Who Are the Kurds?

Centuries of oppression have made them a people prepared to die for nationhood

It is not the first time Kurdish hopes for a homeland have ended in disaster. Their guerrillas call themselves peshmerga -- those who face death -- and over the years many have perished in aborted attempts to carve out a homeland of their own from the lands of rulers who despise them. In Iraq Saddam Hussein has for years tried to eliminate them. Since 1975 four of every five Kurdish villages have been leveled; many of their residents have been moved to resettlement towns and detention camps in the southern deserts. When the U.S.-led coalition drove the Iraqi army from Kuwait,...

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