Sunday, May 17, 2009

Kurdish Question and the 2003 Iraqi War

By Mohammed M.A. Ahmed - Michael M. Gunter

The 2003 Iraqi war has heightened Kurdish nationalism not only in Iraqi Kurdistan, but also in Turkey, Iran, and Syria. Having enjoyed 13 years of self-government in the safe haven zone, which was created and protected by the United States, the Iraqi Kurds have embarked on an ambitious campaign to consolidate their political and economic gains.
The Kurds first sought safeguards from both the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), led by the United States, and from the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC), and now the Interim Iraqi Government with a view to preventing the recurrence of past atrocities committed against them by successive Arab governments in Baghdad. The Kurdish campaign has faced stiff opposition from their neighbors to their demand for the creation of a federal, democratic, and secular system of government in Iraq. While the Arab opposition inside Iraq is fearful that the introduction of such a system might lead to the disintegration of the country, the neighboring countries claim that granting the Kurds greater freedom in Iraq will incite their own Kurdish populations to demand the same. This book presents a balanced analysis of the pros and cons regarding the Kurdish demands.


Surging out of Iraq?

By Steven J. Costel (Editor)

Due to political realities, America seems about to take steps to leave Iraq within 1 or 2 years in large numbers - an outward surge. Yet because of the geopolitical significance of the region, vast oil reserves and the rampant terrorist activities - wholesale retreat will not be easy and perhaps not even desirable. This book brings together important analyses dealing with the current status in Iraq as well as projecting a post-war Iraq.



Trapped between the Map and Reality : Geography and Perceptions of Kurdistan

By Maria T O'Shea

Kurdistan exists as a cultural and political concept on many levels of discourse. Despite Kurdistan's divisions, lack of definition and the absence of a unified struggle for a Kurdish state, the concept survives the reality as a powerful mixture of myths, reality and ambition. This thesis analyses geographical and historical factors which have shaped Kurdish conceptions of identity. Historically, Kurdistan existed in the heart of an ethnically and geographically complex region, a marginal buffer zone between rival regional and colonial powers. Kurdistan's location was the key to its political and cultural developments. Many resultant features were to militate against the formation of a Kurdish state.



From Empire to Republic : Turkish Nationalism and the Armenian Genocide

By Taner Akçam

The murder of more than one million Armenians by the Ottoman Turkish government in 1915 has been acknowledged as genocide. Yet almost 100 years later, these crimes remain unrecognized by the Turkish state. This book is the first attempt by a Turk to understand the genocide from a perpetrator's, rather than victim's, perspective, and to contextualize the events of 1915 within Turkey's political history and western regional policies. Turkey today is in the midst of a tumultuous transition. It is emerging from its Ottoman legacy and on its way to recognition by the west as a normal nation state. But until it confronts its past and present violations of human rights, it will never be a truly democratic nation. This book explores the sources of the Armenian genocide, how Turks today view it, the meanings of Turkish and Armenian identity, and how the long legacy of western intervention in the region has suppressed reform, rather than promoted democracy.



The State and Kurds in Turkey

By Metin Heper

The current literature on the Kurds in Turkey is based on the assumption that since the 19th century the State has attempted to assimilate the Kurds and that this has been the cause of the intermittent "troubles" in Turkey. Metin Heper argues that this theory does not stand up to scrutiny given the many centuries of amicable relations between the State and the Kurds. He suggests that a theory of acculturation rather than assimilation better captures the real nature of State-Kurd interaction in Turkey, by not leaving any part of that interaction unaccounted for.



Wednesday, April 15, 2009


By Amnesty International

14 April 2009

Security forces in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan Region operate outside the rule of law and regularly abuse their authority, according to a new Amnesty International report.
During a fact-finding mission to the Kurdistan Region in 2008, Amnesty International researchers found many cases of people arrested and arbitrarily detained by Asayish (security) officials, including some who were tortured and others who were forcibly disappeared and whose fate and whereabouts remain unknown.
Torture methods include electric shocks to different parts of the body; beatings with fists, cables and metal or wooden batons; suspension by the wrists or ankles; beating on the soles of the feet (falaqa); sleep deprivation and kicking.
Amnesty International has called on the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to hold those responsible for human rights violations to account.
"The Kurdistan Region has been spared the bloodletting and violence that continues to wrack the rest of Iraq and the KRG has made some important human rights advances," said Malcolm Smart, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme. "Yet real problems - arbitrary detention and torture, attacks on journalists and freedom of expression, and violence against women - remain and need urgently to be addressed by the government."

Hundreds of detainees who were held without charge or trial for several years have now been released but the authorities have failed to significantly curb the powers of the Asayish. They have also failed to rein in the Parastin and the Dezgay Zanyari, the security arms of the two main Kurdish political parties - the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) - which jointly comprise the KRG.

"The KRG must take concrete steps to rein in these forces and make them fully accountable under the law if recent human rights gains are to prove effective," said Malcolm Smart. "The authorities must do more to uphold media freedom and redouble their efforts to overcome discrimination and violence against women, and end the vicious cycle of so-called honour killings and other attacks on women by men who wish to subordinate them."

Amnesty International's report cites several cases of women who were murdered by male relatives in 2008. These include Cilan Muhammad Amin, 23, who was strangled to death, apparently by her brother, because of her suspected relationship with another man.
Another woman, Kowan Yunis Qadir, aged 17, was shot dead after she sought a divorce from her husband.
In other cases, women and girls are reported to have committed suicide because of violence, or the threat of it, from their male relatives, including 13-year-old Rojan, who burnt herself to death in March 2008 to escape forcible marriage to an adult man.
"Such cases show how much more still needs to be done by the KRG authorities to give women and girls effective protection against violence from those who wish to control their behaviour or force them into marriages against their will," said Malcolm Smart. "No effort should be spared to prosecute and imprison those who commit violence against women, and to make clear that those who perpetrate these crimes cannot escape justice.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Preventing Conflict Over Kurdistan

By Henri Barkey ( Carnegie Report, February 2009 )

The invasion of Iraq has surfaced long-suppressed nationalist aspirations among the Kurds, most notably the emergence of the federal Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). If ignored or mishandled, Kurdish aspirations have the potential to ignite violence and instability in Iraq, as well as the region, at a particularly delicate time, a new report by the Carnegie Endowment concludes. Henri Barkey calls for renewed attention to the Kurdish issue to prevent conflict and prescribes a fresh U.S. approach. The United States must move quickly—as American forces withdraw from Iraq, U.S. influence in the region will wane.


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by Ezster Spat

Little is known about these ancient enigmatic Kurdish mountain people, considered one of the oldest ethnicities in the Middle East, and often unjustly derided as 'devil-worshippers'. Since 2002, and despite the political upheavals in Iraqi Kurdistan, where the Yezidis largely reside, Eszter Spat has made repeated visits to the region to live in their midst, observing and recording their ways of life. The result is amongst the first detailed surveys of Yezidi culture to appear in English. Distinct from the majority Sunni Muslim Kurds, the Yezidis' religion evolved through a curious fusion of Sufism with earlier religious beliefs indigenous to the region, including Zoroastrian, Jewish, Gnostic and Christian motifs. They are monotheists, but attribute a prominent place to their protector, the Peacock Angel, traditionally identified with Satan by Muslims. In Saddam Hussein's Iraq, the Yezidis' resolutely traditional culture endured radical changes including forced resettlement, geographical isolation and the political fallout from two Gulf wars. More recently, Spat shows, the pervasive influence of modern media culture is having possibly further-reaching effects. Proud to be known as 'the original Kurds', the Yezidis have also long supported the creation of an independent Kurdistan. The author has been privileged with very rare access to some of Yezidi culture's holiest sites and rituals. Together with an insightful analysis of Yezidi practices and beliefs, Spat documents the increasing demands of modernisation on one of the oldest ethnic minorities of the Middle East, which continues to endure despite many attempts at eradication over the centuries.

Saqi Books

Kurdistan During the First World War

by Kamalmadhar Ahmad

In spite of the promises made by the Allied powers in the 1920 Treaty of Sevres, the Kurds have so far failed to secure their national independence - a goal achieved by the Arabs and other nations in the region. This book shows how, before and during World War I, the "political manoeuvring" of the Allied powers, particularly Britain, concentrated on securing easy access to the region's oilfields and thus ignored the rights of the Kurds. The role and involvement of Germany and Russia are also discussed in detail. Of major importance are the chapters examining the role of the Kurds in the Armenian massacres. In his dispassionate analysis of this sensitive issue, the author sheds new light on the involvement of the Kurds in the tragedy of the Armenian people under Ottoman rule.

Saqi Books

Monday, April 6, 2009

Kurdish Culture and Society: An Annotated Bibliography

by Lokman I. Meho, Kelly L. Maglaughlin

“It will be an indispensable resource for all scholars and people interested not just in Kurdish affairs, but in the history, societies, and cultures of the Middle East. Recommended for university, college, and major urban libraries.”–Choice

“[A] welcome addition to the scholarly apparatus of Kurdish studies.”–Journal of Near Eastern Studies

“Kurdish Culture and Society will be a valuable tool for researchers and students of Kurdish culture.”–MESA Bulletin

“This annotated bibliography on Kurdish culture and society is the first of its kind, both in terms of the language of the sources and the subjects it covers....this bibliography will fill a gap in many libraries, both becuase very few major universities treat Kurdish studies as an independent academic subject and because a great part of the sources are contributions made in non-Kurdish contexts.”–Middle East Journal


Turkey's Kurdish Question

by Barkey, Henri J.; Fuller, Graham E.

The Kurds, one of the oldest ethnic groups in the Middle East, are reasserting their identity--politically and through violence. Divided mainly among Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, the Kurds have posed increasingly sharp challenges to all of these states in their quest for greater autonomy if not outright independence. Turkey's essentially democratic structure and civil society-ideal tools for coping with and incorporating minority challenge-have so far been suspended on this issue, which the government is treating almost exclusively as a security problem to be dealt with by force. For the West the situation in Turkey is particularly significant because of the country's importance in the region and because of the economic, political, and diplomatic damage that the conflict has caused. If Turkey fails to find a peaceful solution within its current borders, then the outlook is grim for ethnic and separatist challenges elsewhere in the region. This study explores the roots, dimensions, character, and evolution of the problem, offers a range of approaches to a resolution of the conflict, and draws broader parallels between the Kurdish question and other separatist movements worldwide.



Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World

By Margaret Macmillan and Richard Holbrooke (foreword)

A joke circulating in Paris early in 1919 held that the peacemaking Council of Four, representing Britain, France, the U.S. and Italy, was busy preparing a "just and lasting war." Six months of parleying concluded on June 28 with Germany's coerced agreement to a treaty no Allied statesman had fully read, according to MacMillan, a history professor at the University of Toronto, in this vivid account. Although President Wilson had insisted on a League of Nations, even his own Senate would vote the league down and refuse the treaty. As a rush to make expedient settlements replaced initial negotiating inertia, appeals by many nationalities for Wilsonian self-determination would be overwhelmed by rhetoric justifying national avarice. The Italians, who hadn't won a battle, and the French, who'd been saved from catastrophe, were the greediest, says MacMillan; the Japanese plucked Pacific islands that had been German and a colony in China known for German beer. The austere and unlikable Wilson got nothing; returning home, he suffered a debilitating stroke. The council's other members horse-traded for spoils, as did Greece, Poland and the new Yugoslavia. There was, Wilson declared, "disgust with the old order of things," but in most decisions the old order in fact prevailed, and corrosive problems, like Bolshevism, were shelved. Hitler would blame Versailles for more ills than it created, but the signatories often could not enforce their writ. MacMillan's lucid prose brings her participants to colorful and quotable life, and the grand sweep of her narrative encompasses all the continents the peacemakers vainly carved up. 16 pages of photos, maps.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.



Jewish Subjects and Their Tribal Chieftains in Kurdistan

By Mordechai Zaken

This volume deals with the experience and the position of non-tribal Jewish subjects and their relationships with their tribal chieftains (aghas) in urban centers and villages in Kurdistan. It is based on new oral sources, diligently collected and carefully analyzed.



Turkey’s Kurds A theoretical analysis of the PKK and Abdullah Öcalan

By Ali Kemal Özcan

The Kurdish Worker's Party, or PKK, is examined here in this text on Kurdish nationalism. Incorporating recent field-based research results and newly translated material on Abdullah Ocalan, the PKK's long-time leader; it explores the ideational nature and the organizational working of the party, from its growth in the late 1970s to its recent shrinkage. A variety of issues are addressed including:

* The views and philosophy of Abdullah Ocalan
* The successes and failures of the PKK in bringing about the Kurdish opposition in Turkey
* The role of PKK's philosophy of recruitment, organizational diligence, use of arms and other contextual factors in Kurdish resistance
* Factors involved in the development of the nationalism of the Kurds in Turkey.

The text also reappraises the Kurdish movement in Turkey and presents insights into the nature of Kurdish social structure and thinking, and the particularities of the Kurdish ethnic distinctness.



The Political Development of the Kurds in Iran

By Farideh Koohi-Kamali

"Farideh Koohi-Kamali shows with great clarity the economic and social changes which enabled a transition from tribal to national identity among the Kurds of Iran during the twentieth century. It greatly increases our understanding of how and why the question of ethnicity has become so important in the region. Her fine book deserves to be very widely read indeed."--David McDowall, author of A Modern History of the Kurds
"This is first-rate, up-to-date analysis of an increasingly important topic. Its insights into the Kurdish problem in Iran will provide valuable information to both scholars and practitioners."--Michael Gunter, Professor of Political Science, Tennessee Technological University, and author of The Kurdish Predicament in Iraq: A Political Analysis



The Struggle for Kirkuk: The Rise of Hussein, Oil, and the Death of Tolerance in Iraq

By Henry D. Astarjian

“Among the plethora of recent books on Iraq, this is unique because it offers a provocative view into Iraq's tumultuous past through the eyes of an Iraqi American physician. This is a historical memoir about the struggle over Kirkuk's great oil fields and the crises besetting Iraqi society before the Baath party takeover and rise of Saddam Hussein. Astarjian, the son of Armenian genocide survivors, chronicles Kirkuk's ethnosectarian diversity as Jews, Kurds, Turkmen, Assyrians, Armenians, and Arabs lived together in peace, despite the power plays over the oil fields involving British officials, Soviet agents, and others representing national or ethnic interests. Included are fascinating accounts of the overthrow of the Royal Hashemite regime in 1958, the author's incarceration and torture at the hands of his childhood friend (who had become a communist), and his imprisonment in a Baghdad military prison with Baath party leaders....[t]his is a compelling story about the formative years of modern Iraq, intended to enlighten Americans about the immense challenges and perils facing them in a tragic land. Sadly, it may be too late to make it a must read for US policy makers. Recommended. General readers, lower-division undergraduates through practitioners.”–Choice

“Iraqi-American Astarjian combines memoir with history in describing the oil politics of Kirkuk in Northern Iraq from the 1940s through to the mid 1960s, when he left for America shortly after Saddam Hussein's assassination attempt on Prime Minister Abd-al-Karim Qasim. His description of the political life of Kirkuk during this era gives a small window into the complex forces at work Kurdish versus Arab, Arab versus Turkomen, Communist versus Baathist, etc. and Astarjian is not shy about letting his own anti-communist, anti-Baathist, and other views out into the open.”–Reference & Research Book News



The Creation of Iraq, 1914-1921

By Gary Sick, Reeva Spector Simon, Eleanor H. Tejirian

With the U.S.-led Operation Iraqi Freedom, we are reminded that almost one hundred years ago, Great Britain undertook a similar process of regime change and territorial reorganization in the same region of the world. In the thick of world conflict, with its strategic interests in the balance, the British had to begin planning for the aftermath of the World War that permitted the redrawing of borders and the creation of new political entities. One year after the beginning of World War I, preparations for a new strategic order in the Middle East were already underway. For the Allies -- Britain, France, and Russia -- the task was different from that of the United States today. Yet unlike the Coalition forces that in 2003 proclaimed the territorial integrity of Iraq, the British began from scratch: until 1921, the country of Iraq did not exist. How did this actually come about? And what were the reactions of the peoples living in that contested territory?



Thursday, April 2, 2009

A lion is a lion, whether a male or female.

Photos by Rob

A lion is a lion, whether a male or female. ( Kurdish Proverb).

Rob Leutheuser has been taking photographs for 35 years. He embarked on his first extended free-form overseas travel in South America and the Caribbean with camera in hand shortly after graduating from the University of Michigan. In the late-seventies, courtesy of the Peace Corps, Rob lived in the Central African Empire/Republic for 3 years. Upon returning to the States he began a successful professional career working in Western US water management. Overseas travels and photo adventures, though less extensive during this period, continued to feed the beast. At the turn of the millennium Rob concluded his civil service career and since has concentrated his energies on life, photography, and travel.

Rob website

Rob project on Kurdish Proverb

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Invisible War in North Kurdistan

by Kristiina Koivunen

Born in June 9th 1959 in Finland, Dr. Kristiina Koivunen is one of the independent foreign scholars exploring the history of Kurdistan and depicted what they have experienced in all parts of Kurdistan particularly in the Kurdistan of Turkey.
Koivunen has written so far four books about the political conditions of the Kurdistan in the light of history: three in Finnish and one in English titled “The Invisible War in North Kurdistan” which is her PHD thesis besides several other books in the field of politics and sociology. She currently engages in writing one book more about the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
The Invisible War in North Kurdistan narrates the story of the deportation campaign in Kurdistan of Turkey against the Kurdish villagers during 1990s. As she said, nowadays the Kurdish movements are developing very quickly and the media channels can contribute to further developing those movements.

Kristiina Koivunen Blog


The Genocide of the Iraqi Kurds

by Creighton Law


The Kurds in Control

The Kurds in Control , National Geography



Report by NG

Friday, March 20, 2009

Struggle of The Kurds

by National Geographic August_1992


We Who Face Death

by National Geographic March_1975


Mountain Tribes of Iran and Iraq

by National Geographic March_1946


Iraqi Kurdistan by Ed Kashi

Click the Picture to Watch

Iraqi Kurdistan is an expansive look into the daily lives of the Kurdish people of northern Iraq. These images provide an alternative perspective on a changing culture, one different from the destruction and discord that dominates so much media coverage of the region.

Here are policemen seated on the floor, eating lunch and laughing, old men taking care of their fields and young girls celebrating at a suburban birthday party.

There is also hardship and tribulation, to be sure; the Iraqi Kurds endured generations of brutality under Saddam Hussein. His genocidal campaigns cost close to 200,000 lives. But as Iraqi Kurdistan documents, the region is mostly peaceful today. The people enjoy more autonomy and women's rights continue to grow stronger.

Documented by photojournalist Ed Kashi during a seven-week stay in 2005, the photographs of Iraqi Kurdistan are presented in flipbook-style animation; gradual changes between still images simulate motion. The thousands of images that comprise this project are as striking as they are bountiful.

Click to Watch

More by Ed Kashi

Ed Kashi Website

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

THE KURDS: History and Culture

by Jemal Nebez

On the occasion of the inauguration of the Kurdish community-house in Berlin, Germany in September 1997, the well-known Kurdologist Dr. Jemal Nebez held a warmly received speech under the title: The Kurds – their history and culture.This speech was not only of great importance because of its contents and coverage, but also because it was based on precise data and historic scientific evidence. In his speech Dr. Nebez covered various subjects, e.g. pre-Christian ancient history and the mythology of the Kurds, the cultural height and depth of the Kurdish people in the shadow of the numerous expeditions by alien peoplesthrough Kurdistan, the astounding variety of religions in Kurdistan, with special stress on syncretism as the most striking feature of the Kurdish religious culture,delineating syncretism as inherently different from mixed religions.

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The Kurds

by Thomas Bois

Father Thomas Bois was born in Dunkirk in 1900 and entered the Dominican Order in 1919. In 1927 he was sent to the Middle East where he has remained ever since. There he studied Arabic, Sureth and Kurdish. From the beginning he took a special interest in the Kurdish people and published articles on the language, literature, history,customs and religion of this little known people. He has contributed to several Orientalist rev i ews including «Les Cahiers de l’Est» and «Al-Machriq» of Beirut, the «Proche-Orient Chretien» of Jerusalem, the «Bibliotheca Orientalis» of Leyden, and «L’Afrique et l’Asie et Orient» of Paris. «The Kurds» is the synthesis of all these publications.



The Kurds Ascending: The Evolving Solution to the Kurdish Problem in Iraq and Turke

by Gunter, Michael M.

"Professor Gunter has written an eminently readable, well-documented analysis that shows how the Kurdish question may be on the verge of a solution in Iraq and Turkey. Like his previous work, this book is polished and persuasive."--Tozun Bahcheli, Professor of Political Science, King's University College at the University of Western Ontario

"Professor Gunter, in his characteristic lucid style, shows how federalism in Iraq, as well as EU-mandated and AK Party reforms in Turkey are cautiously helping lead to a solution to the long-running Kurdish problem in these two important states. This provides a most welcomed insight into their future."-- M. Hakan Yavuz, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Utah

""Kurds Ascending "draws on much of Professor Gunter's most recent work to provide a very up-to-date, riveting account of the monumental changes occurring vis-a-vis the Kurdish issue today. Written in clear, accessible language yet chocked full of interesting up-to-date information, Michael Gunter's book should be of great interest to both those previously unfamiliar with the Kurds and specialists in Middle East politics as well."-- David Romano, Assistant Professor of International Studies, Rhodes College, Author of "The Kurdish Nationalist Movement"



Historical Dictionary of the Kurds

by Gunter, Michael M.

Gunter's Historical Dictionary of the Kurds represents a convenient, userfriendly, and accessible complement to two previously published, excellent annotated bibliographies: Lokman I. Melo's Kurds and Kurdistan (1997) and Melo and Kelly L. Maglaughlin's Kurdish Culture and Society (2001). The Dictionary opens with three useful maps, showing the locations of Kurds in the Middle East. It then offers a chronology of important events in Kurdish history from the mid-seventh century C.E. to March, 2003.



The cradle of mankind;: Life in eastern Kurdistan

by W. A Wigram



The Kurds in Turkey : EU Accession and Human Rights

by Kerim Yildiz (Author), Noam Chomsky (Introduction)

This book presents Turkey's current situation with an emphasis on human rights. The author's Kurds in Iraq sold over 1,000 copies in less than a year. It helps to understand the history and current situation of the huge Kurdish population in Turkey and deals with the substance of pro-EU reforms being undertaken by Turkey. With an introduction by Noam Chomsky, this is the most up-to-date critical analysis of the problems faced by the Kurds in Turkey. Turkey has a long history of human rights abuses against its Kurdish population - a population that stretches into millions. This human rights record is one of the main stumbling blocks in Turkey's efforts to join the EU. The Kurds are denied many basic rights, including the right to learn or broadcast in their own language. This book, written by a leading human rights defender, provides a comprehensive account of the key issues now facing the Kurds, and the prospects for Turkey joining the EU. Kerim Yildiz outlines the background to the current situation and explores a range of issues including - civil, cultural and political rights, minority rights, internal displacement, the international community's obligations regarding Turkey.



Iraqi Kurdistan Political development and emergent democracy

by Gareth R. V. Stansfield

'This is a realistic and lucid account of the unusual situation of the Kurds of Iraq during the past decade or so. It sets their parties and politics in a properly balanced and authoritative account of their recent history. More than that, it also contains valuable insights into possible future developments in this key strategic region of Iraq.' - Charles Tripp, Reader in the Department of Political Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London



Kurdistan: Region Under Siege (World in Conflict)

by Kari Bodnarchuk

Grade 8 Up-This excellent series entry provides a brief background to the geography, peoples, and cultures of the region, then gives an overview of the ethnic conflict that has ensued and its major players. This introduction is followed by an in-depth, informative text covering the historical roots of the Kurds' struggle, and the situation as it is today. Bodnarchuklooks at the effect the continuing fighting has upon the nations most involved: Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. The presentation of the positions held by different governments, as well as the opposing Kurdish factions, is valuable. The final chapter discusses actions that have been and are being taken to find a solution to the conflict. The mostly full-color photos are appropriate if unexciting. Also, the statement in the introduction that "The Kurdish territory in Iraq includes an autonomous region, where Iraqi Kurds are free to celebrate their culture and practice a certain level of self-rule," seems to contradict the rest of the text.


A Thousand Sighs, A Thousand Revolts: Journeys in Kurdistan

by Christiane Bird

Travel writer Bird (Neither East nor West: One Woman's Journey Through the Islamic Republic of Iran) provides a compelling glimpse of Kurds and the difficulties they face with this blend of travelogue and history lesson. The book's title comes from a Kurdish poem about the Kurds' determination to be masters of their own lands, an effort that brings about "a thousand sighs, a thousand tears, a thousand revolts, a thousand hopes." Bird deftly describes each of those aspects of Kurdistani culture, from the sighs and tears of women who offer Bird both flavorful dinners and wrenching stories of loss, to the hopes of Kurdish artists who believe their ethnic group's artistic traditions can survive beyond war. Where Bird focuses most, however, is the revolts that have plagued the Kurds for decades. The largest ethnic group in the world without a state of their own, the Kurds number between 25 and 30 million, and live in an arc of land that stretches through Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran and parts of the former Soviet Union. As Bird travels through Kurdistan (a country that isn't on any map), she meets an array of people, from scholars to bus drivers. Each story of conflict, poverty, homelessness and suffering is like a brushstroke in a larger portrait of the Kurdish experience. Bird's talent for blending reportage with illuminating tales from individuals makes this a notable and much needed work. B&w photos, map.


Kurds, Arabs and Britons: The Memoir of Col. W.A. Lyon in Kurdistan, 1918-1945

by David K. Fieldhouse

After World War I, Britain's geographical expansion was echoed by a decline in power. In Kurdistan, where the dwindling of the British Empire was played out against a background of world politics, Wallace Lyon was Provincial Administrator and Administrative Inspector. His job was to protect the Kurds from Iraq and safeguard British imperial interests. His memoir illuminates the complex relationship between Britain and the rest of the world through the microcosm of Kurdistan.


The Kurdish Conflict in Turkey: Obstacles and Chances for Peace and Democracy

by Ferhad Ibrahim , Gulistan Gurbey

In this collection, scientists who are employed within the regions of the Middle East, Turkey, and Kurdistan try to make different facets of the Kurdish conflict transparent and select aspects of the Kurdish conflict to analyze. The editors goal is to point out the baselines and the complexities of the conflict and to assess its modifications and chances for a peaceful resolution.


Sweet Tea with Cardamom: A Journey Through Iraqi Kurdistan

by Teresa Thornhill

After the month-long Gulf War of 1991, Iraq's Kurdish minority began to rise against Saddam Hussein's regime, which had in previous years engaged in genocidal campaigns, including assaults with chemical weapons, that killed as many as 180,000 people. United Nations peacekeeping forces helped established a "safe haven" in Iraqi Kurdistan (a section of northern Iraq that runs along the borders of Turkey and Iran) and elections were soon held. Teresa Thornhill, an English barrister who became concerned with the plight of the Kurds through an ex-partner's personal connection to Iraq, took two trips to the region in 1993 to see for herself how the efforts at democracy were progressing. "The Iraqi Kurds claimed that they did not wish to establish an independent state," Thornhill writes. "Rather they wished to be part of a post-Saddam Iraq under a federal arrangement." But their efforts were hampered by the economic sanctions of the UN against Iraq, which affected them as well as Saddam, and Iraqi troops were poised at the edge of the border, ready to reclaim their land. In addition, rival Kurdish groups began engaging in violent conflict. Thornhill particularly concerns herself with the Kurdish women who survived Saddam's atrocities, but she encounters people from every level of Kurdish society. Her fascination with the region and its people is perceptible even in the restrained journalistic tone with which she recounts her journey.


Primitive Rebels Or Revolutionary Modernisers?: The Kurdish Nationalist Movement in Turkey

by Paul J. White

Protests worldwide followed the capture and trial of the Kurdish nationalist leader Abdullah Ocalan in 1999. Millions of people are now aware of the long fight by his PKK guerillas in Turkey. But where does the PKK come from? What are its aims? Who supports it? What will its future be without Ocalan to guide it? And, most important of all, is there now a real prospect for a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish question in Turkey? This critical examination of the Kurdish nationalist movement traces the PKK's evolution and its move towards becoming a mainstream mass political movement.


The Kurdish Nationalist Movement in the 1990s: Its Impact on Turkey and the Middle East

by Robert Olson

The Kurds are the world's largest ethnic group without a nation of their own. Operating under a concept of nationhood that does not acknowledge the existence of ethnic minorities, the Turkish government views the Kurds as a threat to sovereignty. Along with Iraq and other nations in the region, they have crushed any formal attempts at nation-building. In the past months, the factional fighting among the Kurds has resurfaced as Baghdad supports the Kurdistan Democratic Party against the Kurdistan Worker's Party (provoking an American military response). The Kurdish Nationalist Movement In The 1990s: Its Impact On Turkey And The Middle East is an invaluable briefing on one of the middle east's most complex, enduring, and tragic conflicts threatening regional stability and the absorption of American military and humanitarian resources. -- Midwest Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


The Kurds (Creation of the Modern Middle East)

by Heather Lehr Wagner

A discussion of the people known as Kurds, including their history as well as their contemporary status in the Middle East.


A People Without a Country: The Kurds and Kurdistan

by Gerard Chaliand

This unique and comprehensive book covers the whole history of the Kurds over the past seventy years. The Gulf crisis, its aftermath and its impact on the Kurds are thoroughly analyzed in newly added sections.
"... meticulously researched... A great deal of current information is presented along with older history, and both blend together to make the anthology an excellent resource."


A Fire in My Heart: Kurdish Tales

by Diane Edgecomb (Author), Mohammed M.A. Ahmed (Author), Ceto 0zel (Author)

The largest ethnic group without their own nation-state, there are an estimated 30-40 million Kurds living throughout the world today. The majority live in Kurdistan, a region stretching over parts of Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria. As a minority in these countries, the Kurds have struggled for independence throughout history and into recent times and have often been oppressed, persecuted and deported from their land. The purpose of this volume is to introduce readers to the Kurdish people, their cultural traditions and their stories. This unique collection, the first of its kind in English, features tales collected first-hand by the author during several years of travel to the Kurdish region of Turkey. A Fire In My Heart serves as a reference and program resource for educators and librarians, introducing students and the public to this ancient culture. The book is especially suited to those working with Middle Eastern children and their families in the US and abroad. From the Kurdish Cinderella story, "Fatima," and humorous animal tales to stories based on legendary figures, for example the Herculean Rusteme Zal, these thirty-three tales from the varied regions of Kurdistan and the four major dialects are a wonderful resource for storytellers, folklorists and scholars. After seven years recording Kurdish tellers and traveling to remote mountain villages the author provides a valuable collection of previously unpublished tales, traditional recipes and games. The book is augmented by stories translated and adapted from small tale collections in Kurdish, as well as rare color photos from Iraqi-Kurdistan in 1955 and recent photos of village life. Background information on the Kurdish people, their history, land and customs is provided. All levels.


The Kurds. An historical and political study

by Hassan Arfa

was a loyal servant of the Peacock throne, but as an Azerbaijani he was sensitive to the tensions between ethnic identity and citizenship. He rejected Azerbaijani as well as Kurdish separatism but understood the sentiments behind it and wrote sympathetically on the Kurds at the time that the first modern armed Kurdish nationalist uprising was in progress in Iraq.

The Kurdish Question in Iraq (Contemporary Issues in the Middle East)

by Edmund Ghareeb

Ghareeb reports that Iraqi politicians, at least since Nuri al-Sa`id, repeatedly voiced concern that foreign powers might “exploit the Kurdish problem for their own interests,” and that it was such considerations that persuaded the Ba`th party from 1968 onwards to seek accommodation with the Kurds rather than repress the uprising. Party documents of 1969 still speak of Kurdish nationalism as a progressive force of liberation, which is part of the global struggle against all forms of oppression and a natural ally of Arab nationalism. Soon after the peace agreement, however, Barzani obtained promises of covert US support, the Mossad was training his intelligence service, and Iranian arms were flowing into northern Iraq.


The Kurdish Nationalist Movement: Opportunity, Mobilization and Identity

by David Romano

David Romano focuses on the Kurdish case to generally try and make sense of ethnic nationalist resurgence. In a world rent by a growing number of such conflicts, the questions posed about why, how and when such challenges to the state arise are becoming increasingly urgent. Throughout the author analyzes these questions through the lens of social movement theory, considering in particular politico-social structures, resource mobilization strategies and cultural identity. His conclusions offer some thought-provoking insights into Kurdish nationalism, as well as into the strengths and weaknesses of various social movement theories.



The Unwelcome Neighbour: Turkey's Kurdish Policy (Culture and Society in Western and Central Asia)

by Asa Lundgren

Asa Lundgren explores Turkish policy towards northern Iraq from the beginning of the 1990s to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and draws important conclusions about the relation between nation-building and foreign policy. The author argues that there is a crucial interplay between the protection of state borders, foreign policy practice and the construction of national identity. Turkey's policy towards northern Iraq during the last decade can be described as a balancing act where the integrity of the Turkish-Iraqi border was firmly defended by Ankara, while at the same time it was consistently violated through Turkish military incursions against a perceived Kurdish threat and by the permanent military presence of the Turkish army on Iraqi territory. The paradoxes of Turkey's policy can only be understood in the light of an ongoing struggle over the definition of Turkish national identity. The author's highly original proposition is that Ankara's policy opposition to all attempts to break up Iraq along ethnic lines was a mirror image of a concern with the unity of the Turkish nation state.



The Kurds of Asia

by Anthony C. Lobaido (Author), Yumi Ng (Author), Paul Rozario (Author)

"simple book"

The Kurds In Iraq: The Past, Present and Future

by Kerim Yildiz (Author), Tom Blass (Author)

This book explores the issues facing the Kurdish population of Iraq in the aftermath of the war and the ongoing occupation. Written by a leading human rights campaigner and a journalist, it is the most clear and up-to-date account of what Iraqi Kurds want, and the problems that all political groups face in re-building the country, as well as exploring Kurdish links and international relations in the broader sense. It should be required reading for policy-makers and anyone interested in the current position of Kurds in Iraq.

Today there are an estimated 4.2 million Kurds in Iraq -- nearly a quarter of the country's population. The majority are Sunni Muslims. For a long time Iraqi Kurds have desired an independent Kurdistan -- a desire shared by Kurds in Turkey, Iran and Syria. However, for the moment, the most pressing issue is to maintain the autonomy afforded by Iraqi Kurdistan since the establishment of the no-fly zone. The book explores the rift in the UN and how it potentially affects the Kurds; the necessity of avoiding a humanitarian crisis; divisions between the two Iraqi Kurdish political parties; relations between Iraqi Kurds and Turkey; relations with Iran; US policy towards the Kurds; and the crucial role of the city of Kirkuk in the post-war settlement of Iraq.



The Future of Kurdistan in Iraq

by Brendan O'Leary (Author), John McGarry (Author)

"This is the first detailed scholarly study of the kind of federation that would best serve the interests of the Kurds and the other peoples of Iraq--Arabs, Turkomans, and Chaldean Assyrians. Highly recommended."--Choice "Adds up to a strong pitch for a viable Kurdistan within an Iraq federal state--or even an independent Kurdistan if the several contending forces in Iraq will not accept federalism. Much has happened since mid-2004 when this book went to press [but] the analysis and prescription presented here remain relevant."--Foreign Affairs "This collection of essays is a core resource for anyone with a serious interest in Iraq and the U.S. military... A good representation of the major issues confronting Kurdistan, Iraq, and their neighbors as of spring 2004. I learned even where I disagreed."--Publius: The Journal of Federalism "When more than one hundred London-based diplomats, politicians, journalists, and international affairs analysts turn out for a discussion of a book, one knows that the book is timely and has something to say about pressing current international affairs and about its topic's potential for impacting regional and international geopolitical alignments. This is what happened on 31 May 2005 at Chatham House, a British think tank associated closely with the United Kingdom's Foreign Ministry. The book discussed was The Future of Kurdistan in Iraq, edited by Brendan O'Leary, John McGarry, and Khaled Salih. The Future of Kurdistan in Iraq well deserves the prestigious turnout it produced."--Mediterranean Quarterly "An outstanding collection which illustrates the virtue of academic engagement with current predicaments."--Times Higher Education Supplement


Hell Is Over: Voices of the Kurds after Saddam

by Mike Tucker

As counterfactual as it may seem to claim that "hell is over" anywhere in Iraq, Tucker makes the case for the Kurds. Drawing on interviews with peshmergafighters, Saddam-era political prisoners and survivors, Kurdish politicians and others who celebrate the overthrow of a Ba'athist regime that was particularly murderous toward Iraqi Kurds, Tucker gives his subjects space to tell of massacres at places like Hatra and of armed resistance to—and daily hardship under—Ba'athist repression. Tucker's Kurds express deep thanks to America for ousting Saddam, but also recall betrayal—"Kissinger's betrayal" in 1975 and that of George H.W. Bush in 1991—when the U.S. found it expedient to allow Iraq a free hand to crush Kurdish resistance. "The Kurds are looking for U.S. actions... which prove that America's honor is real," he writes, and for Tucker, a former Marine, "honor" and other aspects of warrior culture trump messier geopolitical considerations; he is convinced that the key to U.S. success in Iraq lies in recognition of "Kurdish integrity, honor and culture," along with close military and political cooperation with Iraqi Kurds. As a record of oppression, this book will find a place among emerging Saddam-era testimonies, but its bald political advocacy offers little that's unfamiliar.
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