Kurdistan is not only ethnically diverse, but is also home to a great variety of religions.

The Kurds themselves are religiously very diverse; even though most are muslim, there are millions of Kurds who practice other religions. Such as Yezidism, Yarsanism, Alevism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and Christendom. The prophet Abraham is believed to have been born in Urfa, a Kurdish city in North-Kurdistan*. Urfa, or Riha, was known as “Edessa” in ancient times. Göbekli Tepe, the oldest known human-made structure, is located 12 kilometers north-east of Urfa. This archaeological site was discovered by a Kurdish shepherd in the early 1960’s. This huge religious complex was built 7,000 years (!) before the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Kurdistan is a historic, geographic, and cultural region in the Middle-East wherein the Kurdish people are the majority. Kurdistan is not an independent country, but there are two autonomous Kurdish regions in Northern Iraq and Syria. However, most of Kurdistan is located in the East- and South-Eastern Turkey and North-Western Iran. Especially these parts are of great historic importance; not just to the Kurds, but to the entire world; Kurdistan is ground-zero of history.

The Kurds ended up where they are — without a homeland — because of the Western powers who drew the region’s map after World War I and the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. The Allied powers (the UK, France, Italy, Japan, and others) who won the war signed the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres with what was left of the Ottoman Empire. That pact set aside territory for the Kurds as it carved up the Ottoman Empire. But that got amended with the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, which established the modern Turkish state and the other borders in the Middle East. That treaty omitted a Kurdish nation-state and left the population divided across several different countries.

The Kurds of Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria have long been more pro-American, pro-Western, anti-jihadi, and more religiously tolerant than the rest and, indeed, than at least most of the Arab world.

The Kurds have provided critical assistance in defeating ISIS. Even when outgunned, the Kurds have been the most reliable and effective fighting force against ISIS, both in Iraq and in Syria.

For over half a century, the Kurds have maintained a warm but discreet relationship with our ally Israel. And Iran opposes independence because an independent Kurdish state will be an obstacle to greater Iranian hegemony in the Arab world.

Any Kurdish area of Turkey, Irak, Syria and Iran that becomes part of an independent Kurdish state would be far freer and safer than the alternatives – the tyranny of the Erdogan regime or the theocracies of ISIS or the Turkish affiliate of al-Qaeda known as the al-Nusra Front.

If the Kurds lose, all of Kurdistan will lose, and vice versa. That is why there may be trade relations between Turkey and south Kurdistan, but these relations must not take place at the expense of the Kurdish people. The Islamic Jihadists Turkish state alliance is hostile to the Kurdish people. The South Kurdish government must see this situation and act accordingly.

It was because the Kurds could not find a common position that they were massacred, their cities destroyed and looted. If the Kurds had found a common position, we would not have had to endure the pain of Kirkuk, we would not have had to experience the Afrin massacres. If we don’t build our unity today, we will suffer even harder days. The occupiers benefit from this situation. The people demand unity.