Saturday, May 07, 2005


Baqi Barzani

In 2001, a team of Israeli, German, and Indian scientists discovered that the majority of Jews around the world are closely related to the Kurdish people -- more closely than they are to the Semitic-speaking Arabs or any other population that was tested. The researchers sampled a total of 526 Y-chromosomes from 6 populations (Kurdish Jews, Kurdish Muslims, Palestinian Arabs, Sephardic Jews, Ashkenazic Jews, and Bedouin from southern Israel) and added extra data on 1321 persons from 12 populations (including Russians, Belarusians, Poles, Berbers, Portuguese, Spaniards, Arabs, Armenians, and Anatolian Turks). Most of the 95 Kurdish Muslim test subjects came from northern Iraq. Ashkenazic Jews have ancestors who lived in central and Eastern Europe, while Sephardic Jews have ancestors from southwestern Europe, northern Africa, and the Middle East. The Kurdish Jews and Sephardic Jews were found to be very close to each other. Both of these Jewish populations differed somewhat from Ashkenazic Jews, who mixed with European peoples during their diaspora.

Research has just begun into the ancient ties between Kurds and Jews. It would be interesting to see if the various Jewish groups have as strong a family tie to Kurds in the maternal lineages as they do in the paternal lineages. Preliminary studies indicate that Jewish populations in Eastern Europe and Yemen have maternal origins that contain much more non-Israelite ancestry than their paternal origins. Despite this admixture with other groups, the Jewish Judean people ultimately began their existence in an area within or nearby Kurdistan, prior to migrating southwest to Israel. This exciting research showing that Kurds and Jews may have shared common fathers several millennia ago should, hopefully, encourage both Kurds and Jews to explore each others' cultures and to maintain the friendship that Kurds and Jews enjoyed in northern Iraq in recent times (as chronicled in Michael Rubin's recent article "The Other Iraq"). As Rubin indicates, the Kurdish leader Mullah Mustafa Barzani once visited Israel and met with Israeli government officials. Rubin refers to the Iraqi Kurds' "special affinity for Israel" and writes that "In the safe haven of Iraqi Kurdistan, the Jews and Israel are remembered fondly, if increasingly vaguely." Let us hope that this relationship can be renewed and strengthened.

Sadly, a fleeting glance at the history of Iraq since its independence ascertains that the 2,700-year-old Iraqi Jewish community has suffered horrible persecution, particularly as the Zionist drive for a state intensified. In June 1941, the Mufti-inspired, pro-Nazi coup of Rashid Ali sparked rioting and a pogrom in Baghdad. Armed Iraqi mobs, with the complicity of the police and the army, murdered 180 Jews and wounded almost 1,000. Additional outbreaks of anti-Jewish rioting occurred between 1946-49. After the establishment of Israel in 1948, Zionism became a capital crime.

In 1950, Iraqi Jews were permitted to leave the country within a year provided they forfeited their citizenship. A year later, however, the property of Jews who emigrated was frozen and economic restrictions were placed on Jews who chose to remain in the country. From 1949 to 1951, 104,000 Jews were evacuated from Iraq in Operations Ezra & Nechemia; another 20,000 were smuggled out through Iran.

With the rise of competing Ba'ath factions in 1963, additional restrictions were placed on the remaining Iraqi Jews. The sale of property was forbidden and all Jews were forced to carry yellow identity cards. After the Six-Day War, more repressive measures were imposed: Jewish property was expropriated; Jewish bank accounts were frozen; Jews were dismissed from public posts; businesses were shut; trading permits were cancelled; telephones were disconnected. Jews were placed under house arrest for long periods of time or restricted to the cities.

Persecution was at its worst at the end of 1968. Scores were jailed upon the discovery of a local "spy ring" composed of Jewish businessmen. Fourteen men - eleven of them Jews - were sentenced to death in staged trials and hanged in the public squares of Baghdad; others died of torture. On January 27, 1969, Baghdad Radio called upon Iraqis to "come and enjoy the feast." Some 500,000 men, women and children paraded and danced past the scaffolds where the bodies of the hanged Jews swung.

Saddams pursuit for nuclear, possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction, funding the militant Palestinian accelerated the initiative that he is an immense threat to Israel national security and him and his Baath party has to be dealt with military force. To achieve this goal, The United States and Israel turned to their long-term allies for aid. Key architects of the pre-emptive and military use of force to push the invasion of Iraq were the Jewish neo-conservative members of congress and the influence of American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), long considered one of the most lobbying groups. At present, Israeli intelligence and military operatives are at work in Kurdistan, providing training for Kurdish commando units and, most important in Israel’s view, running covert operations inside Kurdish areas of Iran and Syria. Israel feels particularly threatened by Iran, whose position in the region has been strengthened by the war. Israel is concerned the United States will not be successful in stabilizing Iraq after the transfer of sovereignty on June 30, and the elections scheduled for January 2005. Many of the agents in the region are believed to be Mossad operatives investigating Iran's nuclear capabilities. The former Israeli intelligence officer acknowledged that since late last year Israel has been training Kurdish commando units to operate in the same manner and with the same effectiveness as Israel’s most secretive commando units, the Mistaravim. Kurds are offering the biggest sacrifices for their Allies in the ongoing war. They are performing the toughest tasks that American commando units had been unable to do—penetrate, gather intelligence on, and then neutralize the leadership of the Shiite and Sunni insurgencies in Iraq. The Kurdish-Israeli collaboration inevitably expanded, the Israeli said. Some Israeli operatives have crossed the border into Iran, accompanied by Kurdish commandos, to install sensors and other sensitive devices that primarily target suspected Iranian nuclear facilities.

The Kurdish residents of the safe haven envision a region where Jews and Kurds live in absolute peace, and not only accept Israel, but also uphold the Jewish state’s success as a model to be implemented in their own troubled land. As one university professor commented, "What we want is to get rid of Saddam so that we can do what the Jews did in Israel. We have a Diaspora. People will work furiously hard. All we need is security." A Kurdish pharmacist from Baghdad, visiting friends in the safe haven, told how a mullah who had come to fill a prescription had commented that he would "welcome an Israeli flag over Baghdad so long as they threw out Saddam and then left us to our business. We couldn’t care less about Arab nationalism," the mullah told the pharmacist. "We’re not crazy like Syria. We just want to rebuild our country. Israel has expressed its strong support for the creation of an independent Kurdistan. Independence for Kurdistan purports debilitation of Arab nationalism, foiling Turkeys prop-up and security declaration for Israel.

Baqi Barzani


Blogger hiwa said...

very interesting!

6:01 PM  
Blogger B.a.D said...


5:18 PM  

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