The Kurds; the New Player in the Mid­dle East

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE - By Gazi Has­san

The Kur­dish Ques­tion and the Kur­dish Prob­lem date back many cen­turies. The Kurds have had many in­de­pen­dent prince­doms. So far, there have been three Kur­dish gov­ern­ments: the first was the South­ern Kur­dis­tan Gov­ern­ment of 1922, led by Sheikh Mah­mood; the sec­ond was the Kur­dis­tan Repub­lic in Ma­habad, led by Qazi Mham­mad in 1946; the third, the Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Gov­ern­ment es­tab­lished af­ter the 1991 Spring and cur­rently led by Pres­i­dent Ma­soud Barzani. The first and the third are in south­ern, the sec­ond in East­ern Kur­dis­tan. Rev­o­lu­tion and cau­tion are new terms in North­ern and Western Kur­dis­tan.

The Barzani clan has played a role in all the rev­o­lu­tions, up­ris­ings and Kur­dish gov­ern­ments of the nine­teen twen­ties. Mustafa Barzani, a mas­ter­ful leader, played a key role in the Ma­habad Repub­lic—a role in which he showed him­self to be a rev­o­lu­tion­ary hero, but also a na­tional fig­ure with the strate­gic and po­lit­i­cal skills to work to­wards the uni­fi­ca­tion of the Kurds and the so­lu­tion of the Kur­dish Ques­tion. Again, dur­ing his lead­er­ship of the Septem­ber 11, 1961 Rev­o­lu­tion af­ter his re­turn from the for­mer Soviet Union, he strove to con­vince all the Kurds to take part in the rev­o­lu­tion and con­sider them­selves as one na­tion with one ques­tion. As a Kur­dish leader, he al­ways treated all Kurds from ev­ery part of Kur­dis­tan, and ev­ery re­li­gious and eth­nic com­po­nent of Kur­dis­tan, equally. un­der him, Chris­tians, Yazidi, Kakays, Shabaks, Turk­mans and even Arabs could take part in the rev­o­lu­tion as brothers, and many mem­bers of th­ese groups played re­spon­si­ble roles.

To­day, ex­ten­sive work is be­ing done on his strate­gic mes­sage in a new and dif­fer­ent era by the KRG Pres­i­dent, Ma­soud Barzani. He seeks to unify Kur­dish po­lit­i­cal dis­course and to move for­ward to­ward a peace­ful res­o­lu­tion of the Kur­dish ques­tion in Tur­key and other re­gions.

The visit Barzani paid to Amed, his meet­ing with the Turk­ish pre­mier and his de­liv­ery of an of­fi­cial speech in Kur­dish at an of­fi­cial cer­e­mony con­sti­tute his­toric ev­i­dence of de­vel­op­ments with re­gard to the Kur­dish Ques­tion—a ques­tion whose com­po­nent parts in­volve soil, na­tion and the other com­po­nents who live in Kur­dis­tan. In the mean­time, when it comes to a peace­ful res­o­lu­tion of the Kur­dish ques­tion, Pres­i­dent Barzani’s viewpoint and plans should be re­spected and an­a­lyzed as part of a long-term strat­egy. What Pres­i­dent Barzani is do­ing is mov­ing to­wards the re­turn of the Kurds’ in­di­vid­ual dig­nity, a Kur­dish re­nais­sance, a new and mod­ern form of Kur­dis­tan, far from vi­o­lence and blood­shed. And he is do­ing all this as the leader of a law­ful and con­sti­tu­tional en­tity called the Iraqi Fed­eral Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.

When crit­i­cism is lev­elled at Barzani to the ef­fect that his visit was per­sonal and for eco­nomic pur­poses, even if this were true, we should still ad­mit that Barzani is us­ing his po­si­tion as the of­fi­cial and rec­og­nized pres­i­dent of the KRG to solve the Kur­dish Ques­tion. More­over, this is the first time a Kur­dish leader and pres­i­dent can use the econ­omy as a pow­er­ful weapon for solv­ing the Kur­dish Ques­tion with the coun­tries be­tween which Kur­dis­tan re­mains di­vided.

So, what­ever the case, Pres­i­dent Barzani’s ac­tions are ap­pro­pri­ate ways of uni­fy­ing Kur­dish dis­course and mak­ing steps to­wards peace and then free­dom. That is why we can say that the Kurds— one of the first vic­tims of mass ex­ter­mi­na­tion and poli­cies de­signed to force na­tions into an in­ter­na­tional mould—are the new player in the Mid­dle East. If we are cau­tious, Pres­i­dent Barzani will play this new and un­prece­dented role again.

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