Invisible Nation: How the Kurds' Quest for Statehood Is Shaping Iraq and the Middle Eastby Quil Lawrence
The American invasion of Iraq has been a success - for the Kurds. Kurdistan is an invisible nation, and the Kurds the largest ethnic group on Earth without a homeland, comprising some 25 million moderate Sunni Muslims living in the area around the borders of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Through a history dating back to biblical times, they have endured… See more details below
The American invasion of Iraq has been a success - for the Kurds. Kurdistan is an invisible nation, and the Kurds the largest ethnic group on Earth without a homeland, comprising some 25 million moderate Sunni Muslims living in the area around the borders of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Through a history dating back to biblical times, they have endured persecution and betrayal, surviving only through stubborn compromise with greater powers. They have always desired their own state, and now, accidentally, the United States may have helped them take a huge step toward that goal.
As Quil Lawrence relates in his fascinating and timely study of the Iraqi Kurds, while their ambition and determination grow apace, their future will be largely dependent on whether America values a budding democracy in the region, or decides to yet again sacrifice the Kurds in the name of political expediency. Either way, the Kurdish north may well prove to be the defining battleground in Iraq, as the country struggles to hold itself together. At this extraordinary moment in the saga of Kurdistan, informed by his deep knowledge of the people and region, Lawrence's intimate and unflinching portrait of the Kurds and their heretofore quixotic quest offers a vital and original lens through which to contemplate the future of Iraq and the surrounding Middle East.
The New York Times
The Washington Post
Numbering 25 million, the Kurds remain the largest ethnic group in the world without its own nation. This is not for want of trying, as British reporter Lawrence writes in this lucid, eye-opening account of the long, brutal struggle that continues despite opposition from Mideastern nations and the U.S. After centuries of oppression under the Turks, the Kurds had a chance at statehood when the Ottoman Empire collapsed in 1918. The Middle East was remapped, with the Kurds divided among Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. Decades of bloody rebellion were ignored until Saddam Hussein's defeat in the First Gulf War. The Kurds rose again, anticipating U.S. assistance. Only media horror at Hussein's genocidal suppression of their revolt galvanized Western nations into action. When the "no-fly" zone was established in northern Iraq, Baghdad lost its capacity for governing the Kurds. Still fearful of Hussein, the Kurds cooperated eagerly as the U.S. planned a second Iraq invasion, but the Kurds' vision of statehood remains unfulfilled. Readers will close this engrossing but disturbing history with respect for a people that has struggled for millennia and whose difficulties continue to generate headlines. 30 b&w photos. (Apr.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Ever since the first Gulf War of 1990-91, the Kurdish issue has emerged as a political and strategic fulcrum in Iraq. During the period between 1991 and 2003, the U.S.-imposed no-fly zone in Iraqi Kurdistan allowed the Kurds to develop governing institutions and the components of a civil society away from the suffocating presence of Saddam Hussein's military forces. When the Bush administration invaded Iraq in 2003 and overthrew its government, the Kurdish region of the country was well poised to exert influence in post-Saddam Iraq. The fact that both Jalal Talabani, the current president of Iraq, and Hoshyar Zebari, the country's foreign minister, are Kurds has further enhanced Kurdish political clout in contemporary Iraq. Lawrence (Middle East correspondent, the World) has spent much time in the region and written reports on it for various Western publications. In lively and jargon-free language, with insights gained through experience, he explains the constellation of forces among the 25 million Kurds, the Kurds' relations to the other groups in contemporary Iraq, and their quest for independence. This is a timely and informative book that should be read by all interested in gaining a better understanding of today's Kurdish political developments. Recommended for academic and public libraries.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- Walker & Company
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- First Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 6.79(w) x 9.15(h) x 1.29(d)
Read an Excerpt
From Invisible Nation:
Kurdistan has everything the Bush administration promised for Iraq. It’s a Muslim state that is prodemocracy, pro-America, and even pro-Israel. So in a dearth of good news, why isn’t the United States crowing about this one great achievement in Iraq? Because Kurdistan’s success could be catastrophic. Like no event since the 1948 creation of Israel, a declared Kurdish state within the borders of Iraq will unite the entire region in opposition, from the Black Sea to the Persian Gulf…The Kurds understand this better than anyone, and have been willing so far to limit themselves to virtual statehood. No force within Iraq can stop them at the moment, and the forces outside have been kept at bay only by the presence of the American army.
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