Saturday, September 3, 2016

Syria's Kurds Fear The U.S. Will Betray Them

Kurdish fighters near Qamishli, Syria, last year. The Syrian Kurds say their aim is to establish an autonomous region, not their own state, where their rights are protected, in whatever settlement comes from the long Syrian civil war. Credit Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

New York Times: Kurds Fear the U.S. Will Again Betray Them, in Syria

ISTANBUL — For almost two years, Syrian Kurds, with American weapons, air cover and training, have fought and died in battle against the Islamic State. They have taken pride in their status as the United States’ most faithful proxy in the fight against the militant group, and they have hoped their effectiveness as warriors would lead to American support for Kurdish political gains inside Syria.

So, many Kurds shuddered when Turkish tanks and soldiers recently rolled into northern Syria, with American support, to push back against Kurdish gains. They saw it, perhaps prematurely, as a replay of a century of betrayal by world powers, going back to the end of World War I, when they were promised, then denied, their own state in the postwar settlement.

“The Kurds are going to scream betrayal at every turn when they think things are not going to go their way, because they’ve had a century of it,” said Joost Hiltermann, the program director for the Middle East and North Africa at the International Crisis Group, and a longtime expert on the Kurds.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Syrian Kurds are vowing to fight to the death .... Syrian Kurds vow to fight to the death to stop Turkey 'invading' their territory (The Independent) .... but they should know that everyone who is involved in the Syrian war are there because oft their own self interests, and concerns for the Kurds are probably on the bottom of most of these country's priority lists .... Turkey's Syria offensive shows how each party is fighting its own war (The Guardian).


mlacix said...

I would have been a fly on the wall when Erdogan met Putin in Moscow some weeks ago, because this itnervention was not only their own decision. Putin shuffle the cards, and by this move the Kurd got the blow, but it's still totally unclear on what could go on the background. Turkey recently opened a second front in Syria, now west from Jarablus, and for some magical way Syrian rebels pop-up on isolated areas recently captured from IS. And with second front opened the Syrian rebels North of Aleppo (Azaz and Mareh area) within the next few weeks will very likely take control of an area that come with 75-100 km lenght of Turkish border. Recently some unit of SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces - mostly kurds with some arab unit) deserted to the Syrian Rebels on the North, and there were fighting between kurds and rebels for years so do not expect a happy relation between them. If the Kurds just got sold in this game I feel very bad for them, however I belive this play have more depth into it. This story just have so much question, theory and possibility it's hard to even list them.

James said...

"I would have been a fly on the wall when Erdogan met Putin in Moscow some weeks ago" yeah.
I wonder who thinks who is using who for their purposes?

mlacix said...

James: I'm not an Erdogan fan, but I think he is smart enough to understand his position in this situation. Putin played a card during the coup, and now Erdogan pay the price for what he got back then.

James said...

"Putin played a card during the coup, and now Erdogan pay the price for what he got back then." Yes, Putin did and Erdogan is. One of the questions is what's the time frame that Putin had in mind for his play and how much does Edogan understand this. To me Erdogan is not so much smart as cunning and has he blinded himself to realities from the success of his "counter-coup"? Also it's not being asked enough, but how does the recent reapprochment and meetings between Putin, Erdogan, and Netanyahu fit in to all of this. I have some ideas but I'm curious as to what you think.

mlacix said...

If you seen the video of Erdogan meeting Putin at G20, Erdogan's face show no true happines of the meeting, but Putin put on his real smile. (I'm from a younger generation so I could compare this relation to a South Park episode, where Cesar Millan is Putin and Cartman is Erdogan: )How was that saying back in WW2, about sometimes to survive you need to cooperate with the devil? I think Israel is not really have involved into the recent changes. Israel would be fine with a Syria that have show no potention of any agression toward them, and for this anything other than extremists would be fine, and so if the original Russian plan was to keep Assad alive, this should have not be a problem for them.

But this Turkish intervention show how much Russia control the parties involved into this war. Syria's reaction of a land offensive by any country would have been a declaration of war (it was stated by the Syrian gov., just when the idea of Turkey interventing appeared first, about a year ago, but this was with a pre-coup Turkey), but now there was not a single comment by Syria. Not even in official or semi-official socialmedia sources. And this is not just an itnervention against IS but also against Kurds, who were in a "not told" ally of thje Syrian gov., but there is not a single word on this. Not Iraq, Iran, Hesbollah nor China said a thing on this subject, and there were only two main disagreeing reaction, the US and some EU.

During the last week there were news coming of a possible agreement between US and Russion on Syria. Obama at G20 also said that they are very close for an agreement, and even if I do not really belive on the efficiency such things, but now that it's seems Russia lead the conversations, and they clearly work on it, something could happen ( just like the temporally ceasefire that affected large parts of Syria last year). It's seems that they will agree on something, but the move by Putin, to give the rebels North of Aleppo a large area to control, there has to be a reason behind it, but the only I see ( other than pleasing Turkey, which in I do not really belive) is to weaken the Kurdish position in any negotiation and still let Turkey take the blame. And Kurds know this is a problem, because this way they cannot unify the areas they control. And if US back out of Kurds they could ontly turn to Russia, otherwise they would be the target of not just Turkey and IS, but the govs. of Iraq and Syria (even if they working together currently) and even Iran.

And now we at least the situation is calm on the North of Aleppo, because Syrian Rebels and Turkey focusing on IS so far, but SAA, Turkey/Rebels and Kurds are all looking for the city of Al-Bab that is currently conrtolled by IS. And the real question is what will happen if any of the sides capture the city, because then there could be a direct frontline of Syrian Army and Turkish Army/Syrian rebels, and the rebels on the north will have no other way to move/attack than Kurds and SAA. I'm sure Putin planned something out for this, and he will avoid to explode this barrel, but the question is what's the goal of this whole thing (because Rebels fighting IS is a very little thing).

We will know more when the US-Russian agreement will be public, but currently it's like touching things in the dark, you can't be sure in anything, just hope it's to be boobs or something. Well maybe I just got distracted, but so it's your turn James, what is your opinion on this?

James said...

"Well maybe I just got distracted, but so it's your turn James, what is your opinion on this?"
I'd rather feel for boobs in the dark, not nearly as boring as what I think. Give me a day.

James said...

With the Russian lake (Black Sea) to it's north, Russian air forces and ground forces to it's south, and Russian naval forces to it's south and east, Turkey is in a squeeze play. Then they shot the Russian plane down giving Putin the card he needed. So Putin and Erdogan make a deal. Erdogan goes after domestic political enemies and the Kurds (who happen to be the only effective US allies) and Putin gets right of transit in the Dardenelles and the cut off of aid to ISIS. It also puts Putin's hand on the tap of the immigrant stream to Europe.

The only reason the US is allowed to stay and play at all in this arena is that it has a useful air force and money. It has sold it's only good allies down the river and can do nothing but bleat platitudes somewhere in Switzerland.

Putin's biggest problem is Iran and it's surrogates (Hezbollah). Assad is Putin's key to staying in the area. If Iran and Hezbollah are too successful they will get rid of Assad and try push Putin out of the area just as they have done with the US. Not for nothing did Russia over fly Iran from the Caspian with it's missiles.

I believe that ISIS etc are groups that grew up in the cracks of the big powers maneuvers and have not been seriously addressed until now, only because of public pressure.

Israel, I keep coming back to them because they are the one country Russia etal cannot militarily scare. They not only have the nukes but the means of delivery to make anybody's life miserable. The US for domestic political reason have been estranged from Israel and Russian has been picking up the slack. There has been too many high level meetings between the two and coupled with Erdogans' sudden charm campaign for something big not be happening.

The End of Part I of boring the crap out of everyone.

Part II the continuance of unrelenting boredom

Bonus the Chinese. Who have their fingers in this pie for different but very big reasons.

Ps. I do consider Putin and his outlook key for so many things (which is on reason I've bugged the hell out of WNU for info about him and his inner circle. WNU probably cringes when ever he sees something from me).

Now where are those boobies?

James said...

I forgot, yes I did see that G20 meeting tape and you are right, Erdogan looks like he just ate something he didn't like. You might know I'm very big into the body language of these videos.

War News Updates Editor said...

James. I never cringe.
My friends in Moscow .... they cringe when I talk about the inner circle on this blog.
As to what is my take on the current situation .... what I wrote a few months ago (and last year) still holds .... All Roads In The Middle East Now Lead To Moscow

Speaking of boobies .... I just talked to the GF for 4 hours on the phone (she is in Ontario, and I am in Quebec).
I should have drove to her (it takes 1 hour 10 minutes) .... instead of just talking to her on a phone.
Sighhh ....

mlacix said...

I knew it will distract way too much, I should have stop watching this much animes. How could you call the diplomacy in the region boring? It's far more entertaining now than it was in 2012, and with a new US president coming in the corner, I cannot even imagine what will happen next. I'm sure Putin is in hurry to finalise as much as he could before Obama walk out. And even the frontlines recently are not boring, there are things actually happenin there, East Ghouta, South Aleppo, North Hama, Daraya (was) and even Daraa are active. Exciting time in the world, exciting time.

However I think Iran does not have short (<30 years) plans on pushing out Russian influence from the region. For me it's like Iran is in it's current state because of Russia's help in the past 10 years. Iran just acting as Turkey, after they been bought (by help of) by Russia, and they need to do what they were told to do. Iran may not like how Russia handle thing, and sometimes leave Iran's opinion unnoticed, but who else would support Iran and the Shias of any dominant country? Noone. Also whenever the war in Syria will be finishd, Iran focus will shift to the Kurds, Iraq and Yemen.

WNU: Unacceptable, I have no words for what you have (not) done.

James said...

It's not the events and diplomacy which I call boring, but my analysis which I think is boring.
I do think the Iranis will/are trying to push any and all external forces and influences out of the region. It doesn't mean they won't use any and all help (re: the flirtation with the US earlier in the year).
You're also right about the Iranis turning on/to the Kurds, Yemen, and Iraq. But that will be clean and consolidation time for them.
I mentioned the Chinese. Their short term plans seem to be a break out to blue water through the the South China Sea (something like Russia's push through the Dardanelles to the Med). This has obvious benefits to them, but it is only part of their longer term goal of forging an ocean bridge from there to the middle east. Beginning at the South China Sea and ending at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. They are well on their way in the South China Sea, already you see pressure on Australia their most dangerous near entity. Once out and they have become a viable blue water force it is then the Indian Ocean. Soon we will see efforts to force out the western presence in the Indian Ocean (Diego Garcia etc). Once done this has a dramatic effect on the other regional competitor of China, India. For they would then be completely isolated.
To recap: China would get a reliable second source of energy, isolate India, Australia, and Japan. Force the US back into the mid Pacific. This would leave the West with only three inter ocean passages; Good Hope, the horn South America, and the Panama Canal.

As for WNU, what can be said. After all he is Russian a very strange lot.

Now it's off to continue being a responsible member of society.