The First Documented Resettlement of Kurds

The First Documented Resettlement of Kurds into Western and Southwestern Anatolia circa 181 BC

Dr. Mehrdad Izady – July 1998

During the Seleucid/Macedonian period that followed the conquest of the Persian Achaemenian Empire by Alexander the Great in 330 BC, at least one major episode of resettlement of Kurds into western and southwestern Anatolia can be historically evidenced. This is for the period circa 181 BC.

A fairly long rock inscription at Telmessus (modern Fethiye) on the southwestern coast of Anatolia by the Pergamese king Eumenes II (r. 197-154 BC) provides a glimpse into the life and history of the resettled Kurds. The inscription is in Greek and is commonly known as the “Cardaces Inscription.”1 This single inscription constitutes the primary historical document for the episode. But despite its terseness, the inscription also contains some detail of the harrowing impact the resettlement had on the affected populace, who turn out to be of the historic and populous clan of Kardakan (Greek Kardakoi, Latinized into Cardaces). Fortuitously, the clan is still with us today.

Life among the deportees.

The ‘Cardaces Inscription’ is the verbatim copy of a letter sent by the Pergamese king Eumenes to Artemidorus, the prince/governor of Telmessus (or perhaps, all of Lycia), in response to a petition for relief filed by the affected Kurds. The reason for the oddity of having the royal letter subsequently engraved into the face of a mountain for all to see, may have been Artemidorus’ attempt to force king Eumenes to keep his commitment of relief for the beleaguered populace. It reads:

“King Eumenes to Artemidorus. I have read the comments you appended to the petition submitted by the settlers in the settlement of the Cardaces. Since after investigating, you find that their private affairs are in a weak condition, as their trees are not yielding much fruit and their land is of poor quality, give instruction that they may keep the piece of land they bought from Ptolemy and the price they did not pay because most of them have no resources left, and give instructions not to exact the money: and since they must pay for each adult person a poll-tax of four Rhodian drachmas and an obol, but the weak condition of their private affairs makes this a burden to them, have them exempted from the arrears of this tax for the sixteenth year [of Eumenes’ reign], and of one Rhodian drachma and one obol from the seventeenth year, and for all those whom the [Cardaces] introduced from the outside, have it that they be granted exemption from all taxes for three years, and for those who have previously left the area but now wish to return, exemption for two years; and have it that they may repair the fort they previously had, so as to have a stronghold, so long as they provide themselves the rest of the expenditure, while I myself pay for a skilled craftsman. Year 17, the fourth day from the end of Dius [181 BC].” 2 (emphasis added)

What is clear is that upon arrival in Telmessus/Fethiye region, the Kardakan build an eponymous colony/settlement and a fortress as their headquarters. They purchased farmlands and planted orchards. This undertaking, however, did not flourish, either because of the poor soil and/or growing condition, or due to lack of sufficient manpower, as the Kardakan men were frequently called upon to serve under arm and on various battle fields. The military conditions at the time was fluid everywhere, and the Kurdish settlers must have been hard-pressed to find the time needed for developing their newly settled mountainous land in Lycia in between their military duties.

The colony’s poverty, therefore, may have been as much due to excessive military conscription as to the poor agricultural land and their strangeness in their new settlement. As indirectly pointed out in the Inscription, some of the Kardakan had in fact escaped the poor condition of the colony, but later returned, possibly attracted to the tax exemptions they had been promised and duly recorded in the Inscription.

What is most fascinating is that these fighting men were joined later by their kin and possibly, more clan folks joining them in the Lycian colony–a fact also recorded in the Inscription. This phenomenon is encountered, and far better documented, in the course of the 16th and 17th centuries Persia, where hundreds of thousands of Kurds were forced to resettle on the far eastern borders of the that empire in Khurasan, and defend it against the steppe nomads and foreign armies. This latter episode involved by the Persian administration first sending the elite Kurdish warriors into Khurasan, where they fought and cleared swats of defensible and productive lands in that strategic region. They followed this by occupying or building fortresses. Only then the Kurds brought their families, clan kin folks and livestock to settle their new homes. How different could the Cardacian/Kardakan colony of Lycia have been from this Khurasani episode of 16-17th century (which, oddly, included some of the same Kardakan clansmen)?

Historical background of the affected group:

The first mention of the affected clan’s group name–the Kardakan–appears in the early Akkadian records, particularly those found among the Amarna archives in Egypt of 14th century BC. The later Babylonian sources make mention of the “Kardaka” in various contexts in the 7th century BC. 3 There is, e.g., a mention of the Kardaka who provided mercenaries and guards for the Babylonian royal house. 4 From one Neo-Babylonian business record dated to 515 BC, one learns of a trader named “Lukshu the Kardaka” 5 Lukshu the Kardaka is clearly a single man who belonged to the Kardaka ‘clan.’ Flavius Arrian, meanwhile, notes that in the army of the last Persian Achaemenid king, Darius III (in 332 BC), were 60,000 ‘Persian’ heavy infantry, who he adds were “known as Cardaces.” 6 Sekunda and Chew rightly surmise that the Cardaces/Kardakan “though non-Greek, were not Persians either, and [were] a separate body from the Persian National Army.” 7

The resettlement episode discussed herein is also the last mention of the Kardakan in any detail until their reappearance in late medieval, early-modern times when the Kurdish historian, Prince Sharafaddin Bitlisi in 1597 provides a relatively detailed history for them in his Sharafnâma. Although not mentioned in the inscription, the original home of the Cardaces/Kardakans can therefore be surmised with good accuracy by using that source. The Kardakan is presented in the Sharafnâma as a clan and a princely house ruling from an area west-southwest of Bitlis (ancient Baris/Balis), in the western Lake Van region of Kurdistan. 8

At present, the Kardakans can be found in pockets in various corners of Kurdistan (such as the Mount Ararat region), 9 but also among a yet another populous community of Kurds resettled as frontier guardsmen, this time, in the aforementioned, 450-year-old Khurasani Kurdish exclave in northeastern Iran and southern Turkmenistan. Somehow, resettlement for military services and the Kardakans seem to have entered into a dangerous historical marriage.

The resettlement history.

The episode unfold sometimes before 181 BC when a large number of Kardakans are brought to settle in the strategic region of Lycia as a reservoir for military conscript and frontier guardsmen. As to who brought these Kurds into Lycia, when and how, two possibilities present themselves.

The most likely is that it was the Seleucids who settled these Kurds in Lycia for the stated military purposes, possibly in the last decades of the 3rd century BC. Lycia possessed an acute strategic importance within the elongated territories of the Seleucid Empire in Anatolia. It formed the land bridge joining the Seleucids’ rich Aegean possessions in the west to the rest of that empire in the east. Lycia cut off would have translated into an immediate loss of all Seleucid lands on the Aegean, including their winter capital of Ephesus. (see the map below)

Being aware of this, during the decisive campaigns between Rome and her allies against the Seleucids at the Battle of Magnesia (190 BC. Modern Manisa in western Anatolia), Romans accordingly landed their seaborne troops at Telmessus in Lycia, placing the Seleucids with a fait accompli regarding their Aegean territories. The Peace of Apamea two year later in 188 led to the loss of all Seleucids Anatolian provinces west  of modern Antalya. The Kurdish military presence in the region could have been to prevent this exact same faith. The Seleucids–most likely Antiochus III, could have thus transplant an entire community of Kurds into the region whose warriors had earlier proven valuable in many documented wars waged by the Seleucids. They may have been instrumental in keeping Lycia under guard against the native Lycians as well as outside threats until the aftermath of Magnesia.

Antiochus III per se was no stranger to the military value of the Kurdish troops. Kurds routinely played an important role in the Seleucid east, from Media 10 to Palestine to Anatolia. For the year 190 BC—only nine short years before the Cardacian Inscription was executed in Lycia, the Roman historian Livy records the presence of several thousand Kurdish soldiers fighting in the army of Antiochus at the same historic Battle of Magnesia against the Romans and the Pergamese. Describing the makeup of Antiochus’s army, he records that:

“The extremity of the [right] flank consisted of 4000 mixed Kurdish slingers and Elymaean archers (mixti Cyrtii funditores et Elymaei sagittarii)… [On the left flank were] four thousand targeteers: these were Pisidians and Pamphylians and Lycians; then auxiliaries of the Kurdish and Elymaean [peoples] equal to those stationed on the right flank (tum Cyrtiorum et Elymæorum paria in dextro cornu locatis auxilia) 11 …”

Arraying of various ethnic troops together in the Seleucid army normally implied linguistic affinity between them. This was for the practical reasons to facilitate communication and cooperation; hence the grouping of the Pisidians, Pamphylians and Lycians who shared the same Luvian language. Likewise, the placing together of the Kurti and the Elymaeans (Lurs-Bakhtiyaris)12   may be interpreted to imply linguistic affinity between them–one that still largely exist today! But, can this not lead us to seek the source of these Kurdish troops in southeastern Kurdistan in the neighborhood of Luristan and Bakhtiyari, instead of the Kardakan/Cardacian colony in Lycia? Not necessarily.

If we were to believe these Kurds/Cyrtii at the Battle of Magnesia were the neighboring population to the Elymaeans in their origin (hence their employment next to one another in that army) then these Kurds should have come from southern or central Zagros from the neighborhood of Elymaeis (Luristan and the Bakhtiyari mountains), nearly 1000 miles away. If this was a viable option, then what would have been the reason behind the massive (and inevitably, costly) transplantation of the Kardakan Kurds into Lycia by the Seleucids at about this same time? The reservoir of Kurdish troops could have been tapped into much closer to these battle zones of western Anatolia than drawing them from such long distances in central and southern Zagros. Further, placing the Kurti/Cyrtii immediately next to the Lycians by Livy may be a clue that we are dealing with Kurdish troops drawn from the same transplanted Kardakan/Cardacian colony in Telmessus, Lycia.

The name “Cardaces” or “Cardacian” is encountered for sometime during the Seleucid times before and after the Cardacian Inscription. There are in fact some circumstantial evidence to point to the possibility of a Kardakan presence in that general area of central and southwestern Anatolia decades before the writing of the Cardacian Inscription. At the Battle of Rhaphia in Palestine in spring of 217 BC between the Seleucid king Antiochus the Great (r. 223-187 BC) and king Ptolemy of Egypt

This arraying of the Cardacian and Lydian javelin-throwers under a Gaul commander (from Galatia, central Anatolia) in the army of Antiochus III might imply the drawing of the Cardacian troops from that western Anatolian source as well.

“At the beginning of the following spring, having all preparations for war completed, Antiochus and Ptolemy determined to bring their claims to Coele-Syria to the decision of a battle… Being informed of his approach, Antiochus drew his forces together. These consisted of Daae, Carmani, and Cilicians, equipped as light-armed troops to the number of about five thousand… In addition to these there were Agrianes and Persians, who were either bowmen or slingers, to the number of two thousands… There were also a mixed force of Medes, Cissians, Cadusians, and Carmanians, amounting to five thousand men, who were assigned to the chief command of Aspasianus the Mede… Antiochus had also fifteen hundred Cretans commanded by Zelys of Gortyna. With these were five hundred Lydian javelineers and a thousand Cardaces (Kavrdake”) under Lysimachus the Gaul.” 13

But there is a second, albeit less likely possibility. It may have been the Pergamese king Eumenes II who established the Cardacian presence in Lycia. By the articles of the peace treaty of Apamea in 188 BC, Seleucids ceded Lycia to Rome which immediately handed it over to its ally, Pergamum. Lycia became the easternmost frontier province of the Pergamese kingdom, bordering on the Seleucid Empire to the east which still stretched all the way to modern Antalya. The Pergamese could have been the ones who established the Kardakan Kurdish community in Lycia after their annexation of it in 188 BC, for exactly the same purpose as noted above for the possible Seleucid origin of the colony. This time, however, the resettled Kurds were expected to defend Lycia for the Pergamese against their former masters–the Seleucids–stationed at Antalya. The colony continued to be a source of conscripts to King Eumenes II at the times of war, in addition to providing permanent frontier guardsmanship.

In 171 BC—exactly 10 years after the date for the Cardacian Inscription—Kurdish troops are found in the army of the same Eumenes II fighting in Europe. Eumenes was assisting the Roman Republican army under Licinius Crassus and Quintus Mucius in their attempt to conquer Greece for Rome from the Macedonian king, Perseus. The battle took place on River Peneüs (modern Piniós) in Thessaly, central Greece. Describing the composition of the allied troops, Livy writes:

“Before the standards of the center were arrayed two hundred Gallic [Galatian] cavalry, and three hundred of Eumenes’ auxiliaries from the Kurdish people (Cyrtiorum gentis).” 14

These must have been largely, if not totally, drawn from the Lycian Kurdish military colony of the Kardakans. What is of paramount importance to note here is that while the Cardacian Inscription records the settlers by their clan name Cardacian/Kardakans, the Roman historian Livy simply calls them “the Kurdish people” (Cyrtiorum gentis).

But, where could Eumenes have gotten all these Kurds to settle in Lycia in the first place, if he were indeed the founder of the colony? Pergamum near the Aegean Sea coast is far from Kurdish inhabited lands, even at the time of these events. These Kurds could have been partly those captured after the Battle of Magnesia from the ragtag retreating army of the Seleucid king Antiochus III. These Kurdish troops were later joined by their kin and family who moved into Lycia, as is remarked in the Inscription.

Upon the death of Eumenes in 159 BC, Lycia regained its independence for a short time, before being regained by the Pergamese to eventually pass into the Roman orbit in 133 BC. 15 Strabo records the process in brief:

“Eumenes received this place [Lycia] from the Romans in the Antiochian War, but when his kingdom was dissolved, the Lycians got it back again.”  16


Although it is not possible to definitively state which of the two—the Seleucids or the Pergamese—were responsible for the creation of the Kurdish colony in Lycia, the evidence weighs far more heavier towards the Seleucids. Several other circumstantial evidence point to an earlier, Seleucid origin for the colony, including the Inscription itself. In there the Pergamese king Eumenes declares that the Cardacians “may repair the fort they previously had…” One can read much into the word “previous” in here. At the time of the writing of the Inscription, Pergamum had ruled Lycia only for a short 7 years. Although not impossible, it is improbable that the Kardakans had time to build a settlement and a fort, desert them, and then return to revitalize them with their kin and folks—all in a short few year. Only further investigation, however, may provide an answer this question.

Whatever the origins, the Kardakan/Cardacian resettlement in Lycia falls into a larger pattern that is witnessed for the following two millennia: Kurdish warriors (along with their families and kin) being transplanted by central state governments to serve as largely unpaid permanent frontier guardsmen. These transplanted communities faced and defend their own household against outside enemies trying to cross their new home territories. It was rightly calculated that by extension they would also provide security for state’s territory to their rear.

What happened to the Kardakan community of Lycia after this, is unknown to me at this time, but they do not seem to have survived very long. The eponymous town that was built the Kardakans/Cardacians, finds no mention two centuries later in the monumental historical geography of Strabo, who being a native of Amasea/Amasya, provides an exact historical geography for all of Anatolia. The settlement and its fortress could hardly have escaped Strabo’s notice if it still existed as a place of any consequence in AD 17 when he finished his work.


  1. Or “Cardaches Inscription.”
  2. F.G. Maier, Griechische Mauer-bauinschriften I (1959), no. 76.
  3. A. Leo Oppenheim, Letters from Mesopotamia (1967), 192 no. 143; A.T. Olmstead, History of the Persian Empire(Chicago, 1948), 193.
  4. A.T. Clay, ed., Babylonian Records in the Library of the J. Pierpont Morgan (New York, 1932), i.71
  5. Ibidem.
  6. Arrian, Anabasis. II.viii.6.
  7. Nick Sekunda and Simon Chew, The Persian Army, 560-330 BC (London: Osprey, 1992), 51-53. Sekunda (the author) is uncertain as to considering the Kardaka an ethnic group or a professional group. He is lead in this by Stephen Hirsch’s belief that the Kardaka and Qardu were one and the same name and stood for the professional, “mercenary” troops hired into the Persian Achaemenian Army. But Hirsch commits the common mistake in assuming an etymological connection between Qardu, Kardaka and the Old Persian word gard, meaning “house,” or “household”, following by its borrowing into Neo-Akkadian, where it is presumably transferred into “Kardaka.” Based on this erroneous assumption, Hirsch suggests the meaning of Kardaka to be “those (troops) of the (Royal) Household.” Others have tried to derive the etymology from the Old Persian word korta/gord, “manly, warlike” but they have not been able to account for its very early existence in Akkadian. Strabo, in fact has a fascinating account to give regarding the Kardaka and the “meaning” of it, which has thus far escaped the notice of all who could have spared themselves the task. Describing the boot camps in which young Persian noble boys were trained, he observes that such trainees “are called Cardaces, since they live on thievery, for “carda” kavrda means the manly and warlike spirit.” (Geography, XV.iii.18) This fascinating—and erroneous—2,100-year old folk etymology by Strabo indicates that he (and his probable Persian informant) were obviously trying to derive the word carda from korda/gord—which is an etymological impossibility.
  8. Sharafnâma, III.vii.4
  9. In modern literature on Kurds the name Kardakan is often intentionally corrupted into “Kurdakan.” This is purely aetiological. Those authors who do, presume the need for the name to conform with the element “Kurd.” This is thoroughly wrong, and should not be attempted, as the two names are etymologically unrelated. The modern form, Kardakan, is correct and preserves the historic name in its pristine, ancient form with its original vowels still intact.
  10. Polybius places a special status for the Kurdish warriors in the army of Molon, the Macedonian satrap of Media who rebelled and lost his life opposing the Seleucid king Antiochus in 220 BC. He notes that Molon was hopeful of his success “…because he had great confidence in his corps of slingers called Kurds.” (“…to; pisteuvein tw’/ plhvfei tw’n sfendonhtw’n tw’n prosagoreuomevnwn Kurtivwn.”) (History, V.lii.7)
  11. Livy, History, XXXVII.xl.9-10.
  12. The Elymaeans should not be confused with the ancient Elamites. Classical Elymaeis corresponds directly to modern Luristan and Bakhtiyari territories, neighboring southeastern Kurdistan. Modern Iranian province of Ilam (southeastern Kurdistan) still preserved this historic name.
  13. Polybius, History, V.lxxix.7-11. I have not been able to find support for the assertion made by Bar Kochova (1989) and cited by Susan Sherwin-White and Amélie Kuhrt, that: ”the ‘Cardacians’ used to provide 1,000 light infantry for that Hellenistic [i.e., Seleucid] royal army (From Samarkhand [sic] to Sardis: A New Approach to the Seleucid Empire(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), p. 54. Polybius’ statement cited above is only for this single occasion, and I am not aware of any other classical citation.
  14. Livy, Hist., XLII.lviii.14. This is a doubly valuable information, because it may imply the knowledge of Livy of the ethno-national quality of the term Kurd/Kurti, under which the Kardakans/Cardacians and others could be placed.
  15. Strabo provide a very useful and succinct account of the life of Eumenes and what followed immediately in the region: “Eumenes fought on the side of the Romans against Antiochus the Great and against Perseus, and he received from the Romans all the country this side of the Taurus that had been subject to Antiochus… After a reign of 49 years [actually, 38 years, 197-159 BC] Eumenes left his empire to Attalus, his son by Stratonice, the daughter of Ariarathes, king of the Cappadocians. He appointed his brother Attalus [Philadelphus] as guardian both of his son , who was extremely young, and of the empire. After a reign of twenty-one years [159-138 BC], his brother died an old man, having won success in many undertakings; for example, he helped Alexander, the son of Antiochus, to defeat in war Demetrius, the son of Seleucus, and he fought on the side of the Romans against the Pseudo-Philip, and in an expedition against Thrace he defeated Diegylis the king of the Caeni, and he slew Prusias [of Bithynia] having incited his son Nicomedes against him, and he left his empire, under a guardian, to Attalus. Attalus, surnamed Philometor, reigned five years [138-133 BC], died of disease, and left the Romans his heirs. The Romans proclaimed the country a province, calling it Asia, by the same name as the continent [133 BC]. ” (Geo., XIII.iv.1-2)
  16. Strabo, Geo, XIV.iii.4.

The Sassanids were Kurds not Persians

Written by: Dr Mahdi Kakei

Translated from Arabic by: Shwan Koshnaw , from

The vast majority of eastern and western historians, regard the Sassanids as Persians, while reliable historical sources unequivocally confirm that the Sassanids belong to the Kurdish people. The ancient Kurdish people must be brought to justice and the historical facts must be presented objectively and professionally, away from personal desires and racist tendencies.

The following evidences prove that the Sassanid dynasty was a Kurdish family:

1. Kurdistan is the home of (Sasan), who was the great-grandfather of the Sassanid kings, and moved to Persia to escape after a prophecy that his descendants would rule Ariana[1][2]. Thus we see that (Sasan) was Kurdish, was not a Persian and was not from the province of Persia, but he has attributed himself to (Bahman) who is the son of (Esfandyar) and grandson of Kiani king (Goshtasp) questionable proportions. Sasan was a herder of camel cattle of one of the feudal lords[1]. As (Dehkhoda) says in his encyclopedia that the father of the Sassanid king (Ardashir) is the Kurdish shepherd, Papak[3].

Dr. Rashid Yasemi, a professor at the University of Tehran, states that (Sasan), who is the grandfather of (Ardashir), is from the Kurdish clan of (Shwankara) and that the mother of (Papak) is the daughter of one of the heads of the Kurdish (Bazrangi) clans. The home of this clan is the Kurdish region of Fars Province. Yasemi adds that we can say that (Ardashir) is Kurdish[4].

Papak, the son of Sasan, belonged to one of the houses of fire for Anahita. Papak had a son called Ardashir who founded the Sassanid state. Ardashir was born in the city of Percy Polis, Persia, where his grandfather Sasan had already moved. Ardashir loved military life and became a top military commander. Ardashir’s brother was a state governor, but Ardashir revolted against his brother and forced him to relinquish his rule. After taking power, Ardashir expanded his kingdom, annexing the coasts of the Gulf of Hormuz, Ilam, Isfahan and Media.

2. Ardashir’s expanding of his kingdom worried the last king of the Parthia, the king (Ardavan IV), why he sent a messenger carrying a letter from him to (Ardashir), in which he was insulting him for his family’s background. This insulting letter was read by the Sassanid king (Ardashir) at the royal court in the presence of the Sasanian citizens. The letter included the following: (You have been your enemy and brought your death, you, Kurdish man who has brought up in the tents of the Kurds. Who authorized you to wear a crown?). Al-Tabari[5] and Ibn al-Atheer[6] refer to this letter. The letter of the Parthian king clearly states that the Sassanid dynasty was a Kurdish family.

The infidelity of the Sassanid kings because of their Kurdish origin and their affiliation with the Kurdish nation, was not limited to the Kiani king (Ardavan IV), but that the ruler of Armenia and Azerbaijan at the time of the Sassanid state, (Bahram Chopin) who was the son of (Bahram Goshtasp), also insulted the Sassanid king (Khosrau II “Parvez”) because he was a Kurd when (Bahram) tried to usurp the ruling from the king (Khosrau II), so he said to him (O son of the adulteress, who is raised in the tents of the Kurds…,) [7].

3. Sasan belonged to the Kurdish clan (Shwankara), whose members were engaged in grazing and agriculture. In the late era of the Buyid dynasty, the clan established a Kurdish dynasty in the name of (The Emirate of the Kurdish Shwankarah’s kings in Persia[8]. Eduard Karl Max von Zambauer mentions in his book that the members of (Shwankara) tribe descended from (Ardashir Papak), the founder of the Sassanid state and that Sasan’s wife is the daughter of a sheikh of the Bazarangi clan, who also belongs to the Shwankara tribe [9]. This family grew up in the Kurdish region, which was located in the province of Fars.

4. Yaqut al-Hamawi also states in his book (The Dictionary of Countries, written from 1224 to 1228[10], that when the Sassanid sultans, built the city of Mada’in, they built a district within Mada’in, named “Kurdabad”, as pride of their belonging to the Kurdish people. “Kurdabad” means “A district built by the Kurds. Yaqut al-Hamawi also mentions the names of six other districts in the city of Mada’in, in addition to (Kurdabad).

It is worth mentioning that the real name of (Mada’in) is (Madyan), which means in Kurdish (Medes), who are the ancestors of the Kurds. The Kurdish name of this city was altered by the Arabs from (Madyan) to (Mada’in) and the Persians called it (Tesfoun). The Sasanian king, Ardashir, also built a special city for the Kurds near the present-day city of Mosul, which he called “Buth Ardashir”[11].

Also, the Sassanid king (Qubad) and (Anushirwan) built more than thirty cities in the plain (Aran), and one of these cities bore the name (Malazkurd)[12][13]. The Kurdish designation of a district in the Sasanian capital and the construction of Kurdish cities by the Sassanids, are further evidence of that the Sassanids were Kurds.

  1. The Sasanian kings were nicknamed ” Khasrau “. The word consists of two Kurdish words; “khas” which means “good” in Kurdish[14] and the word “rau” which means “conduct or behavior” in Kurdish, thus the word ” Khasrau” means “well-behaved” i.e. “A respectable person, with a high status”. “The Persians took this title from Kurdish and transformed it into “Khosrau”. The words “Khas” and “Rau” do not exist in Persian. The Arabs, in turn, transformed this word into “Kisra” or “Kasra”. Thus, the Kurdish title of the Sassanid kings confirms their belonging to the Kurdish people.It is noteworthy that many people mistakenly think that the name of the Sassanid king was “Kisra”, during which the battle of Qadisiyah took place, while “Kisra” is the title of all the Sassanid kings, not the name of one of them, which is correspond to the word “majesty”, ” Excellency” and “Highness” that are now used to address kings, presidents and princes, respectively. Many kings of other peoples had their own titles as the Sassanids, for example the Roman kings were called “Caesar”, the Copt kings of “Pharaoh”, the kings of the Turks were called “Khagan”, the kings of Yemen were called “Taba”, the title of the kings of Abyssinia was “Najashi” and the title of the kings of Egypt was “Aziz” and so on.

    6. The names of the Sasanian kings were Kurdish, which indicate that they were Kurds.

  2. The name of three Sasanian kings was (Yazdkurd), which is composed of two words; (Yazd), which indicates that the Yazdanism was the religion of Sassanid dynasty; the word (Kurd) which refers to the Kurdish origin of the Sassanids.
  3. The name of two Sasanian kings was (Khsrau) As it is mentioned above, the word consists of two Kurdish words; “khas” which means “good” in Kurdish[9] and the word “rau” which means “conduct or behavior” in Kurdish, thus the word ” Khasrau” means “well-behaved” i.e. “A respectable person, with a high status”.
  4. The name of two Sassanid kings was (Ardashir), which is consisted of the Median word (Arda), which means (good) and the Kurdish word (Sher) which means (Lion), so their name means (The good lion). It is worth to mention that the Medes are the ancestors of the Kurdish people.
  5. The name of one of the Sassanian king was (Fairooz) or (Peeroz), which is a Kurdish word and means (blessed) or (hallowing).
  6. The name of four Sassanian kings was (Hormizd), which is an Arian name, borrowed from the name of (Hormes), which is a deity of the ancestors of the Kurds, Sumerians. With the passage of time, this name has been changed to (Ahura Mazda) or (Mazda) among the Arian peoples. Although, this name retained its original meaning after this change, meaning that it remained meaning a (deity).
  7. The name of four sassanian kings was (Bahram) or (Baram), and the name of two other kings was (Qobad). These two names are Kurdish names; the first name means (clever) and the second one means (king).
  8. There are some Sassanid names that are still prevalent among the Kurds, for example but not limited to, the name of the mother of the Sassanid king (Dara), is (Khamani)[14]. The name (Khamani) does not exist in Persian. Until now there are Kurdish, female and male people, bearing this name.
  9. (Hassan Per Nya) states that the Sassanids used to call (May) to the Medes[15]. This name is included in the names of the male Kurds to the present time despite the passage of more than 2500 years since the disappearance of the Median Empire, for example, the name (Maykhan). The word “Khan” accompanies the name “May”, where a person is not named by the name “May” alone, but the adjective “Khan” is added to it, which corresponds to the word “Majesty” and “His Excellency” used to address kings and heads of state, respectively, at the present time, because the Medes were noble Kurds. It is worth noting that the Median name (Mada) means in the Median language (great) or (large)[16].

It should be noted that when the Arabs occupied Kurdistan, the name (Mahat) was given to the centre of the Median authority by the Arabs, as (Mah) is the name of the Medes[16] and the suffix (at) is used for the plural in the Arabic language. (Al-Baladhari) states that after the occupation of Kurdistan by the Arabs in the Islamic era, some of the occupied regions of Kurdistan were divided into several regions, where the taxes (tribute) taken from each region were sent to Muslims living in a specific region[17]. Therefore, the Arabs used to call the name “Mah Kofa” on the city of “Dinawar” and its outskirts, because the tribute taken from the residents of the city of “Dinawar” and its dependencies were distributed to the new Muslim population living in the city of Kofa. Likewise, for the same reason, the name (Mah Basra) was given to the city of Nahavand, where the tribute obtained from the residents of Nahavand was given to the residents of the city of Basra who became Muslim after the Arab-Islamic occupation. Thus, the center of Media Empire was divided by the Arab occupiers into (Mah Kofa) and (Mah Basra).

  1. The Fathlawi family, which founded the Fathlawi emirate (1155 – 1432 AD), belonged to the Kurdish tribe Shwankara. Members of this family were descendants of the kings of Sassan[18]. Members of the ruling family of this emirate were Kurds, so their Sassanid ancestors must have been Kurds as well. It is worth mentioning that this emirate was established in southeastern Lorestan and ruled for two hundred and seventy-seven years. The kingdom included Lorestan and extended to the outskirts of the city of Isfahan, and in some periods also included the province of Khuzestan and the city of Basra.10. At the end of the era of the Buyids, the clan (Shwankara) established a Kurdish Emirate in the name of (Atabak of Kings of Shwankara Kurds in Persia[8]. The founder of the Sassanid state (Ardashir Papak) is descended from the clan of (Shwankara)[9]. Establishing of a Kurdish emirate by this clan, which belongs to the Sassanids, is a clear indication that the Sassanids are Kurds.
  1. The scholar (Masoud Muhammad) states that the Kurdish (Hawrami) dialect is the same as the Pahlavi language which was the language of the Sassanids. He refers to the book (The Lexicon in measures of the non-Arab’s poems), which is written by (Shams al-Din Muhammad bin Qais al-Razi). This author says in his book the following: I find the Iraqi people concerning with writing and singing in the Fahlawi (Pahlavi language), but there is no nice music of the Arabic saying and the Persian erotic poetry that have made them happy as:

The melody of Uraman (Hawraman) and Pahlavi verses[17].

The poetic verse of {(Hawraman melody) and (Pahlavi verse)} praises the Hawramani song and it is clear that the melody of the song is related to its language. This clearly indicates that the Kurdish Hawramani dialect is the Pahlavi language.

In respect to the Persians, a new Persian language was contrived after the decline of the Parthian (Arsacid) Empire in 226 BC and the appearance of the Sassanid kingdom. This new Persian language is called (Parseki language) to distinguish it from the Old Persian and Modern Persian languages[18]. The fact that the Pahlavi (Kurdish) language was the language of the Sassanids and the Persians had their own language (the Parseki language), confirms that the Sassanids were Kurds.

  1. The Sassanids have glorified the Kurdish ironsmith (Kawa), why the name of the flag of this empire was (flag of Kawyan). The word (Kawyan) is taken from the name of the ironsmith (Kawa) who is said to have made the vest of his ironsmith’s business as a flag and killed the unjust king (Zohak)[19]. The height of the flag was 12 cubits and its width was 8 cubits. The flag was made of tiger skin and inlaid with corundum, pearls and jewels.

At the battle of (Al-Qadisiyah) that took place between the Arab Muslims and the Sassanid state in the year 636 AD, the Arab Muslims defeated the Sassanids, so they seized the flag and gave it to the caliph (Omar bin Al-Khattab) with two daughters of the Sassanid king (Yazdkurd) whom were taken as captives, whose names were (Shajinan or Kibano) and (Sharbano). (Muhammad bin Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq) took (Shajinan) as his wife and (Hussain bin Ali bin Abi Talib) took (Sharbano) as his wife, whom is the mother of the Shiah imam (Zain Al-Abidin Ibn Al-Hussein). The adoption of Kawa flag by Sassanids is a further evidence of that the Sassanid dynasty was Kurdish[20].

  1. The book entitled (The Little History) of an unknown Nestorian Syrian author (his birth was after 680), talks about the history of the Nestorian Church and lists important historical events that occurred during the sixth and seventh centuries AD. On pages 100-102 of this book, the author lists important information about the origins of the Sassanids and about the Sassanid leader (Hormazdān) who was a military commander for the region (Khuzestan) in the Sassanid army. When the Arab Muslims overthrew the Sassanid state during the time of Caliph (Omar ibn al-Khattab), this Sassanid military commander was captured and taken to the Arabian Peninsula and killed there. The author of the book says that (Hormazdān)  is the cousin of the last Sasanian king (YazdKurd III) and the grandson of the king (Ardashir Papan). He also states that this Sassanid leader belongs to the ancestors of the Median Kurds. Also (Paravaneh Pourshariati) states that (Hormazdān) was a resident of Media[21], which means that he belonged to the Medes. The previous two sources clearly indicate that the Sassanids belonged to the ancestors of the Median Kurds, and this is a further evidence of that the Sassanid rulers were Kurds.
  2. The resistance of the Sassanid Empire to the Arab-Islamic invasion was mainly confined to the Kurdish regions, such as (Sharazur), (Mosul), (Helwan), (Nahawand) and (Jalawla), whose peoples defended the Sassanid Kurdish rule, while there was no significant resistance against this invasion in non-Kurdish regions. The Kurdish defence of the Sassanid state was a defense of their Kurdish state and their Kurdish rule.
  3. More than one hundred years ago, the Kurdish poet (Haji Qadir Koyî) (1817-1897 AD), wrote in one of his poems that the Sassanids are Kurds, and mentioned the names of two Sassanid kings, (Ardashir) and (Qubad). In his poem, he complains that the writing of history of the Kurdish people in Kurdish language is neglected. Here I select the following verses from his poem that I have translated from Kurdish into English:

The Kurdish individual who does not want to learn his mother tongue

surely his mother is a prostitute and his father is adulterer

Let’s me to tell you about things you don’t know!

The world of politics is beautiful if you are a master of its art

The Kurdish (Salah al-Din), (Nur al-Din),

(Azizan)* of (Jazera), (Mush) and (Wan),

(Muhalhal)**, (Ardashir), the lion (Daysam) ***,

(Qubad) and the hawks of the (Ardalan) princes,

all of them are surely real Kurds

Because of ignorance and illiteracy,

they have been disappeared from the history,

If the books and historical tablets and documents

had been written in our language

Our kings, rulers, princes should have been immortalized in the history,

they should have been remained as shining stars that would have illuminate the history

* (Azizan) are the ancestors of the (Badrakhanians), who ruled parts of Kurdistan (Jazeera, Moosh and Van districts) during the rule of the Islamic caliph Omar bin al-Khattab.

** (Muhallah) is (Muhalhal Shaznajani) who has defeated the (Seljuks) in the city of (Kermashan) and ruled the regions of Kermashan, Khanaqin, Kifri, Kirkuk, Sharazur and Sirwan.

*** (Daysam) is the Kurdish ruler who ruled (Azerbaijan) at the time of the (Abbasid Caliphate).

Thus, the trusted sources on which we have relied, confirm that the (Sassanids) were Kurds and that the battle of (Qadisiyah) that took place between the Arab Muslims, led by (Saad bin Abi Waqqas) and the (Sassanids) during the era of their last king, (Yazdkurd III), was a battle between the Arabs and the Kurds, but the occupiers of Kurdistan have falsified the history, stolen the Kurdish history and consider the (Sassanids) Persians.

The names of the Sassanid kings

We mention here the names of the twenty-four Sassanid kings, whose rule lasted for four hundred and twenty-six years (224 or 226 – 651 AD) which are as follows, arranged in chronological order of their rule:

  1. Ardashir I
  2. Shapur I
  3. Hormizd I
  4. Bahram I
  5. Bahram II
  6. Bahram III
  7. Narsi
  8. Hormizd II
  9. Azar Narsi
  10. Shapur II
  11. Ardashir II
  12. Bahram IV
  13. Yazdkurd I
  14. Bahram V
  15. Yazdkurd II
  16. Hormizd III
  17. Fairouz I (Perouz I)
  18. Blash (Walcash)
  19. Qubad I (Kava 1)
  20. Khosreu (JustAnushirwan)
  21. Hormizd IV
  22. Khosreu II (Parwez)
  23. Qubad II
  24. Yazdkurd III

In his book “Nuzhat Al-Quloob,” which he wrote in the fourteenth century AD, (Hamdallah Al-Mustawfi), mentioned that the king (Khusreu I) regulated taxes, the army, and state records. During his reign, the book ” Kalila and Dimna” was brought from India to the Sassanid Empire, and philosophical and literary schools reached their peak[22].

Because of lack of the Kurdish people of a Kurdish political entity to express their identity, record their history and preserve and develop their culture, language, and heritage, the Kurdish history has been subjected to unjust, theft, obliteration, cancellation, and unjust disturbance. This is due to that the occupiers of Kurdistan are trying to eradicate the Kurdish language and culture and eliminate the identity of the Kurdish people. The occupiers of Kurdistan are falsifying the Kurdish ancient history, to grant their occupation of Kurdistan, to abolish Kurdistan from the map of the Middle East, and to melt the Kurdish people by making them Turks, Persians, and Arabs.

The Kurdish people have a glorious history and that they are one of the oldest peoples in the region, and that the Sumerian, Elamite, Hurrian – Mitanni,  Hittite, Median and Sassanid civilizations, are witnesses to the nobility of the Kurdish people and their great contribution to building, developing, and advancing the human being civilization.

To highlight the true role of the Kurds in establishing the human civilization and getting to know their culture and history, it requires establishing Kurdish scientific centers to revive the Kurdish culture and to correct their history. The Kurds should search for their history in the folds of books, documents, in the halls of museums and archaeological sites and by excavating the monuments in the archaeological kingdoms of the Kurds and examine the correspondence and reports of governments and officials through carrying out objective scientific studies of the Kurdish history, to find the truth, despite the vandalism and theft and obliteration to which the Kurdish history has been subjected, especially since the Kurds lack a political entity to write their history according to the correct knowledge and information. The occupiers of Kurdistan have written the Kurdish history, so they have distorted, stolen and obliterated it. Among this distortion and theft, the Kurds should search, find and discover their history and put it within the reach of the Kurdish children and let the world knows the true history of the Kurds.

I do not demand here to falsify the history as did the last president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein in his campaign “Rewriting the History”, but rather I suggest the establishment of scientific centers to collect historical information about the Kurds and to classify, record, archive, compare with each other, filter them, analyze them, and then objectively and scientifically write the correct history information.


1. Abu al-Qasim al-Firdousi. Shahnameh, the Great Epic of the Persians. Translation of Samir al-Malty, p. 133, 134.

2. Ibn al-Balkhi. Farisnamah, part: The conditions of Shabankara, Kurds and Persia. Europe’s printing, p. 146.

  1. Ali Akbar Dahkhoda. A language letter. Volume III, Teheran University Press, year 1345 AH, page 3843.
  2. Ghulam Reza Rashid Yasmi. The Kurds and Their Ethnic and Historical Connection. Year 1369 AH, page 171. (In Persian).
  3. Mohammed bin Jarir Al-Tabari. History of Tabari. Volume II, Husseini Press, Egypt, 1336 AH, p. 57. (In Arabic).6. Ibn Ather. The Complete History, Volume I, p. 133. (In Arabic).
  4. Mohammed bin Jarir Al-Tabari. History of Tabari. Volume II, Husseini Press, Egypt, 1336 AH, p. 138. (In Arabic).
  5. Ibn al-Balkhi. Farisnamah, part: The conditions of Shabankara, Kurds and Persia. Europe’s printing, 150-153. (In Arabic).
  6. Zambauer. Dictionary of Genealogy and ruling families in the Islamic history. Directed by: Dr. Zaki Mohamed Hassan Beg and Hassan Ahmed Mahmoud. Translation of a part of the book chapters: Dr. Sayeda Ismail Kashef, Hafiz Ahmed Hamdi and Ahmed Mahmoud Hamdi, Printing House of al-Raed al-Arabi, Beirut, 1980, pages 351-352. (In Arabic).10. Yaqoot al-Hamawi. The Dictionary of Countries. Volume VII, p. 413. (In Arabic).

    11. Guy Le Strange. Countries of the Eastern Caliphate. Translation: Bashir Frances and Korkis Awwad. Publication of the Iraqi Scientific Society, Al-Rabta Press, Baghdad, 1954. (In Arabic).

  7. Sheikh Shams Al-Din Abi Abdullah Muhammad Abi Talib Al-Ansari Al-Sufi Al-Dimashqi. Elite of the Era in the wonders of land and sea. Reprinted in the city of Petersburg, in 1865, page 190. (In Arabic).
  8. Ali Akbar Dahkhoda. A language letter. Volume II, Teheran University Press, year 1345 AH, page 1631. (In Persian).
  9. Ali Akbar Dahkhoda. A language letter. Volume VII, Teheran University Press, year 1345 AH, page 9953. (In Persian).
  10. Hasan Pernia. History of ancient Iran or detailed history of ancient Iran. Volume I, with Introduction and Description: Mohammad Ibrahim Bastani Parizi, Tehran, Book World, 1362 AH, page 48. (In Persian).
  11. 16. Tavernier, Jan. Iranica in the Achaimenid period (ca. 550 – 330 B.C.): Lexicon of Old Iranian. Peeters Pblishers, Louvian, Belgium, 2007, p. 558.
  12. Browne, Edward G. (1919). A literary history of Persia: A literary history of Persia from the earliest times until Firdawsi. T. Fisher Unwin Ltd, London, page 19.
  13. Al-Baladhari. The Conquest of Countries, 2010, p. 375. (In Arabic).
  15. Ali Akbar Dahkhoda. A language letter. Volume VI, Teheran University Press, year 1345 AH, page 9307. (In Persian).
  16. Masoud Mohamed. The tongue of the Kurds. 1984, p. 60 — p 61. (In Arabic)
  17. The previous source, p. 39.
  19. Waly Foladi Mansoury. The Great Social Political History of Kalhor clan.
  20.  First volume, p. 169. (In Persian)
  22. Paravaneh The Parthians and the Production of the Canonical Shāhnamas : Of Pahlavi, Pahlavānī and the Pahlav. In: Henning Börn and Josef Wiesehöfer (eds.). Commutatio et Contentio Studies in the Late Roman, Sasanian, and Early Islamic Near East.  2008, p. 240.
  23. Al-MustawfiHamdallah Al-Qazwini. Nuzhat Al-Quloob). Leiden, 1915. (In Arabic)


The Yazidies and the lie of Satan worship

Dr. Mahdi Kakei

Since the creation, the human beings have created the “devil” with different names. They were afraid of the natural phenomena that threatened their lives, such as darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, lightning, thunder, winter cruelty, predatory wild animals, sickness, hunger, death, etc. Therefore they made gods for these phenomena; giving them offers in order the gods would be kind with them, to keep them away from their evils and dangers. As well as human beings created for themselves good gods representing positive phenomena, such as light, fertility, spring, agriculture, water and harvest the crop and other things that would benefit them. They regarded these gods, made holidays for the good gods, set up festivals for them and welcomed them and their arrival.

In the course of time, human beings continued to adhere to the God of Good and the God of Evil. Zoroaster made (Ahuramazda) as the creator, the sole God and the good god, and (Ahriman) as the destructive spirit. The Jews continued in this manner, which was quoted by Christians and Muslims. The believers of the religion of Yazdanism have disobeyed this rule and believed in a single Creator, who is the absolute good, light and love. The God is loved by human being and in turn he loves the human beings. In Yazdanism, there is no threat from the Creator to burn and torture the human beings. How does the Creator submit to the torture and burning of his daughters and sons?! The human beings, in turn do not disobey the Creator, not because of fearing of him, but it is due to their love for him. Therefore, the believers of Yazdanism are happy in their lives, where they do not live with the horror of torture and burning after death, but there is no death in the Yazdanism religion. After the death, the human being’s spirit will move to another new body of a person and continues his/her life. This phenomenon is called “change of shirt” in the Yazidism; it is like a change of clothes. This phenomenon is called “Donawdon” in Yarsanism, which means “the move of the human being’s soul from one stage to another one”. The Yarsani believers say that the death of the human being is like the floating of the duck, diving in the water here and coming up there.

The Yazidism is a branch of the Yazdani religion, and therefore the Yazidis not only do not worship the devil, but the devil does not exist in their religion. Reason and logic reject the creation of the devil and his disobedience to the Creator because “Satan“ is the creature of God, incapable of disobeying His Creator. The Creator does not create Evil to hurt the human beings and to urge them to disobey the Creator and commit criminal and evil acts because the Creator loves his creatures, does not want evil for them and he gives them the mind to be free in their choices during their lives, whether good or bad.

Some religions invented “Satan” to create paradise and hell and to intimidate those who disobey the Creator’s orders. At that time, powerful governments did not exist, enacting laws to deter man from doing bad deeds. In the Yazidi religion, the Creator is the absolute good and human beings have given reason to choose the nature and style of their lives. Therefore, in the Yezidi religion, Satan is that human being who chooses the path of evil and commits crimes.

In the era of Zoroastrianism and in the Sassanid era, when the religion of Zoroastrianism was adopted as the official religion of the Sasanian state, the people of the Yazdani religion were exterminated and continued to be accused of worshiping (Ahriman “Satan”). Yazidism, Alavism and Yarsanism are the three main religions that belong to Yazdanism. The lie of worshiping (Ahriman “Satan”) by Yazidis was transferred from the Sassanians, and spread among the peoples of the region and therefore this accusation of the Yazidis continued by Christians and Muslims as well.

In modern history, in the mid-1940s, Father Anastas Karamli played a major role in accusing Yazidis for worshiping Satan, followed by the Iraqi historian Abdul Razzaq al-Hasani. Since then, their accusation has been widely spread among the people of the area.

(Tawos “peacock”) who is the head of the angels in the Yazidi faith, his name is derived from the name of the ancient Sumerian wheat god “Dumuzi”, where the letter (D) in this name has been converted to the letter (T) and the letter (M) has been converted to the letter (W) according to the rule of the Kurdish language. From here we see that the name has nothing to do with peacock, but it is coming from the name of the Sumerian god.

If we compare the story of the creation of the universe in the religions of Yazidism, Alavism and Yarsanism, with that of the Sumerians, we find that they are very similar. Thus, the beliefs of the branches of the Yazdanism religion are an extension of the Sumerian beliefs that prevailed more than five thousand years ago.

A Calculated Planned Move by US State Dept to Betray the Kurds

The more I read about the “US betrayed Kurds,” I don’t think it’s a betrayal; I think it was calculated primarily at the State Department by Pompeo and Jeffrey since last year. The goal was to end America’s involvement with the SDF but in such a way that the SDF would be partially destroyed in Kurdish areas so that the US would only end up with Arab tribal areas and the Arab component of the SDF, which the US viewed as vetted and non-YPG. The goal was, as part of the anti-Iran campaign, to get Turkey to be against Iran (which it isn’t).
To do that up to 1 million Kurds would have to be displaced to make way for Turkey to conduct a population transfer of refugees. For some US and EU policy makers this was welcome because it would alleviate the refugee crises haunting Europe and reduce far-right populism.
The policy makers wanted a kind of sterilized ethnic cleansing hidden behind language like “safe zone” and “peace corridor” which were tested in English language media before being rolled out.
The SDF, which the US helped create and arm and which the US urged to take Raqqa and sacrifice 11,000 people fighting ISIS, would be reduced to a sub-contractor to jail ISIS detainees, of which there are some 10,000. The Pentagon would continue training SDF forces, up to around 100,000 of them, to be used for “internal security” and guarding ISIS.
The US policy makers calculated after Kirkuk and Afrin that one can ethnically cleanse around 180,000 Kurds at a time without international notice, because that is what happened in Kirkuk and Afrin. The idea would be to sell it to the SDF sequentially as “let’s give Turkey just a little bit to make them feel their security concerns are being addressed.” Under the guise of “security” 180,000 people would be cleansed in October 2019. Then the US would return to broker a “pause” in operations until Turkey was done and then Turkey would be given more Kurdish areas until its entire “safe zone” was constructed bit by bit with US aircover providing Turkey coordinates to bomb the SDF positions that the US knew about since the US had helped create the SDF in the first place and worked closely with them.
Step 1 has been accomplished. Get Turkey a safe zone and remove 180,000 Kurds.
Step 2 has been accomplished: get the SDF to be a contractor detaining ISIS members.
Step 3 has been accomplished; work more closely with only Arab areas of SDF control.
Step 4 is to prepare for Turkey’s next incursion and another 200,000 Kurds to be removed.
The US has calculated that most Kurds can be removed from Syria bit-by-bit because they saw how the YPG “successfully” sacrificed Afrin at US urging. The US told the YPG in January 2018 “just let Turkey have Afrin, you can keep eastern Syria.” Now the US says “just let Turkey ethnically cleanse a few hundred thousand so we can keep working together.”
The question perhaps is when Kurds will realize that systematically they are being removed by the US, Turkey, EU and SDF, all so that the SDF can keep holding ISIS detainees for western powers that don’t want them.
It’s very smart policy from Washington’s point of view. Find poor and vulnerable people, arm them to fight terrorists and then let your NATO ally bomb them while making sure they work as your jailers. You make sure they work until they are no longer needed and then you cleanse and remove their families and expel them.
The worst thing the Kurds in Syria did was ally with the US. Because of that they will eventually lose all of their homes on some bizarre adventure of jailing ISIS detainees without any recognition. The US, for instance, excluded all Kurds from the Geneva process. This should have been evidence that the US goal in eastern Syria was eventually to cleanse it of Kurds, so that it could be given to some other power. But the SDF wandered along blindly trusting Washington. Ok, we’ll give up Afrin. Ok, no need to be at Geneva. Ok. 180,000 people cleansed, it’s ok, please please let us keep one or two homes somewhere near an oil well which we will guard for you.
Never has the US found a better ally than the SDF, one that you can sacrifice, order to have it fight for you, jail your prisoners and even expel its families and it still works for you.
Smart “allies” like Turkey make sure to get something from Washington and get the US to work for them.
It’s not clear if there is ever a breaking point for the SDF. So far it seems that it will always do the fighting and sacrificing and let its people be cleansed, and never ask the US for anything in return.
Generally, I’d say if someone is going to ask me to fight and tell my family to be ethnically cleansed that I’ll opt for “no, thanks.”
If the SDF has just worked directly with Iran or Russia from the beginning it will today still have its lands and its people have homes. It chose the wrong “partner.” Because most US policy makers like James Jeffrey didn’t regard the people of eastern Syria as deserving any say. They don’t see Middle Eastern people as having the same rights.
When you’re asked to partner with someone and they tell you to eat on the floor in a back room while they eat at the table, you’re not a partner, you’re a mistress or a servant. The SDF accepted servant status for some reason. You can’t betray a servant or mistress. Unfortunately due to the structure of the SDF there isn’t much internal critique or questioning allowed of its policies.

Did US betray Kurdish allies or is the story actually worse, a calculated attempt to replace SDF with Turkey, regardless the costs on the ground

by Seth J. Frantzman (Jerusalem Post)

UN support Turkish plan for northern Syria as 300,000 Kurds forced out

By Seth J. Frantzman


UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres appeared to back a Turkish plan to settle millions of mostly Arab refugees from other parts of Syria in an area where more than 180,000 Kurds had been forced to flee in recent weeks. The UN leader thanked Turkey for its strong cooperation and support and agreed to form a team to study Turkey’s proposal and engage with Turkey. The UN’s news service put out a statement amenable to Turkey’s plan and seeking to study it.

In the discussions the UN chief did not critique Turkey’s October military offensive which has led to human rights violations, including extrajudicial assassinations and videos of executions of prisoners by Turkish-backed Syrian rebel groups. The UN also did not say the 180,000 civilians, which its own experts have recorded fleeing, have a right to return to their homes in northern Syria. Instead, the UN now is studying how to implement a Turkish occupation of northern Syria and how to work with Ankara on a “safe zone.” The UNHCR, which is supposed to ensure the right of the 180,000 people forced to flee by Turkey’s offensive, will now be asked to study the proposal to replace them with 3.6 million other Syrian refugees who live in Turkey.
It now appears that NATO, the UN, Russia and other world powers will work to prevent the return of people who fled Turkey’s offensive and to settle others in their place, with the imprimatur of UN approval. NATO has supported Turkey’s offensive, claiming security concerns make it acceptable, asking only for restraint from Ankara. So far restraint has meant hundreds of thousands of people have become homeless in three weeks.

Turkey and its proxies now occupy a swath of northern Syria including Afrin where 160,000 Kurds were expelled in 2018, and Idlib where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was living, and Jarabulus. Turkey doesn’t week to settle Syrian refugees in those areas, it only wants to send refugees from other parts of Syria to areas where Kurds live, using Turkish-backed Syrian rebel groups to cleanse the land first before resettlement occurs. Ankara calls this a “safe zone,” but for the 300,000 people who have fled the fighting, it has not been safe. Reports in media describe executions and attacks on civilians. The US has helped Turkey achieve its goal by opening the airspace to a Turkish offensive and working to exclude Kurds from the UN-backed Geneva process for Syria’s constitution. The US excluded its own Syrian Democratic Forces, a group the US helped create in 2015, from Geneva and has excluded other Kurdish groups in eastern Syria from participating. The UN, Turkey, Russia and others have also made sure to exclude representatives of the Kurdish minority in eastern Syria from participating. Russia embarked on joint patrols in eastern Syria with Turkey over the last days. Kurdish youth threw stones at the Turkish military vehicles, protesting the military occupation.

The UN study of Ankara’s plan to settle eastern Syria may be the first time that the UN has actively worked to resettle people from a country in an area they are not from while ensuring that people who fled have no ability to return to their homes. Kurds and their supporters have said this amounts to ethnic-cleansing. If that is the case the UN may be aiding in ethnic cleansing, a major departure from the usual UN mandate. In other instances the UN has generally opposed war and invasions as a way to solve issues, and has supported refugees and their rights to return. However, Turkey’s invasion of norther Syria, which was proposed at the UN General Assembly in September, has received support now from the UN Secretary General. The Syrian government, authorities in eastern Syria, and local people expelled from their homes have no say in the UN’s decision to study Turkey’s proposal and the UN Secretary General has never met with people from eastern Syria who lost their homes in the recent invasion.



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Lost in Iranian Ballyhoo: Is it Muslim Ban?

The community of Iranians shape one of the largest share of immigrants in the US out of seven countries in the executive order. During recent visa ban on Iranian visa holders, the widespread hype has been orchestrated with tacit Persian influence over academia, officials, and professionals in the country. According to statistics and reports, Iranians have not been committing a direct act of terror inside United stated. However, reports fail to address the indirect support of terror by Iranians. It was after 1979 revolution; Mr. Tabtabaei whom was murdered on US soil in Maryland on July 1988 by an agent paid by Iran, afterward he fled to Iran. Years later, the murderer acted in an Iranian movie on Afghanistan subject (Qandahar Journey).

Eight years later, in 1988, when US Navy ship, the Vincennes, directly exchange the fire and shoot down the Airbus 655, the US actually become involved in a direct fight with Iran. In this case, Iran performed a revenge in an indirect and tacit way, a few months later Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Scotland by paid Libyan nationals, later a defector confesses that Iran was behind the plot.
Politically immature governments may get involved in direct sabotage and overt terror activities,however states like Iran with resources can obtain assassination services from third party and mafia groups and perform covert agendas, the case of Mr. Arbab is the latest incident.
In this paper, author sheds lights on methods and strategies in which Iranians utilize to spread terrorism and impose their initiatives.

This article addresses only Mr. Trump immigration ban on Iranians with visas.

Keywords: Trump, immigration ban, Iran, Persian, Kurds, Kurdistan


Kokabian, P, Lost in Ballyhoo: Is it Muslim Ban? (February 2, 2017). Available at SSRN:

Abraham and Nena

By Hamíit Qliji Bérai

Social sciences false information facilities dominate the world. The international mind is filled with falsehoods. Wrong information = wrong understanding, which leads to wrong ideas. Now, during four centuries of the academic work of related disciplines; the archaeologists, historians, linguists, anthropologists, philosophers and biblicalists are stacking on a colonial corrupt construction that until now, continues in the cultural policy and academic educational works, which necessarily needs to be completely overturned, since it is not a matter of some misunderstanding or here and there some corrections but it is an entirely false construction and wrong understanding. Nonetheless, the establishment appreciates only contributing to its cultural appropriation upon their societies, no nosy.

The ancient Near East civilizations, from the earliest time (archaeology, cultural stratigraphy, language, philosophy, ethnography and the Bible), form the ground of contemporary social sciences.

From this research has been clear that the Roman church initially and the present colonial education system during its four centuries existence, are assisting the Islam and Muslim conquerors (Arabs, Iranians and Turks) to convert and overcome the traditions of matriarchal fertility, biological naturalism philosophy. That is a swindle alliance of Christianity, Islam and the contemporary establishment of the education system. The patriarch cardinal Abraham (the prophet) continued matriarchy biological naturalism philosophy. Abraham was sent by Supreme Matriarchy Legislator Nena (dinker Nana, cardinal grandmother), on mission “one international humanitarian law”. That is the proper Abrahamic “Uru, Hebru” patriarchy. The Islam is a swindle was founded on lies of the Roman Church.

That is how humanity (especially the women and Kurds) became the arch enemy to the by Romans adopted Jewish, Christianity and Islam. That up to now, continuously has led to deception of the world, terrorism, terrorization of humanity at all, oppression of the women, genocide of the Kurdish people (Kurds, Jews and Armenians) by the Romans, Muslims and by the Nazis during the First and Second World War. They have destroyed the matriarchal civilization and decivilized the spirit of the Kurdish communities from the highest level of scientific knowledge and civilization. The ancient civilizations were destroyed by the Roman Christianity, Islam and colonialism.

The Roman Christian missionaries, Portuguese colonial agents in order of the Roman Christian Church, and later as the Royal Society of London had desired the agents of East India Company (Dutch-British, e.g. Samuel Flower) structured, pictured images and carved the trilingual cuneiform inscription of Persepolis in 1600s. Then in order of the Royal Asiatic Society of London, the cuneiform inscriptions and images of supposed Persian kings of Bísetūn were carved and pictured in 1800s by the agents of East India Company, Major General, Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson, James Felix Jones and Alexander Hector. Evidently, the establishment that “Rawlinson deciphered the cuneiform script of the trilingual inscriptions of the Achaemenian Kings of Persia at Persepolis and Bísetūn, which led to the decipherment of the cuneiform literature” is a lie. The decipherment of cuneiform inscriptions did not begun in 1840s, but they revealed the invented falsehood and publicized it for discussion. The first revealed translated cuneiform inscription was the pretended Persian kings’ inscriptions of Persepolis.

Despite my approaches, the establishment for archaeologists, historians, linguists, anthropologists, philosophers and biblicalists, does not like to know about it. They put their heads in the sand to avoid and ignore any discussion, see In Vain Approaches to Conspirators. Probably they need to be forced by the international community, even from the outside of their relevant fields. During the past quarter century I have documented undisputed multidisciplinary evidences (about 1500 pages), which have always been available for peer review, for instance see The Earliest Farmers.

These institutes and experts should be hauled before the national and international courts on charges committing criminal offenses “falsifying historical documents; adapting and providing false educational sources; fooling the international community; spending of the education budget and grants to committing crimes; destruction of the archaeological records of human history and cultural heritages of the humankind; concealing of information on historical ethnic and linguistic development records and records of biological naturalism philosophy; concealing historical and philological information, which could possibly elucidate the history of the People”. The establishments’ concern entirely ancient world are hoaxes.

Now is the time to take action, we need to take action against these crimes, if we do not, they will continue this. We need to challenge them to stop educating next generations with lies and scams. People have been educated with false information provisions, generations to generations, even your ancestors, you and your descendants. The governments should take their responsibility seriously to stop that and to stop spending of education means, academic awards, grants and funding on committing criminal offenses.

It is also your responsibility to break the silence and to help the true succeed in its endeavors.

Please read further ….

Hamíit Qliji Bérai, The Hague, October 2, 2016;

[email protected]

The Rojava revolution was made by a struggling people, not American bombs

Matt Broomfield reports from Rojava

Last night I slept in a Kurdish friend’s house here in Rojava. His daughter, brash and confident at 6, stood on a table and performed the songs she has been learning in school, as part of the first generation of Syrian-Kurdish students ever to hear their mother tongue in the classroom.

“I am a Kurd,” she sang. “I learn in my own language… I sing in my own language…” It does not seem so much to ask.

Yet it is too much for the Turkish state, ever-hungry for the extermination of the Kurds, ready “to bury the militants of Rojava in their ditches,” as their defence minister threatened this week. It is too much for Donald Trump, who this week took the decision to withdraw his forces from Rojava and leave us at the mercy of the coming Turkish invasion.

And too much, also, for many Western and international leftists, crowing over peace as though peace will now come or sneering at the Kurds for “refusing to learn from their mistakes” and accepting American air cover in their death-struggle against Daesh.

If comrades in any given global power had succeeded in installing anti-imperialist, socialist rule in their own land; if the Kurds had turned their back on offers of military protection from The People’s Republic of Wherever in favour of the Americans; then we could talk. But these days there is no such power.

Those “anti-imperialists” who sneer at the YPG/J for accepting air cover from the Americans during the siege of Kobane choose to forget the unilateral nature of imperialist ventures into the Middle East.

As Salih Muslim, the Diplomatic Relations Co-Chair for Rojava’s governing party PYD, recently said: “We didn’t invite the Americans, and didn’t tell them to leave. They weren’t here to protect us in any case. Our interests coincided, we acted together, but we never relied on them.”

The Turkish state has its jihadist proxies, who rape and torture and imprison and execute at will: but through NATO the Turkish state is itself a proxy, of precisely the chauvinist, authoritarian class-interest nationalism which Trump peddles.

If Turkey seizes the oilfields and riches of the DFNS, who do these anti-imperialists think they will be doing business with? One NATO army may be leaving, but this does not mean Syrian soil is being restored to Syrian hands. The Democratic Federation of Northern Syria always was in Syrian hands, Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian. It may not be for much longer.

Trump’s decision makes clear what Rojava’s supporters have been saying all along: some imperialist powers view the Kurds as vermin to be exterminated and some view them as a useful tool, but in the end there is little to choose between them.

Without expectation we wait for an apology from those who accused us of being a willing puppet for imperialist expansion in the Middle East. Witness the canary-yellow banner of Abdullah Ocalan flying over newly-liberated Raqqa city, in defiance of the American coalition’s wishes. See how steadfastly the people here take to the street in support of the banned guerrilla, in defiance of all international-relations logic. There is no love for imperialists here, only the necessities of war.

Discussing another, briefer, revolution, the poet WH Auden wrote of habit-forming pain: the habits he describes are apathetic, hopeless. But the sense I get from Kurdish comrades here in Rojava is that if more suffering is to come, the muscle-memory of their people will respond as it has always responded.

When the people of Kobane marched on the American military bases there this week it was with anger, and photos of their many martyrs held defiantly over their heads.

The message of the people was not a plea for aid, but that they shamed the decision of the American leader (biryara Trump hat şermezarkirin, as it was described on the evening news) and demanded that their sacrifices were respected. Their action was made from a position of strength. Not military or material strength, perhaps, but strength nonetheless.

“We won’t beg anyone not to attack us, or beg to be protected,” Salih Muslim continued. “We are here, we can handle our own defence. We are resolved for a total resistance. We rely on our people and our own defence system. Everybody will fulfil their duty.”

Even if there is total war and Turkish airplanes massacre the cities and the revolution is driven into the desert and the mountains, the Kurdish movement was forged in friendless hardship and is stronger now than it has ever been.

When I spent that evening in my Kurdish friend’s house, laughing with his daughters, afterward chain-smoking and swapping dirty jokes, I remembered other lines of Auden’s which have given me much comfort in these hectic and uncertain days:

“To-day the deliberate increase in the chances of death,
The conscious acceptance of guilt in the necessary murder…
To-day the makeshift consolations: the shared cigarette,
The cards in the candlelit barn, and the scraping concert,
The masculine jokes; to-day the
Fumbled and unsatisfactory embrace before hurting.”

Here on the ground one clearly sees how makeshift this revolution is, the home-made tanks falling apart at the checkpoints, the derelict regime outposts repurposed as women’s centres, the meals and shelter constantly offered to us by poor villagers as we travel for our work, the cheaply-produced videos projected onto bedsheets reminding the local youth of their long history of struggle. And one sees that this hand-to-mouth existence is the source of its strength.

In her excellent piece commenting on some reactions to Trump’s decision – which you should read in full – Kurdish feminist Dr Hawzhin Azeez writes:

“Who taught you that this was a smooth path? Have we not learned anything from the past history of betrayal? Have we forgotten that no matter what, the sheltering mountains of Kurdistan will always call us back into their defensive embrace? That the freedom fighters sit on the peaks and watch over us, committed to our inevitable liberation? At what point did we give away our power to the neocolonialists and the imperialists?”

The call she makes to her Kurdish kin, I would repeat to our international comrades. If there are American planes here to cover us, so be it. It is right that the American people, in particular, rise up against this cowardly decision by their leader.

But as internationalists we must stand together outside these lines of state force, with the tireless conviction of our Kurdish comrades. We need support, mobilisation, mass anti-fascist action against targets at home in the West. We rely on our comrades, not the self-serving will of capitalist states.

Rojava has restored a sense of critical internationalism to revolutionary movements across the West, where it has long been dwindling in favour of a parochialism borne of liberal neuroses. We now call on these movements to act materially and across their own sectarian divides.

Unlike the fallen dinosaurs of state communism, we cannot offer financial or military aid in return. What we can offer is the burning of an anti-fascist, anti-imperialist hope on the horizon, uniting and driving on struggles across the globe. Do not allow it to be extinguished

Attack in Iran raises specter of a potentially far larger conflagration

By James M. Dorsey

A podcast version of this article is available at

An attack on a military parade in the southern Iranian city of Ahwaz is likely to prompt Iranian retaliation against opposition groups at home and abroad. It also deepens Iranian fears that the United States. Saudi Arabia and others may seek to destabilize the country by instigating unrest among its ethnic minorities.

With competing claims of responsibility by the Islamic State and the Ahvaz National Resistance for the attack that killed 29 people and wounded 70 others in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan, which borders on Iraq and is home to Iran’s ethnic Arab community, it is hard to determine with certainty the affiliation of the four perpetrators, all of whom were killed in the incident.

Statements by Iranian officials, however, accusing the United States and its allies, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, suggest that they see the Ahvaz group rather than the Islamic State as responsible for the incident, the worst since the Islamic State attacked the Iranian parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran in 2017.

Iran’s summoning, in the wake of the attack, of the ambassadors of Britain, the Netherlands and Denmark, countries from which Iranian opposition groups operate, comes at an awkward moment for Tehran.

It complicates Iranian efforts to ensure that European measures effectively neutralize potentially crippling US sanctions that are being imposed as a result of the US withdrawal in May from the 2015 international agreement that curbed the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.

Ahvaz-related violence last year spilled on to the street of The Hague when unidentified gunmen killed Ahwazi activist Ahmad Mola Nissi. Mr. Nissi was shot dead days before he was scheduled to launch a Saudi-funded television station staffed with Saudi-trained personnel that would target Khuzestan, according to Ahvazi activists.

This week, a group of exile Iranian academics and political activists, led by The Hague-based social scientist Damon Golriz, announced the creation of a group that intends to campaign for a liberal democracy in Iran under the auspices of Reza Pahlavi, the son of the ousted Shah of Iran who lives in the United States.

While Iran appears to be targeting exile groups in the wake of the Ahvaz attack, Iran itself has witnessed in recent years stepped up activity by various insurgent groups amid indications of Saudi support, leading to repeated clashes and interception of Kurdish, Baloch and other ethnic insurgents.

Last month, Azeri and Iranian Arab protests erupted in soccer stadiums while the country’s Revolutionary Guards Corps reported clashes with Iraq-based Iranian Kurdish insurgents.

State-run television warned at the time in a primetime broadcast that foreign agents could turn legitimate protests stemming from domestic anger at the government’s mismanagement of the economy and corruption into “incendiary calls for regime change” by inciting violence that would provoke a crackdown by security forces and give the United States fodder to tackle Iran.

The People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran or Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MeK), a controversial exiled opposition group that enjoys the support of serving and former Western officials, including some in the Trump administration, as well as prominent Saudis such as Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence chief, who is believed to be close to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has taken credit for a number of the protests in Khuzestan.

The incidents fit an emerging pattern, prompting suggestions that if a Gulf-backed group was responsible for this weekend’s attack, it may have been designed to provoke a more direct confrontation between Iran and the United States.

“If the terrorist attack in Ahvaz was part of a larger Saudi and UAE escalation in Iran, their goal is likely to goad Iran to retaliate and then use Tehran’s reaction to spark a larger war and force the US to enter since Riyadh and Abu Dhabi likely cannot take on Iran militarily alone… If so, the terrorist attack is as much about trapping Iran into war as it is to trap the US into a war of choice,” said Trita Parsi of the National Iranian American Council.

Iran appears with its response to the Ahvaz attack to be saying that its fears of US and Saudi destabilization efforts are becoming reality. The Iranian view is not wholly unfounded.

Speaking in a private capacity on the same day as the attack in Ahvaz, US President Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, declared that US. sanctions were causing economic pain that could lead to a “successful revolution” in Iran.

“I don’t know when we’re going to overthrow them. It could be in a few days, months, a couple of years. But it’s going to happen,” Mr. Giuliani told an audience gathered in New York for an Iran Uprising Summit organized by the Organization of Iranian-American Communities, a Washington-based group associated with the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq.

Mr. Giuliani is together with John Bolton, Mr. Trump’s national security advisor, a long-standing supporter of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq that calls for the violent overthrow of the Iranian regime.

Mr. Bolton, last year before assuming office, drafted at the request of Mr. Trump’s then strategic advisor, Steve Bannon, a plan that envisioned US support “for the democratic Iranian opposition,” “Kurdish national aspirations in Iran, Iraq and Syria,” and assistance for Iranian Arabs in Khuzestan and Baloch in the Pakistani province of Balochistan and Iran’s neighboring Sistan and Balochistan province.

The Trump administration has officially shied away from formally endorsing the goal of toppling the regime in Tehran. Mr. Bolton, since becoming national security advisor, has insisted that US policy was to put “unprecedented pressure” on Iran to change its behaviour”, not its regime.

Messrs. Bolton and Giuliani’s inclination towards regime change is, however, shared by several US allies in the Middle East, and circumstantial evidence suggests that their views may be seeping into US policy moves without it being officially acknowledged.

Moreover, Saudi support for confrontation with Iran precedes Mr. Trump’s coming to office but has intensified since, in part as a result of King Salman’s ascendance to the Saudi throne in 2015 and the rise of his son, Prince Mohammed.

Already a decade ago, Saudi Arabia’s then King Abdullah urged the United States to “cut off the head of the snake” by launching military strikes to destroy Iran’s nuclear program.

Writing in 2012 in Asharq Al Awsat, a Saudi newspaper, Amal Al-Hazzani, an academic, asserted in an op-ed entitled “The oppressed Arab district of al-Ahwaz“ that Khuzestan “is an Arab territory… Its Arab residents have been facing continual repression ever since the Persian state assumed control of the region in 1925… It is imperative that the Arabs take up the al-Ahwaz cause, at least from the humanitarian perspective.”

More recently, Prince Mohammed vowed that “we won’t wait for the battle to be in Saudi Arabia. Instead, we will work so that the battle is for them in Iran.”

Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a prominent UAE scholar, who is believed to be close to Emirati Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, played into Iranian assertions of Gulf involvement in this weekend’s attack by tweeting that it wasn’t a terrorist incident.

Mr. Abdulla suggested that “moving the battle to the Iranian side is a declared option” and that the number of such attacks “will increase during the next phase”.

A Saudi think tank, believed to be backed by Prince Mohammed last year called in a study for Saudi support for a low-level Baloch insurgency in Iran. Prince Mohammed vowed around the same time that “we will work so that the battle is for them in Iran, not in Saudi Arabia.”

Pakistani militants have claimed that Saudi Arabia has stepped up funding of militant madrassas or religious seminaries in Balochistan that allegedly serve as havens for anti-Iranian fighters.

The head of the US State Department’s Office of Iranian Affairs, Steven Fagin, met in Washington in June with Mustafa Hijri, head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI), before assuming his new post as counsel general in Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The KDPI has recently stepped up its attacks in Iranian Kurdistan, killing nine people weeks before Mr. Hijri’s meeting with Mr. Fagin. Other Kurdish groups have reported similar attacks. Several Iranian Kurdish groups are discussing ways to coordinate efforts to confront the Iranian regime.

Similarly, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) last year appointed a seasoned covert operations officer as head of its Iran operations.

Said Saudi Ambassador to the United States Prince Khalid bin Salman, Prince Mohammed’s brother: President “Trump makes clear that we will not approach Iran with the sort of appeasement policies that failed so miserably to halt Nazi Germany’s rise to power, or avert the costliest war ever waged.”

Dr. James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, co-director of the University of Würzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, and co-host of the New Books in Middle Eastern Studies podcast. James is the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog, a book with the same title and a co-authored volume, Comparative Political Transitions between Southeast Asia and the Middle East and North Africa as well as Shifting Sands, Essays on Sports and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa and just published China and the Middle East: Venturing into the Maelstrom

Oil partitioned Kurdistan, covert agreements

The origins of the Red Line Agreement can be traced back to the initial formation of the Turkish Petroleum Company (TPC) in 1912.

The TPC was formed as a joint venture between Royal Dutch/Shell, the Deutsche Bank, and the Turkish National Bank, in order to promote oil exploration and production within the Ottoman Empire.

In reality, the Red Line boundaries were defined through negotiations between the Anglo-Persian Oil Company and the French group, with government involvement on both sides. The group of British and American companies named seven sisters following the join concession. The seven sisters were the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey (later Exxon), the Standard Oil Company of New York (Socony, later Mobil, which eventually merged with Exxon), the Standard Oil Company of California (Socal, later renamed Chevron), the Texas Oil Company (later renamed Texaco), Gulf Oil (which later merged with Chevron), Anglo-Persian (later British Petroleum), and Royal Dutch/Shell.

The Iraq Petroleum Company Limited was incorporated in 1911 as the African and Eastern Concessions Limited. It’s name was changed to Turkish Petroleum Company Limited in 1912, and to Iraq Petroleum Company Limited in 1929.

While any other company could bid for concessions, the Red Line accord—so named because the affected area was delimited by a red line drawn around it on a map—had the effect of suppressing competitive bidding by the most powerful companies in the industry, thus restricting the ability of local regimes to play one company against the other. It was one of the initial cases of oil company cooperation on an international scale.

The Turkish Petroleum Company, formed before World War I by British, French, and Dutch interests, found oil in 1927 by drilling only a few hundred meters from the “eternal fires.” The discovery near Kirkuk opened one of the major oil fields of the world. In 1928, the United States made its first entry into the Middle East oil race when the Near East Development Corporation (NEDC) obtained an equity interest in Turkish Petroleum, renamed Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC) in 1929. NEDC originally comprised five companies but later was equally divided between Standard of New Jersey (now Exxon) and Socony Vacuum (later Mobil, which merged with Exxon in 1999).

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By the San Remo Oil Agreement of 1920 the shareholding in the Company was arranged as Anglo-Persian Oil Company Limited (47.5 per cent), Shell (22.5 per cent), Compagnie Franaise des Petroles (25 per cent), C. S. Gulbenkian (5 per cent). A concession was obtained in 1925 and oil was first struck by the Company in 1927.

In 1928 the “Red Line” Agreement was signed after much debate between the groups. It rearranged the shareholding as follows: Anglo-Persian Oil Company Limited (23.75 per cent), Shell (23.75 per cent), Compagnie Francaise des Petroles (23.75 per cent), the Near East Development Corporation (23.75 per cent), and Gulbenkian (5 per cent). The Concession Agreement was revised in 1931. The 1928 Red Line Agreement was superseded by a Revised Group Agreement in 1948. The wholly owned subsidiaries of Basrah Petroleum Company Limited and Mosul Petroleum Company Limited obtained further concessions in 1938 and 1942 respectively. Pipelines to the Mediterranean were completed in the 1930s and 1940s. The Company also acquired significant interests in Middle Eastern concessions outside Iraq.

One accord was the Red Line Agreement, reached in 1928, which covered former Ottoman Empire possessions, excluding Kuwait and Egypt. It provided that any oil deals involving areas within the Red Line must be unanimously approved by all companies operating inside that line.

In 1961 the revolutionary regime of General Kassem promulgated Law 80 which deprived the IPC of over 99.5 per cent of its concessional areas in Iraq, leaving only producing oilfields.

In September 1960, Qasim demanded that the Anglo American-owned Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC) share 20% of the ownership and 55% of the profits with the Iraqi government. Then, in response to the IPC’s rejection of this proposal, Qasim issued Public Law 80, which would have taken away 99.5% of the IPC’s ownership and established an Iraqi national oil company to oversee the export of Iraqi oil. British and US officials and multinationals demanded that the Kennedy administration place pressure on the Qasim regime.

Qasim was overthrown by the Ba’athist coup of February 8, 1963. While there have been persistent rumours that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) orchestrated the coup, declassified documents and the testimony of former CIA officers indicate there was no direct American involvement, although the CIA was actively seeking to find a suitable replacement for Qasim within the Iraqi military and had been informed of an earlier Ba’athist coup plot by a high-ranking informant within the Party.

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Calouste Gulbenkian was the 5% partner to Red Line Agreement

From left to right: the current President of south Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani as a kid (the son of General Mustaffa Barzani) and the former Iraqi president Abdulkarim Qasim. this picture is probably taken somewhere in the 50’s of the past century

Massoud Barzani as a kid (the son of General Mustaffa Barzani) and the former Iraqi president Abdulkarim Qasim.
this picture is probably taken somewhere in the 50’s of the past century

Zagros Mountains

Virtually all of Iran’s 41 oil fields follow the trend of folds in the Zagros Mountains in western Iran from Kermanshah in the northwest to Bandar-e Abbas in the southeast at the Strait of Hormuz. Lying in the southeastern part of the sedimentary basin, opposite the Qatar Peninsula and east toward the Strait of Hormuz, are more than a dozen rich gas fields.


Syria’s older fields lie in the extreme northeastern corner of the country, just west of the Tigris River, and are an integral part of the structures containing the Batman fields of southeastern Turkey and the fields of northern Iraq. A significant discovery in late 1984 near Dayr al-Zawr initiated a modest “oil boom” in eastern Syria that spread to the center of the country and opened a dozen small new fields, for a country total of 17.


  • Riches Beneath the Earth , Colbert C. Held, From Middle East Patterns. People, Places and Politics 2000, Westview Press
  • William Stivers; A Note on the Red Line Agreement, Diplomatic History, Volume 7, Issue 1, 1 January 1983, Pages 23–34,
  • State Dept, The Red Line Agreement,
  • Gulbenkian’s memoir provides the basis for Hewins’s book (see note 2 above), which is the authorized Gulbenkian biography. The authorized history of Standard Oil credits the Gulbenkian and thus Hewins’s version. See George Sweet Gibb and Evelyn H. Knowlton, The Resurgent Years, 1911–1927: Histon of the Siandard Oil Company of New Jersey (New York, 1956). p. 291.