I have noticed something about the discussion about Syria, the Kurds, and Trump's decision to remove about 50 American soldiers from the area. We're not having one. Leftists who were chanting 'No blood for oil!' not so long ago are now proclaiming we're abandoning an ally to genocide. Rightists who are also upset about abandoning […]
I have noticed something about the discussion about Syria, the Kurds, and Trump's decision to remove about 50 American soldiers from the area.
We're not having one.
Leftists who were chanting 'No blood for oil!' not so long ago are now proclaiming we're abandoning an ally to genocide.
Rightists who are also upset about abandoning an ally don't seem to be curious about whether the PPK (Kurdish Workers Party) faction in the area aren't kind of well, communist.
But the Kurds are our allies against ISIS!
News flash, Turkey is also our 'ally.' They're a NATO member and we're committed to the common defense, though some of us thought letting Turkey into the alliance might not have been a good idea.
So quick quiz.
Who are the Kurds, where is their homeland, what is the majority religion, and what language do they speak?
Next, where is Syria and who runs the place? Then same questions as above.
How'd you do?
Yeah, me neither. Fact is, I know a little about the Kurds because I've known some and got curious about them. I know far less about Syria although I should because I'm a history buff and it's the ancient home of the civilizations of Sumer, Akkad, and Assyria where the name comes from.
So quick cheat sheet. The Kurds are not Arabs, they're ethnically and linguistically close to Iranians. They're mostly Sunni Muslims but there are also Shia Muslims and followers of Alevism, Yarsanism, Yazidism, Zoroastrianism and Christianity.
A Kurdish woman once told me some worship Shaitan or Satan, and I have no idea what she meant by that. A Kurdish gentleman I knew once complained about how, 'Those damned Arabs shoved Islam down our throats.'
There are between 30 and 45 million Kurds worldwide, they are the largest ethnic group in the world without a state of their own, and their ancient homeland Kurdistan is an area that covers parts of Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and a piece of Syria. All of them countries which are not particularly keen on ceding territory to make a new country.
Fun fact, Saladin the chivalrous enemy of the Crusaders who recaptured Jerusalem was a Kurd.
Syrians are mostly Sunni Muslim, but there are also Shia and substantial minorities of Alawite, Ismaili, and Salafi Muslims. Not to mention Druse, Mandeans, Yazidis, Jews, and Christians.
Around the beginning of the 20th century Syria took in Armenian refugees from the Turkish massacres the Turks still deny ever happened.
Syria is the only country with an official Bathist ideology. Ba'athism is a pan-Arab movement that holds all Arabs should be in one state. It is more-or-less secular and socialist.
OK, how much of that did you know? Truthfully, I'm better informed than most and have lived in the region and I had to look most of it up.
Now of the people whose opinions you have been hearing a lot lately, how many of them do you think have done even that much research?
Probably not many, because the more you look into it the more confused you get.
If we're going to be honest with ourselves, we're largely forming opinions about the situation in Syria based on our opinion of the current occupant of the White House and what he just did.
That and the fact that everybody wants out of that forsaken region but we don't like to look at what happens when we do leave.
Then again we don't like to look at what happens when we stay and try to 'fix' things there either.