Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

The Kurdish Spring: A New Map of the Middle East

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

The Kurdish Spring: A New Map of the Middle East

Article excerpt

The Kurdish Spring: A New Map of the Middle East. By David L. Phillips. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 2015. 268 pp. $74.95 ($24.95, paper).

The Kurdish Spring adds to a long list of recent books on the Kurds. This scholarly theme has flourished in the early twenty-first century in sharp contrast with most of the twentieth century when the subject was all but ignored by scholars and politicians alike.

Phillips draws a panoramic picture of the Kurds in all four parts of Greater Kurdistan: parts of southeastern Turkey, northern Syria, northern Iraq, and western Iran. This is the book's strength because it provides a comprehensive picture, but it is also its weakness because the author seems to have bitten off too much resulting in mistakes. To give just two examples, Philips claims that the British used chemical bombs against the Kurds in the 1920s whereas according to David Mcdowall, they used delayed bombs.2 Similarly, Phillips writes that the Society for the Revival of Kurdistan (Komeley Jiyanewey Kurdistan or JK) was established in Iran in 1944 while Abbas Vali states that it was established two years earlier.3

The author's main thesis is that since the Kurds play a very important role in the region, the United States should support them. In the case of the Kurds of Iraq, Washington should support their independence because Iraq is no longer a viable state. …

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