The Kurds Are Playing A Dangerous Game

The Kurds have been navigating their way across territory and across political alliances, always wary of the bogie man-Turkey as they go.

Through acquisition of territory, control of the population, (often brutally) military power, being able to resist and repel ISIS and finally by being embraced by the US as its chosen proxy force in the north east and north west, the Kurds appeared on the verge of being able to claim autonomy as a step towards an independent state on the back of US muscle.

It’s not as simple as that of course with the amount of hostility directed at the Kurds, the competing actors, and, as we have seen with the Saudi/Qatar divorce, alliances which may not be of a lasting nature. Throw into the mix the method of creative chaos the US employs as a way of weakening opponents and maintaining hegemony and any long held statehood ambitions of the Kurds faces many hurdles ahead. The US also can’t be trusted, seeing “allies” purely tactically in order to achieve its geostrategic goals.

Regardless, the Kurds do have effective control of large swathes of North Syria. With ISIS seemingly vacating parts of Raqqa under a US brokered agreement, the Kurds could focus more time on dissuading Turkey from disrupting their plans of capturing Raqqa. Turkey, like other sponsors of terror groups in Syria has come to lament the abilities of their proxies to capture and retain territory. Turkey will also be reluctant to move militarily against the Kurds if that risks confrontation with the US.

So what do the Kurds go and do? The so called progressive/leftist/Marxist/feminist Kurds reach out to Wahhabi central Saudi Arabia!!

I think you cooked your own goose there Kurds. You are drinking the Kool aid with this move.

Admittedly, it comes on the back of Turkey sending troops to Qatar, fracturing any hopes of a united assault against the Qataris in pursuit of the objective of foreign policies firmly aligned with Riyadh.

Still, it smacks of political opportunism, ill conceived policy and reactionary decision making.

The Syrian government, which granted 300,000 Kurds citizenship, the Iranians fighting with the Syrian government to defeat terrorism, the Iraqis, devastated by the ISIS blitzkrieg in 2014, Russia, acutely aware of Saudi Arabia as the source of much of the terrorism it contends with, and Turkey, always an adversary, are all going to be far from impressed.

Israel, a covert ally of Saudi Arabia and a strong supporter of the Kurds in weakening the Syrian state, will not be capable of undoing this damage.

Saudi Arabia, while regionally dominant and a crucial US ally, does not have its hands on the levers of control in Syria right now. That role is in the hands of Turkey, Iran and Russia, uneasy partners, but partners just the same. Emboldened by US support in the conflict with Qatar and with a gargantuan arms deal in the making, Saudi Arabia may have appealed to the Kurds as an attractive ally. The Saudis chips in the game however, the terrorist proxies are not going to achieve regime change, have been reduced to deadly infighting and are looking at a Libya style scenario in the areas they control.

The Kurds aggressive driving of the Syrian army from Hasakah in 2016 threatened to derail any plans of autonomy. The US ultimately choosing the Kurds over Turkey in the plans to take Raqqa offered them renewed hopes.

Now however it appears the Kurds are pinning all their hopes on the US exerting its power and staying the course. Perhaps this reckless move which they are likely to regret, may provide more space for the Syrian government and Russia to persuade them to stay within the bounds of the existing sovereign state.

The Kurds may become the vassal custodians of a micro state in a fragmented Syria, sitting atop vital supplies of oil and gas. I would have to caution them though, an alliance with the US is no different than an alliance with the devil.

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Originally published (Paul Mansfield – Facebook)

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