The United States Government doesn’t give a toss about the Kurds – and would quite happily see the anarchist variety (Syrian/Turkish) obliterated by the Turkish military. But for the moment the US is ‘advising’ the YPG/YPJ (Syrian Kurds) in the war against ISIS as it knows (as does Britain) that the Kurds from Rojava are, together with their comrades in the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) coalition, as well as the Peshmerga (Iraqi Kurds) the most reliable, militarily, of the ground forces fighting ISIS. This is a marriage of convenience – and the Syrian Kurds are well advised to distrust all US motives, for the US will always back their NATO ally, Turkey, when it comes to the crunch. The Syrian Kurds have already declared autonomy for their cantons and a declaration of independence of at least a Syrian Kurdistan could well be in the offing in the not-so-distant future. Let’s explore some aspects of this more…
Note: the coordinates of the secret Turkish airbase – the Bamerne Airbase – are 37°05′52″N, 43°15′58″E – see aerial photo below:
Events are now moving fast:
It has been reported that US ‘experts’ entered the region controlled by the YPG/YPJ – i.e. in Syria – some six weeks back, in order to set up an airbase for US fighter jets at Abu Hajar. This is a significant development, though the US has no UN mandate to set up ground bases in Syria.
Two weeks ago we also reported on how the YPG/YPJ had, together with the Peshmerga (Iraqi Kurds) liberated Sinjar. Now, however, there are reports of Turkish military in Iraqi Kurdistan – with the apparent approval of the Barzani-led, pro-Western regional government there; moreover, that Turkey is now attempting to establish a military presence in Sinjar (populated by Yezidis, protected by Kurds). These moves by Turkey to ‘assist’ the Iraqi Kurds are backed by the US and will enable Turkey to outmaneouvre and outflank the Syrian Kurds, who are eager to extend their control over all of Syrian Kurdistan.
Last week, too, we reported on how the US was pressurising Turkey into sealing its border with Syria (which would also mean that the Syrian Kurds would be able to join up its cantons) but so far this has not happened.
In short, the US is playing a double game here: on the one hand, keeping the Syrian Kurds on side by providing them with weapons and military expertise and promises of an autonomous Kurdistan, so as to aid the war against ISIS. On the other hand, the US is allowing Turkey, the age-old enemy of the Kurds, to take over traditional Iraqi Kurd areas under the guise of assisting the anti-ISIS forces there.
The other aspect of all this double-dealing is, of course, oil. Last week we reported on how Turkey – in particular the Erdogan family – is the main beneficiary of ISIS oil. Since then, Russia has come up with further evidence of this. The war in the region as a whole has always been about oil – and Western powers (includes Turkey, which has been secretly backing ISIS) intend to stake their claims at every opportunity.
Out of all this, the Iraqi Kurds are likely to be a winner, both militarily and in terms of control over oil – providing they continue to work with the US and its allies. The Syrian Kurds, however, have fewer assets and so are considered, strategically, to be of lesser importance. Also, the Syrian Kurds are very different from the ruling elite within the Iraqi Kurds. The former are reportedly ‘anarchist inspired’ and have strong links with the Kurds of Turkey. The Iraqi Kurds, however, are politically opportunistic and are also more conservative in both their politics and social order.
Finally, should – also for opportunistic reasons – the US and its allies broker a deal via the Russians with the Assad regime, then the current anti-Assad militias will simply be cast to one side with the Syrian Kurds further isolated.