It has been more than two and a half years since Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told to Israeli President Shimon Peres’s face, “You (Jews) know well how to kill.” Prime Minister Erdoğan has also declared more than a few times that the main obstacle to peace in this part of the world is Israel, once calling the Jewish state “a festering boil in the Middle East that spreads hate and enmity.” In this holy month of Ramadan full of blood on Muslim territories, let’s try to identify who are the ones who know well how to kill.
As the Syrian death count clicks every day to come close to 2,000, the Turkish-Kurdish death count does not stop, already over 40,000 since 1984, both adding to the big pool of blood called the Middle East. Only during this Ramadan, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK’s, death toll has reached 50 in this Muslim Kurds vs. Muslim Turks war. This excludes the PKK casualties in Turkey and in northern Iraq due to Turkish military retaliation since they are seldom accurately reported.
Let’s speak of facts.
Sudan is not in the conventional Middle East, so let’s ignore the genocide there. Let’s ignore, also, the West Pakistani massacres in East Pakistan (Bangladesh) totaling 1.25 million in 1971. Or 200,000 deaths in Algeria in war between Islamists and the government in 1991-2006.
But a simple, strictly Middle East research will give you one million deaths in the all-Muslim Iran-Iraq war; 300,000 Muslim minorities killed by Saddam Hussein; 80,000 Iranians killed during the Islamic revolution; 25,000 deaths in 1970-71, the days of Black September, by the Jordanian government in its fight against the Palestinians; and 20,000 Islamists killed in 1982 by the elder al-Assad in Hama. The World Health Organization’s estimate of Osama bin Laden’s carnage in Iraq was already 150,000 a few years earlier.
In a 2007 research, Gunnar Heinsohn from the University of Bremen and Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, found out that some 11 million Muslims have been violently killed since 1948, of which 35,000, (0.3 percent) died during the six years of Arab war against Israel, or one out of every 315 fatalities. In contrast, over 90 percent who perished were killed by fellow Muslims.
According to Mssrs. Heinsohn and Pipes, the grisly inventory finds the total number of deaths in conflicts all over the world since 1950 numbering around 85 million. Of that, the Muslim Arab deaths in the Arab-Israeli conflict were at 46,000 including 11,000 during Israel’s war of independence. That makes 0.05 percent of all deaths in all conflicts, or 0.4 percent of all Arab deaths in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
In another calculation ignoring “small” massacres like the one that goes on in Syria and other deaths during the Arab Spring, only Saddam’s Iraq, Jordan, the elder al-Assad’s Syria, Iran-Iraq war, the bin Laden campaign in Iraq, the Iranian Islamic revolution and the Turkish-Kurdish conflict caused 1.65 million Muslim deaths by Muslims compared to less than 50,000 deaths in the Arab-Israeli conflict since 1950, including fatalities during and after Operation Cast Lead which came after the Heinsohn-Pipes study. For those who don’t have a calculator ready at their desks, allow me to tell: 50,000 is three percent of 1.65 million.
Golda Meir, the fourth prime minister of Israel, or rather the “Mother of Israel,” had a perfectly realistic point when she said that peace in the Middle East would only be possible
“when Arabs love their children more than they hate us.”