IRAN IS READY TO ATTACK AGAIN: WILL THE US FORCES WITHDRAW FROM IRAQ?

Posted on  by Elijah J Magnier

By Elijah J. Magnier:@ejmalrai

Iraq is preparing for demonstrations by a million protestors, called for by Iraqi Shia leader Sayyed Moqtada al-Sadr, as a show of solidarity among Iraqis insisting on the immediate withdrawal of the US-led coalition and all foreign forces stationed in the country. Preparations are set for civilians, families, militants and armed companions of the commander of the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes to march in the streets to send a message to US-led foreign forces. This is a peaceful message, the first of its kind. However, it is most unlikely that subsequent messages will be peaceful. Can the US-led coalition leave in peace?

According to a high-ranking officer within the “Axis of the Resistance”, “Iran has sworn to avenge its officers assassinated at Baghdad airport. These are Major General Qassem Soleimani and his companions Brigadier General Hossein Pour Jafari, Colonel Shahroud Mozaffari nia, Major Hadi Taremi, and Captain Vahid Zamanian. This attack was a real blow. Iran did not expect the US to declare open war when President Donald Trump was about to start his electoral campaign. Iran did not anticipate the US’s misjudgement of the consequences of such an act of war. Now Iran has taken stock of the situation, has come to terms with its losses, and is preparing to ensure that the assassination of its officers will be remembered in the US for many years.”

For US forces in Iraq, what options are available? How will the Iraqis deal with these forces, soon to be considered an occupying force, thus legitimising armed resistance attacks against the US? Is Iran preparing for a “war through its allies”?

The options, in fact, are simple: either US forces stay in Iraq and come under attack – or they leave, permanently. The US forces cannot stay in areas under Shia control. It might be possible to manage a short stay in the western al-Anbar desert, close to the Syrian borders, or a departure for Iraqi Kurdistan. 

US bases in Kurdistan are not isolated, and therefore not exempt from potential Iranian reprisals. The Iranian bombing of Ayn al-Assad and the US base in Erbil was a message to Trump that no base in Iraq is secure. Iran has friends and allies in Iraqi Kurdistan and can make life for the US forces very difficult.

Any US attempt to divide Kurdistan from Baghdad will be met with harsh Turkish and Iranian reactions. It will also force Baghdad to stop its financial support to the region, which will have an impact since oil-rich Kirkuk is under the control of Iraqi government forces and no longer part of the Iraqi region of Kurdistan.

All military bases in Iraq are occupied by two distinct forces: one part is under the Iraqi forces’ control and the other under US forces’ control. The Iraqi Prime Minister will have no choice but to order the withdrawal of all Iraqi forces from bases where US forces are established, once the US forces are formally designated an occupation force and refuse to withdraw. This will make it possible for the Iraqi resistance to attack the bases without risking Iraqi casualties.

Furthermore, it has now become too dangerous for the US to conduct military training programs. US forces can be attacked during training sessions by Iraqis who want these forces to leave. The friends of brigades 45 and 46, the two brigades attacked by the US on the Syrian-Iraqi borders, and those faithful to their commander Abu Mahdi will be just waiting to strike US service personnel at the first available opportunity.

In addition, no US oil company can stay in Iraq: US personnel risk becoming “soft targets” for kidnapping or killing by local Iraqis. No force can protect the US companies and Iraq will not find it difficult to allow China – the Chinese have already expressed their readiness to compensate foreign companies willing to leave – to replace them. The consequences of the targeted killings will be dire for the US in general.

Iran has delivered precision missiles to the Iraqis, who are eager to avenge their assassinated commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes and expel the US from Mesopotamia. Iran would be happy to supply the necessary precision missiles to fill up Iraqi warehouses and see the number of US casualties increasing just before the US forthcoming electoral campaign! There is little hope for Trump to end his years as President without US casualties in Iraq and Syria.

In Syria US forces are present around the oil fields, but with no real benefit to the US. Trump has said he “doesn’t need the oil from the Middle East”, avowing in effect that his decision to stay is linked to another objective, not hard to find: to please Israel. 

Israel is taking advantage of the US presence at al-Tanf and in north-east Syria to attack targets in Syria by violating Iraqi airspace. Israel hides behind the US presence to intimidate Iran and its allies, dissuading them from retaliating for the hundreds of attacks carried on in the last years. Trump will find it extremely difficult to justify US service personnel casualties on the grounds of stealing Syrian oil. The US presence represents a legitimate reason for the Syrians and their allies to hit back at the occupation forces who are forcibly taking the Syrian oil and no longer fighting ISIS. 

Any attempt to mobilise the street with protests and the burning of offices and governmental institutions will no longer be met lightly nor idly by the Iraqi resistance, if (as is not only possible but expected) there is evidence of US involvement behind the scenes.

Sayyed Moqtada al-Sadr has assumed the lead of the resistance against the US presence. He is now acknowledged as the leader of the resistance, gathering under his wings all groups who fought against ISIS in Iraq and in Syria. This is a suitable position for Sayyed Moqtada as long as he fulfils this role and maintains it. 

The Sadrist followers can easily create havoc for the US forces. Moqtada al-Sadr’s long experience in fighting the US is not unfamiliar to Washington. And if he hesitates, other leaders will emerge. Iraq’s allies within the “Axis of the Resistance” are also present in Iraq, ready to help. It won’t be long before the US realises the consequences it will have provoked for its criminal targeted assassinations and violations of Iraq sovereignty and its virtual declaration of war on Iran.

The cards are now on the table. Trump and Iran are fighting an undeclared war. The US forces are standing on a ground very familiar to Iran and its allies, who can move more freely than the US forces. The designated battlefields are Iraq first and Syria second.

Proofread byMaurice Brasher and C.B.G

This article is translated free to many languages by volunteers so readers can enjoy the content. It shall not be masked by Paywall. I’d like to thank my followers and readers for the confidence and support. If you like it, please don’t feel embarrassed to contribute and help fund it for as little as 1 Euro. Your contribution, however small, will help ensure its continuity. Thank you.

Copyright © https://ejmagnier.com  2020

IRAQ IS THE NEXT BATTLEGROUND.

Posted on  by Elijah J Magnier

gE6ganbh-1.jpg-medium

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

Well-informed and established sources at Iraqi Prime minister Adel Abdel Mahdi’s office in Baghdad believe “the US is unwilling to listen to reason, to the Iraqi government or the parliament. It has the intention of bringing war upon itself and transforming Iraq into a battlefield, by refusing to respect the law and withdraw its forces. The US will be faced with strong and legitimate popular armed resistance, even if some Iraqis (in Kurdistan) will break the law and will accept the US presence in their region, though without a heavy price.”

Caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdel Mahdi suggested to the parliament to agree on a new law asking the US to leave the country. The parliament listened to Mr Abdel Mahdi and agreed on a new law terminating the contract between Iraq and the US forces and asked the government to implement it. Mr Abdel Mahdi, in a phone conversation with US Secretary Mike Pompeo, demanded the presence of a delegation to organise the total withdrawal of all US forces from the country. The answer did not have to wait for long: “The US shall not withdraw from Iraq but respects its sovereignty and decisions,” said Secretary Pompeo. The US official failed to explain how Washington can reject the Iraqi sovereign decision asking for the withdrawal of the US troops and yet respect it at the same time.

President Donald Trump took a harsh position asking the Iraqis to pay billions of dollars for the development of the Iraqi bases his forces are hosted in. Otherwise, he threatened to “charge the Iraqi with sanctions like they’ve never seen before” and “it’s Central Bank account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York with $35 billion could be shut down”.

US Ambassador to Iraq Mathew Tueller delivered to Iraqi officials – including PM Abdel Mahdi, who has asked for the US forces removal of Iraq — a copy of all the possible US sanctions Iraq could from if the government insists on the total withdrawal of all US forces. This has triggered an immediate reaction from Iraqi groups willing to fight the US forces once declared an occupation force by Iraq.

Iraqi groups who fought against al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria and Iraq visited the newly appointed Iranian General head of the IRGC-Quds brigade Ismail Qaani who replaced Sardar Qassem Soleimani. They asked for military and financial support to fight the new “occupation forces”. The Iranian General promised to assist in implementing the parliament, government and people’s decision to fight the US occupation forces. Qaani is expected to visit Iraq, where over 100 Iranian advisors work in Baghdad security and command Control Base along with Syrian and Russian counterparts to fight ISIS.

xOZMqUor

Trump’s decision to take control of Iraq’s oil revenue account at the US Federal Reserve Bank of New York could create a devaluation of the local currency and a crash in the financial system. There is also an implicit threat in Trump’s words, to confiscate Iraq’s national gold reserves, held at the New York Fed.

Clearly, the US administration could not care less about the stability of Iraq and consequences for the nearby European continent, which could suffer the most from Iraqi migration and increased instability in the Middle East.

Secretary Pompeo wrongly claimed the Iraqi parliament’s decision is non-binding. What grounds would a US official have, to consider an Iraqi political decision void?

When the US assassinated Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes, Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani and other officers in their company, the Iraqi Prime Minister asked for the revocation of the US-Iraq agreement signed in 2014 that regulated the US forces’ presence in Iraq.

The original agreement was terminated in 2011 when all US forces pulled out of Iraq. In 2014, the deal was re-activated by the government to join forces in the fight against the “Islamic State” (ISIS).

In its Preamble, the agreement states that the US will support Iraq against “threats to its sovereignty and territorial integrity and against its democratic, federal and constitutional system.”

kOa8p-AR.jpg-medium

The US is violating the agreement by using its land and airspace – as stated by Prime Minister Abdel Mahdi – without asking Baghdad’s permission. The US forces are allowing Israel to assassinate Iraqi commanders and attack Iraqi warehouses – as the US ambassador to Iraq informed Mr Abdel Mahdi. By killing Iraqi and Iranian commanders at Baghdad’s airport, US forces are causing the termination of the agreement by non-respect, in accordance with its articles 2 and 3.

The US government is further violating Iraq’s sovereignty by ignoring the Iraqi parliament’s resolution and refusing to schedule the withdrawal of all forces. Not only this: President Trump has openly threatened to break the Iraqi economy by disregarding the UN and international law, thereby imposing his “law of the jungle.”

At the Iraqi parliament, 173 MPs out of 328 voted for the withdrawal of the US forces. The suggestion of the caretaker Prime Minister is not binding. The government can only suggest and offer its opinion. The legislative decision goes back to the parliament, and its decision is a binding law applied to the present and future government (unless a new parliament revokes decisions of the previous one).

Even if all Kurds and most Sunni MPs (3 were present) were absent, the Constitution doesn’t rely on the presence of religions or ethnicities, the vote and the source of law are based on the majority (half plus one). This is how the Speaker, the President and the Prime Minister are elected, always by the most significant political coalition group.

ENnL8cvWsAAII2B

The parliament will meet again to read the resolution for the second time, ask all MPs to sign the document, and agree upon a deadline for the US withdrawal. The agreement doesn’t require the signature of the President in this case, as declared by the Speaker Mohamad al-Halbousi, but requires Halbousi’s presence, which is the case.

President Trump asked Iraq to pay him “billions of dollars” for the expansion of military bases to suit the US forces. Again, the US deliberately ignored article 5 of the agreement that all “Iraq owns all buildings, non-relocated structures… including those that are used, constructed, altered or improved by the US. Upon their withdrawal, the US shall return to the government of Iraq all the facilities free of any debts and financial burdens…The US shall bear the costs of construction, alterations, or improvements in the agreed facilities and areas provided for its exclusive use.”

Article 24 also states that the “US recognises the sovereign right of the government of Iraq to request the departure of the US forces from Iraq any time.” Trump disregards this treaty obligation, and instead says: “Iraqi will pay if they want us out.” It shows the US administration’s intention to remain in oil-rich Iraq for a long time.

Thus, following the assassination of the generals, there is little doubt 2020 will be a hot year in Iraq and hard on US forces if their President continues to ignore Iraq’s sovereignty and constitutional decisions. The US forces will now be considered a force of occupation, legitimising armed resistance against it. Iraq is back to 2003 when George W. Bush declared the country occupied. This was when the resistance took off. Trump’s last year of his first term will not likely bring any stability to the Middle East, and will certainly be very dangerous for US service personnel deployed in the region.

Proofread by  C.G.B and Maurice Brasher

This article is translated free to many languages by volunteers so readers can enjoy the content. It shall not be masked by Paywall. I’d like to thank my followers and readers for the confidence and support. If you like it, please don’t feel embarrassed to contribute and help fund it for as little as 1 Euro. Your contribution, however small, will help ensure its continuity. Thank you.

Copyright © https://ejmagnier.com  2020

الشعب العراقي في مواجهة دولة «بريمر»

يناير 6, 2020

د. وفيق إبراهيم

للمرة الأولى منذ الاحتلال الأميركي للعراق في 2003، يتكشف ان الدولة التي ضغط لإنشائها المندوب الأميركي “بريمر”، هي مجرد آلية شكلية مصابة بعطل بنيوي بالولادة وغير قابل للاصلاح او المعالجة.

لقد بذل الأميركيون جهوداً جبارة لبناء دولة عراقية تشبه النماذج الكونفدرالية التي يحتاج أي قرار فيها لموافقات كبيرة من المؤسسات الدستورية وتتطلب في البعض تأييداً يفوق الثلثين في مجالسها النيابية وحكوماتها ورؤساء بلدياتها. وهذا يعني استحالة صدور أي قرار إلا بالاتفاق المسبق والعميق بين قادة المذاهب والقوميات بما يؤكد عجز هذا النوع من الدول الاتفاق على القرارات الوطنية الكبرى. وهذا يعني شللاً في إنتاج المواقف التاريخية الكبرى مع الميل الى المساومات بين القوى السياسية للتحاصص الداخلي فقط، في الوظائف والأموال العامة والتعيينات.

هذا حال العراق الذي اجتاحه الأميركيون قبل سبعة عشر عاماً من دون إذن أممي متذرعين بوجود اسلحة دمار شامل على اراضيه، فقضوا على نظام صدام حسين سافكين دماء مئات آلاف العراقيين ومؤسسين هذه الدولة الضعيفة التي فرضوا عليها بموجب سيطرتهم على موازنات القوى، توقيع معاهدة تجعل احتلالهم شرعياً للعام 2011، فانتهت هذه المهلة ولم يخرجوا إلى أن اكتشفت دولة “بريمر” العراقية الحل الناجع فأجبرت حكومة العراق على توقيع اتفاق جديد يسمح للقوات الأميركية بالبقاء لتدريب القوات العراقية ورفدها باستشارات ونصائح في اوقات المحن.

ضمن هذا السيناريو الدقيق عمل الأميركيون على السيطرة على الجيش العراقي ومجمل القوى الأمنية، ولم يكتفوا بذلك، ساعين الى التفتيت بمستويات متعددة: سياسي طائفي وآخر داخل كل قوة مذهبية بمفردها، وثالث قومي وعرقي، وذلك لصنع المزيد من الفرقة بين الكتل السياسية الشيعية والسنية من جهة والشيعية الشيعية والسنية السنية من جهة أخرى مع خلافات عربية كردية مشجعين الإرهاب على قتل المسيحيين والايزيديين ما أحدث خللاً سياسياً وطنياً ادى الى اضعاف الأقوياء والأقل قوة في آن معاً حتى بدا أن القوى الوحيدة هو ذلك الأميركي المتحكم بمفاصل القوة، فهو محتل ومستشار وسياسي وإعلامي يلعب على نيران الفتنة الداخلية ولص يسرق نفط كردستان وكركوك ويسوّقه في تركيا، بما يؤدي الى انتفاع ثلاثي في هذه الثروة العراقية: آل البرزاني المتحكمون بالسلطة في كردستان واردوغان البراغماتي الذي لا يريد دولة كردية، لكنه يأكل من نفطها، والأميركيون أصحاب الرعاية والتنسيق الذين يحمون مقابل حصة من نفط العراق.

بشكل يشابه ما يفعلونه دائماً مع الإمارات والسعودية وقطر والكويت أي: ادفع تسلم.

كما ذهبوا في مناطق الوسط الى حدود دعم كل التيارات الانفصالية والعشائر مستعينين بخدمات الأحزاب الإسلاموية الموالية لتركيا، وادوار السعودية والإمارات في التأثير على عشائر الأنبار وبعض احزاب الوسط عبر تزخيم شعار العداء لإيران وتصوير العراق على أنه ساحة للنفوذ الفارسي المجوسي كما تقول إشاعاتهم اليومية.

ولم ينسوا جذب بعض القوى الشيعية التي تريد الإمساك بالحكم على غرار سائرون جماعة مقتدى الصدر وطموحات عراقيين شيعة آخرين، مستعدين لبيع سراويلهم مقابل رئاسة الحكومة.

فأمسك الأميركيون بهذه الطريقة بالكثير من الأحزاب في كردستان والوسط والكلدان والصابئة والايزيديين وبعض قوى الجنوب والعاصمة.

بذلك استطاعت دولة “بريمر” لعب دور مرجعية لا يمكن لأي قرار وطني ان يعبر إلا بإذنها، واداء دور المنظم للأحجام والحائل دون وصول قوة الى درجة تستطيع فيها إلغاء الآخر.

انها اذاً دولة مشلولة وعاجزة تراقب “بصمت العاجزين” ولادة مشروع سياسي أميركي جديد يريد تحويل العراق الى جدران تمنع تطوير العلاقات التنسيقية مع سورية وتلغي أي دور سياسي او اقتصادي لحدودها مع إيران، ولو استطاعت إلغاء انظمة الزيارات الدينية لمراقد الأولياء والأئمة بين العراق وايران لما تلكأت لحظة واحدة.

لذلك يذهب الجنون الأميركي هذه المرة الى حدود اغتيال قائدين أمنيين من الدرجة الاولى، أحدهما رجل أمن إقليمي تاريخي له مكانة متقدّمة في محور المقاومة في لبنان وسورية والعراق وإيران واليمن وفلسطين، والشهيد الثاني نائب رئيس الحشد الشعبي في مواجهة الأميركيين.

هذا إذاً اغتيال له أبعاد سياسية عراقية لكن جغرافيته العراقية تتطلب رداً سياسياً حازماً من الدولة العراقية اولاً، ولن تستطيع التقدم بشكوى لمجلس الامن الدولي بسبب الفراغ السياسي في المؤسسات الدستورية، فبرهم هارب الى باكستان والحلبوسي صاحب الآراء الرمادية وعاد عبد المهدي المستقيل الذي لم يعد باستطاعته حتى جمع وزراء من حكومته. هذا الى جانب أن حكومة تصريف الأعمال الحالية لا قدرة قانونية لديها على إنتاج موقف وطني.

فهل يعجز العراق عن تأمين بديل من مؤسساته الدستورية المشلولة؟

إنه الشعب العراقي بكامل أطيافه الذي ملأ بغداد والنجف بالملايين المستنكرين لاغتيال القائدين. هي الآلية الشجاعة وعلى رأسها مفتي السنة والشيعة المنلا الذي يجهر مطالباً بإخراج الأميركيين. هؤلاء هم القادرون على إصدار فتوى شعبية تعلن انتهاء مفاعيل كل المعاهدات والاتفاقات مع الأميركيين على أساس حظر كامل لأي تفاعل مع القواعد العسكرية الأميركية ومعاملتها كمراكز تنتهك سيادة العراق وصولاً الى حدود إعلان الكفاح الشعبي لطرد هذا الاستعماري.

المطلوب إذاً أن يلعب الشعب العراقي دوراً في إعادة بناء عراق داخلي موحّد وعراق إقليمي قادر على التنسيق مع سورية لبناء أقوى معادلة ممكنة منذ سقوط النظام العربي القديم على يد الرئيس المصري السادات في 1979.

فهل يتحوّل الاغتيال الأميركي للشهيدين الى مناسبة لطرد الأميركيين من العراق وسورية؟هذا ممكن بالقوة الشعبية وحلف المقاومة ورفع شعار يقوم على المساواة بين الشعوب في سورية والعراق ولبنان وفلسطين على أساس المساواة في السياسة والاقتصادي والاجتماع بمنأى عن التباين الديني والعرقي، لذلك فالمأزوم اليوم هم الأميركيون الذين يفقدون آخر أوراقهم في المنطقة بما يبشر بفجر جديد لشعوب مضطهدة منذ ألف عام وأكثر.

Syria, Washington and the Kurds. “The Rojava Dream is Dead”

By Prof. Tim Anderson

Global Research, December 31, 2019

American Herald Tribune

With the defeat of ISIS and Nusra, the exposure of the ‘White Helmets’ and the various Chemical Weapons stunts, and with the collapse of ‘Rojava’, Washington is fast running out of options in Syria. Syria is winning, but the big power has not yet given up. Knowing that it is losing, it still acts to prolong the endgame and punish the Syrian people.

***

We are sitting at a joint military command center in Arima (northern Syria, just west of Manbij) with three Syrian Arab Army (SAA) colonels and two uniformed Kurd SDF ‘koval’ (comrades). There are Russians here too, but they do not enter our conversation. Yet even in the friendly chat, as we wait for permission to travel on to Manbij and Ayn al Arab (Kobane), some tensions are apparent.

Sharing coffee and food, both the SAA officers and the SDF comrades acknowledge they are fighting and dying together against an invading Turkish army and its proxy militias. The frontline is just a few kilometers away.

When I ask what differences there are between DAESH, Nusra and the ‘Free Army’, they all respond derisively.  “There is no difference, it is a money game, the fighters go back and forwards depending on the pay rates”. “Any difference between groups in the numbers of foreigners?” I suggest. “No difference”, they repeat. SDF Comrade B passes me a recent video of ‘Free Army’ fighters at Tal Abiad, to the north-east, protesting conditions and demanding their return to HTS/Nusra controlled Idlib.

But we all know they fight for a different cause. The SAA officers are fighting for a liberated and united Syria, while the SDF comrades still dream of an independent ‘Kurdistan’ by cutting out parts of contemporary Turkey, Syria and Iraq.

Separatist Kurds collaborated with US occupation forces in pursuit of their ‘Rojava’ dream (western Kurdistan), even though Washington never really supported the project. Many Syrians see them as traitors. But the SAA is patient, dealing with one enemy at a time, and at the moment the enemy in north Syria is Erdogan.

The ‘Rojava’ dream is effectively dead. As both Afrin (in March 2018) and Manbij (in October 2019) demonstrated, no Kurdish militia can defend itself from Ankara, which correctly sees any ‘Rojava’ statelet as a stepping stone for the bigger game, a large slice of Turkey. Protection by US occupation forces could not last forever. Moreover, Kurdish groups have no exclusive historical claims over any parts of northern Syria. Many others live there. In much of north Syria Kurds are a small minority.

Despite these tensions a close, even affectionate relationship remains in the room. The SAA colonels are all older men, in their 40s and 50s, while the SDF comrades are younger men, around 30 years old. Colonel H offers more coffee to Comrade A while Comrade B tells of Kurdish conquests. “We lost 850 martyrs liberating Manbij”, he says, and “2,000 in Kobane”. And what about all those in your prisons? one of the colonels asks. “They are reformatories”, Comrade B replies.

Aleppo and Manbij dcc6a

*(Between Aleppo and Manbij there is a switch from checkpoints controlled by the Syrian Arab Army to those controlled by the Kurdish SDF, even though the SAA and Russia now secure most of these ‘SDF controlled’ areas)

What Comrade B does not say about the “liberation” of Manbij is that (1) the 2016 battle was effectively a transfer of the city from one US proxy (ISIS/DAESH) to another (SDF), and (2) there were very few Kurds in that mostly Arab city. After the major battles, many from surrounding areas fled to the city, swelling its population. A recent estimate puts its population at 700,000, of which 80% are Arab (Najjar 2019). Of the rest there are other non-Arab minorities, including Assyrians, Circassians and Armenians. There is no real social base for a separatist Kurd regime in Manbij.

Yet even after the departure of US occupation forces from this part of northern Syria, and even though the Syrian and Russian presence constrains Turkish ambitions, the SDF has been allowed to maintain its former administration of both the city and the region.

The bizarre and unsustainable nature of this regime is made apparent when Nihad Roumieh, my Syrian journalist colleague, asks one of the colonels to show us where we are. Colonel A happily rolls out a military map, with friend and enemy troop placements. The first thing apparent is that six Syrian armored units protect Manbij, to the north. Second, although Syrian forces have resumed control of more than 200km of the northern border, it is depressing to see how much of northern Syria remains occupied by Erdogan and his proxies.

The picture seemed even more grim when we later spoke with a Manbij councilor and his lawyer friend. They complained of many held in prison and tortured, under the SDF regime. They said there were only two Kurd villages in Manbij.

Nevertheless, it seems that a transition is taking place. Over November-December both Syrian and Russian flags were raised over previous SDF positions in Hassakah, Ayn al Arab, Jarablus and Tal Jemaa (Syrian Observer 2019; Semenov 2019; SOHR 2019), with suggestions that the SDF was involved in negotiations with Damascus “to reach conclusive solutions”. However, SDF leader Mazloum Abadi said that the group wanted “Syrian unity … [with] decentralized self-administration” including maintenance of the separate SDF militia (Syrian Observer 2019). Damascus is unlikely to accept such terms.

*

The claim for a Kurdish homeland in Syria is no indigenous movement, claiming the return of ancestral lands. Nor does the debate over Kurds as historical migrants (in Yildiz 2005) or long-standing inhabitants (Hennerbichler 2012: 77-78) resolve the question. While Kurdish languages are of Iranian origin, and the longer history passes through Mesopotamia (Iraq) and the Ottoman Empire, Kurds are certainly part of the native Syrian population.  However at 1.5 million Syria hosts the smallest group in the region, with around 20 million in Turkey (Gürbüz 2016: 31) and another 6-8 million each in Iran and Iraq.

The idea of a ‘Rojava’ statelet in Syria has been compromised in three ways. First, the Kurdish groups in the north and north-east Syria are only one of several groups (amongst Assyrians, Circassians, Armenians and Arabs), and in some areas small minorities. Second, the Kurdish separatist movement in Syria has been over-determined by the politics of and migration from Turkey. ‘Rojava’ was seen as the stepping stone for a larger ‘Kurdistan’ project, driven from the north. Third, intervention by the imperial power raised separatist expectations and has damaged Kurdish relations with other Syrian groups.

In the longer history of Syria, a traditional refuge for minorities, there have been many Kurds, including famous personalities, who did not buy into the separatist dream.

Sheikh Mohammad al Bouti

Two of them are buried inside the grounds of the Ummayad Mosque in Damascus: the 12th-century ruler Sala’addin and the Quranic scholar Sheikh Mohammad al Bouti (murdered by Jabhat al Nusra in 2013). Many Syrians of Kurdish origin embraced the idea of a wider identity. Before the 2011 conflict Tejel (2009: 39-46) classified Syrian Kurdish identities as comprising Arab nationalist, communist and Kurdish nationalist, with Syrian Kurd leaders Husni Za’im and Adib al-Shishakli campaigning for a non-sectarian ‘Greater Syria’.

The Turkish Kurd influence began early in the 20th century, as Kurdish culture was repressed by the post-Ottoman Turkish state. Turkish Kurds first took refuge in Syria, including in Damascus, after their failed rebellion in 1925. The very idea of a Syrian Kurdish party first came in 1956 from the Turkish refugee Osman Sabri; and another Turkish refugee Nûredîn Zaza, became president of that party (al Kati 2019: 45, 47).

There were multiple splits in subsequent years. The Democratic Union Party (PYD) emerged in the 1980s as a branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), loyal to its leader Abdallah Öcalan, who in 1996 acknowledged that “most of the Kurds of Syria were refugees and migrants from Turkey and they would benefit from returning there” (in Allsop 2014: 231). Many of the claims about ‘stateless’ Kurds in Syria have to be read in light of this Turkish influx. However, Öcalan departed in 1998, as part of Syria’s Adana agreement with Turkey (al Kati 2019: 49-52).

The big powers, conscious of the potentially divisive role of separatist Kurds, have used them for decades, to divide and weaken Arab governments. US regional allies Israel and Iran (pre-1979) joined in, with the Shah in 1962 ordering his SAVAK secret police to help finance the Kurdish insurgency in northern Iraq, so as to undermine Baghdad. The Israelis joined in two years later. The CIA offered further help to the Barzani-led Kurds in 1972. One result was that Iraq was unable to join the Arab resistance against Israeli expansion in 1967 and 1973 because a large part of its military was deployed in northern Iraq (Gibson 2019).

The US-led war on Syria in 2011 presented new separatist opportunities. Peoples Protection Units (YPG) were reactivated in 2012, at first with support from Damascus so that Syrians in the north could fight ISIS. However, the US occupation of parts of north and east Syria in late 2015 led to the reorganization of many YPG units into the US-sponsored ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) (Martin 2018: 96). These were sometimes referred to as a ‘Rojava’ force, while at other times the Kurdish component was played down.

According to one US military report in 2017 the SDF in Manbij was only 40% Kurd (Townsend in Humud, Blanchard and Nikitin 2017: 12), addressing the embarrassing reality that Manbij had a very small Kurdish population. In late 2016 US Col. John Dorrian, gave a higher overall Kurd estimate, saying that the SDF “consists of approximately 45,000 fighters, more than 13,000 of which are Arab” (USDOD 2016). Many of the latter came from the fragments of earlier US proxy militia in Syria.

Syrian Colonel Malek from Aleppo confirmed to me that the bulk of SDF members were always Kurdish, including many from Iraq and Turkey. The size of the non-Kurd and foreigner contingents varied according to the money on offer. A report from the London based International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR) recognized that both the YPG and SDF ground forces remained largely arms of the Turkish PKK (Holland-McCowan 2017: 10).

The failure of the September 2017 separatist referendum in Iraq dealt a serious blow to the regional project. The KDP and PUK put aside their rivalry to hold an independence referendum (having already pushed for and gained federal status) even though it was not authorized by Baghdad. The proposal was said to have gained 92% approval, but was immediately rejected by the Iraqi Government and Army, which drove Peshmerga forces out of Kirkuk in just a few hours (Gabreldar 2018; ICG 2019). For the first time in decades the Iraqi Army took control of the NE region. Baghdad was showing a political will that had been lacking for many years.

In Syria, US forces did nothing to stop the YPG’s ethnic cleansing of non-Kurds in areas to which they laid claim. In October 2015, the western aligned group Amnesty International accused the YPG (just before the US rebranded them as the ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’) of forcibly evicting Arabs and Turkmens from areas they took after displacing ISIS. Amnesty produced evidence to show instances of forced displacement, and the demolition and confiscation of civilian property, which constituted war crimes (AI 2015). Similar accusations had come from Turkish government sources (Pamuk and Bektas 2015) but also from refugees who said that ‘YPG fighters evicted Arabs and Turkmens from their homes and burned their personal documents’ (Sehmer 2015; Al Masri 2015).

However, after the US forces became direct patrons of the SDF in late 2015, a UN commission, co-chaired by US diplomat Karen Koning AbuZayd, continued its quest to place most of the blame for abuses on Syrian Government forces. The Commission accused the YPG/SDF of forcibly displacing communities “[but only] in order to clear areas mined by ISIL”, and of forcible conscription, but “found no evidence to substantiate claims that YPG or SDF forces ever targeted Arab communities on the basis of ethnicity, nor that YPG cantonal authorities systematically sought to change the demographic composition of territories” (IICISAR 2017: 111 and 93).What Syria’s Kurds “Think” They are Fighting For Versus Reality

Nevertheless, in 2018 there were ongoing reports of the ethnic cleansing of Assyrian Christians from US-SDF held areas in NE Syria. Young men in the Qamishli area were reported to have been arrested and forcibly conscripted into Kurdish militia, alongside property theft by those same militias (Abed 2018). In 2019 the SDF were reported to have closed more than 2,000 Arabic-teaching schools in the Hasaka region (Syria Times 2019) and to have shot, killed, wounded and jailed displaced people who were trying to escape from al-Hawl Refugee Camp in South-Eastern Hasaka (FNA 2019). Nevertheless, once US forces created and adopted the Kurdish-led ‘SDF’, Amnesty International and the western media muted their earlier criticisms.

Washington in 2012 had looked favorably on the ISIS plan for a “Salafist principality”, so as to weaken Damascus (DIA 2012). In September 2016 US air power was used to attack and kill more than 120 Syrian soldiers at Mount Tharda behind Deir Ezzor airport, to help the terrorist group’s (failed) efforts to take over and threaten the city (Anderson 2017). But when Russia, Syria and Iraq began wiping out these Saudi clones, USA forces simply rescued their best commanders and replaced ISIS with a Kurdish-led ‘SDF’ (Anderson 2019: Chapters 5 and 7), once again to undermine and weaken Damascus.

But US occupation forces did not wait around to sponsor the ill-fated Rojava project. In October 2019 President Trump gave the order for a partial withdrawal from northern Syria. Former US diplomat Robert Ford had warned in 2017 that the US would abandon the SDF (O’Connor 2017). So, stripped of US military protection and their main source of arms and finance, the SDF was forced to rapidly put together a new alliance with Damascus and Russia, to prevent annihilation by Erdogan’s forces. The Turkish leader saw the Öcalan-led YPG/SDF as a stepping stone to its larger project in Turkey (Demircan 2019).

Western liberals complained the US was ‘betraying’ its Kurdish allies; but they placed too much faith in romantic myths. Ünver (2016), for example, presented separatist Kurds as recipients of unplanned opportunities in Syria’s “civil war” in an “age of shifting borders”, as though the big power were not once again using the ‘Kurdish card’ to divide and weaken both Iraq and Syria. Schmidinger (2018: 13, 16-17) tried to twist Syria’s historic diversity into an argument for the ‘Rojava’ sectarian division – instead of an inclusive unitary state. But, as has been said many times before, imperial powers never have real allies, only interests. Lebanese Resistance leader Hassan Nasrallah told Kurdish separatists in February 2018: “In the end they will work according to their interests, they will abandon you and they will sell you in a slave market.”

Meanwhile, with Washington’s blessing, Erdogan persists with his plan to control large parts of northern Syria, with the aim of settling many of the refugees in Turkey under a Muslim Brotherhood style regime, controlled by sectarian Islamist militia. Retired Syrian Major General Mohammad Abbas Mohammad told me that Turkey’s leader has not given up his ambition of becoming a modern-day ‘Caliph’ of Muslim nations, and is working to colonise Syrian minds with his constant Islamist slogans.

*

Nevertheless, with the help of its allies, Syria is winning the war. ISIS/DAESH and Nusra are virtually defeated, the ‘White Helmets’ and the Chemical Weapons stunts have been exposed and the Rojava myth has collapsed. But a Washington-driven economic war now targets all the independent countries of the region, aggravating the occupation and the terrorism.

Director of the Syrian Arab Army’s Political Department Major General Hassan Hassan, tells us that the US “has the power to destroy the world, many times over, but it has not been able to turn that power into capabilities.” That is why US wars are failing across the region.

While we are indeed heading for a multi-polar world, he says, we are not there yet. “Syria still faces the unipolar regime”. Erdogan, ISIS, Israel and the SDF are all “puppets” of this dying world order. Authorized by the US, Erdogan still wants to set up a Muslim Brotherhood region in north and east Syria. This is a dying and a “most dangerous” order, General Hassan says. “The US deep state knows that its unipolarity is failing, but that has not yet been announced. The new world system is born, but is not yet recognized. The US wants to prolong this conflict as long as possible, and to punish the Syrian people”.

Euphrates f77f4

(Crossing the huge Furat (Euphrates) river, from rural Manbij to rural Raqqa, north Syria)

In that transitional phase we see collaboration between the SAA and the SDF, the extraordinary anomaly of an SDF-run Manbij and the ongoing experiment of ‘Kobane’, the SDF controlled border town which Syrians call Ayn al Arab.

Traveling from rural Aleppo to rural Raqqa on the M4 highway we cross the Furat (Euphrates) river, a huge, semi-dammed expanse of fresh water which appears particularly sweet between two deserts. Turning north we arrive in Ayn al Arab, at the Turkish border, in less than an hour. Although Erdogan’s gangs are attacking Ayn al Issa, deeper inside Syria on the M4, there is no sign of fighting near Ayn al Arab itself. Major General Abbas says that Erdogan is aiming at narrow incursions, which can later be widened.

This small city of perhaps 45,000 people was evacuated during earlier fighting and still shows signs of great destruction, especially on the eastern and northern sides. Less than a tenth of the size of Manbij it is now said to have a majority of Kurds and the SDF comrades seem well organized. We are taken to their small headquarters, a three-story building, to await further security checks and an escort to one of their schools and one of their hospitals.

At the secondary school, as in the headquarters, they seem wary of a foreigner accompanied by an SAA Colonel and a Syrian journalist. That breaks down a little as I ask about their curriculum and the children, who have clearly gone through substantial trauma. The headmaster says they are developing programs to help students deal with their war experiences. The threat is not over, as Erdogan’s troops, including sectarian Islamist gangs, are only a few kilometers to the north.

The Kurdish nationalist curriculum has made a break with the centralized Arabic-based system set in Damascus. The headmaster explains that their syllabus is carried out 60% in the Kurdish language, 20% in Arabic and 20% in English. For children from Arab families the syllabus is 60% Arabic, 20% Kurdish and 20% English. They speak of four ‘nationalities’ in Kobane: Kurd, Arab, Yazidi and Christian. That is how they see it.

The management of the small hospital is also strongly Kurd nationalist. I ask where they get their support and they mention the Americans and some international NGOs. Of course, there is nothing from Ankara. “What about Damascus?” I ask. “Nothing and we want nothing”, says one of the managers.

That may be true for this hospital. However Syrian colleagues tell that most of the health centers in SDF controlled areas still get finance and supplies from Damascus. So not only is their security guaranteed by the Syrian state, so are most of their social services.

It remains to be seen how much Kurdish autonomy will remain, under a final political settlement. Federation is not part of the discussion, it is clear that Damascus sees that as a path which would dismember and weaken the country. While the SAA and the SDF jointly fight Erdogan’s gangs, Damascus has been calling on Arab leaders in the north and north east, who had collaborated with the US occupation force and the SDF, to return to the Syrian Arab Army. On the other side, SDF Commander General Mazloum Abdi opposes incorporation of the SDF into the SAA (Van Wilgenburg 2019) and wants to hold onto as much local administration as possible (Syrian Observer 2019). The continued US presence and sponsorship of SDF units in Hasaka, Qamishli and Deir Ezzor (Ahval 2019), serves to maintain the illusions of autonomy.

In the Russian media there is some pessimism about an SDF-Damascus reconciliation. One observer suggests that “Russia will eventually force most (if not all) of Turkey’s forces to leave Syria … [but Damascus] and the Syrian Kurds have opposing political and military goals that will not be easily reconciled” (Stein 2019).

However, Damascus has some other cards. The YPG/PKK/SDF grew its influence through US sponsorship and, as that declines, other voices in the north, including Kurdish voices, are likely to re-emerge, especially through the constitutional process in Geneva. Major General Abbas points out that there are now dozens of Kurdish parties in the north east (Syria Times 2018). Given the intransigence of the US-dependent SDF, Russia is said to be recruiting Syrian Kurd youth to a rival group (Duvar 2019), which is likely to be incorporated into the SAA.

In my view, there will likely be some accommodation of Kurdish nationalist demands at the cultural and local administrative levels, but alongside efforts to ensure this does not privilege Kurds above other Syrian groups. That should appear in the amended constitution. The old world order is dying and the new one is still being born. In this transitional world, Washington persists with its losing war, to divide and punish the Syrian people.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Dr. Tim Anderson is Director of the Sydney-based Centre for Counter Hegemonic Studies. He has worked at Australian universities for more than 30 years, teaching, researching and publishing on development, human rights and self-determination in the Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East. In 2014 he was awarded Cuba’s medal of friendship. He is Australia and Pacific representative for the Latin America based Network in Defence of Humanity. His most recent books are: Land and Livelihoods in Papua New Guinea (2015), The Dirty War on Syria (2016), Global Research, 2015, now published in ten languages; Countering War Propaganda of the Dirty War on Syria (2017) and Axis of Resistance: towards an independent Middle East (2019).

Sources

Abed, Sarah (2018) ‘Kurdish Militias in Northeastern Syria Turn to Kidnapping, Conscription, ISIS-like Tactics’, MintPress, 12 February, online: https://www.mintpressnews.com/kurds-in-conflict-ridden-northeastern-syria-turn-to-kidnapping-conscription-isis-like-tactics/237466/

Ahval (2019) ‘Syrian Kurdish military commander announces SDF deal with Russia’, 2 December, online: https://ahvalnews.com/northern-syria/syrian-kurdish-military-commander-announces-sdf-deal-russia

AI (2015) ‘Syria: ‘We had nowhere to go’ – Forced displacement and demolitions in Northern Syria’, Amnesty International, London, October, online: https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/MDE2425032015ENGLISH.PDF

Al Masri, Abdulrahman (2015) ‘Is there ‘systematic ethnic cleansing’ by Kurds in north-east Syria?’, Middle East Monitor, 21 June, online: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20150621-is-there-systematic-ethnic-cleansing-by-kurds-in-north-east-syria/

Allsop, Harriet (2014) The Kurds of Syria: Political Parties and Identity in the Middle East, I.B. Tauris, New York

Anderson, Tim (2017) ‘Implausible Denials: The Crime at Jabal al Tharda’, Global Research, 17 December, online: https://www.globalresearch.ca/implausible-denials-the-crime-at-jabal-al-tharda-us-led-air-raid-on-behalf-of-isis-daesh-against-syrian-forces/5623056

Chomani, Kamal (2019) ‘Oil dispute reignites Baghdad-Erbil tensions’, al Monitor, 29 May, online: https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/05/iraq-kurdistan-oil-kirkuk.html

Demircan, Davut (2019) ‘Evidence points to nexus between YPG/PKK’, Andalou Agency 23 October, online: https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/evidence-points-to-nexus-between-ypg-pkk/1624238#

DIA (2012) ‘14-L-0552/DIA/288’, Defence Intelligence Agency, Washington, 12 August, online: https://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Pg.-291-Pgs.-287-293-JW-v-DOD-and-State-14-812-DOD-Release-2015-04-10-final-version11.pdf

Duvar (2019) ‘Russia ‘seeks to build local force from ethnic Kurds to replace SDF’, 24 december, online: https://www.duvarenglish.com/world/2019/12/24/russia-seeks-to-build-local-force-from-ethnic-kurds-in-syrias-northeast-report/

FNA (2019) ‘US-Backed SDF Kills Civilians Trying to Escape Hasaka Refugee Camp’, Fars News Agency, 24 May, online: https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980303000377

Gabreldar, Bushra (2018) ‘Kurdish independence in Iraq’, Harvard International Review , Vol. 39, No. 1, Athletic Diplomacy: the intersection of sports and culture (Winter 2018), pp. 7-9

Galbraith, Peter (2019) ‘The Betrayal of the Kurds’, New York Review of Books, 21 November, online: https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2019/11/21/betrayal-of-the-kurds/

Gibson, Bryan (2019) ‘The Secret Origins of the U.S.-Kurdish Relationship Explain Today’s Disaster’, Foreign Policy, 14 October, online: https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/10/14/us-kurdish-relationship-history-syria-turkey-betrayal-kissinger/

Gunter, Michael (1996) ‘The KDP-PUK Conflict in Northern Iraq’, Middle East Journal, Vol. 50, No. 2 (Spring, 1996), pp. 224-241

Gürbüz, Mustafa (2016) Rival Kurdish Movements in Turkey, Amsterdam University Press

Hennerbichler, Ferdinand (2012) ‘The Origin of Kurds, Advances in Anthropology, Vol 2 No 2 64-79

Hoffman, Sophia (2016) The Politics of Iraqi Migration to Syria, Syracuse University Press, New York

Holland-McCowan, John (2017) ‘War of Shadows: How Turkey’s Conflict with the PKK Shapes the Syrian Civil War and Iraqi Kurdistan’, International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR), online: https://icsr.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/ICSR-Report-War-of-Shadows-How-Turkey’s-Conflict-with-the-PKK-Shapes-the-Syrian-Civil-War-and-Iraqi-Kurdistan.pdf

Humud, Carla E.; Christopher M. Blanchard and Mary Beth D. Nikitin (2017) ‘Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response’, Congressional Research Service, April 26, online: https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/591c08bc4.pdf

Ibrahim, Shivan (2019) ‘Syria’s Kurdish parties do not see eye to eye’, Al Monitor, December 9, online : https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/12/kurds-syria-pyd-national-council-russia-syrian-regime.html

ICG (2019) ‘After Iraqi Kurdistan’s Thwarted Independence Bid’, International Crisis Group, Report 199 / Middle East & North Africa 27 March, online: https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/gulf-and-arabian-peninsula/iraq/199-after-iraqi-kurdistans-thwarted-independence-bid

IICISAR (2017) ‘Human rights abuses and international humanitarian law violations in the Syrian Arab Republic, 21 July 2016’, Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, ‘Conference room paper’, 10 March 2017, online: https://www.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/WopiFrame.aspx?sourcedoc=/Documents/Countries/SY/A_HRC_34_CRP.3_E.docx&action=default&DefaultItemOpen=1

Kutschera, Chris (1994) ‘Mad Dreams of Independence: The Kurds of Turkey and the PKK’, Middle East Report, No. 189, The Kurdish Experience (Jul. – Aug., 1994), pp. 12-15

Martin, Kevin (2018) ‘Syria and Iraq ISIS and Other Actors in Historical Context’, in Feisal al-Istrabadi and Sumit Ganguly (2018) The Future of ISIS: Regional and International Implications, Brookings Institution Press

Mohannad Al-Kati (2019) ‘The Kurdish Movement in the Arab World: The Syrian Kurds as a Case Study’, AlMuntaqa , Arab Center for Research & Policy Studies, Vol. 2, No. 1 (April/May 2019), pp. 45-61

Najjar, Faray (2019) ‘New front in Syria’s war: Why Manbij matters’, Al Jazzera 16 October, online: www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2019/10/front-syria-war-manbij-matters-191015143157365.html

O’Connor, Tom (2017) ‘’U.S. will lose Syria to Iran and abandon Kurdish allies, former Ambassador says’, Newsweek, 19 June, online: https://www.newsweek.com/us-military-kurds-lose-iran-syria-former-ambassador-627395

Pamuk, Humeyra and Umit Bektas (2015) ‘Turkey sees signs of ‘ethnic cleansing’ by Kurdish fighters in Syria’, Reuters, 17 June, online: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-kurds-turkey-idUSKBN0OW1SA20150616

Schmidinger, Thomas (2018) Rojava: Revolution, War and the Future of Syria’s Kurds, Pluto, London

Sehmer, Alexander (2015) ‘Thousands of Arabs flee from Kurdish fighters in Syria’s north’, The Independent, 1 June, online: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/thousand-of-arabs-flee-from-kurdish-fighters-in-syrias-north-10289475.html

Semenov, Kirill (2019) ‘Russia faces Dilemmas in northeastern Syria’, Al Monitor, 21 November, online: https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/11/russia-syria-us-turkey-kurds.html

SOHR (2019) ‘Lens of SOHR monitors the rise of the Syrian flag and the flag of Syriac Military Council affiliated to “SDF”, in Tal Jemma north of Tal Tamr town’, 4 December, Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, online: http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=149576

Stein, Aaron (2019) ‘Temporary and Transactional: The Syrian Regime and SDF Alliance’, Valdai Club, 29 November, online: https://valdaiclub.com/a/highlights/temporary-and-transactional-the-syrian-regime/

Syrian Observer (2019) Russia takes over SDF Base in northern Hassakeh, 2 December, online: https://syrianobserver.com/EN/news/54623/russia-takes-over-sdf-in-northern-hassakeh.html

Syria Times (2018) ‘Syrian officer to ST: forces in Syria’, 31 December, online: http://syriatimes.sy/index.php/editorials/opinion/39606-syrian-officer-to-st-forces-in-syria

Syria Times (2019) ‘SDF militia closes 2154 Syrian schools and gives some of them to US occupation army’, 27 September, online: http://syriatimes.sy/index.php/news/local/43878-sdf-militia-closes-2154-syrian-schools-and-gives-some-of-them-to-us-occupation-army

Tejel, Jordi (2009) Syria’s Kurds: History, Politics and Society, Routledge, New York

Ünver, H. Akin (2016) Schrödinger’s Kurds: Transnational Kurdish Geopolitics in the Age of Shifting Borders, Journal of International Affairs , Vol. 69, No. 2, Shifting Sands: The Middle East in the 21st Century (SPRING/SUMMER 2016), pp. 65-100

USDOD (2016) ‘Department of Defense Press Briefing by Col. Dorrian via teleconference from Baghdad, Iraq’, U.S. Department of Defense, 8 December, online:

https://www.defense.gov/News/Transcripts/Transcript-View/Article/1025099/department-of-defensepress-briefing-by-col-dorrian-via-teleconference-from-bag

Van Wilgenburg, Wladimir (2019) ‘SDF leadership meets with Arab tribes in response to Damascus call to defect’, Kurdistan24, 11 December, online: https://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/09be9fde-3988-4307-be32-ab161da48412

Yildiz, Kerim (2005) The Kurds in Syria: the forgotten people, Ann Arbor, London

All images in this article are from the AHTThe original source of this article is American Herald TribuneCopyright © Prof. Tim AndersonAmerican Herald Tribune, 2019

مسؤول سابق في صندوق النقد الدولي: عشرات ملايين الدولارات تخرج يومياً من لبنان إلى أربيل

نوفمبر 18, 2019

نضال حمادة باريس

يجلس المسؤول السابق في صندوق النقد الدولي الذي يزور بيروت حالياً، وقد بدا عليه التعب من الرحلة بين ساحة رياض الصلح وشارع الحمرا والسبب أنّ التاكسي التي أقلته انتظرت نصف ساعة لتعبئة الوقود.

يبدأ الرجل حديثه عن مؤتمر عُقد في الجامعة الأميركية في بيروت عام 2018 بعنوان صندوق النقد الدولي والدول الهشّة قائلاً إنّ جميع من هم في السلطة في لبنان يعلمون ومنذ سنوات طويلة أنّ الأوضاع الاقتصادية سائرة إلى الانهيار الحتمي، ولكنهم لم يفعلوا شيئاً لتصحيح الوضع أو لوقف النزف والسرقة والفساد الذي أدّى الى تعفن الوضع الاقتصادي والسياسي، وبالتالي الى تحوّل في المجتمع اللبناني الذي أصبح ينظر الى هذه الطبقة على أنها المسؤول الأول والأخير عن مصائبه.

يكشف الاقتصادي وهو من أصل عربي ويحمل جنسية أوروبية «أنّ عدداً من المسؤولين اللبنانيين يهرّبون يومياً عشرات الملايين من الدولارات التي يملكونها الى مدينة أربيل في إقليم كردستان العراق»، وأضاف «أنّ هذه الأموال تهرّب عبر حقائب من مطار بيروت الدولي وبعضها في طائرات خاصة ويتمّ إيصالها الى حيّ يخضع مباشرة لسيطرة القوات الأميركية ويسمّى حي وزيرين».

لقد زرتُ هذا الحيّ بنفسي قبل أعوام عدة، يقول الاقتصادي الدولي، ورأيت بعيني كيف تخبّأ عشرات المليارات من الدولارات الكاش في قصور وفيلات تعود لزعماء ومسؤولين من كافة الدول العربية، كنّا ندخل الى قصر وننزل الى طابق سفلي حيث تفتح بوابة حديدية بشكل آلي وعند دخولنا كنا نرى الدولارات مكدّسة بصناديق، بتشوف دولارات مخزنة، دولارات بس، ما في شي غير الدولارات يقول بالعاميّة. ويضيف هذا الحي بُنيت فيه المساكن بشكل متشابه وبالتالي اعتقد أنّ غرف تخزين الدولارات الكاش في باقي القصور بُنيت بالطريقة نفسها للقصر الذي دخلناه.

في لبنان يلفّ الغموض كلّ تفاصيل هذا الانهيار المالي، لا يعرف أحد كم يملك مصرف لبنان من احتياط العملة الصعبة، كلّ جهة تلقي برقم مختلف، ولا يعرف أحد بالضبط كم يبلغ حجم الأموال التي استنزفت في عملية الهندسة المالية، كما أن لا أحد يعرف حجم الميزانية الحقيقيّ ولا حجم قطع الحساب من هذه الميزانية، الوحيد الذي لديه معرفة تفصيلية بكلّ حركة الأموال الضائعة هو حاكم مصرف لبنان ويبدو أنّ موقف حزب الله غير القاسي اتجاهه يعود لهذا الأمر، بكلّ بساطة مغادرة رياض سلامة او غيابه يعني عدم إمكان تعقب أثر الأموال وطرق خروجها ومكان وصولها، وبالتالي يظهر كم أنّ مَن يعتبره الكثيرون رأس المشكلة يمتلك المعلومات الثمينة التي يمكن عبرها حلّ هذه المشكلة، على اللبنانيين الانتباه لهذا الأمر.

يتطرق الاقتصادي الدولي إلى تواصل لبنان مع المؤسسات النقدية العالمية ويسأل لماذا اجتمع رئيس الجمهورية مع مندوب البنك الدولي؟ أنتم مشكلتكم في التصنيف الذي يديره صندوق النقد، وبالتالي التواصل هنا يجب ان يكون مع صندوق النقد لمحاولة إقناعهم بعدم الاستمرار في تصنيف المصارف اللبنانية بشكل سلبي. وعند سؤالنا عن الفرق بين الطرفين طالما أنّ مقرّهما واشنطن، قال: البنك الدولي يعطي الأموال ويحرص في طريقة إعطائها أن تذهب الى الفساد وجيوب الفاسدين، ويأتي صندوق النقد ليصنّف البلد بعد أن تكون الديون أثقلته والفساد ضرب أركانه الاقتصادية. في حال لبنان البنك الدولي سهّل التمويل الذي ذهب في جيوب الفاسدين، الآن أتى دور صندوق النقد، وبالتالي في حال أراد الساسة في بلادكم تهدئة الهجوم والضغوط من المؤسسات الدولية فإنّ التواصل يجب أن يكون مع جماعة صندوق النقد.

US/Turkey Deal on Syria Like Carving up Cuba Scene from the Godfather Trilogy

BY Stephen Lendman

Source

Comment: Rick Sterling or Stephen Lendman, perhaps one must view the situation in Syria bearing both viewpoints, the latter’s below and the former’s in the previous post. A quagmire such as one in Syria is far too multi-faceted to be comprehended by looking through a singular lens. 

One of the trilogy’s most memorable scenes was in pre-liberated Cuba where mafia dons are seen carving up a cake representing the country.

The Hyman Roth character explains that “all of you will share” in plundering the island state in collaboration with its ruling authorities, adding:

“These are wonderful things that we’ve achieved in Havana, and there’s no limit to where we can go from here.” 

“This kind of government knows how to help business to encourage it…(W)e have now what we have always needed —real partnership with the government.”

Cuba’s strongman despot Fulgencio Batista was like Nicaragua’s Anastasio Somoza, a figure Franklin Roosevelt called “a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.”

The characterization applied to Batista, today to all despots serving US interests and their own at the expense of peace, equity and justice.

Since early 2011, Obama’s war on Syria, now Trump’s, using ISIS and likeminded jihadists as proxy Pentagon/CIA foot soldiers continues.

It’s gone on endlessly because bipartisan US hardliners reject restoration of peace and stability to the country and others the US attacked aggressively.

They want all nations not controlled by the US transformed into vassal states, Assad and other independent leaders replaced by pro-Western puppet rule.

War in Syria is also about isolating Iran regionally, ahead of a similar scheme against its ruling authorities.

What’s going on in the Middle East post-9/11 is part of a US-led NATO/Israeli plot to redraw the Middle East map, carving up nations for easier control, looting their resources and exploiting their people.

Tactics include endless wars and chaos in one country after another, serving US imperial interests. Peace and stability defeat its aims.

Russia’s intervention in Syria four years ago changed the dynamic on the ground, most of the country liberated from the scourge of US-supported ISIS and other terrorists, Idlib province the key remaining battleground.

Infested with thousands of heavily armed US-supported al-Nusra jihadists, they’re holding around three million civilians hostage as human shields, defeating them requiring protracted struggle that’s winnable.

The greater issue is occupation of northern Syria by US and Turkish forces, its south bordering Iraq and Jordan by Pentagon troops.

As long as Syria is occupied by foreign forces, liberation remains unattainable.

The illegitimate October 17 US/Turkish deal leaves troops from both countries occupying and controlling Syrian territory — a flagrant international law breach, a scheme Damascus rejects.

It includes redeploying US forces in northern areas largely or entirely cross-border to Iraq and perhaps Jordan, unknown numbers remaining in Syria — thousands more sent to Saudi Arabia, increasing the Pentagon’s regional military footprint.

As portrayed in the Godfather trilogy, the US and Turkey agreed to carve up Syria’s north, ruling authorities of both countries wanting control over its oil-producing areas.

Damascus has no intention of relinquishing any of its territory to foreign occupiers, war likely to continue until all parts of Syria are liberated.

On Friday, Bashar al-Assad met with Kremlin special representative for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin.

Discussing the latest developments on the ground, notably Turkish aggression and Erdogan’s deal with the Trump regime, Assad stressed that Syria’s liberation depends on halting Ankara’s offensive and freeing the country from foreign occupiers.

Russian officials affirmed support for Syrian sovereignty and territorial integrity, what the Kremlin backed throughout the war, along with restoration of peace and stability to the country.

On Saturday, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that Turkish terror-bombing and cross-border shelling continue for the second day following Thursday’s deal in Ankara, saying:

“(R)esidential neighborhoods in Ras al-Ayn and targeted places of worship from mosques, churches and monasteries, which caused the people fleeing the targeted areas” were struck, adding:

A “SANA reporter said that eight civilians were martyred and about 25 others were injured in the ongoing Turkish aggression on Syrian territory in and around Ras al-Ayn city despite the announcement of the Turkish regime reaching an agreement with Washington…”

“(G)roups of the Turkish occupation forces and their mercenaries infiltrated into Ras al-Ayn city and the surrounding villages and attacked with medium and light weapons the people in the villages of Lazka, Abah, Mraikiz, Bab al-Khair and Sheikh Hussein Tomb in Ras al-Ayn countryside.”

“The Turkish regime is launching offensive on a number of villages and towns in the countryside of Hasaka and Raqqa, which resulted in the martyrdom and injury of hundreds of civilians, including children, women and workers in the service sectors, and considerable material damage to service facilities, vital infrastructure such as dams, power and water plants.”

On Saturday, Southfront said the “northeastern Syria ceasefire is collapsing.” Turkish forces continue to attack sites, at least 28 civilians killed or injured.

AMN News said “Turkish forces (are) advanc(ing) (on a) key border city despite (Thursday’s) ceasefire” agreement, attacking Kurdish YPG fighters.

Hardline US and Turkish regimes can never be trusted, time and again agreeing to one thing, then going another way.

Is this what’s now playing out in Syria? What follows Thursday’s deal remains very much uncertain.

If past is prologue, there’s little reason for optimism.

Damascus: US-Turkey Ceasefire Deal Unclear, Kurdish autonomy Firmly Rejected

Syrian president's political adviser Buthaina Shaaban

Al-Manar

October 18, 2019

Syrian president’s political adviser said that Damascus firmly rejects establishment of Kurdish autonomy in Syria as there are no reasons for that in the country.

“Of course we cannot accept it,” Shaaban said in an interview with al-Mayadeen television responding to the question of whether Damascus could accept a “copy” of Iraqi Kurdistan on its territory.

“There are no grounds for this [Kurdish autonomy] … We will never be able to speak about it from such an angle, since Syria consists of many ethnic and religious layers, and we do not say that someone is a Kurd, or someone follows such and such religion, we simply don’t say that. The majority of the Kurds are a precious part of our society for us, but some Kurdish organizations have made a political decision that is contrary to the interests of the country,” Shaaban stressed.

“The ceasefire agreement announced by the US and Turkey is unclear,” Shaaban also said in an interview with al-Mayadeen television.

“As for the term a ‘security zone,’ it is incorrect: what Turkey really implies is a zone of occupation,” she added.

Source: Sputnik

Related News

 

 

%d bloggers like this: