Why has the West been so supportive of Palestinian nationalism, yet so reluctant to support the Kurds, the largest nation in the world without a state

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    Aug 24, 2016 10:50 PM GMT
    http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/The-case-for-Kurdish-statehood-462555The Kurds have been instrumental in fighting Islamic State (ISIS); have generously accepted millions of refugees fleeing ISIS to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG); and embrace Western values such as gender equality, religious freedom and human rights. They are also an ancient people with an ethnic and linguistic identity stretching back millennia and have faced decades of brutal oppression as a minority. Yet they cannot seem to get sufficient support from the West for their political aspirations.

    The Palestinians, by contrast, claimed a distinct national identity relatively recently, are less than one-third fewer in number (in 2013, the global Palestinian population was estimated by the Palestinian Authority to reach 11.6 million), control land that is less than 1/15th the size of the KRG territory and have not developed their civil society or economy with nearly as much success as the Kurds. Yet the United Nations, the European Union, the Arab League and other international bodies have all but ignored Kurdish statehood dreams while regularly prioritizing Palestinian ambitions over countless other global crises....

    ...With an estimated worldwide population of about 35 million (including about 28 million in the KRG or adjacent areas), the Kurds are the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East (after the Arabs, Persians and Turks), and have faced decades of persecution as a minority in Turkey, Iran and Iraq.

    The 1988 “Anfal” attacks, which included the use of chemical weapons, destroyed about 2,000 villages and killed at least 50,000 Kurds, according to human rights groups (Kurds put the number at nearly 200,000). Several international bodies have recognized those atrocities as a genocide....

    ...The Kurdish commitment to gender equality is yet another reason that Kurdish statehood merits Western support. There is no gender discrimination in the Kurdish army: their women fight (and get beheaded) alongside the men. Last December, Kurdistan hosted the International Conference on Women and Human Rights.

    The Kurds are also the only credible ground force fighting ISIS, as has been clear since the ISIS threat first emerged in 2014. ISIS “would have totally controlled the Baji oil field and all of Kirkuk had the [Kurdish] Peshmerga not defended it,”...

    ...A Kurdish state would also have excellent relations with Israel, another moderate, non-Arab, pro-Western democracy in the region. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu endorsed Kurdish independence in 2014, and Syrian Kurds – after recently declaring their autonomy – expressed an interest in developing relations with Israel.

    By contrast, the Palestinian Authority slanders Israel at every opportunity...

    ...By almost any measure, a Kurdish state deserves far more support from the West....

  • mwolverine

    Posts: 4101

    Aug 25, 2016 5:39 AM GMT
    My uncle, who fled Iraq (on foot) in the 1940s, had nothing but good things to say about the Kurds.
    The friendliest people, he said.

    The Kurds are an ethnic group going back some 2600 years.
    Predating the Arab invasion and conquest of Mesopotamia (Iraq).

    They're not some geographic group that emerged from post WW I divisions.
    To the contrary, they got screwed after the end of WW I.
    The 1920 Treaty of Sevres envisioned a Kurdistan.
    When it was renegotiated in 1923 in Lausanne, it had disappeared from the map.
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    Aug 25, 2016 2:56 PM GMT
    Oh so you are long settled in the middle east. I've one set of great grandparents who had settled in pre-modern-state Israel and my grandmother though born in the US lived there as a young child before moving back here. (there was a lot of back and forth in those days.) We've still property there in Petah Tikva. I can google map it from their streets view. So bizarre.

    We know very little about the Kurds here in the states--they don't make headline news as does other aspects of the middle east--and from Biden's recent comments it might seem they could be better supported, especially considering that it seems from what I've been reading about their culture that they'd make a good ally to the US.

    http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-08-24/biden-warns-kurds-in-goodwill-visit-to-turkeyBiden Warns Kurds in Goodwill Visit to Turkey

    ...The vice president also offered a stern warning to Kurdish forces on the ground in Syria that they would lose U.S. support if they don't retreat to the eastern bank of the Euphrates, immediately to the east of Jarabulus.

    "We have made it absolutely clear that they [pro-Kurdish forces] must go back across the [Euphrates] River. They cannot and will not, under no circumstances, get American support if they do not keep that commitment," Biden said, according to Kurdish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News.

    Kurdish involvement in the two-year-old U.S.-led war against the Islamic State group has become a major sticking point between the NATO partners – Kurdish fighters in Iraq and Syria have proven one of the most capable and effective combat forces on the ground, for a conflict to which President Barack Obama has declined to deploy large formations of American ground troops. The Turks, however, fear empowering Kurdish fighters in neighboring Syria and Iraq could further embolden separatist sentiments among the Kurdish population in Turkey....

    It's wild the complexity of the issues over there because then there's this:

    http://aranews.net/2016/08/turkey-fighting-kurds-pretext-combatting-isis-syria-politician/Turkey fighting Kurds under pretext of combatting ISIS in Syria

    KOBANE – Turkey is fighting Kurds under the excuse of combatting the Islamic State group (ISIS) in northern Syria, Kurdish politician Idris Nassan told ARA News on Thursday.

    The Rojava Self-Administration in northern Syria said in a public statement that the main goal of Turkey’s intervention into Syria’s Jarabulus is to ‘eliminate our democratic project’.

    According to the Kurds, the Jarabulus operation is the result of an agreement between the Syrian government and Turkey.

    So while I'm not real familiar with the issue, on first look it seems they are three times the size of the Palestianian population but also they've got three times the countries that they're dealing with to try and forge a homeland. It's strange to think of how far the world has come, yet still so unsettled.
  • mwolverine

    Posts: 4101

    Aug 26, 2016 1:38 AM GMT
    To answer the question in the title, could it be because the Kurds didn't perpetrate terrorist attacks in the West?