Kurds are an ethnic group composed of descendants of Indo-European tribes. They make up about 25 million people primarily situated in Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria: 23% of the population of Iraq, 18% of Turkey, 10% of Iran and 8% of Syria. For over a century they have been fighting for the right to have their own state. They have inhabited the mountains of Iraq for thousands of years, but despite their ancient heritage they have not been able to form an independent political entity of their own and members their movements have continued to be persecuted by both Iraq and Turkey. Their aim? To attain an independent "Kurdistan." However, countries like Iraq, Turkey and Iran oppose this idea. How has the awakening of a national consciousness affected the Kurds and what factors are keeping them from attaining an independent Kurdistan? Let's have a look.
The Kurdish people have been fighting for an independent Kurdistan in the region astride the Zagros Mountains in northern Iraq and the eastern extension of the Taurus Mountains in southern Turkey across the Mesopotamian plane and the upper reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates River. States like Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and the Soviet Union battled against the assimilation of their Kurdish minorities and each respective Kurdish group has rebelled against this authority. However, no state has been more persistent than Iraqi Kurdistan according to the Human Rights Watch. They are the largest ethnic minority in the region.
The relative decline of Iraqi Kurds is a matter of political concern. Saddam Hussein's regime brought about the fleeing of hundreds of thousands of Kurds into exile: tens of thousands having been killed in the six and a half-month long campaign of extermination (Anfal). Under the regime, the Human Rights Watch provided information about the arrest and execution of 8,000 Kurdish males in 1983 . This regime leveled the mountains, razing...