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In the 20th century, the Muslim world created a vision of religious nationalism. Turkey, for example, had to be ethnically Turkish. Kurds, Armenians, other minorities didn't have a place in such a vision of a nation-state.
Feisal Abdul Rauf
The U.S. cannot force Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds to make peace or to act for the common good. They have been in conflict for 1,400 years.
Iraqi national identity under Saddam Hussein never truly incorporated Shiites or Kurds. Sunnis, who identified most closely with the Iraqi nation, remain in some ways disenfranchised relative to the other groups, or at least they perceive themselves that way.
The Kurds were the only people in Iraq who were completely unguarded in expressing their gratitude to the United States for setting them free.
Back when Saddam Hussein was in power, the Americans didn't care about his crimes. When he was gassing the Kurds and gassing Iran, they didn't care about it. When oil was at stake, somehow, suddenly, things mattered.
By very conservative estimates, Turkish repression of Kurds in the 1990s falls in the category of Kosovo. It peaked in the early 1990s; one index is the flight of more than a million Kurds from the countryside to the unofficial Kurdish capital, Diyarbakir, from 1990 to 1994, as the Turkish army was devastating the countryside.
What is postwar Iraq going to look like, with the Kurds and the Sunnis and the Shiites? That's a huge question, to my mind.
Whenever a Kurd wants to measure the depth of some foreign leader's commitment to Kurdish autonomy, he listens for one particular word. That word is 'federal.' Anyone who will say he favors Kurdish federalism can be counted a friend of the Kurds.
Under the Assads, Kurds were forbidden from learning their own language at school, or even from speaking it in the military. The result is a generation of Syrian Kurds, many now in late middle age, who can't write their own language.
So the idea that you could put Kurds, Shiite Arabs, and Sunni Arabs in a nice, liberal, federal system in Iraq in a short amount of time, six months or a year, boggles the mind.
If they make the deadline because the Shiites and Kurds essentially rammed a draft through over Sunni Arab objections, there will be hell to pay.
The Arabs are victims. You have Shia Arabs, under Arabization under Saddam Hussein, who were forcibly moved up there... You have Kurds who were displaced by these Arabs that were moved up there by Saddam Hussein. Kurds have been displaced from Kirkuk for hundreds of years.
Raymond T. Odierno
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein had and used significant weapons of mass destruction on his own people, both the Kurds and the Iranians.
There's a certain amount of sympathy here for the Bush administration's problem, which is they would like to get rid of Saddam Hussein and they would like to have the Kurds autonomous.
America sold VX nerve gas and anthrax to Iraq for years, even after the Halabja gas attack, which killed thousands of Kurds.
Syria is a multi-confessional state: in addition to Sunni and Shia Muslims, there are Alawites, Orthodox and other Christian confessions, Druzes, and Kurds.
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