Tag Archives: Kurds

Why Will the US Leave Syria Soon? The Kurds are Waking Up. By Elijah J. Magnier

The US is losing its last excuse to stay in Syria—the Kurds. From Elijah J. Magnier at ahtribune.com:

The Syrian army is conducting its southern campaign with the pacification of the last two percent of the Qunietra province that remains under the control of the “Islamic State” (ISIS) terrorist group. That will free tens of thousands of troops of the Syrian army and its allies from the burden of fighting in the south of the country and will mark a turning point in the seven years of war imposed on the Levant. The whole of Syria will be liberated from the territorial control of militias and jihadists. What remains of occupied Syria is under the control of two countries: territories held by the US and Turkey in the north. However, these occupations do not seem tenable, particularly now that the Kurds, in control of 23% of Syria, have decided to respond positively to the Syrian President’s call to engage in dialogue or face war. The US cannot stay for much longer in Syria; it will find a face-saving way to leave very soon.

The US presence in Syria had several aims:

  • To divide Syria and establish a Kurdish state in the north under the name of Rojava, under the US military “protection”, like Iraqi Kurdistan during Saddam Hussein era. The US was not against a Kurdish state to include Syria and Iraq. However, Iraqi Kurdistan, under Masood Barzani, dashed its hopes of independence when he refused to follow US advice to postpone a move to break away for 18 months. Barzani’s premature decision to separate from Iraq was confronted with a strong reaction from Baghdad troops who took control of Kurdistan’s borders and resources.
  • Leave the rest of Syria in an endless bloody war between Salafi-Takfiri jihadists and other groups. This war was meant to advance the cause of ISIS, whose enemies were not the distance US (notwithstanding the proximity of US troops) but closer to hand (ISIS set his objective to fight and eliminate the “nearer enemy” — mainly Shia, secular and Sunni who disagree with its “state” versus al-Qaeda traditional goal of prioritising the “far enemy” although this objective was not prioritised in the Levant): Lebanon, Jordan, and the rest of the Middle East. ISIS advances would have been detrimental to the “Axis of Resistance” (Iran, Syria, Hezbollah) or at least would have interrupted the flow of weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon (from Iran through Syria). Hezbollah would have been cornered into the south of Lebanon, a Shia enclave surrounded by Israel on one side and a hostile government to the north with Takfiri ruling in the other parts of the country.

To continue reading: Why Will the US Leave Syria Soon? The Kurds are Waking Up.

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US-Backed Kurds Agree To “Unconditional Talks” With Syrian Government After Pentagon-Turkey Deal, by Tyler Durden

Is peace breaking out everywhere, even Syria? From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

We’ve long predicted that the US-backed Syrian Kurdish forces currently holding a vast chunk of land in Syria’s northeast with the help of American coalition air power will naturally drift toward striking a deal with Assad, as the two sides have throughout the war exercised some degree of quiet cooperation against ISIS, foreign jihadists, and Turkish expansionism.

In a huge weekend development which has gone largely unnoticed by mainstream media, the political wing of the US-trained and supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced it is open to entering into unprecedented direct negotiations with the Assad government over the future of the country.

The Syrian Democratic Council, or SDC, is the political arm of the powerful alliance of mostly Kurdish and Arab fighters that make up the SDF, and on Sunday declared willingness to enter into “unconditional talks” with the Syrian government. 

The London based international Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reports the following:

In a statement on Sunday, the SDC said it was committed to resolving Syria’s deadly conflict through dialogue, and would not “hesitate to agree to unconditional talks”.

“It is positive to see comments about a summit for Syrians, to pave the way to start a new page,” it said.

Leading SDC member Hekmat Habib told AFP that both the council and the SDF “are serious about opening the door to dialogue” with the regime.

“With the SDF’s control of 30 percent of Syria, and the regime’s control of swathes of the country, these are the only two forces who can sit at the negotiating table and formulate a solution to the Syrian crisis,” he said.

As Syria analyst Joshua Landis confirms, the surprise SDC announcement comes just days after a controversial deal reached between Turkey and the US for the withdrawal of Syrian Kurdish forces from Manbij.

To continue reading: US-Backed Kurds Agree To “Unconditional Talks” With Syrian Government After Pentagon-Turkey Deal

Kurdish Fighters Strike Deal With Syrian Army To Drive Turks Out, by Tyler Durden

In Syria, you can’t tell the players and which team they’re on (sometimes they switch teams) without a scorecard. Even with a scorecard it’s confusing. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Confirming that the “enemy of my enemy is my friend”, YPG Kurdish fighters in north-western Syria – who as a reminder are backed by the US, the country which for 7 years has waged a proxy war to overthrow president Bashar al Assad – have struck a deal with the Russia-backed Assad regime for Syrian forces to enter the Afrin region and repel a Turkish offensive which began last month.

Badran Jia Kurd, an advisor to the Kurdish-led administration in northern Syria told Reuters that Syrian troops will deploy along several border positions and could enter the region within the next two days: “we can cooperate with any side that lends us a helping hand in light of the barbaric crimes and the international silence,” Jia Kurd said.

Meanwhile, a conflicting report from a senior Kurdish official comes from YPG representative Brusk Hasake in Afrin, who told Sputnik News “We have repeatedly said that Syrian Army has not entered [and] will not enter Afrin. If there is an agreement we will make a statement [on it].”

As we reported at the time, Turkish ground forces crossed the Syrian border and pushed into northern Syria’s Afrin province on January 20, after Ankara launched artillery and air strikes on a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia it aims to sweep from its border as part of “Operation Olive Branch.”

Turkey considers the Kurdish fighters from the YPG – which receives funding from the United States to fight the Islamic State, to be terrorists.

Senior Kurdish official Badran Jia Kurd told Reuters that Syrian government forces could enter the Afrin region within days to repel the Turks, while Syrian state TV reports that Regime forces will enter “within hours.”

To continue reading: Kurdish Fighters Strike Deal With Syrian Army To Drive Turks Out

On The Syria Occupation And The New Face Of Imperialism, by Caitlin Johnstone

If you’re bent on empire, there’s no need to occupy countries if they’re governments will do your bidding. From Caitlin Johnstone at medium.com:

US forces have attacked the Syrian military, reporting over a hundred deaths.The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is calling the air strike a massacre, a war crime, and a crime against humanity.

The US is an invading, occupying force that is in Syria without the permission of its government, yet it is claiming that the air strike was an act of “self-defense” against an “unprovoked attack” upon the US-backed SDF, a mostly Kurdish militia which had occupied an area of Syrian land. No Americans suffered any injuries or deaths in the attack. The SDF suffered a single reported injury.

It’s a bit like saying you broke into someone’s house and strangled them from behind with a garotte in self-defense.

Believe it or not, it appears very likely that the US military’s latest act of butchery waged upon Middle Easterners on their own land was not about self-defense at all, but about oil. The always insightful Moon of Alabamamakes a compelling case that not only is America’s version of events full of plot holes, but that the whole thing could very well have been “a trap” to sabotage a local deal that had been made for the SDF to turn over an oil and gas field to the Syrian government in the near future.

This would fit in perfectly with comments Professor Joshua Landis made about the attack, saying that America’s plan is to keep Syria weak, poor and divided in order to disadvantage US/Israel/Saudi rivals Iran and Russia. It would also clarify US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s assertion a few weeks ago that thousands of American troops are being kept in Syria to prevent Assad from regaining control of areas that have been liberated from ISIS.

This is what the new imperialism looks like.

To continue reading: On The Syria Occupation And The New Face Of Imperialism

Turkey’s Offensive in Syria: the US Falls into a Trap of Its Own Making, by Peter Korzun

The always-complicated situation in Syria gets more complicated…and more fraught with peril for the US. The US has no one to blame but itself. From Peter Korzun at strategic-culture.org:

In the heat of the battle for Afrin, Turkey has warned it will go farther to establish control over vast swathes of land in northern Syria. The offensive  is supposed to take Turkish forces as far as Syria’s border with Iraq. On Jan. 28, Ankara called on Washington to withdraw its military from Manbij (100 km from Afrin) before it launches an operation to clear that area of Kurdish militias. It’s important to note that the US had provoked Turkey’s action by announcing its decision to set up a new border security force in the areas under Kurdish control. So Washington has created this situation all by itself – a trap of its own making. Having sown the wind, it reaps the whirlwind.

A push to the east will potentially force a confrontation between Turkish troops and the US-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The Kurdish combat units in Afrin missed their opportunity to avoid a worst-case scenario.

Some Pro-Kurdish sources say Russia had betrayed the Afrin Kurds by pulling its peacekeepers out before the Turkish attack began. This is a very misleading statement. Let’s look at the facts. Moscow believes all regions west of the Euphrates should be under the control of the regular Syrian army, because these areas belong to Syria – a territorially cohesive country with a legitimate government. Russia had asked the Kurds in Afrin to interact with Damascus and allow its regular army into the area. They refused. Moscow is still ready to act as a mediator to broker talks on autonomy within Syria. So far that initiative has been rejected. The Kurds have preferred the US as their protector. Now they are on their own. They’ve made their bed, now they must lie in it.”.

The US military has not defended the Kurds in Afrin, claiming it does not regard them as allies on par with the Kurds who are part of the SDF farther east. The US maintains that the Kurds in Afrin did not fight the Islamic State (IS). But even so, those Kurds did protect Afrin and kept their land from being invaded by jihadi militants. Perhaps the US never committed itself to defending the Kurds in Afrin, but it did accept the responsibility of protecting the SDF in Manbij. What will happen now? It is next to impossible to make predictions with any degree of accuracy, but we can contemplate some potential scenarios.

To continue reading: Turkey’s Offensive in Syria: the US Falls into a Trap of Its Own Making

War Between the US And Turkey? by Eric Margolis

War against Turkey in Syria and perhaps Iraq would be a no-win situation for the US. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

Last summer, I was positioned just across the border from the Syrian town of Afrin around which Turkish and Kurdish and, possibly, American forces, are now poised for a head-on clash.  It seems crazy to me that anyone would want to fight over this one-donkey farm town.  We were there on a mission to rescue wild animals trapped in a zoo in war-torn Aleppo, Syria.

Why on earth are at least 2,000 US troops mixed up in this fracas in darkest Syria?  Because the pro-Israel neocons in Washington, who pretty much run US foreign policy these days, are determined to have revenge for the defeat of US-backed rebel forces in Syria.  So it’s once more into the breach near Afrin and the town Manbij though America has zero national interests in Syria. The US first tried to overthrow Syria’s governments in Damascus in 1948 because it was too independent and flirting with the Soviets.  Today’s intervention is part of Israel’s plan to fragment Syria and gobble up its water and fertile land resources.

Worse, the Pentagon decided to enlist and arm rebellious Kurds in southern Turkey and Syria, and use them as ‘native troops’ to fight first the rag-tag bands of ISIS, then the Turkish armed forces.   This was a terrible idea – compounded by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s incredibly foolish recent announcement that the US would mobilize, arm and finance a ‘border force’ of 30,000 Kurds that was closely tied to the Kurdish PKK rebel group.  Washington has only a child’s understanding of events in Turkey and the dangers involved.  Washington bills the PKK ‘terrorists.’  Clearly, it can’t even keep its ‘terrorists’ straight.  The neocons under Trump have gutted the State Department.

The Turks rightly fear that events in war-torn Syria may enflame demands by Turkey’s restive Kurdish minority for an independent state.  The very likely involvement of the US in the 2016 failed coup attempt to overthrow Turkey’s president, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, have deepened Turkish fears of another US-backed plot to divide Turkey.

To continue reading: War Between the US And Turkey?

Too Many Wars. Too Many Enemies, by Patrick J. Buchanan

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the US empire. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

If Turkey is not bluffing, U.S. troops in Manbij, Syria, could be under fire by week’s end, and NATO engulfed in the worst crisis in its history.

Turkish President Erdogan said Friday his troops will cleanse Manbij of Kurdish fighters, alongside whom U.S. troops are embedded.

Erdogan’s foreign minister demanded concrete steps by the U.S. to end its support of the Kurds, who control the Syrian border with Turkey east of the Euphrates, all the way to Iraq.

If the Turks attack Manbij, the U.S. will face a choice: Stand by our Kurdish allies and resist the Turks, or abandon the Kurds.

Should the U.S. let the Turks drive the Kurds out of Manbij and the entire Syrian border area with Turkey, as Erdogan threatens, U.S. credibility would suffer a blow from which it would not soon recover.

But to stand with the Kurds and oppose Erdogan’s forces could mean a crackup of NATO and loss of U.S. bases inside Turkey, including the air base at Incirlik.

Turkey also sits astride the Dardanelles entrance to the Black Sea. NATO’s loss of Turkey would thus be a triumph for Vladimir Putin, who gave Ankara the green light to cleanse the Kurds from Afrin.

Yet Syria is but one of many challenges to U.S. foreign policy.

The Winter Olympics in South Korea may have taken the threat of a North Korean ICBM that could hit the U.S. out of the news. But no one believes that threat is behind us.

Last week, China charged that the USS Hopper, a guided missile destroyer, sailed within 12 nautical miles of Scarborough Shoal, a reef in the South China Sea claimed by Beijing, though it is far closer to Luzon in the Philippines. The destroyer, says China, was chased off by one of her frigates. If we continue to contest China’s territorial claims with U.S. warships, a clash is inevitable.

To continue reading: Too Many Wars. Too Many Enemies