Saturday, August 10, 2013

Inside America: Are We Witnessing the Kurdish Spring in Syria?

By Namo Abdulla  -- for Rudaw


Washington, D.C. -- The future of Syria has perhaps never looked this grim. As a result of a near-three-year-old internal conflict, more than 100,000 people have died and nearly two million others are displaced, according to the United Nations. 


There is indeed no end in sight for the conflict as the opposition remains disunited, disorganized and under armed in a bitter fight against a stubborn autocratic leader who has vowed to resist until death.


But amid what has increasingly become a sectarian strife between Sunni and Shiite Arabs, the Kurds, the largest ethnic minority, have been making unprecedented advances in northern Syria.


At schools, Kurdish children are for the first time taking classes in their mother tongue instead of Arabic, the country's sole official language. Kurdish flags fly over administrative buildings protected by armed rebels.


How has this been made possible? Are we seeing a Kurdish Spring, instead of an Arab Spring, in Syria? Can members of this ethnic group use the turmoil to establish a homeland for the near-two-million ethnic group?


To discuss this subject, Rudaw's Namo Abdulla talks to:

- Harold Rhode is a distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and is a New York-based foreign policy think tank. Harold worked as a Pentagon analyst for 28 years. During the Gulf War, he served as the Turkish Desk officer in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He has written extensively on the Middle East including Syria and the Kurds.

- Velma Anne Ruth, the Executive Director of Middle East Democracy Federation, and President of Independent Review, Inc. She is an activist, who has worked along with her husband, a Syrian Kurd, to coo
rdinate a coalition of representatives for multiple Syrian Kurdish parties. As a volunteer, she has worked to address the crises of Syrian and Iranian refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan.