Half-a-Century Kurdish Revolution in Vain
Kurdishaspect.com - By Rauf Naqishbendi
Prudent leaders are those who serve their nation. As promising occasions arise, they harvest the fruit of those God-given opportunities. They are perseverant and tenacious when challenged with difficult choices, determined not to kneel to the burdensome circumstances that compromise the interests of their people. Prudent leaders also sacrifice their own interests for the good of the commonwealth, not otherwise. Leaders who have betrayed their people or have taken advantage of whatever the circumstances may be in order to serve their own personal gains are ruinous to their nations, and their burials are warranted.
Illustrating what has been said are the two Kurdish leaders—Talabani and Barzani—who in the past repeatedly have been agents of the Kurds’ enemies, and at present are trading the just cause of their people, independence, to advance their own personal gains. For decades they have been merchants of death as they made tens of thousands of young brave men into sacrificial lambs, fueling the engine of their power struggle.
At this time of national urgency, when the Kurds are facing hardships in their security, these leaders are ignoring that urgency in their lust for power and the pursuit of objects of their greed.
Upon ousting Saddam’s regime, the Kurds were rejuvenated, but the people’s exultations were marked by the leaders’ utter complacency. They acted as America’s puppets instead of being Kurds; they downplayed the American government’s half-a-century-long sin of supporting the Turkish regime in their genocide against the Kurds, as well as America’s foreign policies’ aloofness toward that repressive regime.
After the Americans invaded Iraq, they exerted their utmost force to bring peace amongst Arab rival factions; they used the Kurds’ armed forces to pacify Iraq, knowing that once the Arabs in Iraq united, they would turn against the Kurds. In a nutshell, Kurdish leaders did everything to maintain Iraq’s map intact, realizing that Iraq, as a country, is a notion bound in evil’s darkness regarding the Kurds. They did everything to unite Iraq but nothing to make the Kurdish dream for an independent Kurdistan real. They cared more about accumulating wealth, looting banks and government institutions, and leaving the fate of hundreds of thousands of dislocated people gathered around Kirkuk and other annexed regions unanswered.
Since its inception in 1961, the Kurdish revolution plagued Kurdistan with colossal tribulations, destruction, and bloodshed. The unfortunate handicap of this revolution has been its leaders; therefore, one need not wonder why this revolution, one of the most elongated revolutions in mankind’s history, has not accomplished the agenda set out from its onset. Looking back on the half-a-century struggle, the Kurds still have not accomplished any meaningful achievement. A vast part of Kurdistan is still annexed; that is to say, Kurdistan at present is smaller than when the revolution started in 1961.
The problem with this armed uprising, like others in the past century, has been the reliance of the Kurdish leaders on foreign powers—the Russians, America, and particularly their neighboring countries of Iran and Syria. These foreign powers fueled the revolution to accomplish their own strategic goals. While foreign assistance continued, the revolution managed, and when assistance was thwarted, the revolution was extinguished. The Kurds should not blame their downfall on foreign powers but rather on their own leaders’ delinquencies, leaders who lacked self-reliance and entrusted their local resources to others in order to manage their revolution.
Since the American troop withdrawal from Iraq last December, the Iraqi government has gathered a cloud of strength and is in the process of fortifying its military might and consolidating its political power. Moreover, the Maliki government is focusing on empowering central government and limiting the authority of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Effectively, Maliki’s government is trying to tighten its grip on Iraq’s natural resources. Accordingly, he is disputing and attempting to abrogate all oil drilling contracts that the KRG has signed with major oil companies during the American occupation.
With percolating discord between the Maliki government and the KRG, rumor has it that Masoud Barzani’s leadership is in solicitation for protection from the Maliki government, and to this end they have been in frequent flights between Kurdistan and Istanbul. Here we go again, the tale of the Kurdish leaders’ moronic and naive pleading to the most atrocious Kurdish enemy for help. Again, as has been customary with Talabani and Barzani, they have never been creative enough to scheme their way out of trouble when challenged. Talibani and Barzani are living in an illusionary world and have no touch with reality, for instance, their naivety in believing in America to perpetuate its protection of Kurds. The American government did good for their own interest, using the Kurds to ease their occupation of Iraq and to gracefully exit Iraq.
Now, in the absence of America’s protection, the Kurds have to manage on their own. Sadly, with their current leadership, the Kurds are unable to manage, and the Iraqi government will take away, little by little, every iota the Kurds have accomplished under American occupation, and it is not “if” but rather “when.” When this occurs the Kurds should not pass the blame to anyone but their own leaders. These two leaders wasted fifty years, time wise a life on its own, and accomplished nothing for the well-being of Kurds. Should they lead the Kurds another fifty years, the future of the Kurds is not going to be better than the past, because the corrupted bring upon their people not liberty but repression, not justice but inequity.
For the Kurds to succeed they will need to rely on themselves through prudent and wise leaders, but Barzani and Talabani are neither wise nor prudent. Surely they have succeeded in attaining the wants of their families and their cronies, but none for their people. These two leaders and their cronies must be brought to the court of justice. Time is not in favor of Kurds; therefore, these leaders’ obituaries must be immediate and without any delay.
Rauf Naqishbendi is a contributing columnist for Kurdishaspect.com, Kurdistantribune.com, American Chronicle, Kurdishmedia.com(2003-2011), ekurd.net, ikjknews.com and has written Op/Ed pages for the Los Angeles Times. His memoirs entitled "The Garden Of The Poets", recently published. It reads as a novel depicting his experience and the subsequent 1988 bombing of his hometown with chemical and biological weapons by Saddam Hussein. It is the story of his people´s suffering, and a sneak preview of their culture and history. Rauf Naqishbendi is a software engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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