Places in World Most Likely to Secede Kurdistan Part 3

About Kurdistan a place in the world likely to secede from Russia, size, population, and history of conflict.



In mid-April, 1974, seven Iraqi divisions, supported by Soviet-supplied armor and aircraft, invaded Kurdish territory. This invasion, like all the others, took its toll of civilian casualties as Iraqi planes bombed and strafed Kurdish villages. On May 1, in the Kurdish town of Zakho, Iraqi troops went berserk and murdered 63 persons, mostly women and children. But they were completely unable to defeat the Kurds militarily; unable, that is, until Mar. 6, 1975. On that date, the Persian rug was jerked, and American support along with it. Iran and Iraq signed an accord in which Iraq made territorial concessions and ended all aid to the Omani rebels as well as to Iranian opponents of the shah's regime, in return for Iranian help in liquidating the Kurdish armed resistance. The day after the agreement was signed, the Iraqis launched a major offensive while Iran closed its border and cut off support. On Mar. 10, 1975, the stunned Kurds sent the following message to the CIA: "Our people's fate in unprecedented danger. Complete destruction hanging over our head. No explanation for all this. We appeal you and the U.S. government intervene according to your promises. . . ." Twelve days later the CIA station chief in Tehran cabled Washington: "No reply has been received fom Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to the message from Barzani. . . . If the U.S.A. intends to take steps to avert a massacre, it must intercede with Iran promptly."

No such aid was forthcoming, and within weeks the Kurdish revolt collapsed. Thousands of partisans fled with their families into Iran, where they were interned under the close surveillance of the shah's secret police, SAVAK. Some of these refugees the shah removed to the non-Kurdish provinces of Iran near the Pakistani and Afghan frontiers. Others he forcibly returned to Iraq, where they joined other Kurds being kept in camps in the southern deserts.

In the two months that followed the fall of Kurdistan, Baghdad's policy was to execute as many Kurdish activists as possible. Some 250 persons are known to have gone before the firing squads, but there were undoubtedly other executions during this period which went unrecorded.

In September, 1975, the Turkish press reported that 49 Kurds, including 23 women and 6 children, were caught attempting to flee into Turkey and were summarily executed.

The Baghdad government has decided to Arabize the Kurdish areas systematically. Kurds have been evacuated en masse to the southern deserts and replaced by Arabs from Iraq and even from Egypt. No Kurd can acquire a house or land in these areas, and those who own property find their titles disregarded.

As for the U.S. government, Ford and Kissinger refused to extend even humanitarian assistance to the thousands of refugees created by the abrupt termination of military aid. "Covert action," Kissinger reminded congressional investigators, "should not be confused with missionary work."

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