Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The Kurdish people, a follow up to yesterday's comment

While standing firmly behind yesterday's comment about the Obama administration's seriously mistaken approach to Iraqi Kurdistan, this post is meant to add more facts, some of which may have added to Obama's timidity.  While what is written here may be well known to many, the readers here are diverse but, outside of friends and family, are largely unknown beyond their country of origin, so here goes some more information.

The majority of the Kurdish ethnic group, Indo-European by background, live in Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria.  In Turkey they are at least 20% of the population, at least 15 million people, and at times are at odds with the government there on policy and discrimination issues that can turn into small scale military issues or infrequent but attention getting guerrilla activity, whether Turkish leadership has been Islamist or secular over many years.  This certainly must be a factor in the exceedingly short sighted and cautious advice that Obama is given by his advisers.  In Syria, the Kurdish people represent around 9% of the population and live in semi-independent enclaves in the northeast and northwest of the country, and until recently have not been actively involved in any significant protests against or attacks by the Assad regime.  There is no idea here what has happened to Syrian Kurds with the rise of ISIS.  In Iran, the Kurdish people are approximately 7% of the population and for the most part seem to have been allowed to be successfully integrated into Iranian society, while maintaining in many cases their own neighborhoods and traditions.  In Iraq, the Kurds are approximately 18% of the population, and their situation was discussed in yesterday's comment.

Beyond those major concentrations, approximately 2 million Kurdish people live around many parts of the world, with the great majority of those in European countries.  The largest Kurdish community in the U.S. is in Nashville, approximately 12,000 people.  Maybe they like the music.



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