Category Archives: History

Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s Post-War Era Chamran

By Ramyar Hassani: As the new Middle-East has become the battlefield of different extremist groups linked to the regional countries, Iran knows how to conduct proxy wars. The Sunni-Arab countries are on one side and Shiite-promoter Iran is on the other side of an ideological war. However, sometimes they are fighting from the same trenches and…

Kurdish Writer Yaşar Kemal Dies at Age 92

By Dr. Amy L. Beam: On February 28, 2015, Kurdish writer Yaşar Kemal, died in Istanbul at the age of 92.  He was born in Osmaniye Gökçeda in southeast Turkey on October 6, 1923.  One of the most famous writers in Turkey, Kemal was awarded 19 literary prizes during his lifetime and nominated for the Nobel…

Beytüşşebap Was Our Shingal

By Dr. Amy L. Beam: A year has passed since I went to a wedding in Beytüşşebap and promised to return with an interpreter.  Now there’s a new baby and Denize is getting married to her cousin in Van.  Only four months ago she had dressed up in her khaki guerilla clothes and Kurdish neck…

Fighting and Mourning for Kurdistan

By Dr Jan Best de Vries: Three years ago I wanted to travel to Aleppo and help there the wounded Kurdish, female and male freedom fighters in the northern district Sheik Maksud. Fate decided otherwise and now I’m teaching, with intervals of half a year, Kurdish history and archaeology at the Mesopotamia Academy in Qamishlo…

 Is IS Islam?

By Dr Jan Best de Vries: Now and then a bewildered Muslim in West Asia appears on Dutch TV saying “IS is not Islam”. It is a statement like “Adolf Hitler who murdered six millions Jews could not be a member of the Roman Catholic Church”. But he was. From my country, which is strongly…

De-islamization in a Free Kurdistan?

Dr. Jan Best de Vries: I am grateful that, as an outsider from Europe, in December 2014 I had the opportunity to relate in broad terms, to staff and students at the Mesopotamia Academy in Qamishlo, the history of the Kurds. When combining all the data from archaeology, history and linguistics at our disposal, one…

Women of Non-State Kurds: From Khanzad Sultan to Rojava Female Fighters   

By Vian Faraj: Part 1 The first division of Kurdistan was made between the Safavid Empire and Ottoman Empire, after the Battle of Chaldiran in 1514 and was later formalized in the Zuhab treaty, 1639, according to which Yerevan, the wide area covering the Iranian part of Kurdistan, eastern Georgia, Dagestan, and Azerbaijan was taken…

Turkey out of East Anatolia

By Dr Jan Best de Vries: Since Mr. Erdogan and his ministers, living in a state that is currently a NATO member, repeatedly accuse NATO members Germany and The Netherlands of being aggressive and racist against people of Turkish descent in these countries (1), one should realize for a moment that, from an historical point…

A Resurgence of Kurdish Studies Research

By Dr.Amir Sharifi: The 48th Annual  Middle East Studies Association of North America in Washington DC Not long ago Kurdish scholars were lamenting the lack of scholarly research about Kurds and Kurdistan and calling on all to initiate and foster much needed multi-disciplinary research. At last Kurdish Studies is emerging as a topic of high…

Aleppo is the prize again

Dr. Jan Best de Vries: In Northwest Syria, between 1700 BCE and 1630 BCE existed the state of Yamkhad with its capital Haleb (Aleppo), in which Yarimlim reigned as king. In Alalakh (Tell Atchana), on the Mediterranean coast at the time, now belonging to Turkey (and not yet to Rojava), reigned his vassal king Ammitaku,…

Democracies or Islamic States in West Asia?

Dr. Jan Best de Vries: Democracy is neither a guarantee for individual happiness nor is it perfect. However, as a polity it may bring political stability, long-lasting peace and economical prosperity to a country, because all its inhabitants have equal rights and, being certain of their constitutional rights, can freely choose their own representatives in…

Poetry in Exile

Yasin Aziz

By Yasin Aziz: ‘The refuge we all seek is protection from forces which wrench us away from the security and comfort, physical and mental, which give dignity and meaning to human existence’ Aung San Suu Kyi Exile from country, family, social life, the atmosphere one is used to for many years: the warm social relations,…

The Birth of West Asia

Dr. Jan Best de Vries: The terms Near East, Middle East and Far East are all European notions, coined from the perspective of the geographical position of Europe in colonial times. So let us, to begin with, henceforward speak of West Asia, Central Asia and East Asia. As for the borders of contemporary states in…

Acknowledge the PKK as Freedom Fighters and a Partner for Peace!

Rebwar Reshid

By Rebwar Rashed: Due to arbitrarily-drawn borders in the Middle East on at least two occasions, the first at the Sykes Picot (also calls the Asian Minor Agreement (16th of May 1916) (1), and the second in the aftermath of World War 1, Kurdistan became four parts, each part belong to a new territorial state: Iraq,…

Helen Ghassemlou’s reminiscences of her life with Abdul Rahman

By Sissy Danninger: German version newly available – Survey of other translations The project took three years, but at the beginning of August 2014 the German translation of Helen’s/Nasrin’s memoirs was finally published by LIT Verlag inVienna/Austria. Unfortunately the book could not be printed in time before the 25th anniversary of Dr Ghassemlou’s assassination on July…