Kurdish Independence and Russian Expansion

Courtesy Reuters

AKURDISH independence movement was officially inaugurated at the San Francisco Conference in April 1945, in a letter addressed to the delegates in the name of the Kurdish League. The letter was accompanied by a memorandum on the "Kurdish Question." It makes little difference that the material presented was strongly reminiscent of what had appeared in brochure form upon the same subject at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. The figures in the memorandum may not be acceptable. The demands for Kurdish autonomy may be exaggerated to the point that many readers of liberal intention will consider them ridiculous. Certain facts, nevertheless, remain. There is a Kurdish independence movement. It has three active propaganda centers, one located in Syrian Beirut, a second at Sauj Bulagh in western Iran. The third center is in the "Communist" Party of 'Iraq, which has published a program of reforms with the resounding title of "The Charter of the Kurdish People." Its 17 clauses include: collaboration with the Arabs of 'Iraq; "real" independence of the Kurds and Arabs (implying that 'Iraq is under British imperial control); freedom of political opinion and expression; distribution of lands in fee simple to the peasants; old age, sickness and unemployment security; freedom of worship for religious minorities, with special mention in this regard of the Turcomans, Yezidis, Arabs and Assyrian Christians; and encouragement of public instruction for both sexes, with native schools and teaching in the Kurdish language. All of this is admirable enough, if one can grant that Kurdish independence is feasible or that it is advisable from the point of view of world security. Certainly Kurdish Communism is something quite different from the Moscow brand.

The educated and intellectualized Kurdish leaders who supply charters and slogans to the tribesmen (who can shoot much better than they can read) seem to be thoroughly sincere. The movement for Kurdish independence has also found some degree of sympathy among French political commentators and British military personnel who have had actual contact with the problems of

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