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Monday, August 29, 2016

What Syria’s Kurds “Think” They are Fighting For Versus Reality

29.08.2016 Author: Tony Cartalucci

What Syria’s Kurds “Think” They are Fighting For Versus Reality

Column: Politics
Region: Middle East
Country: Syria


Reports are emerging of widespread armed conflict between Kurdish militants and  Syrian forces. Concentrated in and around eastern Syria and the city of Hasaka, reports indicate that Syrian forces may be on the verge of completely withdrawing. 

The Kurdish offensive is being backed by US forces, including airpower overhead and special operations personnel on the ground. Syrian attempts to use its own air force to counter the spreading conflict appeared to be checked by what was essentially a defacto no-fly zone established by the US over eastern Syria.

Reuters in their report, “Syria Kurds win battle with government, Turkey mobilizes against them,” would state:

Syrian Kurdish forces took near complete control of Hasaka city on Tuesday as a ceasefire ended a week of fighting with the government, consolidating the Kurds’ grip on Syria’s northeast as Turkey increased its efforts to check their influence.

The Kurdish YPG militia, a critical part of the U.S.-backed campaign against Islamic State, already controls swathes of northern Syria where Kurdish groups have established de facto autonomy since the start of the Syria war in 2011.

Analysts and those sympathetic to the Kurdish cause, including their perceived role in fighting terrorist organizations in Syria including the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS), see this as a positive development toward a greater and independent “Kurdistan.”

However, the facts on the ground appear to suggest a much more likely and unfortunate future.


A Kurdish Version of Israel 


Although U.S. forces in areas controlled by the Kurds declined to be interviewed, there is evidence everywhere of their presence and the focus on Mosul. The United States, in both Iraq and Syria, has sought out proxy ground forces, backed by air power, to fight the Islamic State. It is a policy that recorded a recent success with the recapture of Ramadi by Iraqi forces, but Mosul, one of the first major prizes to fall into the hands of the Islamic State, will provide a significant test for both the Iraqis and Kurds. And U.S. officials say it could be many more months before local forces have the training and equipment needed to move on a city where the militants have hardened defenses.

But clearly, in light of recent fighting between US-backed Kurdish militants and Syrian forces, including a near direct confrontation between US and Syrian airpower, ISIS is not the intended target.The US has indeed sought out “proxy ground forces” in Syria, but long before ISIS was turned into a geopolitical brand, and to topple the Syrian government, not clear Syria of terrorists the US itself helped move onto the battlefield in the first place.

It is within this context that it can be seen that the Kurds are being used to first destroy Syria and then they themselves will be pitted against one another and whomever their neighbors end up being as a perpetually dependent, needy “semi-state” used as a wedge and employed by Washington, London, and Brussels well into the foreseeable future.

Kurdish forces that allowed themselves to be used by Western interests were used as one of several components – the others involving sectarian extremists including Al Qaeda – to divide and destroy Iraq, and now they are being used against Syria, and soon against Iran.

Stratfor’s report titled, “Iranian Kurds Return to Arms,” provides some initial insight into what will undoubtedly evolve into a much wider Iranian conflict in the near future should US objectives be achieved and expanded upon in eastern Syria.The use of Kurds by Western interests is a modern-day example of classical imperial divide and rule in motion. What the Kurds “think” they are fighting for is absolutely irrelevant versus what in reality they are being armed, organized, and used for by Western interests.The most likely scenario – should the majority of Kurdish armed groups maintain this current course – sees them being used to divide and destroy Syria, creating enduring chaos they themselves will be exposed to.

This, by necessity will lead to heavy reliance upon outside support to survive in that chaos leading to the creation for all intents and purposes of a Kurdish-version of Israel – a stunted faux-state perpetually dependent on Western support and ruled through corrupt proxy regimes unrepresentative of the people they presume governance over. It is a future of perpetual war with Turkey, whatever remains of Syria and Iraq, and a growing conflict with Iran driven not by genuine Kurdish aspirations or interests, but exploited ideological aspirations serving Western designs to undermine and topple Iranian power and institutions and reassert Western hegemony across the region.

Kurdish Story Not Quite Over Yet 

Despite the grim prospects that face Kurdish groups that have allowed themselves to be used by Western interests to create chaos they themselves will suffer perpetually within – this is still not an inevitability.Russia and Iran still have significant sway among Kurdish factions throughout the region and could help mitigate the damage a US-led attempt to dismember Syria through Kurdish proxies will exact. While this might involve concessions on Syria’s part regarding degrees of Kurdish autonomy, it will ultimately cut off what has been now several years of continuous conflict consuming the Middle Easte and North Africa.Additionally, should moves by Syria and its allies abruptly change the dynamics on the ground in Syria, including moves made by Turkey should it have truly drifted beyond NATO influence, this could effectively end or at least minimize US operations in eastern Syria and leave Kurdish militants dependent on US support isolated and more willing to negotiate.

While these possibilities exist, they will require immense diplomatic, political, economic, and military effort to bring into reality.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.


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