Tuesday, February 03, 2004

The Kurds and Israel

A translated article by Iraqi writer and columnist Abdul Mun'im Al-Assam.

Very recently several political and press channels, particularly those from Beirut and Istanbul, have excelled in spinning yarns about all kinds of 'coordination', 'transactions', or 'contacts' between Iraqi Kurds and Israeli officials, businessmen, and intelligence officers. These stories, a large part of which have been recycled from Saddam's extinct propaganda machines, meticulously describe purported Israeli facilities at Arbil, sometimes at Suleymaniyah, and other times at remote locations high in the mountains of northern Iraq.

Some of these writings and statements even went as far as to presume that the Kurds, the whole Kurdish issue, and the option of federalism were all notions cooked in Israel as part of a grand design for the region, ignoring the fact that established archaeological evidence proves that Kurdistan was the oldest known agricultural habitat in our world, that Kurds as a people were recognized under Macedonian, Seleucid, Sassanid, and Roman empires, that Mahmud Al-Kashghri, the esteemed geographer, had placed Kurdish cities on the map of the East a thousand years before the state of Israel came into existence, and that the name Kurdistan was mentioned in documents signed by the Seljukian Sultan Sanjar in the twelfth century among fifty other nations in the area, and it did not come out of Tel Aviv.

It was definitely not Sharon who promoted Kurdish nationalism, it was the historian and geographer Al-Mustawfi who died 600 years before the state of Israel was declared (at 1349 A.D.) in his book nuzhat alqulub. The Arab voyager Ibn Hawqal wrote about Arbil and Dohuk in his book almasalik wal mamalik and described them as Kurdish cities inhabited by Kurds more than 4 centuries before Jews started to settle in Palestine.

The Kurdish people have never abandoned their nationalist rights throughout the last 15 centuries, their largest revolt was aginst the Mongols in 1279 A.D., their bloody uprising against Persian Saffawid hegemony in 1719, the revolts of Baban, Rawanduz, Prince Badr Khan, Yezdan Al-Assad, Al-Sheikh Al-Nahri, and the Kurdish republic of Mahabad in 1946 all testify to that.

Even though these alleged surreptitious Kurdish-Israeli relations are mere speculations, not to mention the fact that Kurdish leaders proposed to the Arab League to send in an investigation committee, the hypocrites who persist in marketing these fairy tales to media outlets, some of them Turks and some Arabs, are very good at dancing in the Israeli field themselves. Some of them regularly host Israeli officials and ambassadors, some strike deals with Israeli intelligence officers through third parties and proxies, some yearn for the day when Ariel Sharon sends them a greeting to reply with a better one, and others remain silent when an ally or a friend sells his country's water or face to Israelis. I say: remain silent, and I add: Silence gives consent.

We're getting bored with these not so suspensive novels even when compared with Zabiba and the King* which also contains insinuating chapters of a relation between Kurds and Israel.

* Zabiba and the King (Zabiba wa almalik) was the first of several novels attributed to Saddam Hussein.