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Screwing Over the Kurds: An All-American Pastime

I have long been a vocal supporter of the Kurds, even before the Syrian clusterfuck sparked the Rojava Revolution. Part of this comes from my checkered past as a lapsed Tankie-Guevarist. I grew up gorging myself on New Left folk tails of Third World rebellion. The fearsome PKK were one of a dozen or so clans of crimson bearded renegades, fighting like Castro for some post-colonial utopia. I read everything I could find about the Bolshevik adventures of groups like FARC, Hezbollah and the Naxalites. But the thing that set the Kurds apart was their fourth quarter conversion to anarchism which closely mirrored my own.

Abdullah Ocalan discovered the works of Murray Bookchin right around the time I dropped communism for panarchy and syndicalism. And when the wrest of Syria sunk into CIA sponsored Salafi hell, the Ocalan influenced Kurds of the YPG created a successful stateless society that flourished amidst the chaos. It was proof positive that anarchism could work. But it was all over the moment the YPG accepted the poison gift of American military occupation. Anarchism quite simply cannot coexist with the greatest source of imperial tyranny on the fucking planet. The only sick comfort I took in this nauseating arrangement is that I knew it wouldn’t last. That’s because, dearest motherfuckers, screwing over the Kurds is a time-honored American pastime.

The original Kurdish screwjob was the work of that whimsical Bond villain known as Henry Kissinger. During his busy time as Secretary of State and National Security Adviser under Nixon and Ford, respectively, Henry cooked up a devilish little scheme with the help of his flunkies in Israel and the Shah’s Iran. Iraq was becoming suspiciously cozy with the Soviet Union. So they flooded Iraq’s long suffering Kurdish independence movement with Soviet hardware pilfered from the killing fields of Vietnam and the Sinai Peninsula. Mustafa Barzani, the founding father of the modern Peshmerga, didn’t trust the Shah farther than he could squeeze his ham-fist up his pinched little quisling asshole, no sane Mesopotamian did, but he believed in his heart of hearts that America was that shining beacon of freedom on the hill. Mustafa was a sucker. Once Henry and Co. managed to frighten Iraq into playing ball, we quickly drummed up a deal between them and Iran that included handing over the Kurds on a spit. Not only did old Henry, that Nobel pacifist, refuse to even return Mustafa’s frantic calls for help, he cut all humanitarian aide to the region as Helter Skelter came tumbling down. The Kurds were slaughtered and Kissinger summed up America’s Kurdish policy in a nutshell when he told a disgusted congress that “One should not confuse undercover action with social work.” If only the Kurds took his advice.

Flash forward some fifteen years later, after blitzing our former client Saddam Hussein damn near the brink of oblivion, good old Pappy Bush, that sainted scion of global statesmanship, encouraged the Kurds along with the similarly oppressed Southern Shiites to launch a final putsch against the porno-stached tyrant with all kinds of sunny predictions and empty promises. When the rebellion predictably fell apart, the US once again left the Kurds high and dry to be slaughtered in the thousands. The whole point of the rebellion wasn’t success. Quite the contrary. It was designed to provoke a vengeful and largely impotent Saddam into slaughtering our “allies” in order to justify our own war crimes in the region, past, future and present. We knew precisely how Saddam would react because we helped him react the last time he faced a Kurdish uprising, shit, we even sold him the goddamn mustard gas. Once again, the Kurds were just convenient pawns used to provoke another bloodbath that put us in a greater position of power in the region. And, once again, if only the Kurds had learned a fucking lesson from this latest act of imperial treachery on America’s part, maybe just maybe, they could have avoided the carnage they currently contend with. But some habits die harder than others.

America didn’t truly get behind Rojava until our dreams of a Salafi no-fly zone went belly up. I’ve long held the creeping suspicion that Rojava was never intended to be anything but a seat warmer for our NATO allies in Turkey. That’s why I suspect we pushed the YPG to the brink, taking territory that had always been Arab. That’s why we pushed them to abandon the very achievable goal of federal autonomy and burn their bridges with an amenable Assad. We were isolating them from their already hostile neighbors and stretching them razor thin, all while establishing a perfect borderland territory for Turkey to invade and launch more Salafi mayhem from. Never mind Trump’s idle threats and empty bluster, Turkey’s “Safe Zone” is being primed to be the new Idlib and the Kurds won’t be the only ones to get fucked.

This leaves the Kurds with no other choice but to beg for forgiveness and make up with their former allies in Assad’s Syria and the Islamic Republic. And this sliver of hope for regional anti-imperial unity is the primary reason I personally support Trump’s latest sloppy Kurdish screwjob. For decades the Kurds have been trapped in the worst case of battered spouse syndrome since Nicole Simpson. Their toxic tryst with our gruesome empire has crippled their ability to reach their full revolutionary potential. But a new dawn is rising over the battered sands of Eurasia. For the first time since the end of the Cold War, America’s victims have formed a coalition hell bent on ending our hegemony in their hemisphere once and for all. A coalition of half-crippled survivors of the American Century known as the Axis of Resistance. And if the YPG/PKK play their cards right, maybe just maybe, they might have an open place at their table for a stateless clan of bearded renegades with an acquired expertise for taking a stick to NATO’s Achilles heal in Turkey.

Don’t cry for the Kurds, dearest motherfuckers. Their wounds may be self-inflicted but they aren’t terminal. This screwjob could be the last screwjob and the first day of the rest of the Rojava Revolution. The Kurds may be hurting now but they have been presented with the perfect opportunity to have the last laugh over the graves of their betrayers. I only pray that they take it.

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Nicky Reid is an agoraphobic anarcho-genderqueer gonzo blogger from Central Pennsylvania and assistant editor for Attack the System. You can find her online at Exile in Happy Valley.

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