The Kurds are currently the largest nation of people without their own country. They are divided among several states, predominantly Iran, Iraq and Turkey where they constitute large minorities. They have persistently been used as pawns by these countries and others, including the United States; only to be ignored once supporting them has no longer been beneficial. The Kurdish struggle for an independent homeland has repeatedly erupted into violence throughout history. To date there has been no permanent solution that has been acceptable to both the Kurds and the states they live in. This thesis will examine the history of the Kurdish struggle in order to understand how their experiences have shaped the current conditions, and to help develop an effective, long term American policy to control the situation. It will examine how the lessons of the past can be applied to policies today. The Kurdish struggle has periodically disrupted the stability and security of three of the largest nations in the Middle East. In this area, which is of vital interest to the United States, these movements threaten the fragile stability of the region. The recurring nature of these rebellions implies that it is only a matter of time before one directly threatens our interests in the area. For this reason, a thorough understanding of the Kurdish struggle is necessary.
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