Subject: پێشمەرگه peshmerga guerrilla fighter
Setting: Kurdistan early-mid 20thc
Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources,Secondary Sources, Field Notes)
* Rogan 2015 p33
"Real tensions had re-emerged between Armenians and Kurds in the years following the Young Turk Revolution. Some of the Armenians who fled the violence of the 1890s attempted to reclaim their homes and villages after the 1908 revolution. Some Kurdish tribesmen who had occupied properties abandoned by the Armenians refused to recognize the claims of prior owners. Already in 1909, land disputes between Armenians and Kurds had led to violence, and the Kurds enjoyed the upper hand. The nomadic Kurds were much better armed than the sedentary Armenians, and Ottoman officials seldom took the side of the Christian Armenians over the Muslim Kurds. The situation was aggravated when Ottoman troops were redeployed from eastern Anatolia to fight in the Lybian and Balkan wars and when Armenian conscripts were sent to the Balkan front in 1912. Armenian farmers were left to their own defences in an increasingly tense conflict with the Kurds."
* McCarthy 2015 p96-97
"Common sense indicates that the Ottoman government was as desirous as the Armenians to put an end to Kurdish tribes['] 'ownership' in eastern Anatolia. Settled cultivators paid taxes; tribes seldom did. It made no difference if the farmers were Muslims or Christians, not must it be assumed that the government was favorable or unfavorable to Armenians. The state had every interest in a peaceful society in which cultivators paid their taxes to the government, not to the leaders of Kurdish tribes. Why then did the government tolerate an obviously unjust system that worked against the government's own interests? The answers were military and financial.
"As in so many things, Ottoman reform was hamstrung by a lack of finance. Pressured by the government, even Hüseyin of Patmos, the rapacious chief ..., agreed to return land to Armenians. All he asked was that the sizeable improvements he had made to the villages should be recompensed. The Armenians who would benefit agreed that Hüseyin should be paid, but they did not have enough money themselves. They asked that the government pay for the improvements. This would have been a satisfactory solution, if the government had the money, which it did not. The situation languished.
"The government both needed the Kurdish chiefs and feared them. In many cases, the Kurdish tribesmen were the only large groups of cavalry available to Ottoman forces. They were sometimes reliable soldiers, as when they served in a rebellion in Yemen; often they were not. Nevertheless, they were needed. Without cavalry and scouts who knew the region, the Ottomans would be at a great disadvantage when fighting the Russians. The government also feared that tribes might go over to the Russian side in war. The fear was not unfounded. Many tribal chiefs had little love for the reforming intentions of the CUP government. They correctly surmised that the government would destroy their power if it could. Calls to Islamic solidarity had small effect on chiefs who felt that government leaders were the next thing to infidels, as intent on destroying traditional religion as they were on destroying the traditional social system. The latter belief was surely incorrect; the CUP leaders might not have been personally religious, but they knew they could never act against Islam. The belief that the government wished to destroy the power of the chiefs, however, was correct. Ultimately, it would have taken military force to seize lands from the tribal chiefs. The army was needed on the borders, and even the soldiers who could be spared for internal security were often not paid for months. Reform by force was impossible."
* Palmer 1992 p264
"The Kurds ... technically became a 'non-people' in Kemal's national state, where they were identified quite simply as 'mountain Turks'. A Kurdish rebellion two years after the signing of the [Versailles] treaty was brutally suppressed. There were further risings in 1929 and 1930 ...."