April 8, 2005


US designs on Syria's Kurds (Sami Moubayed, 4/09/05, Asia Times)

One of the overriding fears in the Middle East is how Kurds might be manipulated by outside forces to create havoc in the region, as has happened before. [...]

In March this year, President Bashar Assad released 312 Kurds, all arrested during the disturbances of 2004, promising to grant Syrian citizenship to 300,000 Kurds who were stripped of it in 1962.

Currently, 25,000 Kurds are unregistered in Syria, and another 225,000 are registered as "foreigners" with no Syrian passports but red IDs, granted by the Ministry of Interior. They have restrictions on travel, marriage and owning property. Exaggeration in the Western media says that they are discriminated against at schools, in hospitals and in government employment and wages. In July 1996, the Syrian government told Human Rights Watch that the number of Kurds with such status was only 67,465.

Assad today wants to be nice to the Syrian Kurds, fearing that inspired by the autonomy and grand concessions, they are gaining in Iraq, they will make similar demands for autonomy in Syria. The truth is that the Kurds of Syria are very different from those of Iraq. They want citizenship, not autonomy.

Ahmad Barakat, of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party, confirmed this to the Christian Science Monitor, saying, "Our problem is very different from that of the Kurds in Iraq. Their aim in Iraq is to get a state of their own. But in Syria, we just want our culture and freedom as Syrian nationals."

The US media, however, and some US-backed Kurdish activists, in Syria and abroad, insist on marketing a story of Kurdish plight, unrest and separatism in Syria, claiming that the Syrian Kurds are oppressed and deserve autonomy, just like their Iraqi counterparts. Many see this as part of a grand US smear campaign against Damascus.

Marshal Petain spoke for most Frenchmen too, but they weren't sorry to see the Germans go.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 8, 2005 6:59 AM

Barakat, which the article states but fails to make clear, is a member of the PKK, the main Kurdish terrorist group in Turkey. Its entire budget comes from Syrian intelligence so it should be no surprise that his lips are firmly planted on Baby Assad's backside.

Posted by: bart at April 8, 2005 6:02 PM