Thank God for the Kurds
As an American columnist covering the Middle East, I sometimes struggle to stay positive on the political outlook of the next 20 years. Terrorism is on the rise—not just in the region but also the world. Major conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and elsewhere seem endless, with no realistic solution within grasp. Western involvement in the region is far too complicated to be the long-term answer.
With hundreds of thousands dead and millions displaced, the Syrian conflict continues onward and the only real conversation that’s being had is whether President Assad, who isn’t willing, is worthy of inviting to the conversation, which isn’t happening, about a transitional government. There are certainly efforts underway to train moderate rebels, but at the current pace that leaves years until a unified force could realistically begin to regain momentum against Assad.
While nuclear talks between the West and Iran edge closer to reality, many would argue relations are as poor as ever, particularly as you look at Iranian engagement in Iraq through support of its militias and potential on-the-ground involvement in recent operations against ISIS in Tikrit. As rumors of revenge and reprisals emerge, worries of sectarian violence reigniting only become more founded.
Recent conflict in Yemen this week brings new heat to the ever-rising tensions between the Persian gulf’s big powers.
Nations falling apart, not being developed, is the primary news story of the region.
Yet, amidst this depressing climate, a new wave of pro- Kurdish, western voices has arisen from seemingly nowhere. I certainly don’t want to downplay the merits of what the Kurds have accomplished in the last 25 years to earn this newfound respect, but honestly, when you look at the overall bleak political situation in the Middle East, you simply can’t blame western voices for being infatuated with the Kurds.
American politicians (such as Senator Rand Paul last month) are going on the record saying they believe Kurds’ receiving a free state would be the remedy to ISIS and the problems in Iraq. Authors are writing books on the prospects of western partnership with the continuously developing Kurds. Columnists and journalists from Europe and America have become nearly obsessed with Kurdish news, especially as it pertains to larger issues in the Middle East.
The Kurds, who have lived in the middle of conflict over the last 25 years, have built a prowestern democracy that has insulated itself from radical and tyrannous ideologies that have plagued the region. Of course, no nation is perfect, but when you look at the bleakness of the surrounding area, it’s no wonder pro-Kurdish western voices are coming out of the woodwork, of whom I am one. We are optimists who are looking for something to cheer for in a region where much of the news is bad. We are grateful for a home base to share what’s happening in the region and provide relief to those in need. We are joining the chorus of those around the world saying, "thank God for the Kurds in a time like this."