Who Is the Kurds' Worst Enemy?
It is a strange time for the Kurds. Ever since they were promised a homeland of their own after World War I and had that taken from them, they have struggled against Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria for autonomy or even national independence. And yet the dream seems even further away.
In the time of the infamous Shah of Iran, an American ambassador asked the Shah's prime minister if it were not possible to give the Kurds a little bit of autonomy. The response was clear and concise: "Being a little autonomous is like being a little pregnant."
Now, the goal of a freer Kurdistan seems in sight. Except for a few hidden agendas, however. Iraqi Kurdistan is still in the tribal struggle been the Talibani an Barsani groups and shaken by a reform movement, Goran. The Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq is in a struggle against the communist/anarchist PKK. This struggle places them at odds against the PKK allies in Rojana, the Kurdish area in Syria, who are fighting against ISIS in Sinjal. The Kurdish political opposition party in Turkey is under pressure from the PKK as well as from the Turkish government.
Only in Iran are things reasonably balanced. The Iranians have allowed the Kurds a certain amount of cultural and linguistic autonomy, but no true political autonomy. As the Shah's minister said, that would be like being a little bit pregnant.
What do the Kurds want? What can they obtain? If the four Kurdish regions - in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria - could establish four autonomous regions with open borders between them, that might bring peace for a generation.
What stands in the way of that? The Kurds themselves, unfortunately, are part of the problem. Their divisions are the major problem today. As Pogo said: We have met the enemy, and they are us.