This book is a decisive contribution to the study of Kurdish history in Syria since the mandatory period (1920-1946) up to nowadays.
Avoiding an essentialist approach, Jordi Tejel provides fine, complex and sometimes paradoxical analysis about the articulation between tribal, local, regional, and national identities, on one hand, and the formation of a Kurdish minority awareness vis-à-vis the consolidation of Arab nationalism in Syria, on the other hand.
Using unpublished material, in particular concerning the Mandatory period (French records and Kurdish newspapers) and social movement theory, Tejel analyses the reasons of this "exception" within the Kurdish political sphere. In spite of the exclusion of Kurdishness from the public sphere, especially since 1963, Kurds of Syria have avoided a direct confrontation with the central power, most Kurds opting for a strategy of "dissimulation", cultivating internally the forms of identity that challenge the official ideology. The book explores the dynamics leading to the consolidation of Kurdish minority awareness in contemporary Syria; an ongoing process that could take the form of radicalization or even violence.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1. The Kurds During the French Mandate 1.1 Kurdish Populations under the French Mandate 1.2 The Mandate System and the Birth of the Syrian State 1.3 The Mandate and the "Colonial Expertise" 1.4 The Kurdish Cultural Movement in Syria and Lebanon 1.5 Fragmentation of the Kurdish Community: Politics in Jazira 2. Syria in Transition, 1946–63 2.1 Searching for New Political Horizons 2.2 The Triumph of Arab Nationalism and the United Arab Republic 3. The Ba‘athist System and the Kurds 3.1 Ba‘athism: an Exception in Arab Nationalism? 3.2 The Years of Ideological Purity (1963–70) 3.3 The Years of Exploitation (1970–2000) 4. The Kurdish Issue and Its Transnational Dimension 4.1 The emergence of Hafiz al-As‘ad’s Game 149 4.2 The Fall of Saddam Husayn And The Collapse of Syrian Strategy 5. The Kurdish Response and its Margins: "Dissimulation" of a hidden conflict 5.1 The Kurdish Parties at the Margins of the Legal System 5.2 Kurdish Identity at the margins of official islam 5.3 The Defense of Kurdish Culture 6. The Qamishli Revolt, 2004: The Marker of a new Era for the Kurds in Syria 6.1 The Activities Preceding the Kurdish Upheaval 6.2 The Qamishli Revolt 6.3 Toward a Radicalization of Ethnic Divisions? Conclusion
Jordi Tejel is a Ph.D. in History (University of Fribourg, Switzerland) and Sociology (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales-EHESS, Paris). He is currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the EHESS, Paris. His research interests focus on nationalism in the Middle East, with a particular interest in Kurdish mobilizations in the interwar period. He is the author of several books and articles, including Le mouvement kurde de Turquie en exil. Continuités et discontinuitées du nationalisme kurde sous le mandat français en Syrie et au Liban (1925-1946).