No Friends but the Mountains: The Tragic History of the Kurds

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9780195080759: No Friends but the Mountains: The Tragic History of the Kurds

As American tanks came to a halt on the Euphrates at the close of the war against Saddam Hussein, President Bush called on the oppressed peoples of Iraq to rise up against their ruler. Thousands of peshmerga (Kurdish guerrillas) responded, seizing the towns and countryside of northern Iraq. But after Saddam signed the truce with the U.N. forces, he sent his surviving units north, slaughtering the lightly-armed Kurds and driving millions more into exile while the Allies stood aside. For the Kurds, it was one more betrayal in their long and tragic history.
In No Friends but the Mountains, veteran Middle East journalists John Bulloch and Harvey Morris provide the only history of the Kurdish people available today. Ranging from their earliest origins to the aftermath of the Gulf War, Bulloch and Morris trace the course of the Kurds' past and identify the pressures that have denied them a state of their own for so many centuries. Numbering some sixteen million and spread across five countries, the Kurds are the world's largest nationality without a state--a people divided among themselves in their struggle for independence, the pawns of rival governments throughout history. Bulloch and Morris show how they were exploited by the Turks and the Great Powers in the days of the Ottoman Empire, how the British, French, and the new Turkish republic subverted Woodrow Wilson's promise of a Kurdish state in 1918, and how the Kurds' revolts and insurrections led to further repression. Later the peshmerga guerrillas were funded and manipulated by Saddam Hussein, the Shah of Iran, Israel, and the CIA--while the Turkish government has harshly repressed any signs of Kurdish identity, banning the use of the Kurdish language until only recently. Both Saddam and Khomeini's government sought to use the Kurds to their own advantage during the long Iran-Iraq War. Bulloch and Morris trace the history of the main Kurdish organizations, such as the PKK in Turkey and the KDP in Iraq, underscoring the divisions that are threatening Kurdish survival at a time when the Iraqi army stands poised to attack the "safe haven" established by the U.N.
This authoritative, highly readable account details the story of the rebellion, exile, and return that followed the Gulf War, providing a critical historical perspective on these momentous events. Written by two leading Middle East journalists, No Friends But the Mountains offers the first history of the long-suffering people at the center of one of the world's most explosive conflicts.

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About the Author:


About the Authors:
John Bulloch has been diplomatic correspondent of the BBC World Service, Middle East correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, Middle East editor of the Independent, and diplomatic editor of the Independent on Sunday. Harvey Morris was chief correspondent for Reuters in Tehran and Beirut and is deputy foreign editor for the Independent. Bulloch and Morris wrote The Gulf War: The History of the Iran-Iraq Conflict and Saddam's War.

From Publishers Weekly:

Numbering more than 20 million, the Kurds--the world's largest minority without a state--live in an area the size of France, united by a common culture and a distinct language but divided by the frontiers of Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon and Russia. When the Kurds of Iraq rebelled against Saddam Hussein during the Gulf war, they were led to expect aid from the West; but Saddam launched a campaign of vengeance that included unrestrained use of chemical weapons while the international community looked on in virtual silence. In this well-researched, accessible study, Bullock and Morris, coauthors of Saddam's War , show how--but not why--Kurdish history has been dominated since antiquity by political betrayal and that the Kurds have often been victims of their own squabbles. The closest the disputatious tribespeople have come to a unified action, according to the authors, was during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s when the Kurds of Turkey, Iran and Iraq rose up briefly against the governing powers. Nor is a pan-Kurdish political movement likely, they add, in the foreseeable future. Photos.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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