Following are excerpts from a TV debate on the possible division of Iraq and Kurdistan with Kurdish writer Shirzad Adel Al-Yazidi and Jordanian writer Ibrahim Al-'Aloush, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on October 9, 2007.
Al-Yazidi: I am a Kurd, and I represent the view of my people. What we are demanding is not the partitioning [of Iraq]. When I demand my homeland, I consider it liberation, not partitioning. Israel claims that the Palestinians want to divide Israel. The Kurdish cause is a just cause. A few pan-Arabist gangs, who believe in Ba'thist fascism, and received oil vouchers, cannot conceal the justness of this cause, which is obvious to the entire world.
Al-Yazidi: Iraq is a federal state. The moment democracy or federalism no longer prevail in Iraq, we Kurds do not have to remain for even one minute as part of Iraq – within a fascist, centralist, and tyrannical Iraq, as it was in the past. Federalism and democracy go together, and we can't give either of them up. Partitioning is not on the agenda. In the future, it may be, but for now, we have agreed on federalist coexistence, which maintains the uniqueness of Kurds and Arabs. What we are proposing is an Arab-Kurdish federation. If the Shiites demand [a Shiite state] in another area, we will not oppose this, but this is not one of our demands.
Al-'Aloush: The collaborating Kurdish leaders have invited the occupiers, and have collaborated with the enemies of Iraq. Today, they are turning Northern Iraq...
Al-Yazidi: It's called Kurdistan...
Al-'Aloush: ...into a playing field for the Mossad and for Zionist infiltration. In addition, they are erasing the Arab identity of Iraq, committing massacres, deporting the Arabs, Turkmen, Assyrians, and Yazidis. They are trying to take over Kirkuk and its oil.
Al-Yazidi: Kirkuk is in the heart of Kurdistan.
Al-'Aloush: What has Kirkuk got to do with Kurdistan?
Al-Yazidi: We are seeking a civilized formula for coexistence, and we are guided by the experience of the developed countries and the civilized federal societies.
Al-'Aloush: You've already said that.
Al-Yazidi: This does not negate my fundamental right to establish a Kurdish state when the opportunity presents itself.
Interviewer: Even if this state leads to the partitioning of Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Iraq?
Al-Yazidi: Why should the territorial integrity of these countries be at the expense of my homeland?
Interviewer: This is the implementation of Zionist and Israeli plots, which were devised dozens of years ago. This is what you are doing.
Al-Yazidi: The Kurdish cause existed even before the establishment of the State of Israel. The Kurdish cause, in its modern form as a national liberation movement, in the four parts of Kurdistan, is a hundred years old. What's all this nonsense about Israel? Israel has relations with the others, not with the Kurds. The Israeli flag is waved in the Arab capitals, but in Irbil, we don't have any Israeli flags.
Al-'Aloush: The Iraqi Ba'th regime was the only regime in the region to officially recognize the Kurdish nationality, and to make it an official nationality of the Iraqi state. The Kurdish language was the second [official] language, and there were newspapers and radio stations in the Kurdish language. They had an autonomy.
Interviewer: Let's move on.
Al-'Aloush: No, no, how can we move on?
Al-Yazidi: And there was also the Al-Anfal campaign, and the use of chemical weapons.
Al-'Aloush: Al-Anfal was a fabrication by someone called Jonathan Randal...
Al-Yazidi: This was one of the worst massacres of the 20th century.
Al-'Aloush: It is just like the lies about the Jewish Holocaust. It was the Austrian Simon Wiesenthal who invented these lies about Al-Anfal together with Jonathan Randal in 1994.
Al-'Aloush: How can it be that despite all these random [American] bombings in Northern Iraq, there was not a single Kurdish casualty, unless it is all part of an attempt to empty the region of its population, in order to take control of it?
Al-'Aloush: I am an Islamist, a Ba'athist, and a terrorist, and anyone who doesn't like this can go bang his head against the wall, okay?
Al-Yazidi: We don't need a certificate of good character from you. The Kurdish leadership represents its people.
Al-'Aloush: You are defending collaborating leaders.
Al-Yazidi: Collaborators in your view.
Al-'Aloush: You are a traitor to the Kurdish cause.
Al-Yazidi: You are a traitor to the Palestinian cause, and to the principles of justice and freedom.
Al-'Aloush: What principle of justice? Anyone who cooperates with the Americans and the Jews, as you do, should not be allowed to use the word "justice."
Al-Yazidi: The Ba'th republic was buried, along with that hanged man, Saddam.
Al-'Aloush: Maintain your honor, and don't cross the line when it comes to the martyrs.
Al-Yazidi: What, Saddam has become a martyr all of a sudden? The murderer of children has become a martyr?
Al-'Aloush: Shut up.
Al-Yazidi: You shut up.
Al-'Aloush: Maintain your honor.
Al-Yazidi: You maintain your honor.
Al-'Aloush: Shut up.
Al-Yazidi: You shut up.
Al-'Aloush: Go to hell
Al-Yazidi: You go to hell, along with Saddam.
Al-'Aloush: Go to hell.
Al-Yazidi: Saddam was the tyrant of our times.
Al-'Aloush: Don't cross the line when it comes to the martyrs.
Al-Yazidi: They are martyrs only in your view.
Al-'Aloush: You are not allowed to utter the name Saddam.
Al-Yazidi: Saddam is a criminal in the eyes of the Iraqis and all humanity.
Al-'Aloush: The Kurdish leaders are the criminals.