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Syrian Kurdistan: From "Olive Branch" to "Fallen State"

Kurdish fighters raise flag of PKK leader in centre of Raqqa

Written by Maksim Alexandrov; Originally appeared on; Translated by AlexD exclusively for SouthFront

Not long ago in Washington at the Institute of National Strategic Studies of the National Defence University the round table on “The Multimodal Threats in the Kurdish Region” took place, a continuation of the “NATO and Regional Military and Political Alliance in 2018” Council.

The organisers of the meeting, taking place on April 9 to 11, were the Institute of National Strategic Studies, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), the intelligence community and the commanders of the Special Forces of the US. The main agenda of the event was focused on clarifying the conceptual and analytical foundations of American policy in the framework of topical issues of the “Kurdish question”, the problem of improving the coordination of regional allies, as well as military and political modeling of crisis systems that fall under the topology of “fallen state”.

“Today, the USA, as never before, is faced with the destructive position of the Syrian regime and its allies, the Russian Federation and Iran. We met qualitatively new challenges and hybrid threats to freedom and democracy in Syria (SAR)”, with these words the special representative of the Department of Military and Political Modeling began his presentation, specialist in the field of pre-emptive analysis and the Greater Middle East of the Agency for the reduction of military threats Ray Ross.

During the discussion, experts highlighted the most complex structure of the problems that cause the revision of operational resources, and as a consequence, reducing operational sustainability and “window of response” to the crisis situations. First, such challenges include the issue of harmonisation of positions and approaches.

As an empirical base, analysts cite examples of the destructive positions of the Turkish Republic regarding the “united Kurdish space”, the inconsistent/punctual nature of the work of the UK, France and Germany in providing and preparing the Kurdish militia after the October operations in Iraq’s Kirkuk. During the meeting, the coalition failed to ensure prompt withdrawal of 140 Bundeswehr instructors and 30 specialist of the Special Aviation Service of the British Armed Forces.

Second, comes the imbalance of the asymmetric military and political education within the framework of the international coalition. The fragmentation of Kurdish troops and militia (YPG) during the events related to the referendum on the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan and the subsequent military and political crisis, the split of the Peshmerga and other Kurdish armed groups controlled by Erbil; the growth in popularity of the Movement for Change or “Goran”, are a ready counter-rally against ex-President Massod Barzani’s block, the “Democratic Party of Kurdistan” and the “Patriotic Union of Kurdistan”.

As a result, there is a curtailment of the potential of “Kurdish National Councils” in the Syrian Kurdish Supreme Council, in other words, the growing influence of the Democratic Union Party of Salih Muslim, supporter of the autonomy within the SAR, and the national Councils of Western Kurdistan, which may cause a potential strengthening of Moscow’s and Iran’s positions in the region.

The disagreements between the Kurdish and Arab (Sunni, 23 movements) ethnic and religious components are, in particular the revolt of the Arabs in Syria’s Raqqa, armed conflicts within “independent” groups in North-Eastern Syria, caused by both “humanitarian” and military-political aspects, systemic shortcomings of the previous presidential administration to unite the projects of the “Kurdish Zone”, “Syrian Democratic Forces” and the “Free Syrian Army”.

The data formed the need for duplication of “territorial formations” by independent structures, the creation of Kurdish security forces that are not included in the YPG during the last year. Along with this, it allowed partial substitution and assumption of the contingents of the Arab countries in the area of responsibility of the Alliance. Preliminary rounds of talks with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are now been held.

“The newly formed security forces, along with the implementation of substitution approaches are certainly a guarantee for stability and security in the North-East of Syria”, stated Ray Ross.

Third, the current problems required operational support for the concept “Balance of deterrence and engagement”, as described in previous submissions.

Thus, according to analysts, the greatest actual problems are:

  1. Security in the North East of Syria;
  2. Containment of Ankara;
  3. Exclusion of the growing influence of Damascus, Moscow and Tehran;
  4. Revision of the allies system, accompanied by a “balance of deterrence and engagement”.

Thus, the methods to achieve a “balance of deterrence and engagement” through the support and expansion of special measures aimed at the integration of non-system actors of the military and political process are of greatest interest. “We conduct constant monitoring of the military-political process and its dynamics. It has already been six months that we monitor the escalation of the conflict in the north of Syria, which we repeatedly inform our allies, Turkey and other countries. Today within the framework of the modeling, we understand the need to involve all parties in the settlement process. Potentially, it may include the Kurdish Workers’ Party and the Democratic Union”, said the representative of DTRA.

According to data received from the source “occupying a high position” in the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) since November 2017, personnel changes have begun, accompanied by an intra-party conflict. With the beginning of the Turkish operation “Olive Branch” the group “Will to Freedom” stood out, actively cooperating with the YPG troops, coordinated with the United States and its allies. The unit, numbering up to 5000 personnel, advocates for the change of the party’s leadership course and the formation of the “common Kurdish space”. “However, we must work to ensure that this organisation does not engage in destructive activities on Turkish territories”.

In addition, in the ranks of the PKK, according to intelligence, in December last year a “right-oriented core” was formed, which began the extradition of previously left in Afrin intra-party opponents of the “new forces” with Salih Muslim. “The United States have actively watched this process, today we have a unique opportunity to unite these PKK platforms into a new, powerful force that can affect the entire region. These processes are very complex, but positive for national security”, commented Ray Ross.

During the talks held at the end of December 2017, between the “new forces” and the Democratic Union Party, the parties could not agree on “extradition”, but agreements were reached in exchange for the deployment of seven training camps in North Africa in exchange for full support from the “right forces” in the PKK.

The personnel trained at these facilities were intended for deployment on the neighbouring Turkish territory. However the Turkish side took these processes as a strengthening, an attempt to unite the Kurdish Workers’ Party and on January 20 launched the army operation “Olive Branch”, which ended with the capture of the city of Afrin and the division of the canton into Turkish and Syrian-Russian areas of responsibility.

During the Turkish operation, with the support of the US, talks were held between the YPG and the Afrin security forces on the limited material and technical support, as well as sending a number of volunteer units subordinate to the military council of Manbij. Also, the “special contact mission” guaranteed full support in the case of coordination of the Afrin security forces, the dissolution of the HPX battalion and the “Desert Scorpion” brigade.

De facto, this process should be seen as providing an alternative resource base, aimed at the involvement of the security forces and councils of Afrin in the structure of the YPG and the expansion of cooperation with the International coalition, i.e. the removal of Iran and Russia from the northern province of Aleppo. However, cooperation between Moscow, Tehran and Ankara did not allow the formalisation of this union.

At the same time, analysts noted that the division, the failure of “involvement”, allowed to restore the balance of forces in the “Kurdish zone”, since after the military and political crisis caused by the “collapse” of Iraqi Kurdistan and the departure of Masoud Barzani as President, the “Democratic Union Party” significantly strengthened its position, “threatening the integrity of the Syrian Kurdistan”. However, after the division of Afrin, its potential, through natural processes, decreased, opening up new opportunities for the American side and the security forces that were created.

Thus, turning to the conclusions, we can say that the American side is now involved in the processes of operationalization of the concept of “containment and engagement”, considering factor projects of unification of multidirectional forces through the chaos of existing crisis systems and territorial associations. The growing military presence in the area of Al-Tanf, and the disparate information of the transfer of Arab-Kurdish troops to the area, could potentially mean the unification of the YPG, the security forces and the new Syrian Army into a single structure.

With the completion of operation “Olive Branch”, an extensive media company was launched to discredit the positions of Moscow, Tehran and Damascus in resolving the “Kurdish issue”.

In mid-March 2018 in north-eastern Syria, a “Syrian popular Resistance” was formed, advocating the liberation from occupation by a coalition led by the United States.

On April 15, 2018, the Department of Military and Political Modeling of the US agency for reducing military threats adopted the programme of development of the north-east of Syria, labelling this territory as “fallen state”.



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On March 22, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) captured the villages of Baay, Basufan, Kafr Nabu and Burj Haydar south of the city of Afrin from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). According to unconfirmed reports, the TAF’s artillery even shelled positions some of the Syrian Arab Army north of the city of Aleppo.

Since the fall of Afrin on March 18, the TAF and the FSA have been slowly but steadily expanding their control south of the city. Some local sources indicate that Turkey considers an advance in order to take the town of Tell Rifaat, near which Syrian government forces had established a number of checkpoints.

Meanwhile, YPG members continue conducting hit-and-run attacks against Turkish forces in the area of Afrin formally controlled by the TAF and the FSA.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert announced on March 22 that U.S. forces are not going to leave Manbij and no agreement had been reached between Washington and Ankara on the issue. The US-Turkish relations over US support to the YPG and especially, the YPG presence in Manbij, remain complicated.

Meanwhile, the Turkish media speculates that Turkey is preparing to launch a military operation against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the area of Sinjar Mount in northern Iraq. The advance will allegedly be entitled Operation Tigris Shield and may take place after Iraqi elections set for May 12.

In the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta, a first batch of Ahrar al-Sham militants left the area of Harasta on March 22. On the next day, the evacuation continued.

Meanwhile, reports appeared that the Syrian government and Faylaq al-Rahman have reached a ceasefire agreement, which is set to be implemented on March 23. If the agreement succeeds, the withdrawal of Faylaq al-Rahman members from Ain Tarma, Ebreen and nearby areas are expected by pro-government experts in the near future.

The ceasefire agreement followed reports that the SAA had established full control over Ain Tarma’s farms and started preparing to storm this key militant stronghold.

According to the Russian military, about 95,000 people have left the militant-held area of Eastern Ghouta since the implementation of the daily humanitarian pause on February 28.

The expected liberation of Eastern Ghouta will further impact the balance of powers in Syria and will open an opportunity for the SAA to launch a large-scale operation against ISIS in southern Damascus where the situation has recently deteriorated.

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Putin and Jinping are two voters in Trump’s second term بوتين وبينغ ناخبان في ولاية ترامب الثانية


Putin and Jinping are two voters in Trump’s second term

مارس 20, 2018

Written by Nasser Kandil,

The visit made by the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to the communities of the displaced of Al Ghouta and his checking the front line sites of the Syrian army reflects a scene in which an alliance is winning in the world not just in Syria, as what the President Al-Assad said during that visit. The world was at two consecutive dates of the re-election of the Chinese President Xi Jinping, and the Russian President Vladimir Putin for a new presidential term on one hand. On the other hand, the scene of raising the Turkish flag in Afrin to replace the Kurdish one formed an dilemma for an alliance led by Washington, this alliance is no longer capable of achieving victories but only in the wars of allies which Washington and its threats cannot find an echo due to the bad situation of its defeated allies, from one decline to another, Therefore,  the war of Ghouta was a test for them for what can they do as united and a test for the unified alliance which fights them and wins, thus it shares the victory’s revenues in the field and the ballot boxes. While Afrin is the tragedy of the wrong options according to those who betted and left the people pay the cost of an alliance that fights each other and disagrees in distributing the losses among the allies.

At the heart of these variables, the US threats of a war on Syria or a strike that targets it under the pretext of chemical weapons as the Britain campaigns against Russia under the same pretext have lost their effect despite all the promoting campaigns. The goal was to weaken the Russian popular participation in the elections in favor of the President Putin, but the result was contrary, thus was the regression. Britain becomes talking about the cooperation in the investigation, while Washington calls for the cooperation in ensuring stability.

In these years which are witnessing the new terms of the Russian and Chinese Presidents, the war in Syria continues at a clear rhythm of the victories of the Syrian army, the progress of the unified Syria project, and the further confusion in rearranging the American cards in Syria including the allies’ ones; the Turkish confronts the burden of occupying Afrin and his promises of occupying more of the territories which are under the control of the Kurdish groups. The Saudi and the Qatari are the big losers in Al Ghouta battles, the Israeli is desperate due to the change of the equations, so he sought for the redeployment of the UNDOF on the line of separation in Golan front, and the Kurdish will decide his new positioning with every loss upon the fall of the Kurdish secession in Syria along with the American and the Turkish occupation projects which they made him as their pretext.

Within the new terms of the Presidents Putin and Jinping, the US presidential elections for which the US President Donald Trump is preparing himself will take place, Trump has early prepared his electoral slogan; the preservation of the Great America and the seeking for the stability rather than the war, this slogan is his only way to achieve the goal. but he faces difficult compromises that include recognition of the defeat, so the nuclear file of the North Korea is preceded as a title for the honorable settlement sought by Trump for his second term, in which he links with it the settlements in Syria and others. The Korean settlement is impossible without meeting the demands of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un of evacuating the region from the nuclear weapons and getting the economic and diplomatic legitimate status in the international community which is impossible without a full Russian-Chinese cooperation.

From now on, Trump will behave as a candidate for a second presidential term, while Putin and Jinping will behave as main voters for this term in the elections.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

بوتين وبينغ ناخبان في ولاية ترامب الثانية

مارس 19, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– يحمل مشهد الجولة التي قام بها الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد على تجمّعات النازحين من الغوطة، وتفقده مواقع الجيش السوري في خطوطها الأمامية، مشهد حلف ينتصر في العالم وليس في سورية فقط، كما قال الرئيس الأسد خلال هذه الجولة، حيث كان العالم على موعد في يومين متتاليين على موعد مع إعادة انتخاب كلّ من الرئيس الصيني شي جين بينغ والرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين بزخم وسلاسة لولاية رئاسية جديدة بينما في المقابل شكّل مشهد إنزال العلم الكردي في عفرين ليحلّ مكانه العلم التركي مأزق حلف تقوده واشنطن، ولم يعُد قادراً على تحقيق الانتصارات إلا في حروب الحلفاء بين أطرافه، الذين تعجز واشنطن عن كسب مصداقيتها معهم، ولا تجد تهديداتها بالحرب صدى لشدّ عصب حلفائها المتقهقرين من تراجع إلى تراجع، حيث كانت حرب الغوطة امتحاناً لما يستطيعون موحّدين، كما هي امتحان للحلف الموحّد الذي يقاتلهم وينتصر، فيتقاسم عائدات النصر في الميدان وصناديق الاقتراع، بينما عفرين مأساة الخيارات الخاطئة للذين راهنوا وتركوا الناس تدفع ثمن الرهان في حلف يقاتل بعضه ويتشظى في توزيع الخسائر بين الحلفاء.

– في قلب هذه المتغيّرات، فقدت التهديدات الأميركية بحرب على سورية أو ضربة تستهدفها بذريعة السلاح الكيميائي، كما الحملات البريطانية لشيطنة روسيا بذريعة السلاح الكيميائي نفسه، كلّ بريق، بالرغم من كلّ حملات التسويق. فالهدف كان إضعاف زخم المشاركة الشعبية الروسية في الانتخابات لصالح الرئيس بوتين. وقد جاءت النتيجة عكسية فبدأت التراجعات، وصارت بريطانيا تتحدّث عن التعاون في التحقيق، وواشنطن تدعو للتعاون في تحقيق الاستقرار.

– خلال السنوات التي تفتتحها الولايتان الجديدتان للرئيسين الصيني والروسي تستمرّ الحرب في سورية على إيقاع واضح لانتصارات الجيش السوري، وتقدّم مشروع سورية الموحّدة، ومزيداً من الارتباك في ترتيب الأوراق الأميركية في سورية، وضمنها حكماً أوراق الحلفاء التركي الذي يواجه عبء احتلال عفرين ووعوده باحتلال المزيد من المناطق التي تسيطر عليها الجماعات الكردية، والسعودي والقطري الخاسران الكبيران في معارك الغوطة لآخر أوراقهما في سورية، والإسرائيلي اليائس من تغيير المعادلات والذاهب لطلب نشر وحدات الأندوف على خط فصل القوات في جبهة الجولان، والكردي الذي سيقرّر تموضعه الجديد مع كلّ خسارة ساعة توقيت سقوط مشروع الانفصال في سورية، ومعه سقوط مشروعي الاحتلال الأميركي والتركي اللذين يتذرّعان بالاختباء وراءه كلّ من زاوية.

– خلال سنوات ولايتين جديدتين للرئيسين بوتين وبينغ، ستحلّ الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية التي يستعدّ الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب من الآن، للتقدّم إليها طلباً لولاية ثانية، وقد أعدّ لها شعارها الانتخابي مبكراً، الحفاظ على أميركا العظيمة ، وصناعة الاستقرار بدلاً من الحرب تبدو طريقه الوحيد لتحقيق الهدف، ولكنه يواجه في جبهات الاستقرار كافة تسويات صعبة تتضمّن إقراراً بالهزيمة، لذلك يتقدّم الملف النووي لكوريا الشمالية كعنوان للتسوية المشرّفة التي يريدها الرئيس ترامب طريقاً لولايته الثانية، ويربط بها سائر التسويات في سورية وسواها، والتسوية الكورية مستحيلة بلا تلبية طلبات الزعيم الكوري الشمالي كيم جونغ أون، بإخلاء المنطقة من السلاح النووي والحصول على المكانة الشرعية الاقتصادية والدبلوماسية في المجتمع الدولي، لكنها مستحيلة من دون تعاون كامل من روسيا والصين.

Image result for ‫بوتين وبينغ‬‎

– من الآن وصاعداً ترامب يتصرّف كمرشح لولاية رئاسية ثانية، وبوتين وبينغ يتصرّفان كناخبين رئيسيين في الانتخابات لهذه الولاية.

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Syrian War Report – February 23, 2018: Syrian Army Enters YPG-held Part Of Aleppo, Turkey Strikes Convoy Entering Afrin

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On February 22, units of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) entered into and established a full control of the YPG-held neighborhoods of Aleppo city, according to pro-government sources. A representative of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) confirmed the SAA deployment to the Kurdish HAWAR news agency. According to the released statement, YPG units from the city of Aleppo had moved to the Afrin area to combat Turkish forces. However, some sources say that some YPG units will remain in the neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsuud.

On the same day in the morning, a third group of pro-government fighters entered the Afrin area. In the evening, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) struck another convoy, which was entering Afrin. According to the Turkish General Staff, the TAF attacked a convoy of 30-40 vehicles belonging to the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and even to ISIS.

The claim that the convoy was in any way belonging to ISIS is nonsense. However, claims about some ISIS presence is common to almost all TAF statements on its Operation Olive Branch.

Separately, Kurdish sources released info that it was an aid convoy, which had been about to enter the Afrin area through the Ziyarah crossing. Some sources say that an unknown number of pro-government fighters had been embedded with the convoy.

Meanwhile, the Russian state-run news agency Sputnik, citing a YPG security source, reported that the YPG is going to hand over the town of Tell Rifaat to the SAA under a deal allegedly reached by the sides over Afrin. However, this report has not been yet confirmed.

The TAF and its proxies from the Free Syrian Army have captured the villages of Rahmanli, Sari Ushagi, Kurke Jerin, Kurke Jorin, Ali Raju and Miqdad from the YPG in Afrin. So far, a limited implementation of the SAA-YPG deal has no effect on the Turkish actions in the area.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) and the so-called Syrian Liberation Front (SLF), a coalition of Ahrar al-Sham and Nour al-Din al-Zenki, continued clashing with each other in what the mainstream media would call a democratic competition for southern Idlib and western Aleppo. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham militants have reportedly seized the villages of Kafr Nabl, Urum al-Jawz, Kafrshlaya and Kafrnaha. Meanwhile, the SLF has reported entered the villages of Ihsim, Iblin, Balyun, Bara, Jouzef, Marata, Arnaba, Ein Laruz, Mozra and Kansafra. Both sides claim that the so-called enemies of revolution have suffered major casualties.

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Stop confusing Kurdistans! Syria’s leftists must turn home to Assad

February 22, 2018

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

Stop confusing Kurdistans! Syria’s leftists must turn home to Assad

As Assad-backed troops enter Afrin to fight Turkish invaders, the Syrian conflict has entered its decisive crossroads:

Will Northern Syria cooperate with Damascus, or not? This is the key to Syrian peace and territorial unity.

It’s also the question which will make or break claims that a Northern Syrian enclave which refuses to help expel uninvited Americans can somehow be a “leftist project”.

(I say it is a leftist project…IF they return to full cooperation with the Syrian government. I will detail my analysis of the political structure of “Rojava” in an upcoming article – this article only deals with immediate political concerns.)

No question can be answered, however, until I clarify some key facts about Northern Syria. Indeed, reporting about Northern Syria in the West is rife with the most fundamental errors, and the most egregiously false claims.

Firstly, the Kurds in Syria have only ever asked for autonomy, not independence.

People assume all Kurds are like Iraqi Kurds – separatists – but the Kurds in Syria want to stay within the Syrian state. This disavowal of independence is an undisputed, long-standing (if underreported) fact. Indeed, the arrival of pro-government forces in Afrin was met with celebrations – the “Arab Socialist Baath Party” is a nationalist one, it seems to have been forgotten. The fact that such celebrations could possibly raise some eyebrows only shows how terrible the West’s mainstream reporting is in Syria.

The second most important point is this: “Rojava”, “Syrian Kurdistan”, “Northern Syria” or the “Democratic Federation of Northern Syria” – whatever it is called – is among the most interesting (and newest) leftist projects in the world today.

For that reason alone, nobody is reporting on it honestly.

After all, the Western mainstream media has no governmental or private mandate to support the 99%…much less in a Muslim country…still less in an anti-Zionist country like Syria!

Rojava’s governmental culture is based around ethnic equality, collective unity, local emancipation and undoubtedly socialist-and-not-capitalist inspired democratic & economic ideals. Therefore…the capitalist-imperialist West totally ignores all of that and solely focuses on identity politics: thus, it’s always reported as just “the Kurds”.

That leads to the third important issue: foolishly lumping all the Kurds across Southwest Asia together, thereby assuming that there are no regional differences: For Western media it is as if Kurds walk around all day in a special “Kurdish daze”, so enamored with being Kurdish that the countries and local neighborhoods where they live have absolutely no effect on them or their worldview. Their “Kurdishness” is all-consuming, it seems! The theory underpinning this is identity politics: if you are Kurdish, then you must all think alike.

So it makes no difference if you grew up/lived in Saddam’s Iraq, modern Iran, Baathist Syria, or Istanbul: You are a Kurd and – as a Kurd – you can only possibly see things via the lens of your Kurdishness. But only the West proffers this absurd, one-dimensional view of the Kurds – not the Middle Easterners who live alongside them.

A fourth problem – an even larger one for those in Syria – is that the Kurds in Syria are not even “Kurds”!

What I mean is: Kurds are around ½ of the population of Northern Syria, but only compose around 1/3rd in some of the biggest areas of Rojava, such as Membij. There are Assyrians and Chaldeans – they are Christian. There are Sunni Arabs. There are Turkmen, who are not allied to Turkey and are Syrian patriots despite their name. There are Circassians, Armenians, Yazidis, Chechens and others. Hard as it is for non-Muslims to believe: All these people like each other, live & work together, intermarry and have done so for more than a millennia. You cannot even say that all the fighters in this area are Kurds, either, because the Syrian Democratic Forces forces – who helped rout ISIL – are majority non-Kurd.

But they are all Syrian – and they want it to stay that way.

This IS the case…even though Kurds in Iraq aimed for independence…and despite the Western anti-Assad propaganda.

Clearly, a major overhaul on the idea of “Kurd” is needed for many….

The Kurdish ‘Bad Century’ is relative to where they live

Anyone can have a bad century and finish as winners…look at the Chicago Cubs.

So in Northern Syria the “Kurds” are not even Kurdish nearly half the time, LOL, but let’s be like the West and look at the “Kurds” across their 4 main nations.

If we accept that “Kurdishness” is not all-consuming , we can see how the experiences of “Kurds” in Iraq (which also compose Assyrians, Chaldeans, Turkmen, etc.) – who lived under Saddam Hussein’s wars, were massacred by the anti-Iranian MKO homicidal cult, lived in a country forced to endure material shortages caused by US sanctions from 1990-2003, and who are enduring US invasion and occupation – are fundamentally different than the experiences of “Kurds” in Syria…where these things did not happen.

The experience of “Kurds” in Syria – which is bordered by the menacing, illegitimate state of Israel, which had a different political conception & practice of Baathism than Iraq (which provoked more enmity than cooperation between the two since 1966), which was invaded not by a “coalition of the willing” but radical terrorists, which is on the cusp of benefitting from the extraordinary national unity which can only be created by victoriously defeating foreign invaders – are fundamentally different than the experiences of “Kurds” in Iraq.

“Kurdishness” in Turkey is an vastly larger issue than Syria, because there are vastly more of them than in anywhere else.

“Kurdishness” in Iran is totally different than in any of the four primary Kurdish countries: they are more accepted there than any other country.

This is a result of the acceptance promoted by Iran’s modern, popular revolution of 1979 (by definition, you can’t have a “modern, popular revolution” based on racism/ethnic superiority). Indeed, Iran’s definitive cultural “female Iran-Iraq war experience” was the best-selling, award-winning story told by a Kurdish immigrant from Iraq to Iran – in the book“Da”, which means “mother” (not in Farsi). Such a thing could never happen in Turkey, obviously, nor Arab nationalist Syria and Iraq. This modern acceptance is why Iran is the only nation of the four where there is no chance of fomenting a Kurdish uprising in Iran: being Iranian and Kurdish is not any sort of contradiction – they are incorporated in the national self-conception about as much as any numeric minority can reasonably be, as the success of “Da” illustrates. And for this reason – which is called (Iranian Islamic socialist) “modern democracy” – there is no chance of any sort of a “Kurdish uprising” in Iran. Even amid this ongoing historical era of Kurdish militancy across the entire region, the PJAK Party (Iranian Kurdish separatists) gave up armed operations in Iran in 2011: it’s useless – Iran is different, and on the Kurdish question as well. Israel could spend a zillion usuriously-gained dollars on such a project and it would get nowhere…which is why they spend their time in the southeast (in Baluchestan with Jundallah).

And, to repeat, because this is so important: The people of Northern Syria have never, ever said they want anything but autonomy within Syria. This proves that Syrian “Kurds” are not Iraqi “Kurds”, where Barzani and their bid for independence have been neutralised…much to the dismay of the US & Israel.

An often ignored (or not known) point is that Iraqi “Kurds” had been wooed (or led astray) by the US for two decades via preferential economic, political, cultural and immigration policies. The US paid for a lot of goodwill over many years. In Syria – LOL, not at all. So, Syrian “Kurds” have not come into contact with the American ideology anywhere as much…and their ideology is necessarily different (despite the overpowering Kurdish daze they walk around in, LOL!)

Only by ignoring these realities can one assume the “Kurds” of both regions share the same political outlook in February 2018.

So, I hope we are bit less konfused on who the “Kurds” really are.

Now, because of the leftist nature of northern Syria, we must de-konfuse our notions of their political ideology.

But I’m going to postpone that to part two – let’s talk immediate politics.

A very interesting leftist political project…but not if they ally with the US

It was with great alarm that greeted the recent US declaration that they will keep 2,000 troops in Northern Syria – that news turned off many to the possibility that northern Syria could possibly be leftist.

And rightly so, but Washington’s plans are simply their desire – there has been no official political deal: Rojavan leaders insist their cooperation with the US is strictly military to fight ISIL. Indeed, they have grown up in Syria, which has been attacked by Israel…but now they are going to be allies?

Certainly, the downfall of Barzani in Iraq is a blow to US/Israeli imperialism – so…of course they are refocusing to Northern Syria. But that doesn’t mean they will get what they want!

Certainly, Northern Syria cannot allow a military base inside its borders. There can be no “Syrian Guantanamo” to permanently menace a newly-liberated Syria, like in Cuba.

Let’s keep a couple war realities in mind: It’s not as if Northern Syrians could have stopped the US from planting soldiers and using an airstrip – there has been a huge war, after all, with a well-heeled army called ISIL to stop.

Let’s also remember that the Northern Syrians work with everybody to fight ISIL in Northern Syria: Russia, the US, Damascus, Iran, Hezbollah – everyone but Turkey. (Obviously, the US both fights terrorism and supports it.)

Rojavans…it may be now or never to fight for Syrian unity

The invasion by Turkey means Northern Syrians have now reached the point of no return: to work with Turkey (and thus the US) is to betray the Syrian people which Rojavans have always claimed to want to be.

Therefore, Syria is on the verge of peace and total victory…or major civil war: It will be decided by inter-Syrian diplomacy. Negotiations have been ongoing between the two areas for years, of course, and they are no doubt in overdrive right now.

The fundamental problem is this:

Damascus has always rejected the idea of a federated state and autonomy for Northern Syria. Northern Syria has held their ground militarily, and Damascus has been too occupied with ISIL to demand cooperation…but it’s February 2018, and here we are.

So what will Damascus do, and what will Rojava do?

I am not a Syrian, and thus my opinion should be worth very little – the future of Syria is only for Syrians to decide – but to me it looks like this:

Rojavans may view siding with Damascus as a risk regarding the re-installation of some Arab Nationalist policies they dislike (Rojava has 3 official languages for a reason, for example)…but siding with the Americans is a guarantee of leftist betrayal, a guarantee of a failure and a guarantee of regional bloodshed for decades.

Maybe Rojava can expel ISIL on their own, but they cannot expel the US and Turkey without Damascus…and they must be expelled. How can these troops stay if Damascus and Rojavans cooperate? They cannot, whatever the Pentagon wants.

Therefore, at some point – a point quite soon – Rojavans will need to openly embrace Damascus, in the name of Syrian unity and in the realization of issues larger than their own interests and sacrifices.

On the other side, there is nothing stopping Damascus from making concessions to win over Rojava…and yet, one easily sees the government’s hesitance: Making major changes to Syria’s political structure seems to require the democratic approval of the entire nation via vote. The granting of wholesale structural changes for one-third of the country during wartime appears to lack democratic legitimacy.

Rojava is where most of Syria’s oil is located. Certainly, those funds cannot be made the complete “autonomous” property of Rojavans. One easily sees how “granting autonomy” is a major question that goes beyond just the decades-long elevation of Arab culture over the culture of Turkmen, Chaldeans, Kurds, etc.….

Of course, it should not be surprising that Assad’s view of Rojava never gets an airing…but given Rojava’s leftist bonafides, nobody ever talks about them at all either. “Keep ‘em konfused with just ‘Kurds’” is the media line….

To sum up my view of the immediate political situation: Unity requires faith – Northern Syrians need to trust their fellow citizens that their success has earned them good faith credit in Syria’s common future.

And, finally, what choice does Rojava have? Turkey will never accept them (this is the pretext for their invasion), nor Damascus, nor Iraq. The only ones who will are the US and Israel…and that is leftist?!?!

No…this is why I predict a reconciliation. The failure of Syrian-Syrian diplomacy at this juncture is…civil war.

And who wants that in Syria?

In an upcoming second article I will examine what is the “leftist ideology” of Rojava, and how these ideas might interact with Arab Socialist Baathism in a unified, free, victorious state of Syria.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

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Putin’s Grand Bargain to Israel: Can Israel Digest It?

Putin’s Grand Bargain to Israel: Can Israel Digest It?

Putin’s Grand Bargain to Israel: Can Israel Digest It?

“Israel is climbing up a high horse,” Alex Fishman (the veteran Israeli Defence Correspondent) wrote in the Hebrew daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, last month, “and is approaching with giant steps a ‘war of choice’: Without mincing words, it’s an initiated war in Lebanon.” In Fishman’s article, he notes: “Classical deterrence is when you threaten an enemy not to harm you in your territory, but here, Israel demands that the enemy refrain from doing something in its own territory, otherwise Israel will harm it. From a historical perspective and from the perspective of international legitimacy, the chances of this threat being accepted as valid, leading to the cessation of enemy activities in its own territory, are slim.”

Ben Caspit also wrote about a fair prospect of a “war of choice,” whilst a Haaretz editorial – explains Professor Idan Landau in an Israeli news blog – noted: “The Israeli government therefore owes Israeli citizens a precise, pertinent and persuasive explanation as to why a missile factory in Lebanon has changed the strategic balance to the extent that it requires going to war. It must present assessments to the Israeli public as to the expected number of casualties, damage to civilian infrastructure and the economic cost of going to war, as compared with the danger that construction of the missile factory constitutes.”

We live dangerous times in the Middle East today – both in the immediate present, and in the mid-term, too.

Last week saw the first ‘game changer’ that almost plunged the region into war: the downing of one of Israel’s most sophisticated aircraft – an F16i. But as Amos Harel notes, on this occasion: “Russian President Vladimir Putin put an end to the confrontation between Israel and Iran in Syria – and both sides accepted his decision … On Saturday afternoon, after the second wave of bombardments … senior Israeli officials were still taking a militant line, and it seemed as if Jerusalem was considering further military action. Discussion of that ended not long after a phone call between Putin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu” (emphasis added).

And that last statement represented the second ‘game changer’: In ‘good old days’, as Martin Indyk called it, it would have been to the US that Israel reflexively would have turned, but not this time. Israel asked President Putin to mediate. It seems that Israel believes that Mr Putin is now the ‘indispensable power’. And in terms of airspace in the north, he is. As Ronen Bergman wrote in the New York Times: “Israel will no longer be able to act in Syria without limitations”; and secondly, “if anyone was not yet aware of it, Russia is the dominant power in the region”.

So, what is all this about? Well for a start, it is not about a drone which may (or may not) have trespassed into what Israel calls Israel, or what Syria sees as ‘occupied Golan’. Let us ignore all that: or, think of it as ‘the butterfly wing effect’ in chaos theory, whose tiny wing changes ‘the world’, if you prefer. Ultimately however, these various warnings of impending war, precipitated out from the Syrian State’s success in defeating the jihadi insurgency mounted against it. This outcome has changed the regional balance of power – and we are witnessing states reacting to that strategic defeat.

Israel, having backed the losing side, wants to limit its losses. It fears the changes taking place across the northern tier of the region: Prime Minister Netanyahu has several times sought guarantees from President Putin that Iran and Hizbullah should not be allowed to gain any strategic advantage from Syria’s victory that might be to Israel’s disadvantage. But Putin, it seems clear, gave no guarantees. He told Netanyahu that whilst he recognised, and acknowledged Israel’s security interests, Russia had its interests, too – and also underlined that Iran was a “strategic partner” of Russia.

In practice, there is no effective Iranian or Hizbullah presence in any proximate vicinity to Israel (and indeed both Iran and Hizbullah have substantially pared their forces in Syria as a whole). But, it seems that Netanyahu wanted more: And to put leverage on Russia to guarantee a future Syria, free from any ‘Shi’a presence, Israel has been bombing Syria on almost a weekly basis, and issuing a series of war-like threats against Lebanon (on the pretext that Iran was constructing ‘sophisticated missile’ factories there), saying, in effect to President Putin, that if you do not give ironclad guarantees vis-à-vis a Syria free of Iran and Hizbullah, we will disrupt both countries.

Well, what happened is that Israel lost an F16: unexpectedly shot down by the Syrian air defences. The message is this: ‘Stability in Syria and Lebanon is a Russian interest. Whilst, we recognise Israel’s security interests, don’t mess with ours. If you want a war with Iran that is your business, and Russia will not be involved; but do not forget that Iran is, and remains our strategic partner’.

This is Putin’s Grand Bargain: Russia will assume a certain defined responsibility for Israel’s security, but not if Israel undertakes wars of choice against Iran and Hizbullah, or if it deliberately disrupts stability in the North (including Iraq). And no more gratuitous bombing raids in the north, intended to disrupt stability. But if Israel wants a war with Iran, then Russia will stand aloof.

Israel has now had a taste of President Putin’s ‘stick’: Your air superiority in the North has just been punctured by the Syrian air defences. You, Israel, will lose it completely were our Russian S400s air defences to be enabled: ‘Think it over’.

In case of doubt, consider this statement in 2017, by the Chief of Staff of the Russian Aerospace Forces, Major-General Sergey Meshcheryakov. He said: “Today, a unified, integrated air defense system has been set up in Syria. We have ensured the information and technical interlinkage of the Russian and Syrian air reconnaissance systems. All information on the situation in the air comes from Syrian radar stations to the control points of the Russian force grouping”.

Two things flow from this: First, that Russia knew exactly what was going on when the Israeli F16 met with a barrage of Syrian air defence missiles. As Alex Fishman, doyen of Israeli defence correspondents, noted (in Hebrew) Yediot Ahoronot on 11 February: “One of the [Israeli] planes was hit by the two barrages of 27 Syrian surface-to-air missiles… which is a huge achievement for the Syrian army, and embarrassing for the IAF, since the electronic warfare systems that envelope the plane were supposed to have provided protection from a barrage of missiles… The IAF is going to have to conduct an in-depth technical-intelligence inquiry to determine: are the Syrians in possession of systems that are capable of bypassing the Israeli warning and jamming systems? Have the Syrians developed a new technique that the IAF is unaware of? It was reported that the pilots did not radio in any alert that an enemy missile had locked onto their plane. In principle, they were supposed to report that. They might have been preoccupied. But there is also the more severe possibility that they were unaware of the missile that had locked onto them—which leads to the question of why they didn’t know, and only realized the severity of the damage after they had been hit and were forced to bail out.”

And the second: that subsequent Israeli claims that Syria was then punished by Israel through the destruction of 50% of her air defence system should be taken with a big pinch of salt. Recall what Meshcheryakov said: It was a fully integrated, unified Russian-Syrian system, which is to say it had a Russian flag flying over it. (And this initial Israeli claim has now been back-peddled by the IDF spokesman; see here).

Finally, Putin, in the wake of the F16 downing, told Israel to stop destabilising Syria. He said nothing about Syria’s drone patrolling the southern border (a regular Syrian practice for monitoring insurgent groups in the south).

The message is clear: Israel gets Russia’s limited security guarantees, but loses its freedom of action. Without air domination (which Russia already has seized), the assumed superiority over its neighbouring Arab states – which Israel long since has folded into its collective psyche – will see Israel’s wings clipped.

Can such a bargain be digested culturally in Israel? We must wait to see whether Israel’s leaders accept that they no longer enjoy air superiority over Lebanon or Syria; or whether, as the Israeli commentators warn in our introductory quotes, the Israeli political leadership will opt for a ‘war of choice’, in an attempt to pre-empt Israel’s final loss of its domination of the skies. There is, of course, a further option of running to Washington, in order to try to co-opt America into adopting the eviction of Iran from Syria – but our guess is that Putin has already quietly squared Trump with his plan beforehand. Who knows?

And would then a preventive war to try recuperate Israeli air superiority be feasible or realistic from the perspective of the Israeli Defence Forces? It’s a moot point. A third of Israelis are culturally, and ethnically, Russian, and many admire President Putin. Also, could Israel count, in such circumstances, on Russia not using its own highly sophisticated S400 air-defence missiles, stationed in Syria, in order to protect Russian servicemen stationed across Syria?

And the Israeli-Syrian-Lebanese tensions, in themselves, do not bring an end to the present clutch of risks associated with Syria. On the same weekend, Turkey lost a helicopter and its two crew, brought down by Kurdish forces in Afrin. Sentiment in Turkey against the YPG and PKK is heating up; nationalism and New Ottomanism is spiking; and America is being angrily portrayed as Turkey’s “strategic enemy”. President Erdogan asserts forcefully that Turkish forces will clear all the YPG/PKK forces from Afrin to the Euphrates, but an American general says that American troops will not budge from blocking Erdogan’s route, midway – at Manbij. Who will blink first? And, can this escalation continue without a major rupture to Turkish-US relations? (Erdogan has already noted that America’s defense budget for 2019 includes an allocation of $550 million for the YPG. What exactly does Americamean by that provision?).

Also, can a US military leadership, concerned to play-out a re-make of the Vietnam war – but with America winning this time (to show that the Vietnam outcome was a wholly unmerited defeat for the US forces) – accept to pull back from its aggressively imposed occupation of Syria, east of the Euphrates, and thus lose further credibility? Particularly when restoring US military credibility and leverage is the very mantra of the White House generals (and Trump)? Or, will the pursuit of US military ‘credibility’ degenerate into a game of ‘chicken’, mounted by US forces versus the Syrian Armed Forces – or even with Russia itself, which views the US occupation in Syria as inherently disturbing to the regional stability which Russia is trying to establish.

The ‘big picture’ competition between states for the future of Syria (and the region) – is open and visible. But who lay behind these other provocations, which could equally have led to escalation, and quite easily slipped the region towards conflict? Who provided the man portable surface-to-air missile that brought down the Russian SU25 fighter – and which ended, with the pilot, surrounded by jihadists, courageously preferring to kill himself with his own grenade, rather than be taken alive? Who ‘facilitated’ the insurgent group which fired the manpad? Who armed the Afrin Kurds with sophisticated anti-tank weapons (that have destroyed some twenty Turkish tanks)? Who provided the millions of dollars to engineer the tunnels and bunkers built by the Afrin Kurds, and who paid for the kitting out of its armed force?

And who was behind the swarm of drones, with explosives attached, sent to attack the main Russian airbase at Khmeimim? The drones were made to look outwardly like some simple home-made affair, which an insurgent force might cobble together, but since Russian electronic measures managed to take control and land six of them, the Russians were able to see that,internally, they were quite different: They contained sophisticated electronic counter-measures and GPS guidance systems within. In short, the rustic external was camouflage to its true sophistication, which likely represented the handiwork of a state agency. Who? Why? Was someone trying to set Russia and Turkey at each other’s throats?

We do not know. But it is plain enough that Syria is the crucible to powerful destructive forces which might advertently, or inadvertently, ignite Syria – and – potentially, the Middle East. And as the Israeli defence correspondent, Amos Harel, wrote, we have already this last weekend, “come a hair’s breadth from a slide into war”.

«إسرائيل» بين التوقيت السوري والتوقيت اللبناني


فبراير 8, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– من شرفة قصر بعبدا يطلّ لبنان للمرة الأولى على ملفي الجدار الإسمنتي «الإسرائيلي» المخالف لمفهوم الخط الأزرق الحدودي الوهمي ونقاط التحفّظ اللبنانية المسجّلة، والبلوك التاسع النفطي في مياه لبنان الجنوبية، معلناً بلسان الدولة اللبنانية للمرة الأولى الاستعداد للمواجهة العسكرية وعدم الاكتفاء بمخاطبة الأمم المتحدة والشكوى، إذا مضت «إسرائيل» بفرض أمر واقع من طرف واحد. وفي المقابل تطلّ سورية من جبهتي إدلب وعفرين، حيث يتقدّم الجيش السوري محرّراً في واحدة ويقترب من إنهاء الحرب على الإرهاب، وفي الثانية تدور الحرب غير المباشرة التي تخوضها الدولة السورية مع مشروع الانفصال الكردي والاحتلالين التركي والأميركي، ومن دمشق ومعارك الغوطة حيث يتجلى مشروع الحسم العسكري بوضوح هذه المرّة، ومع كلّ ذلك التصدي للصواريخ «الإسرائيلية» التي أطلقتها «إسرائيل» على مواقع سورية من الأجواء اللبنانية، فيرسم الجيش السوري قواعد الاشتباك في سلّم متصاعد يبطل محاولات «إسرائيل» التملّص من المتغيّرات التي فرضتها استعادة الدولة السورية لزمام المبادرة منذ انتصارها في حلب.

– بعض الذين يأخذهم الانفعال والحماس والغيرة الوطنية والقومية يرغبون برؤية الجيش السوري والمقاومة، يدخلان الحرب فوراً، يبدآن حرب مقاومة ضدّ احتلال همجي موصوف هو الاحتلال التركي في سورية، وحرباً أخرى ضدّ الاحتلال الأشدّ خطورة على مستقبل سورية وسيادتها هو الاحتلال الأميركي، وضدّ عدوان إسرائيلي يستهدف السيادة السورية، وضدّ مشروع الانفصال الكردي، والكانتون الحدودي الذي ينشئه الأتراك وراء جماعات مرتزقة تحت إمرتهم بأسماء سورية، ويريدون أن تبدأ المقاومة في لبنان بفتح النار على الجيش «الإسرائيلي»، سواء في نقاط البرّ التي يتخطى فيها الضوابط القانونية، وفي نقاط البحر التي يمارس البلطجة لوضعها تحت سيطرته أو حرمان لبنان من استثمارها على الأقلّ.

– معادلة الحرب لا تخاض طبعاً بهذه الطريقة. فالحق وثبوت وضوحه يمنحان المشروعية، لكن التوقيت والسياق والتصاعد في سلم المواجهة خيارات وخطوات تدرس وتحدّد وفقاً لمعادلات علمية تتصل بالقدرة على توزيع الموارد وتخصيصها وقراءة موازين القوة السياسية والعسكرية، والمناخات الدولية والإقليمية وعلاقتها بمنح فرص التوقيت المناسب فالأنسب، وللذين يقولون إنّ هذا التشريح تبرير للتخلي والضعف والتراجع، يجب القول، إنّ الحرب التي عرفتها سورية وخاضتها بجيشها ومعها المقاومة ومن ورائهما إيران وروسيا تقدّم خطاً بيانياً، يُسكت كلّ اتهام بالضعف والتراجع والتهرّب من المواجهة. فما تحقق خلال سنوات وكان عرضة للتشكيك قبلها، يثبت أنّ هناك قيادة عازمة على النصر وحازمة في رسم الخطط وتحديد القواعد وصعود سلّم المواجهة بخطتها وتوقيتها، وها هي الخطوط الحمر التي رسمها الأميركيون على الحدود السورية العراقية تتساقط، وها هي حلب عادت ودير الزور والبوكمال والبادية. وفي الحرب التي تشكّل أميركا و«إسرائيل» والسعودية وتركيا ومعها جميعاً تنظيما القاعدة وداعش حلفها، تقول السنوات التي مضت كيف انتقل زمام المبادرة لليد السورية مدعومة من حلفائها، وكيف توسّعت سيطرة الدولة السورية من ثلاثين في المئة إلى ثمانين في المئة من الجغرافيا السورية. وهذا يستدعي التسليم بأهلية وصدقية قيادة سورية ومحور المقاومة، ومنحها التفويض لمواصلة حربها وفقاً لخطتها وتوقيتها. وكم من مرة بُني على عدم الاستجابة للرغبة بتسريع روزنامة الحسم استنتاج ظالم بالضعف والتخاذل، إن لم يكن لسورية فلحلفائها بالتتابع، مرة المقاومة ومرة إيران ومرات روسيا، وجاءت الأيام تثبت بطلان هذه الاستنتاجات.

– نجحت سورية والمقاومة بوضع الأميركيين والأكراد في ضفة والأتراك وجماعاتهم في ضفة، وهما من رصيد وظف كلّ مقدراته ضدّهما، وها هم يستنزفون مقدرات بعضهم بعضاً في طريق مسدود لحرب لا منتصر فيها، ستؤول حالة الاستنزاف التي بدأت معها، لجعل الملاذ الوحيد لوقفها بالتراجع أمام مشروع الدولة السورية بالتراضي أو بالقوة، ولن تخضع سورية لتوقيت مستعجل يفهم سببه بالعاطفة، لتسريع تدخلها، بينما هي تدرك أنّ توقيتها لم يحِن بعد، وأنها ترسم قواعد اشتباك هناك وخطوطاً حمراً كلما بدا أنّ الموازين ستنقلب لصالح الاحتلال التركي، لكنها تطلب وضوحاً كردياً حاسماً في الموقف من الانفصال والاحتلال الأميركي لتضع عباءتها فوقهم كدولة وطنية تصدّ عدواناً على سيادتها، ولا تخوض حرب ترجيح كفّة احتلال على احتلال.

– في المواجهة مع «إسرائيل» فرضت سورية على «الإسرائيليين» التسليم بالامتناع كلياً عن انتهاك الأجواء السورية وتقليص مساحة الإرباك التي كان يفرضها الطيران «الإسرائيلي»، من كامل المساحة السورية إلى الشريط الحدودي الملاصق للمناطق المحتلة وللحدود اللبنانية، بعمق ستين كليومتراً، وهو مدى الصواريخ التي تطلقها الطائرات من خارج الأجواء السورية، وبعد هذا الإنجاز النوعي بدأت سورية تفرض معادلة نصف الردع، بإبطال مفاعيل الصواريخ واختبار قدرة التعامل معها وإسقاطها. وهذا تطوّر تقني وعملياتي يعرف «الإسرائيليون» معناه في أيّ حرب قادمة. لكن هذا التعديل الإضافي في المواجهة ليس نهاية المطاف. إنه الخطوة التي تسبق توضيع جدار دفاع جوّي يتيح استهداف الطائرات «الإسرائيلية» المغيرة وهي في الأجواء اللبنانية، وهو تطوّر لن يكون بعيداً، كما يقول سياق تنامي وتصاعد الخطة السورية التي تمنح الأولوية للحسم مع الجماعات الإرهابية في الغوطة ومحافظة إدلب، لمرحلة لن تتجاوز الشهور.

– بالتوازي مع التوقيت السوري ثمة توقيت لبناني، لا شك في أنه يفاجئ «الإسرائيليين» والأميركيين ومَن معهم، فالتحرّشات «الإسرائيلية» البرية والبحرية تقع في مجال سياسي واستراتيجي يمنح لبنان فرصة التلويح بالمبادرة لاستخدام القوة. وهذا معنى قرار المجلس الأعلى للدفاع المنعقد في قصر بعبدا تتويجاً لتفاهم سياسي بين الرؤساء الثلاثة وقفت المقاومة وسيدها وراء نسج خيوطه. والمهمّ فيه أنه إثبات لصدقية تموضع رئيس الجمهورية في خيار المقاومة، لكنه أيضاً تظهير لنوعية التحوّل الذي ترتب على أزمة العلاقة بين رئيس الحكومة والسعودية، وحسن التدبّر في إدارة هذه الأزمة لبنانياً، خصوصاً من المقاومة ورئاستي الجمهورية ومجلس النواب. فالتوقيت اللبناني لرفع درجة الحرارة براً وبحراً، ما كان ممكناً لولا هذا الموقف الحاسم لرئيس الجمهورية، ولولا هذا التبدّل الموضعي غير الممانع والمعطّل لرئيس الحكومة.

– الحروب فنّ التوقيت، وعلى «إسرائيل» أن تدرك أنها تضع نفسها في وضع لا تُحسَد عليه. فالمواجهة مع لبنان خطأ استراتيجي خطير لا تقدر «إسرائيل» على تحمّل نتائجه السياسية والعسكرية. فللمرة الأولى سيكون عليها تجرّع سمّ التراجع أو المضيّ لحرب قاتلة.

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