Keyepel Blog The disastrous state of Kurdish nationalism

The disastrous state of Kurdish nationalism

In the changing Middle East, Kurds would undoubtedly play an important role. They might make significant gains in their respective countries, but given the fragmented state of Kurdish politics, it is hard to predict whether the greater Kurdistan as a state could exist – much less if it is realistic.

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Every time Kurds in any part of the greater Kurdistan (parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey) exposed their conflict to a neighboring country, Kurds who live in that country were immediately affected by it. When the Turkey-based PKK became involved in the above-mentioned civil war in Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkish government was the only beneficiary from that, since it made it easier for Ankara to forge alliances with local Kurds in Iraq in order to launch attacks on the PKK. There are similar examples – where Kurds have sought help from regional governments to use it against their own brethren – among Iranian and Syrian Kurds.

The root cause of this Kurdish fragmentation is not political nor ideological. The problem is that Kurds don’t have a real sense of nationalism. What they really have and cherish is a tribal-partisan nationalism that has remained confined in a primitive context. They see their Kurdishness and their national aspirations through their affiliation with the tribe, party and divinely-seen leaders. Once these affiliations and loyalties are removed, they (Kurds) often lose their sense and interest of belonging to the broader community. The political, social and intellectual elite amongst the Kurds has failed to consolidate a true concept of nationalism. And that attributes to the fact the even Kurdish partisanism is wedged in a narrow loop where everything revolves around a single leader. Even the most progressive Kurdish parties, for example, have had lifelong leaders. This is only an indicative of misunderstanding the meaning of leadership.

When the IS began its offensive against the Kurds last year, many thought that Kurdish groups across the region would capitalize on the existential threat that was brought by the terrorist organization in order to consolidate their presence regionally, and more importantly to increase their political status. However, a brief political and military collaboration among the Kurdish groups that stood against the Islamists, swiftly turned into a competition for taking credit over fighting a brutal enemy.

The truth is Kurds have a short political memory. In other words, they tend to forget the countless atrocities that have happened upon them due to their divergence.


 

Read the whole article here: The Hill

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