Thank God for the Kurds

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS BAR - By J. Watt

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."

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