Secretary of State and former National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger speaks at the Vietnam War Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, April 26, 2016.
Honigman | Exclusive to Ekurd.net
An insightful article by Moshe Phillips in the July 6th Jerusalem Post announced that former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger would be honored as the featured speaker at the prestigious Jewish Leadership Conference, a conservative think tank, in November 2019.
If you had any doubts about Dr.
Kissinger, please read the Phillips piece in addition to what follows and which appeared in its first version back in 2013.
Besides Soviet Jewry and Yom Kippur War issues focused upon by the author, I had additional problems regarding him eating away at my gut.
While this doesn’t detract from his abilities as a political science, security, and foreign policy honcho for a number of American leaders (doing much to shape American positions for decades), those pluses only added to the problems discussed below.
Before that, however, a bit of history may be enlightening…
In 1498, Niccolo Machiavelli, emerged in Florence, Italy as the main voice of modern political thinking.
His Il Principe (The Prince) had lessons world leaders have carefully studied regarding power politics, waging war, and obtaining and keeping the good will of the people to maintain power to this very day.
In the 19th century, Otto von Bismarck’s Prussian realpolitik would later be characterized as “enticing realism, but at its ruthless center was the idea that, with a worthwhile end, one could justify any means.”
Henry Machiavelli von Bismarck…Kissinger in a nutshell.
For all three, power, practicality, and political control were to trump any consideration of ethics and ideals.
In a speech given in New York City in 2013, hosted by the University of Michigan’s Gerald R.
Ford School of Public Policy, when discussing the still ongoing Syrian civil war, among other things, he offered that the best solution was to see the “artificial state” of Syria dismembered into its distinctive sectarian parts.
As someone who has also studied the region a great deal (extensive doctoral studies, published work on recommended reference lists of leading universities, etc.), I believe that Kissinger is likely correct in his assessment–but what a manipulative change of tune for him.
And yet, it fit right into his Henry Machiavelli von Bismarck mindset.
While, in more recent times, he’s called for separate Kurdish, Alawi, and other states in what would henceforth become the former post-Ottoman Turkish Empire’s pieced together “Syria,” decades earlier, in the ’70s, Kissinger orchestrated another opposite–but also use and abuse–approach next door.
At the very least, he managed to augment the Iraqi Arab bloodbath which subsequently took hundreds of thousands of Kurdish lives over the next decades.
Like others before it (especially Great Britain), America came to specialize in using and abusing the Kurds, some 38 million truly stateless people, for its own interests–especially with the ascendancy of Henry Machiavelli von Bismarck.
As Kissinger, whose family fled Germany on the eve of the Holocaust, would do when Israel was attacked and almost destroyed (largely because he warned it against a preemptive attack–a la the June ’67 War–against enemy forces amassing on its borders) during the Jewish High Holiday season on Yom Kippur 1973, he next decided to withhold crucial resupply for many days so that Israel would bleed more to make it more pliable at the end of the fighting.
The following excerpts are illustrative:
“…His influence was even greater as President Richard Nixon was preoccupied dealing with the fallout of the Watergate Scandal, and was not focused on responding to a Middle East conflict.
New archives of telephone conversations and memoranda of conversations have been declassified that show that Kissinger used this influence to keep Nixon even further away from making decisions during the Yom Kippur War.
Kissinger then stepped in to implement even more of his own agenda to advance United States interests based on realpolitik and against the backdrop of dètente…”
When, after horrendous losses, Israel finally turned the tide and came close to total victory, he pressured it to allow the resupply of the Egyptian Third Army which had been totally cut off and encircled.
Any alleged benefits of this policy–which callously cost somany Israeli lives–could have been achieved repeatedly over the years via honest negotiations for peace between Israel and its would-be executioners.
The Arab response to Israel’s offers to withdraw from the territories after the ’67 War were the infamous Three Noes of Khartoum…no peace, no negotiations, no recognition http://sixdaywar.org/content/khartoum.asp.
Israel’s 3,000 dead (and countless others maimed and wounded) translate into an equivalent American dead of about 160,000.
Back to the Kurds…
While Syrian and Iraqi Arabs, Turks, and Iranians had all long been engaged in murderous, subjugating anti-Kurdish actions, the lingering Kurdish tragedy intensified when (what the late, great New York Times columnist, William Safire, called Kissinger’s betrayal and sellout of the Kurds in Iraq) Washington used them in the mid-’70s to help Iran’s pre-Islamic Republic Shah against his Arab enemies led by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.
When the Shah later made a temporary peace with Iraq (note: after the Islamic Revolution, Iran would fight an even longer and bloodier war with its Arab neighbor over Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan/”Arabistan” western province in the ‘80s), Kissinger pulled the rug right out from under America’s loyal Kurdish friends and allies.
They were abandoned and left to be slaughtered by Saddam’s forces.
The material in this short link is a “must read” on this topic.
Worse still, America would do this to them yet again years later as well.
Keep in mind that, despite all of this, it has been the Kurds who have been America’s main fighting force against ISIS and other Jihadis clear up to the present day.
After the 1976 sellout, many Kurds fled abroad and some came to America–including their charismatic leader, Mullah Mustafa Barzani and a Peshmerga soldier who moved to Florida and became a friend of mine.
And this time, unlike his new plans for Syria, Kissinger saw to it that the Kurds would not separate and would remain at the mercy of their Iraqi Arab butchers.
Without saying anything further, it should be obvious by now that no Jewish organization should be honoring Henry Machiavelli von Bismarck.
The New-York Times’ younger, duplicitous, self-anointed expert, Thomas L.
Friedman, while repeatedly badgering Israel for the creation of Fatahland (and/or eventually Hamastan) for the latter-day rejectionist Arafatians-in-suits, had a similar message for the Kurds.
While discussing Iraq, on March 26, 2003 he wrote, “what part of ‘no’ don’t you understand? You Kurds are not breaking away.” This is the same source of ethical enlightenment who lectures Israel relentlessly over the creation of the Arabs’ 22nd State and second, not first, in the original 1920 Mandate of Palestine.
Jordan has sat on almost 80% of the total area since the Brits gifted Arab nationalism with it.
Recall that after the dissolution of the Turks’ centuries’ old empire as a result of WWI, the Kurds were promised independence but were sacrificed on the altar of British petroleum politics and Arab nationalism after London received a favorable decision on the oil-rich Mosul region from the League of Nations in 1925…
After the oil of the contested–but age-old, predominantly Kurdish–north was attached to the Brits’ Mandate of Mesopotamia, London abandoned the Kurds like the plague.
While there were some Turkmen, Arabs, victimized Christian Assyrians, and some others there as well, the Kurds constituted the majority of the area.
Furthermore, Turks already had a half dozen other states, and Arabs possessed even many more.
Neither were stateless peoples.
Justice for the Assyrians still remains an issue, however, and most of the region’s ancient Jewish community fled to Israel.
Largely to appease Arab oil potentates elsewhere (the same ones who today fund and supply Sunni Islamists fighting Assad and his Shi’a offshoot Alawis in Syria), after 1925 the Kurds saw their one best chance for independence in the new age of nationalism in the region aborted.
The Arab League state of Iraq was created on the entire land instead, with the Brits actively involved in the Arab fight against the Kurds.
At the same time that real and proposed partitions of the smaller Mandate of Palestine were occurring so that both Jewish and Arab national aspirations could be addressed, there would be no such attempt at justice for anyone else but Arabs in all of Mesopotamia.
While Kissinger now rationalizes the wisdom of allowing an “artificial” state of Syria to break apart due to mutually exclusive and hostile human elements which had been earlier forced together, this reality rings even more true for Iraq.
The latter is indeed the former Yugoslavia of the Middle East, with mutually hostile ethnic and religious groups largely forced together after the collapse of empires for other major powers’ interests.
As with the death of Yugoslavia’s Marshal Tito, it was only a matter of time–with Saddam taken out of the picture–that Iraq would follow along this same disintegrating path…Sunni Arabs; Shi’a Arabs; Assyrians, Armenians, and assorted other Christians; Kurds; Turkmens; now gone Jews (there since at least the Babylonian captivity); etc.
If Syria’s antagonistic, diverse groups have depended on a similar despotic iron fist to keep them united, then why have folks like Kissinger insisted on denying Kurds their own small slice of the justice pie in neighboring Iraq–something they had indeed been promised earlier?
Perhaps Henry has had a change of heart and soul here as well.
He hasn’t said anything about this issue that I know of.
Anyway, there’s always reasons among the assorted Machiavelli von Bismarcks for using, abusing, and shafting others for the advancement of one’s own position this way.
Regarding the Kurdish issue, there’s the hostility of the Turks, Iranians, Arabs and related petro-politics.
And for Henry, among other things, there was also Moscow to consider.
But, at some point, good people must insist on injecting ethics and some sort of semblance of relative justice into policies of State as well….Niccolo Machiavelli and his modern students be damned.
If Arabs are deserving of almost two dozen states–acquired mostly by the conquest and forced Arabization of other, non-Arab peoples and their lands (going on to this very day), then how can the rights of others in the region be allowed to be manipulated solely by folks such as Henry Machiavelli von Bismarck?
When will an American President direct the Arabists in his State Department to step aside while he openly supports the birth of an independent Kurdistan–like President Truman did in 1948 with his fight with the Foggy Folks and others over the rebirth of Israel?
While President Trump has taken some positive steps in the region, so far he has not stepped up to the plate on the greater Kurdish issue either.
This does not have to be an either/or scenario.
The same way non-Arab–but Islamist–Turks insist that Arabs get their 22nd state (by grossly endangering Israel, forcing it back to indefensible ‘49 armistice lines, etc.), Washington must make it clear that Turkey’s own twenty three million Kurds, whom Ankara renamed “Mountain Turks” and outlawed their very language and culture, are also entitled to something much better.
Yes, especially in its non-Islamist past, Turkey has been a strategically-located, important NATO ally–but outside of the Machiavelli von Bismarckian value system, this should not allow any nation nor people to suppress others this way.
Ditto for the Turks’ fellow Iranian hypocrites–who also demand the creation of a 22nd Arab state to replace Israel, but who subjugate some eight million Ahwazi Arabs in Iran’s western oil-rich Khuzestan (“Arabistan”) province and do likewise regarding millions of Kurds, Baluchis, and others as well.
We’ve seen that, for whatever reasons, Kissinger’s new Machiavellian moment allows for the creation–among other things–of an autonomous, perhaps independent, Kurdish region in Syria.
Surely, however, he knows how the Turks will react to that–along with the region’s other key players.
What will Kissinger do if the Kurds actually get their act together, seize the moment, put aside their own internal Machiavellian personal fiefdoms, and work together for the bigger picture for their people?
What will Henry Machiavelli von Bismarck say if the previously Arabized and non-Arabized five to seven million folks in Syrian Kurdistan link up with the Kurdish Regional Government’s millions in Iraq (ancient home of the great warrior, ruler, and terror of the West, Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub)–the best hope Washington has (if supported) for a counterforce to the likely emerging Shi’a Islamic Republic of Iraq?
What advice will Henry give if Ankara decides on a major invasion of Kurdistan for fear of the Kurdish headache spreading to its own far more numerous “Mountain Turks?” It’s already conducted more limited operations like that going after Kurds in both Iraq and Syria.
Again, here’s where true leadership is required–preferably both in the White House and at the State Department (would take a miracle among the Arabists there), with pressure from Congress as an additional boost.
President Trump has already shown that he could very well be such a leader, and with his appointment of Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State, this could greatly improve such a possibility as well.
In a non-Henry Machiavelli Bismarckian world, this does not have to be an either/or scenario.
Kurdistan can be for Kurds as Israel, Greece, Armenia, and other lands are to their own citizens who were formerly in respective diasporas.
Kurds who prefer to live in a Kurdish state will, at long last, have one to go to.
A perfect solution, it will not be–for many reasons.
But what “perfect solution” exists anywhere–especially in that part of the world? Is there one for 35-40 million Kabyle/Amazigh/“Berber” native people in so-called “Arab” North Africa?
Of course it would be even more fair if chunks of Turkey and Iran were also added to this solution.
I see the latter as separate, federated parts of a single united Kurdish state, Kurdistan–some long overdue justice, but a nightmare, indeed, for all of the Kurds’ assorted oppressors… But why?
Outside of the Machiavelli Bismarckian system of power, might makes right, use and abuse, etc., what set of rules dictates that the region’s scores of millions of Kurds (and other subjugated folks) are not entitled to what Arabs, Turks, and Iranians already have? And why must such eventualities result in hostility? Kurds live there already–indeed, pre-date most of their conquerors by millennia–so why can they not have the same independence that the world demands for yet another Arab state–# 22 ?
If Arabs, already possessing the lion’s share of the original 1920 Mandate of Palestine in what today is called Jordan, are supposedly entitled to yet more land in Gaza and Judea and Samaria (not called “West Bank” until Transjordan/Jordan was created on the East Bank of the River in 1922), then why, for example, is it not fair for Kurds to gain some of the southeastern parts of Turkey where they pre-date the invading Central Asian Turks by millennia?
The reason, of course, for the above is that the Turks drew their lines in the sand after their Ottoman Empire was greatly truncated and finally extinguished after World War I.
They vowed to retreat no further–especially with the loss of the oil-rich Mosul region in 1925 to the British Mandate of Mesopotamia–today’s Iraq–as mentioned above.
Atrocities against Armenians, Assyrians, and others occurred during those times as well.
Perhaps someday the Turks and their friendly neighbor, an independent Kurdistan, can develop relations and mutual respect to the point where something even better might become possible.
There is already much trade going on between the KRG in Iraq and Ankara.
I’d like to bring Arabs into this future positive picture too, but while I can hope, the odds against this are not very good.
As with the Turks, it would also involve, for most Arabs, an entire change in mindset.
Of course, what Washington and others choose to do or not to do could have a major impact regarding the fate of this almost forty million truly stateless people–America’s strangely loyal friends and allies.
The Kurds’ neighbors will be watching closely.
During the era of Henry’s major betrayal in the ’70s, Washington and Israel were both supporting the Kurds.
They used them as a thorn in their mutual friend, the Shah of Iran’s, enemies’ side–Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Arabs.
The Israelis supported Mulla Mustafa Barzani’s Kurds at other times as well–but then also did likewise with the Kurds’ arch Turkish enemies.
The Jews thus need to do much better too.
Of all peoples, Jews should best understand the plight of subjugated, truly stateless victims.
There must be no Israeli Machiavelli von Bismarcks.
What will be will be.
But Henry Machiavelli von Bismarck’s callous approach and policies do not reflect any Jewish values that I know of which should grant him yet another honor.
Honigman is a Florida educator who has done extensive doctoral studies in Middle Eastern Affairs.
He has created and conducted counter-Arab propaganda programs for college youth, has lectured on numerous campuses and other platforms, and has publicly debated many Arab spokesmen.
His articles and op-eds have been published in dozens of newspapers, magazines, academic journals and websites all around the world.
You can visit his website at geraldahonigman.com Gerald A.
Honigman is a longtime senior contributing writer, from 2007, and columnist for Ekurd.net.
Honigman has published a major book, “The Quest For Justice In The Middle East–The Arab-Israeli Conflict In Greater Perspective.” For more see below.
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