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.
About John Bulloch
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Published January 7, 1993
by Oxford University Press.
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