalism. Unlike Arab nationalism which was influenced by older French “ethnicity” nationalism, Kurdish nationalism was dominantly influenced by the German “racial” type. It has been reported by some Kurdish intellectuals that the Kurdish hostile attitude toward colonial Britain was do to Germany’s promises to the Kurds—as an Aryan nation—to fulfill Kurdish statehood ambitions, if they stand against the colonial interests of the Brits in the embattled Ottoman Empire.

The British colonial power, aiming to secure the “Silk Road” between India and Europe through Kurdistan, had all reasons to keep the Kurds away from the Germans. Accordingly, at the dawn of the Twentieth century, the Brits promised to create a Kurdish kingdom only if the Kurds become their ally and stand against the Turkish-German alliance (Ahmad: 1984, 31-40).

However, with the news of oil discoveries in Kurdistan, the colonial powers of Britain, France, Germany and Russia emphasized the strategically importance of Kurdistan in their international politics prior to the onset of the World War One (WWI). Not to be left along in this, American Imperialism sought, among other things, an influential presence in this region as well via the Ottoman—American Development Company founded in 1910 by President Roosevelt’s especial envoy to the Turks; Admiral Chester (1984, 22-23).

It is worth mentioning that with such tremendous opportunities available to win a statehood during the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire; Kurdish nationalism was still under the influence of Kurdish Sufism. Otherwise, why did Sheikh Mahmoud Hafidh of Berzinja—a leader of the Sunni Qadiri order of Sufism—joined, with more than 1000 Kurdish knights, the Shiite Arabs’ Jihad fight in 1915 against the British occupation of Vilayet Basra (1984, 178)?

The Brits had played a major role in shifting Kurdish nationalism from its religious affiliation into a tribal—royal affection. This is asserted by the British financed Kurdish propaganda newspaper of the time—Tegayishtini Rasti (Understanding the Reality)—with endless records of direct British engagements with Kurdish liberal notables and tribal leaders (1984: 188-193).

Kurds, IR and beyond

As a matter of facts, the Treaty of Sevres signed on 10th August 1920, which anticipated an independent Kurdish state to cover large portions of the former Ottoman Kurdistan, was highly hailed as a British good deed toward the Kurdish intellectuals. Yet, unimpressed by the Kurdish religious leaders’ violent uprisings for independence, Britain and France divided up Ottoman Kurdistan between Turkey, Syria and Iraq. The Treaty of Lausanne, signed on 24th June 1923, ratified this division. As for the Kurds of Eastern Kurdistan, they were kept where they were by Iran (Kreyenbroek and Sperl: 1992, 17-18).

Such heinous acts by the colonial powers, coincided with the success of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia had forced the Kurds to embrace Marxism-Leninism as a mean to liberate themselves from their colonial and newly established nation-states’ suppressions.

Thus, Marxism became a favorable doctrine for any emerging Kurdish political entity in all divided parts of Kurdistan, especially when the Soviets became the first to grant their Kurdish population an autonomous region in 1930s known as “Red Kurdistan.” The moral support of the Soviets for the 1946 establishment of the “Republic of Kurdistan” set up by Qazi Mohammad, revived hopes of other Kurds in achieving their nation-state which Imperialism made it impossible to be materialized.

Shortly thereafter, Kurds once again realized their profound difficulties in joining the club of nation-states, especially when the Soviets didn’t object to the bloody downfall of the Republic of Kurdistan by the American supported Iranian regime late in 1946. Faced with such dilemmas, Kurdish intellectuals explored other international political options where they can benefit from. Some have realized that the anarchic nature of IR would not be in the benefit of their people to demand a nation-state goal. Therefore, they had adjusted their aims for cultural rights, especially in Turkey and Syria. Others went thinking about limited autonomous rights within their respective countries; Iran and Iraq. Still, others like Ibrahim Ahmad and his son-in-law, Jalal Talabani—current President of Iraq, explored alternative options—Maoism as a cultural reform—to accept the imposed identities of their respective countries.

Within such political identity searches, social democracy was viable option for political reforms with which they can achieve some autonomous rights. This facts finding had a lot to do with the liberal culture which was formed during the four decades of British backed Iraqi monarch system which matured into a liberal semi-democratic system in Iraq.

However, the conservative nature of the Arab world combined with neocolonial thoughts of Arab nationalism had a profound impact on the political nature of the Iraqi Kurdish demands for self-rule. This impact developed into an impasse which precipitated an internal Kurdish foe over the legitimacy of which ideal leadership can achieve autonomous goals of the Kurds within the state of Iraq. By 1975, Iraqi Kurds split into two main political entities; Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) as the conservative vanguard of Kurdish nationalism and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) as the progressive nationalist challenger.

The KDP, viewed as to have a pragmatic realist leadership, constantly reacts to opportunities as arise to achieve its goals. This was evident in the actions of its legendary leader—Mullah Mustafa Barzani – died in 1979—who took advantage of his return from Moscow to involve in negotiating the draft of the Iraqi temporary constitution in 1959; and, to stipulate the sharing of Iraq between Kurds and Arabs. In 1961, when the US and Iran grew impatient with Iraq’s pro-Soviet policies, Senior Barzani cut his ties with Baghdad and sought support of the US, Iran and even Israel. Similarly, in 1968, when the reformist Ba’athies once again took control of Iraq, Senior Barzani struck the historical Kurdish autonomous deal of 1970 which was not materialized as it read due to his close ties with the classic realist of the US; Henry Kissinger who evidently sold him in 1975 for Iranian gains in the Persian Gulf.

Similar path has been taken by the Junior Barzani—Masoud Mustafa Barzani, the current President of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq—in leading the KDP from mid 1980s until present-day. For example, to consolidate his political position vis-à-vis Jalal Talabani—founder of the PUK—junior Barzani sought Turkish and Iraqi help in 1992 to win equal seating with his rival in the “democratic” elections of Kurdistan Parliament. When Talabani’s PUK, then backed by Iran tried to consolidate power in 1996, junior Barzani publically begged Iraq’s former dictator, Saddam Hussein, for direct help in uprooting PUK from Erbil—the regional Capital of Kurdistan—on 31 August 1996. To deepening the wounds with Talabani, junior Barzani went further by leveraging the ill-intentioned Turkish help to further marginalize the PUK under the pretext of disrupting the PUK-PKK alliance in the region.

The PUK, as once viewed to have a progressive liberalist leadership, it is considered to be an anarchic, but a semi-rational entity set to achieve its objectives. This is palpable in the highly attested diplomatic abilities of Talabani. The progressiveness in his Kantian personality, combined with his Machiavellian actions, made him uncontestably the supreme pragmatic leader of the PUK for well over three decades. After all, Talabani is considered as the God-father of Kurdish demands to have a federalist state system as a viable solution for Kurdish problems, especially in Iraq and Turkey.

With the onset of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, both senior leaderships of the KDP and the PUK, after long and painstaking negotiation rounds sponsored by the US and the United Kingdom, were able to put their indifferences aside and actively participate in getting rid of the Iraqi dictatorship regime. The heavy handed participation of the KDP-PUK elites in the reconstruction of Iraq created a historical opportunity for the Kurds to solidify their demand to co-exist with the rest of the other Iraqis in a constitutionally bonded federal state of Iraq. With that in mind, these partisan minded elites did everything in their power to marginalize the figure prints of the independent Kurdish academics, experts in negations and constitutional law practitioners from having a say in drawing the Iraqi constriction—ratified in October, 2005. Hence, the core of the Kurdish demand in Iraq, the ownership of Kirkuk and the other non-liberated territories of Kurdistan, were left unresolved to this date.

The KDP leadership’s strategy was to marginalize the PUK in Kurdistan region by having it fully encouraged with the Iraqi politics in Baghdad. This strategy proved to be beneficial. The KDP has gained a considerable power in Kurdistan. In fact, in this year’s Iraqi national elections, the KDP won more than half of the 58 Kurdish seats in the next Iraqi parliament. As for the PUK, it has experienced a devastating blow to its political structure. The overwhelming departures of the uncorrupted elites and think-tanks of the PUK to form the “Change Movement,” had ripple effects not only in Kurdistan, but in the rest of the region.
As the second political Kurdish entity in Kurdistan based on its gained populous votes and the third Kurdish political power in Kurdistan, the Change Movement has demonstrated itself as a western-oriented-like liberal power with promises to change the traditional political mindset in the region. Although it is very appealing to the Kurdish intelligentsias, the Change Movement has yet to reveal its strategies vis-à-vis the KDP-PUK traditional norms on the one hand, and in clarifying its position on the Kurdish aspirations for an independent nation-state on the other hand.

As for the Kurdish political parties in Turkey, the PKK with all its latter variations has not been able to get rid of its radical leftist ideology which, despite some limited cultural achievements, contributed to the miseries of Kurds living under the constant fear of the Turkish military might.  Moreover, the PKK has not been able to rationally utilize the sensational capture of its leader, Abdullah Ocalan, by the Turkish intelligence team in Kenya in early 1999 who was sentenced to death which then changed to life-imprisonment by a Turkish court later in 1999. PKK’s totalitarian summarization of Kurdish problem in the non-repairable image of Ocalan as a national leader is another evidence for its ideological out-datedness.

Although there are some legal Kurdish political entities operating in Turkey, Turkish authorities, however, forbid them from holding ethnic identities. The aims of the Kurdish parties in Turkey include, but not limited to, cultural and educational rights in their native language. Meanwhile, as Turkey is trying to become a member of the European Union (EU), it should be noted that Turkish authorities no longer will be able to hold their problematic views regarding the ethnic identity claims of their non-Turkish subjects

Concerning the Kurds in Iran, their situation is different. The autocratic and radical Islamic regime of Iran, denies ethnic rights to all of its minorities. Therefore, most Iranian Kurds do feel to have an identity crisis rather that an ethno-national one. Although the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran’s (KDPI) slogans include democracy for Iran and autonomy for (Iranian) Kurdistan, it has not been able to hold a valuable ground within Iran to bargain for such goals. This is due to the Iranian regimes’ horrible murdering of the three consecutive executive leaders of the KDPI in Europe and elsewhere in post-Cold War.


Without the support of a large powerful nation such as the U.S., the Kurds will probably never establish an independent nation-state. The Kurds do not have enough military power to fight off the Turks, Arabs and the Persians without help. Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria will not give up their economically important seized territories to people which they perceive as imminent threats to their sovereignties; and will, therefore, continue to fight the Kurds. The Kurds have no choice but to continue with their democratic peaceful struggle until their goals are achieved. As globalization is altering the boundaries of “sovereign” nation-states and as world economic politics becomes more and more interdependent on markets, protective states have no choice but to open up for equal opportunities of work and peaceful coherence. Conclusively, Kurds would no longer feel to have “No Friends but the Mountains.”

Matthews, Rubinoff and Janice G. Stein. International Conflict and Conflict Management. Scarborough: Prentice-Hall of Canada, 1984.

Izady, R. Mehrdad. The Kurds: A Concise Handbook. 1st Ed. New York: Taylor & Francis, 1992.

Minorsky, Vladimir. The Kurds: Notes and Impressions. Kurdish Translation by Marouf Khaznedar. Baghdad: Dar Al-Hawadith, 1968.

Al-Masudi, Abu Al-Hasan Ali ibn Al-Hussein. The meadows of Gold and Mines of Gems. Beirut, Dar Al-Qalam, 1989.

Ghassemlou, Abdul Rahman. Forty Years of Struggle for freedom. 3rd ed. Erbil: KDPI Publishing, 2000.

Safi-Zada, Sidiq. History of Kurdish Literature. 1st ed. Tabriz: Chehir Publishing, 1997.

Fisher, Sydney and William Ochesenwald. The Middle East: A History. 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, 1990.

Olson, Robert. The Emergence of Kurdish Nationalism 1880-1925. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1991.

Kreyenbroek, Philip and Stefan Sperl. The Kurds; a contemporary overview. New York: Routledge, 1992.

Ahmad, Kamal Mudhir. Kurdistan during the World War One. Baghdad. Afaq Al-Arabiya Printing House, 1984.

Muhammadamin, Kamaran. International and Regional Powers Competition, Conflicts and Clash of Interests in Kurdistan 1890-1932. Suleimania: Sardam Publishing, 2000.

Related article:
The Kurds in the Bilateral and the Multilateral Treaties


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