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Gerald Honigman is a Florida educator who has done extensive doctoral work in Middle East studies, has lectured on numerous university and other platforms. He has debated many of the best Arab and pro-Arab academics in public debates and on television. Mr. Honigman is widely published in academic journals, magazines, newspapers and other publications.


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PostWed Aug 06, 2008 3:08 pm     OF Arabs And Kurds...the Press--Beyond Ignorance    


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Of Kurds And Arabs: Beyond Ignorance…The Allegedly Free Press
by Gerald A. Honigman



If it was just another State Department travesty, I could accept it.

After all, I’m used to the Foggy Folks doing such things as fighting President Truman over his supporting Israel’s very rebirth; concocting latter day Arafatian Fatah “good cops” to force down Israel’s throat (knowing that on the issue of a permanent Jewish Israel, Abbas’s boys totally agree with the Hamas “bad cops”); demanding that Israel itself supply weapons to Fatah--which has as much, if not more, Jewish blood on its hands than Hamas--only to see such things as yeshiva students later massacred as a result; setting up equivalency standards whereby murderer and those in pursuit are placed on the same moral plane; and so forth.

The Arabists who wield too much say at Foggy Bottom have played such games for well over a half century now.

Demanding a second, not first, state for Arabs within the original 1920 borders of the Mandate of Palestine (Jordan, sitting on the lion’s share of the land, carved out in 1922), the State Department has no problem pressuring Israel to make one suicidal concession after another so that Arab state # 22 may arise.

One of the latest issues involved Arab students (“Gaza Fulbright Scholars”) Secretary Rice wanted Israel to allow to come to America to study. Reports stated she was fuming over Israel’s reluctance to grant this request for these particular students.

Guess what…? Turns out State has now also “seen the light” on this matter (connections to terror groups, etc.). Don’t expect any apologies, however.

What’s worse, in all the decades I’ve closely followed the Middle East, I can’t recall any Foggy Folk “fuming” over anything Arabs did--be it blowing up Jewish teens in nightclubs, students on buses, mothers and babies in pizzerias, gassing and massacring Kurds, Assyrians, Copts, black Africans in the Sudan, or Berbers in the rest of North Africa, and so forth. Nonetheless, Baker, Rice, Dulles, etc. fume/fumed a lot over Jews, however.

No doubt, America needed oil, and--like many other nations--did what it could to make nice to those who would one day be controlling the spigots. Many of the latter are Arabs. Not to mention that long before former Secretaries of State James Baker made $$$ millions and Condoleezza Rice had a Chevron oil tanker named for her, other Foggy Folks, under cover of the flag, also prospered via that oil spigot.

So, that brings me to the real problem of this current article…the press.

As with the Foggy Folks, I’m sure there are bright people in the print and other media. So, the problem cannot simply be due to ignorance…which makes it much worse.

Furthermore, far too few of us have written of this problem--as glaring as it is--and far too many academics have shamed themselves by indulging in such hypocrisy as well.

The problem I’m speaking of is the double standards the press constantly uses when covering the Arabs’ quest for state # 22 versus the plight of some thirty-five million stateless Kurds.

A free press is one of the cornerstones of a true democracy…yet ours routinely acts like it takes its cue from the State Department when it comes to the Middle East. State has the same animus and set of Arab-colored glasses when it comes to Kurds as it has with Hebrews. As just one of numerous examples, when--as National Security Advisor--Dr. Rice spoke at the U.S. Institute of Peace on August 19, 2004, here's some of what she said about the birth of Arab state # 22:

The President believes that the Palestinian people (Arabs) deserve not merely their own state, but a just and democratic state that serves their interests and fulfills their decent aspiration.

She later went on to say something to the effect that there would be no greater cause than the birth of Palestine.

Now contrast this with how, on this same occasion, she simply brushed off a question regarding a Kurdish referendum on independence (which showed that at least 80% of Kurds wanted this) with the following disdain:

…It's the role of leadership to convince people that they really ought to stay in the same body.

Sucking the Arab oil teat quite well since leaving office, James Baker led the Baker-Hamilton Commission (Iraq Study Group) for President Bush not long ago and proposed similar shaft the Kurds ideas. The list, unfortunately, goes on and on.

We’re supposed to expect better of our press, but it has mostly behaved as if the Foggy Folks are its mentors.

Countless editorials and op-eds have been written on behalf of the birth of Arab state # 22--knowing full well that Arabs of either stripe have no intention of living peacefully with a Jewish neighbor--regardless of its size. A visit to either good or bad cops’ maps, textbooks, websites, and so forth soon reveals this.

Yet I still have not seen the press editorial calling for the birth of Kurdish State # 1...or even for meaningful Kurdish autonomy. The same papers who call Arabs who blow up buses “militants” have no problem calling the PKK in Turkey “terrorists.” Why the double standards? Where’s the courage of a free press to confront such injustice?

Are there problems associated with addressing the aspirations of tens of millions of repeatedly used and abused native, stateless Kurds?

Sure, but no more--indeed less--than with those associated with the creation of Arab state # 22.

I have written of this many times before, such as in State Department Math...
http://www.krg.org/articles/de.....amp;smap=. Keep in mind that Kurds were indeed promised such a state in the north of Mesopotamia after World War I but were shafted by…guess what?

British petroleum politics and Arab nationalism.

A united, Arab-controlled Iraq was created instead in all of the former Mandate of Mesopotamia.

Among other places, you can find my work on this (while a doctoral student) on Paris’s acclaimed Institut d’Etudes Politique (Science Po) recommended reference list:

http://bibliotheque.sciences-p....._kurde.htm

Keep in mind that all the Kurds are asking for is meaningful autonomy within a federated Iraq--far less than what they truly deserve. But to have the former, they must secure their finances as well. And that brings me to the press again…

Recently, just days apart, my local paper carried photos and articles supplied by the Associated Press (July 29th and August 3rd).

One showed a “Palestinian” (Arab) boy with “The Dome Of The Rock Mosque” in the background.

The overwhelmingly vast majority of the time, what’s missing from such reporting to mostly unaware readers is that that mosque was deliberately built--after the Arabs’ own imperial conquest of Israel in the 7th century C.E.--on the Temple Mount of the Jews. Using this case as an example, the most you’ll read is that the place is holy to three faiths and such.

The second piece, by the AP’s Robert Reid, was entitled, “Kurdish Demands Over Kirkuk Spur Protest.”

The Kirkuk and Mosul region is where the second half of Iraq’s major oil deposits are located. After the Brits got a favorable decision on the Mosul Question from the League of Nations in 1925, the abortion of promises of independence to the Kurds became complete.

Now, if Israel captured Arab oil fields, Judaized the area, and so forth, the whole world would have a hissy fit. Actually, it did develop the Abu Rodeis oil fields in the Sinai, captured as a result of the ‘67 War started when Egypt blockaded Israel at the Straits of Tiran. Subsequently, in return for a very cold peace (the arms and explosives coming into Gaza to kill Jews are entering largely via Egypt), Israel gave up its chance at energy independence by returning the whole shebang to Egypt.

Now, apply this to Iraq.

Why is it okay for Arabs and Iranians to control 'their' oil, but not so for Kurds?

And please don't respond--as that second article did--that Kirkuk is composed of mixed nationalities (largely due to Saddam's forced Arabization of the area).

Kirkuk is as Kurdish as Londonistan--er, I mean London-- is British…despite all of those other nationalities now living there. Iran's major oil fields are in its western province of Khuzestan…but that area has been known as Arabistan for centuries…Guess why?

There is no doubt that Kurds lived in the area of the Mosul and Kirkuk oil fields for millennia before a Turk or Arab even knew it existed. As Hurrians, Kassites, Medes, Guti, and so forth, they were neighbors of the Jews. As for the presence of some Turkmen as well, recall that, besides Turkey, there are a half dozen other Asiatic Turkic states as well. It’s the Kurds who are still lacking a national liberation…

We Americans take pride in our sense of fair play.

We can’t do much about the State Department’s shameful shenanigans--except elect strong Presidents (as with Truman )--while making sure that both the latter and Congress also strongly receive our messages.

But we can demand that our press lives up to the source of pride it should be for any free nation--let alone America--which calls itself a true democracy. It should not simply become anyone’s virtual mouthpiece.

Sadly, when it comes to the Middle East, reading the news today is like reading a State Department press release…like those we’ve seen above.

That’s not what a free press is supposed to be about.


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