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Thread: Kurds vs Assyrians - The full story ?1425 days old

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    Default Kurds vs Assyrians - The full story ?

    I am going to keep the OP quick and to the point. During my time on this forum and especially ever since the rise of ISIS, comments have come up which I had never actually took time to look into and research. One that comes to mind straight away is the dispute on this forum Ive come across a few times between the Kurds and Assyrians. I must admit I don't actually know a great deal about either ethnic group and their history, but I am well aware of the basics between each respectable group, however as we all know both of these ethnic groups don't actually have official land/countries which they can claim is their own. Both constitute as ethnic groups as part of other nations.

    The kurds have their own story of what is their land and the Assyrians have theirs, but I hope that maybe I can use this thread as a huge learning step and to set the record straight in a non biased manner from fellow kurds/Assyrians here and see exactly what is the situation with it all. Comments from Elias from posts regarding the kurds occupying Assyrian land while being involved in genocides of Assyrians also interests me a lot, because the common notion amongst Iranians has always been the kurds being the victims of such acts, I didn't actually know that they "supposedly" did the same to others as well (again, please enlighten me on this part as I don't actually know the deal here).

    1. Who is the culprit here? did the kurds genuinely take over what was originally Assyrian land or was it vice-versa ?

    2. Whats the full story with the supposed Kurdish involvement in the murdering of Assyrians ?


    I hope this thread does not end up a trolling disaster or get quite ugly, hopefully everybody can stay civilized while debating and I can learn something new
    Last edited by ancestryfan1994; 2015-08-23 at 23:53.

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    Kurds originally lived in northwestern Iran but eventually spread across northern Iraq, eastern Turkey, and into the Levant. Assyrians are the most authentic remains of the ancient Mesopotamian communities of northern Iraq, though it is important to note many Iraqi Arabs, if not most of those in the north and center of their country, are Arabized Assyrian in origin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tauromenion View Post
    Kurds originally lived in northwestern Iran but eventually spread across northern Iraq, eastern Turkey, and into the Levant. Assyrians are the most authentic remains of the ancient Mesopotamian communities of northern Iraq, though it is important to note many Iraqi Arabs, if not most of those in the north and center of their country, are Arabized Assyrian in origin.

    From your comments above

    1. You say kurds lived in Iran before, which I remember reading about. So I take it that the theories on them being originally Persian are true? if not what was their true origins. The whole "we originate from the medians" thing is so regurgitated I don't actually know if its just a common myth or real facts.

    2. Basically the kurds ARE living on what used to be Assyrian land, so how did they obtain the land from the Assyrians? does the supposed genocide of Assyrians come into play here? Because Ive heard from Kurdish people themselves that the Assyrians are known as a minority in the Kurdish part of Iraq. There is a huge bit of irony here from the Kurds side. Because if what you say is true, then it reminds me a lot of the whole issue people have with Israel and how the Jews suddenly decided to move into Palestinian land and form a new nation, although they supposedly had ancestral rights to the land of Israel, but that is a different topic. However the similarities are there, the kurds are pushing for a new nation under what apparently is being claimed as Assyrian land, and you mention that the Assyrians are the most authentic representation of the land, so I am taking it they have more claim to the land than the kurds?


    Have I got this all right?....
    Last edited by ancestryfan1994; 2015-08-24 at 09:33.

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    I don't have time drawn-out discussions. I just want to add some nuance, and make one reply as comprehensive as possible.

    The way it is depicted online by some makes it seem that Assyrians and Kurds have always been mortal enemies, and the only reason the Assyrians are in the situation they're in now is because of the Kurds. This is wrong.

    Many, many Assyrians were slaughtered or assimilated by Arabs, the Mongols and Timur. These are what made their numbers dwindle in the first place. Indeed, the Ottomans and Kurdish tribes massacred a lot of Assyrians too, but even here, nuance is needed. For the Kurds, religious motivation might have played some role, but it was mostly legimitization of violence, because what mattered to those that participated ultimately were tribal gains. Also, as was to be expected, a rather large amount of Christians were saved by Kurds as well.

    In this regard, Assyrians actually were more alike Kurds than Armenians. There were powerful Assyrian tribes, which often had both Christian and Kurdish serfs. These Assyrians tribes would at times have coalitions with Kurdish tribes, against rival Assyrians tribes. For example, in 'Fever and Thirst: A Missionary Doctor Amid the Christian Tribes of Kurdistan', I found that among the prominent allies of Bedr Khan, a Kurdish tribal leader who killed Assyrians in the 1840's, was a strong Assyrian tribe who willingly participated. The symbiotic relations between Assyrians and Kurds can also been in cultural and linguistic influences, Aramaic, for example, has been significantly influenced by Kurdish. See: Diversity in convergence: Kurdish and Aramaic variation entangled. If I'm not mistaken, during the period of the British Mandate of Iraq, the Assyrian Levies were their favourite force to quell Kurdish movements.

    Kurdish and Christian relations at times were good, at other times bad. Such dynasties and principalities as the Shaddadids, Ayyubids, the Hakkari Principality etc. were noted for having been good towards their Christian subjects. Important in explaining the bloody 19th and early 20th century were fears of the better educated and richer Christians, and the abolishment of the Kurdish autonomous regions in the Ottoman Empire under the Tanzimat reforms. These principalities had actually been quite stable, internally, because the leading tribes could keep the marauding of others in check.

    Also, I want to dispell the myth that Kurds have only become a majority in North Mesopotamia since the Assyrian Genocide. Though Kurds are indeed a more recent ethnic group, settlement of Iranic groups (of which at least some were to become Kurds) in the region is 2000 or more years old, and about a millenium ago, it appears Kurds had a clear majority in several regions of North Mesopotamia.

    Let me first show the Kurdish presence. The Kurds were attested in the region from pretty much their first widespread appearance in history, indicating that they are indeed descendants of earlier Iranic settlers, and didn't come in the centuries thereafter. Arab sources (mostly 9th c.) which detail the Kurds already in Northern Mesopotamia in the 7th century, during the Islamic conquests:

    Origins of the Islamic State, part II

    Shahrazur near present-day Sulaymaniyah, p. 35. "Abu-Raja' al-Hulwani from his father from the sheikhs of Shahrazur: -Shahrazur, as-Samaghan, and Darabadh were among the conquest of 'Utbah ibn-Farkad as-Sulami. He met the Kurds in combat and killed many of them..."

    Encyclopedia of Islam
    Mosul, p. 1136. "Sa'd b. Abi Wakkas marched on Mawsil where the districts with a Kurd population were occupied."

    Mosul also here: the Origins of the Islamic State Part II

    By the way, I equated Iraqi Kurdistan with Northern Mesopotamia, even though that's not entirely correct. Kurds were also found a bit to the north, such as in the former Korchayk/Corduene area (Sirnak, Hakkari).

    The Legend of Mar Qardagh (7th c., concerning the 4th c.!)

    p. 26: But the blessed Abdisho answered and said to him, “As it was told to me by my parents, they were from Hazza, a village in the lands of the Assyrians. But because they were Christians, they were driven out by impious pagans, and went and settled in Tamanon, a village in the land of the Kurds...."

    Some centuries later, but certainly before the 16th century, several areas had a definite Kurdish majority.

    From 'the Lands of the Eastern Caliphate':
    p. 87-88: Ibn Hawkal who was at Mosul in 358 (969) describes it as a fine town with excellent markets, surrounded by fertile districts of which the most celebrated was that round Ninaway (Nineveh) where the prophet Yunis (Jonah) was buried. In the 4th (10th) century the population consisted chiefly of Kurds, and the numerous districts round Mosul, occupying all Diyir Rabi'ah, are carefully enumerated by Ibn Hawkal.

    Four marches north-west of Dinavar was the town of Shahrazur, standing in the district of the same name. Ibn Hawkal, in the 4th (10th) century, mentions Shahrazur as a walled and fortified town inhabited by Kurds, whose tribes he names; they occupied all the surrounding region, which was most fruitful. The traveller Ibn Muhalhal (as quoted by Yakut) describes in the 4th (10th) century the many towns and villages of this district, and the chief town, he says, was known among the Persians as Nim-Rah, or 'the Half-way House’ because it stood at the middle stage between Madain (Ctesiphon) and Shiz, the two great fire-temples of Sassanian times. The neighbouring mountains were called Sha'ran and Zalam, where according to Kazvini a species of grain was grown that was deemed a powerful aphrodisiac. The Kurds in this region, when Ibn Muhalhal visited the place, numbered 60,000 tents, and when Mustawfi wrote in the 8th (14th) century Shahrazur was still a flourishing town, and inhabited by Kurds.

    Or some presence:
    To the north of Mosul the city of 'Imâdîyah, near the head waters of the Upper Zab, according to Mustawfî derived its name from its founder the Daylamite prince 'Imid-ad-Dawlah who died in 338 (949). Other authorities, however, ascribe Imâdiyah, or at any rate the restoration of that town in 537 (1142), to 'Imid-ad-Din Zangi, father of that famous prince of Upper Mesopotamia, Nûr-ad-Din, under whom Saladin began his career. Yakut reports that of old a castle had existed here held by the Kurds, and known under the name of Ashib. Mustawfi in the 8th (14th) century describes 'Imadiyah as a town of considerable size.

    Boris James has shown in le Territoire Tribal des Kurdes (you'll need the PDF for the full text) more quotes, such as from Yaqut al-Hamawi (12th-13th c.), that Kurds also made up the majority in Hewlêr (Irbil), Tell Haftûn and Akra ('Aqr), on page 115.

    And no, Kurds aren't Persians. This really shouldn't even be a question anymore. Kurds are Iranic, and thus, descend from various Iranic tribes, but not from Persians, since the Kurdish dialects/languages are from a whole other branch of the Iranic languages. Kurd was originally derived from a tribe called the Kurtians (Cyrtians), which originally dwelled in Media Atropatene, then settled (in the early centuries AD) in the Sirnak/Hakkari regions among the Gordyeans (which I didn't know until recently). 'Kurd' itself was first attested in the Karnamak-i Ardashir-i Babagan, probably 6th century, concerning the 3rd century, in which they battled against Ardashir I. Thereafter it was more widely used as a general label for Iranic nomads, because the dispersion of the Kurds in the 7th century was far larger than that of the Kurtians. From the 10th century on, it appears the Kurds were seen as being a distinct people, and the term had thus also gained an ethnic meaning.

    Lastly, isolated incidents notwithstanding, Kurds today are the Assyrians' best allies.
    Last edited by Zert; 2015-08-24 at 16:53.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zert View Post
    I don't have time drawn-out discussions. I just want to add some nuance, and make one reply as comprehensive as possible.

    The way it is depicted online by some makes it seem that Assyrians and Kurds have always been mortal enemies, and the only reason the Assyrians are in the situation they're in now is because of the Kurds. This is wrong.

    Many, many Assyrians were slaughtered or assimilated by Arabs, the Mongols and Timur. These are what made their numbers dwindle in the first place. Indeed, the Ottomans and Kurdish tribes massacred a lot of Assyrians too, but even here, nuance is needed. For the Kurds, religious motivation might have played some role, but it was mostly legimitization of violence, because what mattered to those that participated ultimately were tribal gains. Also, as was to be expected, a rather large amount of Christians were saved by Kurds as well.

    In this regard, Assyrians actually were more alike Kurds than Armenians. There were powerful Assyrian tribes, which often had both Christian and Kurdish serfs. These Assyrians tribes would at times have coalitions with Kurdish tribes, against rival Assyrians tribes. For example, in 'Fever and Thirst: A Missionary Doctor Amid the Christian Tribes of Kurdistan', I found that among the prominent allies of Bedr Khan, a Kurdish tribal leader who killed Assyrians in the 1840's, was a strong Assyrian tribe who willingly participated. The symbiotic relations between Assyrians and Kurds can also been in cultural and linguistic influences, Aramaic, for example, has been significantly influenced by Kurdish. See: Diversity in convergence: Kurdish and Aramaic variation entangled. If I'm not mistaken, during the period of the British Mandate of Iraq, the Assyrian Levies were their favourite force to quell Kurdish movements.

    Kurdish and Christian relations at times were good, at other times bad. Such dynasties and principalities as the Shaddadids, Ayyubids, the Hakkari Principality etc. were noted for having been good towards their Christian subjects. Important in explaining the bloody 19th and early 20th century were fears of the better educated and richer Christians, and the abolishment of the Kurdish autonomous regions in the Ottoman Empire under the Tanzimat reforms. These principalities had actually been quite stable, internally, because the leading tribes could keep the marauding of others in check.

    Also, I want to dispell the myth that Kurds have only become a majority in North Mesopotamia since the Assyrian Genocide. Though Kurds are indeed a more recent ethnic group, settlement of Iranic groups (of which at least some were to become Kurds) in the region is 2000 or more years old, and about a millenium ago, it appears Kurds had a clear majority in several regions of North Mesopotamia.

    Let me first show the Kurdish presence. The Kurds were attested in the region from pretty much their first widespread appearance in history, indicating that they are indeed descendants of earlier Iranic settlers, and didn't come in the centuries thereafter. Arab sources (mostly 9th c.) which detail the Kurds already in Northern Mesopotamia in the 7th century, during the Islamic conquests:

    Origins of the Islamic State, part II

    Shahrazur near present-day Sulaymaniyah, p. 35. "Abu-Raja' al-Hulwani from his father from the sheikhs of Shahrazur: -Shahrazur, as-Samaghan, and Darabadh were among the conquest of 'Utbah ibn-Farkad as-Sulami. He met the Kurds in combat and killed many of them..."

    Encyclopedia of Islam
    Mosul, p. 1136. "Sa'd b. Abi Wakkas marched on Mawsil where the districts with a Kurd population were occupied."

    Mosul also here: the Origins of the Islamic State Part II

    By the way, I equated Iraqi Kurdistan with Northern Mesopotamia, even though that's not entirely correct. Kurds were also found a bit to the north, such as in the former Korchayk/Corduene area (Sirnak, Hakkari).

    The Legend of Mar Qardagh (7th c., concerning the 4th c.!)

    p. 26: But the blessed Abdisho answered and said to him, “As it was told to me by my parents, they were from Hazza, a village in the lands of the Assyrians. But because they were Christians, they were driven out by impious pagans, and went and settled in Tamanon, a village in the land of the Kurds...."

    Some centuries later, but certainly before the 16th century, several areas had a definite Kurdish majority.

    From 'the Lands of the Eastern Caliphate':
    p. 87-88: Ibn Hawkal who was at Mosul in 358 (969) describes it as a fine town with excellent markets, surrounded by fertile districts of which the most celebrated was that round Ninaway (Nineveh) where the prophet Yunis (Jonah) was buried. In the 4th (10th) century the population consisted chiefly of Kurds, and the numerous districts round Mosul, occupying all Diyir Rabi'ah, are carefully enumerated by Ibn Hawkal.

    Four marches north-west of Dinavar was the town of Shahrazur, standing in the district of the same name. Ibn Hawkal, in the 4th (10th) century, mentions Shahrazur as a walled and fortified town inhabited by Kurds, whose tribes he names; they occupied all the surrounding region, which was most fruitful. The traveller Ibn Muhalhal (as quoted by Yakut) describes in the 4th (10th) century the many towns and villages of this district, and the chief town, he says, was known among the Persians as Nim-Rah, or 'the Half-way House’ because it stood at the middle stage between Madain (Ctesiphon) and Shiz, the two great fire-temples of Sassanian times. The neighbouring mountains were called Sha'ran and Zalam, where according to Kazvini a species of grain was grown that was deemed a powerful aphrodisiac. The Kurds in this region, when Ibn Muhalhal visited the place, numbered 60,000 tents, and when Mustawfi wrote in the 8th (14th) century Shahrazur was still a flourishing town, and inhabited by Kurds.

    Or some presence:
    To the north of Mosul the city of 'Imâdîyah, near the head waters of the Upper Zab, according to Mustawfî derived its name from its founder the Daylamite prince 'Imid-ad-Dawlah who died in 338 (949). Other authorities, however, ascribe Imâdiyah, or at any rate the restoration of that town in 537 (1142), to 'Imid-ad-Din Zangi, father of that famous prince of Upper Mesopotamia, Nûr-ad-Din, under whom Saladin began his career. Yakut reports that of old a castle had existed here held by the Kurds, and known under the name of Ashib. Mustawfi in the 8th (14th) century describes 'Imadiyah as a town of considerable size.

    Boris James has shown in le Territoire Tribal des Kurdes (you'll need the PDF for the full text) more quotes, such as from Yaqut al-Hamawi (12th-13th c.), that Kurds also made up the majority in Hewlêr (Irbil), Tell Haftûn and Akra ('Aqr), on page 115.

    And no, Kurds aren't Persians. This really shouldn't even be a question anymore. Kurds are Iranic, and thus, descend from various Iranic tribes, but not from Persians, since the Kurdish dialects/languages are from a whole other branch of the Iranic languages. Kurd was originally derived from a tribe called the Kurtians (Cyrtians), which originally dwelled in Media Atropatene, then settled (in the early centuries AD) in the Sirnak/Hakkari regions among the Gordyeans (which I didn't know until recently). 'Kurd' itself was first attested in the Karnamak-i Ardashir-i Babagan, probably 6th century, concerning the 3rd century, in which they battled against Ardashir I. Thereafter it was more widely used as a general label for Iranic nomads, because the dispersion of the Kurds in the 7th century was far larger than that of the Kurtians. From the 10th century on, it appears the Kurds were seen as being a distinct people, and the term had thus also gained an ethnic meaning.

    Lastly, isolated incidents notwithstanding, Kurds today are the Assyrians best allies.
    Nicely put, I do acknowledge the fact that the kurds whom were involved in the massacre of Assyrians are mainly from certain tribal units, and that at the same time the kurds also went out of their way to help Assyrians and Armenians during both periods of massacre. This is clearly something that is heavily in dispute as im sure we will hear many accounts of what truly happened etc, but the fact is that most probably every ethnic group has been involved in some sort of massacre or genocide on another ethnic group of some sort. What I do know is that kurds and Assyrians are better of joining forces for the good of the region than fighting each-other, that's for sure.
    Last edited by ancestryfan1994; 2015-08-24 at 17:06.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zert View Post
    And no, Kurds aren't Persians. This really shouldn't even be a question anymore. Kurds are Iranic, and thus, descend from various Iranic tribes, but not from Persians, since the Kurdish dialects/languages are from a whole other branch of the Iranic languages.
    Lurs could technically give a similar narrative and then argue for alterity too.

    I don't know. I still interpret you guys as being Persian. I'm not convinced by your goals for independence.

    I think Assyrians make a more convincing case for an independent nation. Kurds just need to stop complaining and assimilate into Persian ethos again.
    Last edited by An Shigao; 2015-08-24 at 17:16.

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    Quote Originally Posted by An Shigao View Post
    Lurs could technically give a similar narrative and then argue for alterity too.

    I don't know. I still interpret you guys as being Persian. I'm not convinced by your goals for independence.

    I think Assyrians make a more convincing case for an independent nation. Kurds just need to stop complaining and assimilate into Persian ethos again.

    This is something that needs more evidence, I am also of the same opinion as you but I cant stand here and argue against a Kurd and say this is the facts, your actually Persian by origin so don't bother trying to get land from other nations to form your own place etc. More evidence is needed in this department before I can argue for the cause legitimately. At the moment its just my opinion which I share. I do agree as well that if kurds are indeed originally Persian, then it would be better for them to just assimilate into Iran again, who knows maybe they can help fix the place up politically, in return for full control of the Kurdish parts of Iran or something I dunno.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ancestryfan1994 View Post
    This is something that needs more evidence, I am also of the same opinion as you but I cant stand here and argue against a Kurd and say this is the facts, your actually Persian by origin so don't bother trying to get land from other nations to form your own place etc. More evidence is needed in this department before I can argue for the cause legitimately. At the moment its just my opinion which I share. I do agree as well that if kurds are indeed originally Persian, then it would be better for them to just assimilate into Iran again, who knows maybe they can help fix the place up politically, in return for full control of the Kurdish parts of Iran or something I dunno.
    I'm with you here, but I can't help shake off the feeling that all Kurds are being manipulated by Western strings. They did not have a strong feeling of alterity towards Persians until recently.

    Look at Nizami and all of the Kurds in Iran who are big into the traditional music scene. Most of them are fine with claiming to share a common identity with Iranians. There is solidarity given the Iranic origin.

    Fact is, Assyrians have their entirely own and distinct identity. I support their cause for independence, but I feel Kurds who argue for independence are being more manipulated to break up the Middle East even more and destabilize it.

    Iranians are being broken up even more thanks to the narratives of people like Zert. Before we know it, Lurs will want to form their own nation too. It's stupid.
    Last edited by An Shigao; 2015-08-24 at 17:31.

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    I look at this situation a bit like china and their supposed 50+ recognized ethnic groups, which when inspected further most are actually descended from Han Chinese anyway. So I cant really see how China has so many different ethnic groups when the only real difference between the ones I have looked up is cultural differences. Iran is the same in this sense, Iran has the Lurs and so on which are classed as different ethnic groups, but in reality are originally Persian but have developed their own new culture/identity which is perfectly fine, but that's as far as it should go. If they want to form their own nation then like you say, before you know it Iran will dissolve and my new ethnic group which I can create tonight will have its own nation in 50 years time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ancestryfan1994 View Post
    I look at this situation a bit like china and their supposed 50+ recognized ethnic groups, which when inspected further most are actually descended from Han Chinese anyway. So I cant really see how China has so many different ethnic groups when the only real difference between the ones I have looked up is cultural differences. Iran is the same in this sense, Iran has the Lurs and so on which are classed as different ethnic groups, but in reality are originally Persian but have developed their own new culture/identity which is perfectly fine, but that's as far as it should go. If they want to form their own nation then like you say, before you know it Iran will dissolve and my new ethnic group which I can create tonight will have its own nation in 50 years time.
    Exactly!

    Which is why I find Zert's rhetoric very deceptive. Like I've said, he doesn't give me a convincing reason to support his cause for an independent Kurdish state.

    Now, I definitely agree with an Assyrian state and Elias plus Apple have persuaded me, but Zert and Beyw are both just picking up narratives to ignore the fact they are most likely descended from the same Iranic peoples as modern Lurs.

    If Kurds really have a problem with Iranian regime, they can just help topple it. Many other Iranians, Lurs, and so forth would help out too. I just don't see the point in encouraging alterity though. We need more solidarity instead.
    Last edited by An Shigao; 2015-08-24 at 17:41.

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    ancestryfan1994 (2015-08-24), randomguy1235 (2015-08-25), The Apple (2015-08-24)

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