Sunday 13 October 2019

Kurds turn to Syrian government and Russia to save them from Turkey

Jenan Moussa, reporter for Arabic Al Aan TV, says Turks invading Syrian territory have been welcomed by pro-Turkish Islamists. The Kurds, with no choice, have asked help from the Syrian government and the Russians. 

Turkish-backed Arab militias have been executing Kurds, say US military officials.

It is the end of their statelet, Rojava. 

They would have done better to have made a deal with the Syrian government sooner. They could not remain on the Turkish border indefinitely without Syrian and Russian help, nor could they indefinitely rule Arab areas.

I have blogged before about the links between the Turkish government and the Islamists. I also said years ago that Britain and America should leave Russia and Iran to sort out Syria, which has been in Russia's sphere of influence for fifty years, rather than make things worse by interfering. 

Keeping out of Syria is what Obama appeared to do, although covertly there were many Anglo-American troops in the country. Trying not to be the world's policeman is a big thing he had in common with his nemesis Trump.

In the end though, Obama armed and backed the PKK against ISIS.  Had Hillary won the election she had said that her top priority was regime change in Syria. This would have infinitely worse than the disaster we see today.

She intended to use the Kurds to overthrow Assad, just as Trump did use them to defeat ISIS. The Kurds therefore failed to see that the Americans would stop protecting them, though they should have done so.

But though leaving Syria made sense in theory, since the Americans had a thousand troops in Syria they should have used this to leverage an agreement involving the various parties, rather than this grand guignol. 

The curiously shabby and ill thought-out way in which Donald Trump decided to remove troops from two towns, immediately followed by a Turkish invasion, may hurt him very much in Congress and at the election next year. 

The Yazidis and some Christians are Kurds, though they are usually classed separately. Around 750,000 Kurds are in the area under Turkish attack, and they are said to include between 40,000 and 100,000 Kurdish Christians (though the numbers may be inflated as many Christians have been leaving Syria since long before the war).

The  Christian Right in America will not take kindly to the persecution of Christians by Turks.

This, from Patrick Cockburn in 2018, is prescient.

Retired U. S. General John Allen, who supported Hillary at the last election, wrote this in an email to Jake Tapper of CNN:

"This unfolding humanitarian catastrophe was completely foreseeable. The US green lighted it. There was no chance Erdogan would keep his promise, and full blown ethnic cleansing is underway by Turkish-supported militias. This is what happens when Trump follows his instincts and because of his alignment with autocrats.
"I said there would be blood, but could not have imagined this outcome. There is blood on Trump’s hands for abandoning our Kurdish allies.
"His gesture of $50m in aid is hollow. Who’s going to administer it and for whom? Hundreds of thousands are fleeing and the relief agencies are on the move. 
"NATO and the UN have to take up this matter immediately; UN as to whether or not to endorse Turkey’s invoking Article 51* and NATO and the EU to demand Turkish clarification of Erdogan's threat to release 3.6m refugees -- a direct threat to Euro stability and NATO security."

I do not usually read Ron Paul but shall start doing so. I do not trust many people who write about world politics but I see that his view of the world is close to mine. He is one of the very few genuine American republicans with a big and small 'r'.

Here is what he wrote four days ago and it makes sense to me. 
"Trump’s detractors in Washington have denounced his decision as a “betrayal” of the Kurds, accusing the president of abandoning the force that the Pentagon has used as boots on the ground against IS in eastern Syria. Recall that it was the Kurdish-led “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) that liberated Raqqa – “capital” of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) – in October 2017.

"Thing is, the Obama administration sought to create some kind of parallel government in those territories, in line with its policy of demanding regime change in Damascus and the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar Assad. 

If Kurdish leaders thought this would somehow translate into support for statehood, or dominion over traditionally Arab-majority territories, they were dangerously deluded. Trump has made it clear from the beginning of his presidency that he had no interest in “nation-building” anywhere, and has tried to put that info effect despite constant pushback from the US establishment.

"What happened in August 2016 should have also been a clue – and offers a possible way out of the present conundrum. Back then, Turkey invaded from the north in 'Operation Euphrates Shield,' attacking the Kurds from the rear just as the SDF was launching the major push against Raqqa. The US did nothing to stop this. Only when the Syrian Arab Army – accompanied by Russian observers – stepped in to create a buffer zone between the Turks and the SDF, did the invasion stop.

"While Ankara thinks nothing of attacking the Kurds, it is hard to imagine it would dare open fire on Syrian troops – or the Russians fighting alongside them. The obvious solution for the Kurds is to make a deal with Damascus and secure the protection of the Syrian government that the US could never provide. This would keep them safe, while keeping Damascus happy and Ankara without grounds to object.

"The only ones displeased by this would be regime-change advocates in Washington – but that’s their problem."


  1. The Syrian war has been raging for 10 years now. Most Americans don't know the players and don't care. Most of us expect Donald Trump to screw anyone stupid enough to trust him -- his followers gleefully applaud that trait.

  2. Of course the Kurds like everyone else except the Anglo-Americans were following their own interests. I was in Syria before the war and am very sorry for the Syrians. I do feel the Anglo-Americans should keep out but there was no need for Trump to pull out troops in this way. I do detest the Assad gang but better the government wins than the endless chaos of a rebel government and another Libya.