Recently, the Trump administration approved the arming of Kurdish militias in Syria with heavy weapons. Early on, Trump had allowed for the shipment of various armored vehicles and light weaponry to be shipped to Kurdish fighters but the new announcement will see restrictions removed and allow for even more plentiful and powerful weaponry being sent to Kurds in Syria who are battling terrorists, Turkey, the Syrian military, and non-Kurd militias.
Turkey is obviously outraged at the new announcement. These Kurdish fighters are bound to use those arms against Turkey at some point if for no other reason that the fact that Turkey has invaded Syrian territory and launched a war not on ISIS but the YPG. At the same time, however, the United States and Turkey are allies with Turkey doing the bidding of the U.S. for the past six years of the conflict in Syria.
With only three nations being discussed, we already reach the beginning of the tangled web of alliances, interests, and goals that become ever complicated the deeper one attempts to look to understand them. Syria, United States, Kurds, Turkey, terrorists, Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, Israel, Saudi Arabia are all players that have strategic interests related to this specific issue and whose relationship will be changed and morphed into something new as a result of the recently announced U.S. policy toward Kurdish fighters.
The Race For RaqqaOne of the reasons for the recent increase in U.S. support to Kurdish fighters is the race to Raqqa, an attempt on the part of the United States and NATO to seize Raqqa from ISIS before the Syrian military is able to do so. This is also the reason many ISIS fighters have traveled to Deir ez-Zour in order to stop the SAA advances there, i.e. because Deir ez-Zour is a prerequisite for Syrian military in their upcoming assault on Raqqa. Raqqa, of course, can afford to lose terrorists since the U.S.-backed forces are soon going to attempt to “take it” and rebrand the city and the region as under the control of “moderate” or Kurdish forces. The forces that occupy Raqqa will be no different than ISIS in anything other than their name but it will go great lengths in preventing the Syrian military from retaking the city and province due to the protection placed over Kurdish and “moderate” terrorist forces by the anti-Syria coalition.
The United States sees clearly that the Syrian military and its Russian allies are going to liberate Raqqa soon enough and the U.S. does not want to suffer another public relations setback. A defeat for ISIS is thus a humiliation for the United States. That fact alone should raise some eyebrows.
Regardless, the United States would like to have its own “victory” in Raqqa before the Syrians and the Russians can have theirs. If the SDF, Kurds, or moderate terrorists are able to “take” Raqqa, the U.S. will then be able to shout from the rooftops that America has liberated Raqqa and defeated ISIS in its own capital.
With the situation as it stands, there is now the very real possibility of some type of major confrontation taking place in Raqqa that could very well have international ramifications. On one hand, there is the Syrian military, backed by the Russian Air Force and Russian Special Forces heading east to Raqqa while, on the other side, there is the SDF, backed by the U.S. Air and Special Forces, heading South and West toward Raqqa. Both sides are in a race to gain control over the ISIS capital, gain territory, and declare a victory for the world to see. But what if they arrive in Raqqa at the same time?
In other words, there is a distinct potential that, in the race for Raqqa, the Syrian/Russian alliance might find itself face to face with the possibility of direct military conflict with the U.S./SDF (terrorist) alliance. At that point, the question will be who, if either, will back down? If both forces decide to push forward, the result could be devastating not only for Syria but for the rest of the world. Indeed, Syria and the United States recently clashed when the U.S. acted as al-Qaeda’s Air Force once again by bombing a Syrian military convoy heading towards al-tanf.
Regardless of what happens, it is important to remember that the Syrian military is acting entirely in self-defense both against the terrorists posing as “rebels” and the United States. Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah have all been invited into Syria, acting legally and with the assent of the Syrian government, while the United States and its coalition are once again acting completely outside of international law in an attempt to shore up its terrorist proxies; and, once again, the United States and its coalition of the willing is pushing the patience of the rest of the world.
Response To TurkeyTurkey has long acted as the lapdog of the U.S. since the beginning of the Syrian crisis. Both Obama’s “hamburger diplomacy,” and the delusions of grandeur deeply rooted in the mind of Recep Erdogan have convinced Erdogan that he will be the next Ottoman emperor. Unfortunately for the Turkish people, Turkey is being forced to follow. But as the U.S. began providing more and more support to the Kurds, Turkey has become more and more hesitant to simply fall in line and follow orders since Erdogan’s first goal is the expansion of his shaky empire.
In fact, Turkey’s anger over the arming and support of the Kurds on the part of the United States has become so great that it appears Turkey is beginning to move more toward the Russian orbit in terms of influence and geopolitical alliance. This comes as Turkey’s hopes of becoming accepted as a member of Europe are diminishing.
Although Turkey was more than willing to act as a coordinator and facilitator of terrorists, funneling them into Syria to aid in the destruction of the Syrian government, Turkey is not willing to cooperate with Kurdish forces as it fears Kurds in Syria, Iraq, and Iran will eventually unite with those in Turkey in order to establish an independent Kurdistan which would include Turkish territory.
Carving Out KurdistanWhile the wheels of the propaganda machine is turning on the screens of Westerners in the US and Europe, the plan to carve out a Kurdistan is taking a much more violent form in Syria and Iraq. The ability to define and repopulate areas within the borders of what would be called Kurdistan (eliminating all fighting forces except for the Kurdish forces) has been the result of constant U.S. bombing and death squad herding around towns like Ayn al-Arab (Kobane), Tal Abyad, and others where the Kurds were able to outline their territory by virtue of military prowess.
After all, the US bombing has done nothing but strengthen ISIS at every other location in Syria and Iraq, while even bombing Syrian infrastructure and Iraqi military forces directly, and “accidentally” airdropping of support to ISIS. In the Kurdish areas, however, such bombing fucntions as a primitive and violent method of border shaping that will outline the Kurdish territory from the Syrian and Iraqi territories. Increasing ISIS forces in Ayn al-Arab (Kobane) significantly hampers the ability of the Syrian Army to respond to defeat those forces in these specific areas, thus cutting off Ayn al-Arab from the Syrian Army and leaving the Kurdish areas to the devices of the Kurds as the ISIS forces are beaten back from inside the borders of the developing Kurdistan. It is a primitive method of border creation and one that requires the loss of many foot soldiers organized and supported by the West, but it is an effective method nonetheless.
Leaving the question of the legitimacy of a Kurdistan aside for a while and acknowledging the heroism of the Kurds in their fight against ISIS, Nusra, and other terrorist forces, it should be noted that the Kurds have found some very unsavory allies in the process. Most notably, those unsavory allies turn out to be the United States and the Free Syrian Army (proxy terrorists of the US and NATO).
For instance, the United States has been tacitly supporting the Kurdish fighters in Iraq for some time under the pretext of assisting them in their fight against ISIS, despite the fact that the United States has armed, trained, funded, facilitated, and directed ISIS from the beginning. The United States has allegedly stopped short of directly arming the Kurds but it has maintained very close ties with them. Some would even argue that, with the exception of the ISIS fighters themselves – the Kurds have more friendly relations with the U.S. than the Iraqi government.
The US government has been attempting to pass legislation to directly arm the Kurdish and Sunni forces in Iraq for some time, recently passing part of that legislation in the form of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016.
The arming of the Kurds directly in Iraq, along with the Sunni forces, would thus create the perception of fully separate and independent principalities, free from the control of the Iraqi central government, leading to the breakup of the country as a whole into three separate entities – a Kurdish segment, Sunni segment, and Shiite segment. Such a plan has long been in the works for Iraq and, if the US continues its support of Kurds in Syria, the situation is ripe for the appearance of a Kurdistan entity across the borders of Iraq and Syria. Indeed, much like the plan to break up Iraq into three separate parts in Iraq, a similar plan was devised for Syria in the absence of total destruction in the same vein as Libya.
While the question of accepting arms may easily be explained by the “gold is where you find it” motive, the fact that the YPG is now working directly with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is further evidence of collusion between NATO/US and the YPG. While presented as moderate by the mainstream Western press, the FSA is nothing more than al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Nusra. Indeed, there is no such thing as a moderate rebel in Syria and there never has been. The FSA is documented to have committed massive atrocities and the groups – directed, armed, controlled and funded by the US – are intent upon implementing Sharia law on the subjugated populations. As I and other researchers have documented, the FSA is nothing more than a wing of al-Qaeda/ISIS and has even publicly stated that it was working with the terrorist organizations (also funded, trained, armed, and directed by the West) in the past.
The fact that the YPG would be willing to cooperate with the FSA is telling but the fact that the FSA would be willing to cooperate with the YPG is even more telling. After all, the Iraqi Kurds have long been connected to US intelligence and military operations in the past. With an increase of signs of cooperation between the YPG and their Iraqi counterparts, it is clear that the events transpiring on the ground in relation to the Kurds in Syria, Iraq, and Turkey are part of an overarching US plan to finally carve out a pound of geographic flesh out of Iraq and Syria.
Unfortunately for the Kurds, the history of their community and the US has been one of short-term usefulness and treachery. Seldom have the Kurds benefited from supporting American actions or working in the service of US geopolitical agendas, whether wittingly or unwittingly. In almost every single circumstance, the Kurds have provided yeomen’s service in the name of destabilization and the strategy of tension but have been left holding the bag in the end. That bag almost always contains horrific slaughter and subsequent oppression of the Kurdish people.
The Russian Turkish RoleNot long ago, Turkey and Russia seemed to be mortal enemies with Turkey even shooting down a Russian jet over Syrian territory. At the time, it seemed Russia and Turkey were themselves toying with the idea of another war. However, in 2017, we see Turkey and Russia cooperating with one another over Syria even to the point of negotiating a “de-confliction zone” plan with Iran to the exclusion of the United States.
The reason for this appears to be the willingness on the part of the United States to throw Turkey under the bus for the purpose of following through with their plan to balkanize and federalize Syria. In a sense, the U.S. has completed a cost/benefit analysis on Turkey as an ally vs arming the Kurds and have come out with the belief that it is worth more to arm the Kurds. It is not likely that the United States is willing to sacrifice Turkey as an ally, however, since a NATO ally bordering such a center of conflict is indispensable. Not only that, but Erdogan has proven his shortsightedness is a character flaw that not only dooms him to second level player status but one that allows him to be bought again whenever he is needed. Thus, Turkey is a power that can be played, as Erdogan has repeatedly proven. Thus, the Trump administration has likely assumed that the Kurds can be armed and a Kurdistan can be formed while continuing to funnel terrorists into Syria via Turkey.
Russia, for its part, seems to have enticed Erdogan into the Russian sphere by explaining how Turkey will eventually gain by the SAA retaking the East from both terrorists that Turkey and the United States but, most importantly, from Kurdish forces. Since the Kurds are by far the greatest fear of Erdogan, it is likely that he conducted his own cost/benefit analysis and is more willing to see Assad in control of eastern and northeastern Syria, particularly in Syria’s weakened state, more so than the Kurds.
Turkey has not had a change of heart. It has not suddenly decided to be friends with Russia or Syria. It has not given up on the grand delusions set upon it by Erdogan that there will be another Ottoman Empire with Istanbul at the head. Thus, its recent moves should entirely be viewed in the context of Turkey’s (Erdogan’s) machinations to achieve a regional empire far outside of Turkey’s borders and a crushing of the Kurdish population. Turkey’s interests are its own expansion and it rests on four areas of focus 1.) the destruction of the Assad government 2.) the prevention of the creation of a Kurdistan 3.) the expansion of its territory and 4.) internal stability.
The Kurdish QuestionThe question of whether or not Kurdish groups should be allowed their own ethno-centric state either within Syria, Iraq, Iran, or Turkey is one that has confused many onlookers, particularly in recent years as Kurdish militias have fought valiantly against ISIS (despite working with other radical Islamic terror organizations). First, it is important to separate Kurdish fighting groups like the PKK and YPG from Kurdish people. These groups are not representative of Kurds as a whole. Instead, they represent a radical, violent, extremist ideology of Communism and bizarre cultural Marxism.
Second, it is important to separate Syrian Kurds from Kurds in Syria. The former are Syrians who are Kurds or, in other words, Syrian citizens who are also Kurds. The latter are Kurds from other countries who happen to be inside Syria.
Maram Susli (aka Syrian Girl) wrote an article in April, 2016, entitled “Why A Kurdish Enclave In Syria Is A Very Bad Idea,” where she outlined five major reasons why the idea of creating a “Kurdish state” or “Kurdish autonomy” in Syria is entirely counterproductive. She wrote,
1. Kurds are not a majority in the Area PYD/YPG are attempting to annex
The region of Al Hasakah, which the Kurdish Nationalist Party (PYD) and its military wing YPG have declared a federal Kurdish state, does not have a Kurdish majority. Al Hasakah Governorate is a mosaic of Assyrian Christians, Armenians, Turkmen, Kurds and Bedouin Arabs. Of the 1.5 million population of Al Hasakah, only 40% are ethnically Kurdish. Moreover, parts of Al Hasakah Governorate, such as Al Hasakah district, is less than 15% Kurdish (!). In the other large minorities in the area the Arabs and Assyrian Christians form a majority. Declaring a small area with a wide array of ethnic groups as belonging to a specific ethnic minority is a recipe for oppression.
The Kurdish population of Al Hasakah has also been heavily inflitrated by illegal Kurdish immigration from Turkey. Kurdish immigration to Syria began in the 1920’s and occurred in several waves after multiple failed Kurdish uprisings against Turkey. It continued throughout the century. In 2011 the Kurdish population in Syria reached between 1.6 to 2.3 million, but 420,000 of these left Syria for Iraq and Turkey as a result of the current conflict. Some Syrian Kurds have lived in Homs and Damascus for hundreds of years and are heavily assimilated into the Syrian society. However, Kurdish illegal immigrants who mostly reside in north Syria, and who could not prove their residence in Syria before 1945, complain of oppression when they were not granted the rights of Syrian citizens. Syrian law dictates that only a blood born Syrian whose paternal lineage is Syrian has a right to Syrian citizenship. No refugee whether Somali, Iraqi or Palestinian has been granted Syrian citizenship no matter how long their stay. In spite of this, in 2011 the Syrian President granted Syrian citizenship to 150,000 Kurds. This has not stopped the YPG from using illegal Kurdish immigrants who were not granted citizenship as a rationale for annexing Syrian land. Those who promote Federalism are imposing the will of a small minority – that is not of Syrian origin – on the whole of Al Hasakah’s population and the whole of Syria.
2. It is Undemocratic to Impose Federalism on the Majority of Syrians
PYD did not bother to consult with other factions of Syrian society before its unilateral declaration of Federalism. The other ethnicities that reside in Al Hasake governate, which PYD claims is now an autonomous Kurdish state, have clearly rejected federalism. An assembly of Syrian clans and Arab tribes in Al Hasaka and the Assyrian Democratic Organization (ADO) rejected PYD’s federalism declaration. In Geneva, both the Syrian government and the opposition rejected PYD’s federalism declaration. Furthermore, PYD does not represent all of Syria’s Kurdish population. The Kurdish faction of Syrian national coalition condemned PYD’s federalism declaration. Most of Syria’s Kurds do not live in Al Hasakah and many that do work outside it. Thousands of Kurds have joined ISIS and are fighting for an Islamic State not a Kurdish one.
Unilateral declaration of federalism carries no legitimacy since federalism can only exist with a constitutional change and a Referendum. Federalism is unlikely to garner much support from the bulk of Syria’s population, 90-93% of whom is not Kurdish. Knowing this, PYD have banned residents of Al Hasakah from voting in the upcoming Parliamentary elections to be held across the nation. This shows the will of the people in Al Hasakah is already being crushed by PYD. It is undemocratic to continue to discuss federalism as a possibility when it has been rejected by so many segments of Syrian society. Ironically we are told the purpose of the US’ Regime change adventure in Syria is to bring democracy to the middle east.
3. Federalism May Risk Ethnic cleansing of Assyrian Christian and other minorities
Since the Kurdish population are not a majority in the areas PYD are trying to annex, the past few years have revealed that PYD/YPG are not beyond carrying out ethnic cleansing of non-Kurdish minorities in an attempt to achieve a demographic shift. The main threat to Kurdish ethnocentric territorial claims over the area are the other large minorities, the Arabs and the Assyrian Christians.
Salih Muslim, the leader of PYD, openly declared his intention to conduct an ethnic cleansing campaign against Syrian Arabs who live in what he now calls Rojava. “One day those Arabs who have been brought to the Kurdish areas will have to be expelled,” said Muslim in an interview with Serek TV. Over two years since that interview he has fulfilled his word, as YPG begun burning Arab villages around Al Hasakah Province hoping to create a demographic shift. It is estimated that ten thousands Arab villagers have been ethnically cleansed from Al Hasake province so far. The villages around Tal Abayad have suffered the most as Kurdish expansionists seek to connect the discontiguous population centres of Al Hasakah and Al Raqqa. “The YPG burnt our village and looted our houses,” said Mohammed Salih al-Katee, who left Tel Thiab Sharki, near the city of Ras al-Ayn, in December.
YPG have also begun a campaign of intimidation, murder and property confiscation against the Assyrian Christian minority. The YPG and PYD made it a formal policy to loot and confiscate the property of those who had escaped their villages after an ISIS attack, in the hope of repopulating Assyrian villages with Kurds. The Assyrians residents of the Khabur area in Al Hasaka province formed a militia called the Khabour Guard in the hope of defending their villages against ISIS attacks. The Khabur Guard council leaders protested the practice of looting by Kurdish YPG militia members who looted Assyrian villages that were evacuated after ISIS attacked them. Subsequently, the YPG assassinated the leader of the Khabur Guard David Jindo and attempted to Assassinate Elyas Nasser. At first the YPG blamed the assassination on ISIS but Elyas Nasser, who survived, was able to expose the YPG’s involvement from his hospital bed. Since the assassination YPG has forced the Khabour Guard to disarm and to accept YPG ‘protection.’ Subsequently most Assyrian residents of the Khabour who had fled to Syrian Army controlled areas of Qamishli City could not return to their villages.
The Assyrian Christian community in Qamishli has also been harassed by YPG Kurdish militia. YPG attacked an Assyrian checkpoint killing one fighter of the Assyrian militia Sootoro and wounding three others. The checkpoint was set up after three Assyrian restaurants were bombed on December 20, 2016 in an attack that killed 14 Assyrian civilians. Assyrians suspected that YPG was behind these bombings in an attempt to assassinate Assyrian leaders and prevent any future claims of control over Qamishli.
It would be foolish to ignore the signs that more widely spread ethnic cleansing campaigns may occur if Kurdish expansionists are supported, especially since other ethnic groups are not on board with their federalism plans. It has only been 90 years since the Assyrian genocide which was conducted by Turks and Kurds. This history should not be allowed to be repeated. Assyrians have enjoyed safety and stability in the Syrian state since this time. Forcing the Assyrians to accept federalism is not going to ensure their safety. Establishment of a federal Kurdish state in Iraq has not protected Assyrian villages from attacks by Kurdish armed groups either. The campaign of ethnic cleansing against both Assyrians and Arabs in Al Hasakah has already begun and may now only escalate.
4. The Resources in Al Hasake are shared between all Syrians
While Kurds make up only 7-10% of Syria’s total population, PYD demands 20% of Syria’s land. What’s more, the region of Al hasakah that YPG want to annex has a population of only 1.5 million people. Much of Syria’s agriculture and oil wealth is located in Al Hasakah and is shared by Syria’s 23 million people. Al Hasakah province produces 34% of Syria’s wheat and much of Syria’s oil. The oil pumping stations are now being used by ISIS and YPG’s Kurds to fund their war efforts while depriving the Syrian people.
While headlines abound about Syria’s starving population, there is little talk of how federalising Syria could entrench this starvation into law for generations to come. Instead, promoters of Federalism talk about how giving the resources shared by 23 million people to 1.5 million people will lead to peace.
5. A Kurdish Region in Syria will be a Threat to Global Security
Since the majority of Syria’s population and Syria’s government oppose Kurdish annexation claims, PYD will not be able to achieve federalism through legal means. The only way the PYD and YPG can achieve federalism is through brute force. This brute force may backed by the US air force and an invasion by special forces which contradicts international law. Head of PYD Saleh Islam has already threatened to attack Syrian troops if they attempt to retake Raqqa from ISIS. A Kurdish state in Syria as the Iraqi Kurdistan ensures US hegemony in the region. Like the KRG the YPG are already attempting to build a US base on Syrian soil. Russia, which has been an ally of Syria for a long time, will be further isolated as a result. This will once again tip the balance of power in the world.
All of Syria’s neighbouring countries are also opposed to an ethnocentric Kurdish state in Syria. The YPG is linked to the PKK, which is active in Turkey and which the United Nations has designated a terrorist organisation. Turkey will see YPG’s federalism claims as strengthening the PKK. Turkey may invade Syria as a result, guaranteeing at least a regional war. This regional war could involve Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Israel.
Israel wants to establish a Kurdistan, as a Sunni-Iranian rival to Shi’ite Iran. They hope such a Sunni state will block Iran’s access to Syria and will also prevent Lebanese resistance against Israeli invasion. This was all outlined in Israel’s Yinon Plan published in 1982. Israel is an extension of US influence and hegemony in the region, the Israeli lobby holds much sway over US politics. Strengthening Israel in the region will strengthen US influence over the region, once again shrinking Russian influence and pushing the nuclear power into a corner. Journalists who show a sense of confusion about the reason the West is supportive of Kurdish expansionism should consider this point.
Finally, a designated ‘Kurdish area’ in Syria is deeply rooted in ethnocentric chauvinism. A US state strictly designated for Hispanic, White or Black ethnicity would be outrageous to suggest and would be considered racist. But the use of ethnicity as a means to divide and conquer is the oldest and most cynical form of imperialism. Syria must remain for all Syrians, not just for one minority. Voices who oppose this should be discouraged. The Syrian Constitution should continue to resist all ethnocentric religious-based parties. If there is a change to the Syrian constitution, it should be the removal of the word Arab from Syrian Arab Republic. In spite of the fact that the vast majority Syrians speak the Arabic language, the majority of Syrian are historically not ethnically Arab. All sections of Syrian society should be treated equally under the Syrian flag.
The Situation As It StandsWhile the United States still openly states that it supports Turkey in its battle against the PKK, which both Turkey and the United States label a terrorist organization, it is going ahead with the plan to give the YPG Kurds with heavy weapons. This, naturally, is solidifying hostility between Erdogan’s government and Washington with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim even stating clearly that the new policy “will surely have consequences and will yield a negative result for the U.S. as well.”
Despite the possibility of the development of an autonomous or even independent Kurdish entity in Iraq and Syria, Turkey is most certainly not going to allow the formation of a Kurdistan to come from its own territory. The Turks have been fighting for years against such a proposal even at the cost of their international reputation, billions of dollars, and massive amounts of destruction and loss of life.
This, then, is the gift of Erdogan and his backers who have cooperated with the West, the US, and NATO in their attempts to destroy Assad. The destabilization of the Kurdish regions will, without a doubt, begin to spill over into Turkey, reviving Kurdish dreams of a Kurdistan, carved from Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Turkey. Erdogan’s treacherous and immoral cooperation with the US has also proved foolish as Turkey will itself be dragged into another quagmire and destructive war to prevent Kurdistan from becoming a reality.
All this being said, considering the history of the Kurds and Western machinations, there is no guarantee a Kurdistan will ever actually take shape. With a Kurdistan, the Brzezinski method of micro-states and mini-states will become realized. In other words, the construction of a weak, impotent state based upon ethnicity, religion, and other identity politics but without the ability to resist the will of larger nations, coalitions, and banking/industrial corporations.
Without a Kurdistan, the strategy of tension and destabilization will continue to exist as a ready-made fallback plan with which to weaken the region and provide for yet another avenue to sink the countries surrounding the faux Kurdistan into regional conflict and war.
However, the prospect of a Kurdistan is very real, considering the fact that not only is the idea of federalization (micro states and mini states) attractive from the point of view of the imperialists but also from the standpoint of the Israelis who have long advocated for the fractionalization of neighboring states. Remember, the Yinon Plan, written in the 1980s, advocated for a fractionalization of Syria as strategic destruction on the Syrian state by the Israelis and their allies. As Khalil Nakleh wrote in the opening to Oded Yinon’s “A Strategy For Israel In The Nineteen Eighties,”
The plan operates on two essential premises. To survive, Israel must 1) become an imperial regional power, and 2) must effect the division of the whole area into small states by the dissolution of all existing Arab states. Small here will depend on the ethnic or sectarian composition of each state. Consequently, the Zionist hope is that sectarian-based states become Israel’s satellites and, ironically, its source of moral legitimation.But the Israelis are by no means the only power considering the fractionalization of Syria. Consider the op-ed published by Reuters and written by Michael O’Hanlon, entitled “Syria’s One Hope May Be As Dim As Bosnia’s Once Was.” The article argues essentially that the only way Russia and the United States will ever be able to peacefully settle the Syrian crisis is if the two agree to a weakened and divided Syria, broken up into separate pieces.
To find common purpose with Russia, Washington should keep in mind the Bosnia model, devised to end the fierce Balkan conflicts in the 1990s. In that 1995 agreement, a weak central government was set up to oversee three largely autonomous zones.O’Hanlon is no stranger to the Partition Plan for Syria. After all, he was the author the infamous Brookings Institution report “Deconstructing Syria: A New Strategy For America’s Most Hopeless War,” in June, 2015 where he argued essentially the same thing.
In similar fashion, a future Syria could be a confederation of several sectors: one largely Alawite (Assad’s own sect), spread along the Mediterranean coast; another Kurdish, along the north and northeast corridors near the Turkish border; a third primarily Druse, in the southwest; a fourth largely made up of Sunni Muslims; and then a central zone of intermixed groups in the country’s main population belt from Damascus to Aleppo. The last zone would likely be difficult to stabilize, but the others might not be so tough.
Under such an arrangement, Assad would ultimately have to step down from power in Damascus. As a compromise, however, he could perhaps remain leader of the Alawite sector. A weak central government would replace him. But most of the power, as well as most of the armed forces. would reside within the individual autonomous sectors — and belong to the various regional governments. In this way, ISIL could be targeted collectively by all the sectors.
Once this sort of deal is reached, international peacekeepers would likely be needed to hold it together — as in Bosnia. Russian troops could help with this mission, stationed, for example, along the Alawite region’s borders.
This deal is not, of course, ripe for negotiation. To make it plausible, moderate forces must first be strengthened. The West also needs to greatly expand its training and arming of various opposition forces that do not include ISIL or al-Nusra. Vetting standards might also have to be relaxed in various ways. American and other foreign trainers would need to deploy inside Syria, where the would-be recruits actually live — and must stay, if they are to protect their families.
Meanwhile, regions now accessible to international forces, starting perhaps with the Kurdish and Druse sectors, could begin receiving humanitarian relief on a much expanded scale. Over time, the number of accessible regions would grow, as moderate opposition forces are strengthened.
Though it could take many months, or even years, to achieve the outcome Washington wants, setting out the goals and the strategy now is crucial. Doing so could provide a basis for the West’s working together with — or at least not working against — other key outside players in the conflict, including Russia, as well as Turkey, the Gulf states and Iraq.
In this article for Brookings, a corporate-financier funded “think tank” that has been instrumental in the promotion of the war against Syria since very early on, O’Hanlon argued for the “relaxation” of vetting processes for “rebels” being funded by the U.S. government, the direct invasion of Syria by NATO military forces, and the complete destruction of the Syrian government. O’Hanlon argued for the creation of “safe zones” as a prelude to these goals.
Yet, notably, O’Hanlon also mentioned the creation of a “confederal” Syria as well. In other words, the breakup of the solidified nation as it currently exists. He wrote,
The end-game for these zones would not have to be determined in advance. The interim goal might be a confederal Syria, with several highly autonomous zones and a modest (eventual) national government. The confederation would likely require support from an international peacekeeping force, if this arrangement could ever be formalized by accord. But in the short term, the ambitions would be lower—to make these zones defensible and governable, to help provide relief for populations within them, and to train and equip more recruits so that the zones could be stabilized and then gradually expanded.Again, such a plan is reminiscent of the Zbigniew Brzezinski method of “microstates and ministates.” Thus, the Syrian Kurdish forces, whether willingly or not, have essentially played right into the hands of the architects of the plans currently underway to destroy and degrade their country already set in motion by the NATO powers.
The Syrian “Stans”Much has already been written about the possibility of a Kurdistan in northern Syria, the boundaries of which have been declared by the Syrian Kurds themselves, which essentially line up with those drawn up by Western strategists and war designers years ago.
Likewise, public suggestions have been made since at least 2013 that, in addition to a Kurdistan, an Alawite enclave – perhaps lead by Assad but perhaps not – would be established in the western portion of Syria, predominantly in the Latakia area, where what is left of the Syrian government, presumably itself decimated by restructuring, would reign. Robin Wright of the United States Institute For Peace, a military industrial complex firm dedicated to strategic development, suggested a larger Alawitistan, stretching from the South, up through Damascus, Homs, Hama, Latakia and on to the northern coast of the Mediterranean.
Druzistan (Jabal al-Druze as suggested by Wright) has also been dreamed up for the southern tip of Syria (near Daraa).
In the rural areas, discussions have centered around a Sunnistan that would span from rural central and eastern Syria across the border into central, western, and eastern Iraq. However, others have suggested that Sunnistan would be a function of Syria alone.
Consider Wright’s suggestions when she writes,
Syria has crumbled into three identifiable regions, each with its own flag and security forces. A different future is taking shape: a narrow statelet along a corridor from the south through Damascus, Homs and Hama to the northern Mediterranean coast controlled by the Assads’ minority Alawite sect. In the north, a small Kurdistan, largely autonomous since mid-2012. The biggest chunk is the Sunni-dominated heartland.Former Ambassdor to the United Nations and Neocon, John R. Bolton, even wrote an op-ed for The New York Times where he argued for the balkanization of Syria and the creation of a “Sunnistan.” Bolton was relatively blunt in his article, openly admitting that the new state is “unlikely to be a Jeffersonian democracy for many years” but following that statement up with a bizarre admission that “this is a region where alternatives to secular military or semi-authoritarian governments are scarce. Security and stability are sufficient ambitions.” While Bolton’s latter comment would have negated the stated public objectives of the war against Assad by the Obama White House in the first place, it also makes clear that freedom and democracy were never the true aims of the United States, but instead the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad and the destruction of Syria as a functioning state.
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Over time, Iraq’s Sunni minority — notably in western Anbar Province, site of anti-government protests — may feel more commonality with eastern Syria’s Sunni majority. Tribal ties and smuggling span the border. Together, they could form a de facto or formal Sunnistan. Iraq’s south would effectively become Shiitestan, although separation is not likely to be that neat.
The dominant political parties in the two Kurdish regions of Syria and Iraq have longstanding differences, but when the border opened in August, more than 50,000 Syrian Kurds fled to Iraqi Kurdistan, creating new cross-border communities. Massoud Barzani, president of Iraqi Kurdistan, has also announced plans for the first summit meeting of 600 Kurds from some 40 parties in Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran this fall.
“We feel that conditions are now appropriate,” said Kamal Kirkuki, the former speaker of Iraq’s Kurdish Parliament, about trying to mobilize disparate Kurds to discuss their future.
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New borders may be drawn in disparate, and potentially chaotic, ways. Countries could unravel through phases of federation, soft partition or autonomy, ending in geographic divorce.
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Other changes may be de facto. City-states — oases of multiple identities like Baghdad, well-armed enclaves like Misurata, Libya’s third largest city, or homogeneous zones like Jabal al-Druze in southern Syria — might make a comeback, even if technically inside countries.
Today’s reality is that Iraq and Syria as we have known them are gone. The Islamic State has carved out a new entity from the post-Ottoman Empire settlement, mobilizing Sunni opposition to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and the Iran-dominated government of Iraq. Also emerging, after years of effort, is a de facto independent Kurdistan.Bolton’s Sunnistan, while on one level is another aspect of the conglomeration of petty, squabbling, microstates that would make up Syria under the Plan B, is also eerily reminiscent of the “Salafist Principality” envisioned and supported by the United States military and intelligence communities early on and in place in eastern Syria and western Iraq today.
If, in this context, defeating the Islamic State means restoring to power Mr. Assad in Syria and Iran’s puppets in Iraq, that outcome is neither feasible nor desirable. Rather than striving to recreate the post-World War I map, Washington should recognize the new geopolitics. The best alternative to the Islamic State in northeastern Syria and western Iraq is a new, independent Sunni state.
This “Sunni-stan” has economic potential as an oil producer (subject to negotiation with the Kurds, to be sure), and could be a bulwark against both Mr. Assad and Iran-allied Baghdad. The rulers of the Arab Gulf states, who should by now have learned the risk to their own security of funding Islamist extremism, could provide significant financing. And Turkey — still a NATO ally, don’t forget — would enjoy greater stability on its southern border, making the existence of a new state at least tolerable.
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Make no mistake, this new Sunni state’s government is unlikely to be a Jeffersonian democracy for many years. But this is a region where alternatives to secular military or semi-authoritarian governments are scarce. Security and stability are sufficient ambitions.
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This Sunni state proposal differs sharply from the vision of the Russian-Iranian axis and its proxies (Hezbollah, Mr. Assad and Tehran-backed Baghdad). Their aim of restoring Iraqi and Syrian governments to their former borders is a goal fundamentally contrary to American, Israeli and friendly Arab state interests. Notions, therefore, of an American-Russian coalition against the Islamic State are as undesirable as they are glib.
ConclusionWhile the final goal of the Anglo-American empire regarding the creation of a Kurdistan still remains to be seen, the question itself is undoubtedly being used for geopolitical reasons today. It is also certain to result in lower living standards, greater oppression, and less freedom for all involved.
If America wants to stop terrorism in Syria, it need only stop funding it, supporting it, and directing it. It’s that simple. The U.S. could also call on its allies Saudi Arabia, Turkey, U.K., France, Qatar, and Israel to do the same. It could work with Russia to eliminate the remnants of terrorist forces and it could provide information and coordinates to both Syria and Russia on the whereabouts of terrorists and terrorist forces.
The United States does not need to arm and Russia does not need to support Kurdish extremists and “moderate” terrorists in Syria in order “destroy ISIS” or “bring peace.” Syria is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country and it must remain so regardless of America’s desire for hegemony and Russia’s desire end the war.
 The Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq
Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President, and Resisting The Empire: The Plan To Destroy Syria And How The Future Of The World Depends On The Outcome. Turbeville has published over 1000 articles on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s radio show Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. His website is BrandonTurbeville.com He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.
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