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Analysis

US Support Mirage: Syrian Kurds Making Dangerous Mistake Again Relying on Washington

Thursday 2 December 2021
US Support Mirage: Syrian Kurds Making Dangerous Mistake Again Relying on Washington

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Syrian Kurds Facing Predicament amid Complex Conflict

Alwaght- As the political solution to the decade-long Syrian crisis gains traction and acceleration, the Syrian Kurds become a potential crisis spot because of their geopolitical position, the conflicting interests of the foreign actors, their further power gain, their possible influence on the Kurds across West Asian states, and also sensitivities shown by the countries with Kurdish minorities. 

The Syrian Kurds, led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its militant arm, the People's Defense Units (YPG), were able to take advantage of the country's crisis after 2011, and retreat of the government forces, to break out of historical isolation and to found their self-governance in the three cantons of Afrin, Island, and Kobane. Meanwhile, the rise of ISIS and the cooperation of Syrian Kurdish militias with the US-led Western coalition led to Kurdish domination of the Arab-majority and oil-rich parts of Syria in Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor, and Aleppo. 

This power gain process was checked by three military operations launched by neighboring Turkey in northern Syria to disrupt connection of the three Kurdish cantons and counter the future threats posed by the Kurdish militias to the Turkish national security. The Kurdish regions still see a shadow of Turkish threat brought by the Turkey's presence in the north and northwest. 

Although the current situation is different from that in 2019, the year President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey struck a deal with contemporaneous President Donald Trump of the US to continue Turkish military operations on Syrian soil with Washington agreeing to turn a blind eye to heavy-handed assaults on its Kurdish allies who since 2014 played as its infantry, risks of a new Turkish operation are not gone yet. Turkey now faces international obstacles to any new anti-Kurdish opposition, but it is not totally unlikely that with his popularity declining, the astute Turkish leader choose war against the Kurdish to distract the public opinion from the biting economy crisis and even to find an excuse to delay the 2022 elections as he is in trouble politically. Learning from Libya war, Turkey may resort to proxy forces, mainly the Syrian Arab opposition armed wing Free Syrian Army (FSA), to advance its agenda. 

Dangerous gambling on Biden's promises 

In these precarious conditions and while the leaders of the PYD and commanders of the YPG have frittered away the opportunity to make peace with the central government, the US exit from Afghanistan and leaving behind its allies is beginning to raise concerns among the Kurdish leaders about them solely relying on Washington's political and military supports. 

The situation is now as such that efforts to get closer to Moscow and strengthen security guarantees to avoid a possible Turkish invasion, as well as to prevent the closure of negotiations with Damascus, have found their way into the politics of Syrian Kurdish leaders. Still, stances made by the Kurdish leaders show that they are making the past mistake by putting all of their eggs in the American basket, and thus the crisis is not going to end any time soon. 

Remarks by the commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Mazloum Kobani are worth mentioning in this case. Earlier this week, he said that the US is the only actor that can prepare the critical Syrian conditions for a "democratic transition." Not only this view can delay a reform of Kurdish strategy but also closes the door to negotiations with other actors, on top of them Damascus that can emerge the only savior to the northern regions against the Turkish attacks. 

Indeed, although Syrian Kurdish political and military leaders insist to suggest they do not want secession, accompanying Washington's destructive policies against stability and territorial integrity of Syria will encourage other actors to review their support for Kurdish involvement in the Syrian political process. In a recent interview with Al-Manitor, Kobani held that the credibility of Sochi and Astana peace initiatives was increasingly eroding, all have lost their faith in them, and "I do not believe we can go anywhere with them." 

This raises suspicion, because, firstly, the preservation of Syria's territorial integrity has been one of the basic principles of these initiatives, and secondly, the past successes of the Astana and Sochi meetings in limiting the scope of the war, for example by designating conflict-free zones, contributed a great deal to gradual settlement of the crisis. With the Syrian government retaken much of the lost areas from the terrorist groups, talk of new initiatives is hardly credible, and thus the future mechanisms cannot take shape outside the circle of Syrian sovereignty, restriction of arms to the national armed forces, and control of the borders and protection of the territorial integrity by the government. 

So, Biden's main goal behind promises of backing to the Syrian Kurds and strengthening the pro-separation circles of them is to challenge the Syrian sovereignty and regional stability in the future using the Kurdish card.

 

Tags :

Kurds Syria Central Government Peace US War

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