With ISIL collapsing in Syria, what is Washington’s next move?

August 31, 2017

By Aram Mirzaei

With ISIL collapsing in Syria, what is Washington’s next move?

Since the start of this year, with the Russian brokered “de-escalation” zones imposed on several areas in Syria where Washington’s “moderate” rebel proxies are operating, virtually all other forces in Syria have committed themselves to engaging the self-declared Islamic State.

With these developments, it did not take long for ISIL to feel the effects of this change in priorities. Starting from January/February, the Syrian government forces and its allies have liberated swathes of land from the terrorist group. By early April, ISIL had been kicked out of the Aleppo province while the Syrian Army continued to open multiple new fronts all over central Syria. By early August this year, ISIL had been almost kicked out of the Raqqa, Homs and Damascus provinces as a result of the Syrian Army’s massive push towards the besieged city of Deir Ezzor.

In the meantime, the US backed “moderate” proxies in Idlib and Western Aleppo have been forced to stand idly by as the Syrian Army expands its control over the country. This is a result of Russian diplomacy at its best. Attempts have been made before to reach such lasting ceasefire deals, most notably the one last year between Russia and the Obama regime, it failed miserably after the US “accidentally” bombed Syrian Army troops fighting ISIL in Deir Ezzor.

So why did it work this time? I argue that the major reason for the success of this latest ceasefire is mainly due to Washington being excluded from the deal. When reflecting on previous attempts to establish a lasting ceasefire and the reasons for its failures, compared to this one that is seemingly more successful than its predecessors, its not hard to conclude that Washington, was and has always been the main obstacle for peace in Syria after almost 7 years of fighting and suffering.

Quite recently, Washington also announced it was ending its support for “moderate” rebels in Southern Syria, sparking hopes among some naive observers that the proxy conflict might be coming to an end. These observers however fail to understand Washington’s commitment and dedication to assume control of a situation that has been slipping out of their hands ever since Russia officially entered the conflict in 2015. What they also fail to understand is that Washington did not just abandon its plans for Syria, indeed it is likely that they will have to abandon their illegal base in the Al-Tanf border region in Southern Syria, but that does not mean the end of Washington’s involvement in the conflict, because that would require Washington to admit to defeat, which they hardly are capable of doing.

Instead, Washington is preparing its next move, and it will make use of another long-standing proxy force of theirs- the SDF. The Kurdish-led militia has assumed a larger role as the conflict has been dragging on, with SDF forces occupying large parts of northern Syria after wrestling control of these areas from ISIL. The SDF has since its formation in 2015, acted as the main proxy force fighting for Washington’s interests under the guise of creating a “federative direct democratic union” in northern Syria, also known as Rojava, despite fierce protests from Washington’s NATO ally Turkey.

What is the Rojava?

Kurdish domination in Rojava, on the edge of the violent dissolution of the Syrian state, is hidden behind a thick ideological smokescreen from the good consciences of Western lefties. This area under the control of the nationalists of the PKK from Turkey casually intone the siren songs of ecology, feminism and participatory direct democracy. It’s a music relayed and amplified by all kinds of leftists and by the subsidiaries, established in developed countries, of the cult of adoration of Öcalan, the founder of the PKK imprisoned for more than fifteen years on the island of Imrali. So the claim made by these lefties, one that is confirmed by the Kurdish-led PYD party, is that the Rojava project opposes all kinds of imperialism.

In addition to scoring massive sympathy points among ignorant people in the West, this portrayal of Rojava as “anti-imperialist” and leftist has attracted different far-left violent extremist groups such as Antifa and other anarchists. These groups, often deemed as extremists and even terrorists in their own countries, travel from all over the world with their own agenda, under the guise of being part of an ”International freedom battalion” that fights fascism.

Yet this claim cannot reconcile with the fact that ironically enough, Rojava remains one of Washington’s closest allies in Syria, nor can it reconcile with the fact that these foreign leftists who have traveled to Syria “to fight imperialism and oppression” are playing the role of pawns in Washington’s so called war on terror. As a matter of fact, SDF spokesman Talal Silo made it clear that the SDF does not make a single move until their masters in Washington say so.

You would think that this was already a tragic case, but for some reason these days, it always gets worse.

On July 24 the so called ”International Revolutionary People’s Guerrilla Forces” (IRPGF), a group of international fighters and volunteers fighting alongside the SDF announced on their Twitter page the creation of a “subgroup comprised of LGBT comrades and others who seek to smash the gender binary”.

The group calling itself TQILA, was to join the fight against ISIL according to an announcement on Twitter. This announcement was soon picked up by Western media outlets amid gleeful reactions by leftists, progressives and gay celebrities on their social media accounts. We learn, from the founding statements of TQILA and its umbrella group, IRPGF, that their causes of “anarchism”, “smashing gender binary”, and “sexual revolution” are all connected to the most selling hegemonic narrative of the 21st century: the “war on terror”.

Why anarchists would go to a country devastated by war and terrorism for years and spread anarchism is beyond any reasonable person. It is not only ridiculous, but it is also playing into Washington’s plan to sow discord and chaos in the country.

This romantic sketching of a revolutionary path to utopia in a conflict that has shown the world how ”revolutions” can destroy an entire society is nothing short of pathetic.

The Rojava administration in northern Syria, which was founded by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) – YPG’s political arm – in 2013, has been portrayed as a success story of the “struggle against borders and for autonomy” by the international media and self-identified leftists and progressives.

Others applaud “the Kurds” – a common synonym used by leftists to refer to PYD – as “the best hope for left politics in the region”. PYD is also presented as a big champion for “gender equality” as a result of its inclusion of women in its armed forces.

Nevertheless, the PYD, like the rest of the conflicting parties in the region, commits human rights violations, targets its dissidents, including peaceful protesters and forcibly evacuates Arab and Turkman civilians – and some Kurds – from their villages.

There are also those that point to “the Kurds” as deserving of their own territory, because of their fight against ISIL. The last time I checked, no land and territory has ever been “deserved” by any people and given to them as charity, but rather it was conquered. It is also ironic that the same “kurds” that claim Rojava to be a social revolution based on multiethnic co-existence, are the same ones that base their argument for Rojava’s existence on ethno nationalist grounds, citing the century long struggle for “kurdish independence”. Of course, proponents of the Rojava project always seem to be missing the fact that kurds make up less than 10 % of Syria’s population and that they occupy almost a third of the country.

To suggest that “gender and sexual revolutions” are being accomplished by joining a party that fights on behalf of Washington’s is a colonial rewriting of Syria’s struggle. According to these international extremists and their leftist supporters the struggle is ”to fight imperial and state power”, but for the Syrian people, their struggle is one about self-determination, something that the US, its allies and these ”progressive” leftist idiots have been trying to deprive them for years.

What does Washington want with Rojava?

Since most Western leaders seem to have accepted the reality that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is not going anywhere as long as Russia is standing by his side, there must be a new plan. If the regime change agenda in Syria, motivated by a desire to disrupt the Iran-Syria alliance and thereby protecting Israel has failed, then the second best thing next to regime change in Syria would be to isolate Syria from Iraq and Iran. This would be achieved by cutting the Syrian Army off from the Deir Ezzor province, thereby severing any land connection between Syria and Iraq. Interestingly, this is exactly what the US-backed forces, airlifted by the US from the Al-Tanf area to southern Hasakah, have been planning. But this shouldn’t come as news to anybody since Washington and its allies have been quite open with this idea since 2012 already.

Washington has been betting on many horses over the course of the Syrian war, but none of them have ever been as successful as the SDF. Earlier experiments with Syrian proxies yielded little and actually managed to damage Washington’s reputation somewhat, especially when the ”moderate rebels”, trained and armed by the CIA turned to Al-Qaeda the moment they crossed the border from Turkey where they had been trained, into Syria.

In the SDF however, Washington has found a reliable proxy, one that is not shy to offer the US to establish military bases across its territory, one that has garnered a good reputation among people in the West as the only representative of democracy in Syria, and one that is never going to say no to Washington’s biddings.

Despite Washington assuring Turkey that it will not allow “the Kurds” to declare independence and break away from Syria, Washington will not pass up this opportunity to gain a major foothold in what could be considered a Russian and Iranian “zone of influence”. Thus Washington will do everything in its power, including maintaining a permanent military presence in Syria, to try to balance a co-existence between Turkey and “Rojava”. Even SDF spokesman Silo said: “The Americans have strategic interests here after the end of Daesh,” using a pejorative term for Islamic State. As earlier explained, those strategic interests are tightly connected to the original idea of overthrowing the Syrian government in an effort to protect Israel.

Silo also confirmed that Washington is going to be wanting something back for their support over these years:

“They (recently) referred to the possibility of securing an area to prepare for a military airport. These are the beginnings – they’re not giving support just to leave. America is not providing all this support for free,”Silo said.

He suggested northern Syria could become a new base for U.S. forces in the region. “Maybe there could be an alternative to their base in Turkey,” he added, referring to the Incirlik air base.

The head of the YPG said last month that Washington had established seven military bases in areas of northern Syria controlled by the YPG or SDF, including a major air base near Kobani, a town at the border with Turkey.

These moves made by Washington are intended to be long-term. They are in preparation for another conflict as the one against Jihadists and maniac throat cutters is coming to an end. Now, Washington’s true struggle for Syria begins, as the final phase of the Syrian conflict is about to start. With the SDF potentially being ordered to fight the Syrian Army and with the Syrian government rightly declaring the Rojava entity illegal and illegitimate, a confrontation between these two seems inevitable in the future.

US Ends CIA Program in Syria but Continues Preparations for Big War

US Ends CIA Program in Syria but Continues Preparations for Big War

ALEX GORKA | 23.07.2017 | WORLD

US Ends CIA Program in Syria but Continues Preparations for Big War

The news hits headlines. The Washington Post (WP) reports that President Trump has decided to discontinue the CIA’s covert program to arm and train «moderate» Syrian rebels battling the government of Bashar al-Assad, according to US officials. The program was authorized by  Trump’s predecessor in 2013. The move is described by media as a major concession to Russia. «This is a momentous decision,» the WP cites an unnamed official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the secret program, «Putin won in Syria». Ned Price, a former CIA officer who served as senior director of the National Security Council under President Barack Obama, thinks «The White House appears content to kowtow to Moscow on any number of fronts — including in Syria». Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted that «if true – and I hope it’s not – it would be a complete capitulation to Assad, Russia, and Iran». But is it really a concession or a big policy change?

At first glance, the plans to oust the Assad government in Syria are shelved and there is nothing left but airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) militants and the Defense Department run train-and-equip program to support the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) dominated by Kurds. With the de-escalation zones coming into effect, the US is gradually reducing its involvement in the Syrian cauldron. But a deeper look into the matter leads to quite different conclusions.

The suspension of the CIA program is much ado about nothing, it was inefficient anyway. In fact, it does not change anything because the Pentagon program is in place. The US is not curtailing its involvement. To the contrary, it is increasing its military presence in Syria, and also in Iraq, by leaps and bounds.

The Turkish Anadolu Agency published a report on July 17 detailing the military facilities’ whereabouts and, in some instances, the number of special operations forces working there. It said two airfields and eight military outposts in Kobani, Manbij and Rumeilan, among others, are being used to support the Kurdish Democratic Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). One post in Ayn Issah town in northern Raqqa governorate housed around 200 US soldiers and 75 French special forces troops.

US-made armored vehicles, including MRAP, M-ATVs, and up-armored bulldozers have recently reinforced the forces in the area of Qamishli – a city in northeastern Syria on the border with Turkey. Guardian armored trucks and US up-armored Humvees are included in the coalition aid to the SDF, and according to the Defense Department’s fiscal year 2018 request for funds for train-and-equip program for Syrian partner forces, armored bulldozers are also included in aid to «vetted» Syrian groups, Military Times reports.

The source notes that M-ATVs and MRAPs are not part of the package that is divested to the Syrian Democratic Forces. Neither is the Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station, or CROWs system, which appears mounted on the M-ATVs featured in the photographs spread around by media. The images of heavily armored American combat vehicles entering Syria seem to illustrate that the US is increasing the military presence in the region in general and in Syria in particular.

Last month, US High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems – HIMARS – were moved to al-Tanf base in the southeastern part of the country – one of three official border crossings between Syria and Iraq. HIMARS had already been deployed in northern Syria.

US, British, and Jordanian troops, equipped with tanks and helicopters, have been reportedly positioned in a long strip region across the border zones of Syria’s southern provinces of Dara’a and Suwayda, from Tel Shahab rural area, just a few hundred meters from the Jordanian border, to al-Nasib Border Crossing and Khirbet Awad village. Their presence has also been reported near Ramtha, a Jordanian city, located in the far northwest of the Arab country close to the Syrian border. There are no IS militants in that area, so the forces’ mission is to keep away the Syrian government and pro-Iranian forces.

According to an AP report made public in March, the United States had spent to date more than $11.5 billion on its intervention in Syria. Several hundreds of US special operation forces have been sent to Syria under the pretext of training Kurdish militia fighters.

Actually, American military personnel are not supposed to be present on Syrian soil at all. The War Powers Resolution of 1973 enables the president to act unilaterally in the event of «a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces». Syria has not attacked the United States. The US 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) gives no authority to enter Syria, which had no relation to the 9/11 terrorist act. The Syrian government may be painted as a batch of bad guys doing wrong things in their own country, but the UN charter prohibits the use of military force for retaliation or for reprisal or, punishment.

The administration is pushing Congress for the authority to build new «temporary» facilities in Iraq and Syria. That’s what its recent policy statement says. The president wants Congress to extend existing authorities that only cover the «repair and renovation» of facilities to also encompass «temporary intermediate staging facilities, ammunition supply points, and assembly areas that have adequate force protection».

Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the commander of who currently commands Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve and the XVIII Airborne Corps, said the campaign is now expected to expand into the Euphrates River Valley after Iraqi forces retook Mosul. The general acknowledged that a continued US military force presence in the region could include the use of temporary facilities set up on an ad hoc basis, such as those proposed by the administration, but would mostly draw upon existing bases. Little by little, the bird is making a nest in Syria.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is in talks with the Trump administration to keep American troops in Iraq after the fight against the IS in the country is concluded. The parties appear to agree that a longer-term presence of American troops is needed. The US military has about 7,000 troops in Iraq.

As one can see, there are multiple signs that the United States is increasing war preparations in the region. One of the missions is to prepare for a possible conflict with Iran. Another is strengthening the bargaining position at the talks on de-escalation zones in Syria and the talks on crisis management in Geneva. Any scenario can ignite a spark to light a fire.

Russia and the US could put aside all the differences and launch bilateral confidential talks on Syria. An open, honest conversation protected from any leaks to media could help to prevent the worst form happening. Moscow could act as a mediator between the Astana group and the US-led coalition. The mutually agreed proposals could then be submitted to other pertinent actors for discussion and approval. But the refusal to return Russian diplomatic compounds shows the US is not ready for a dialogue. Looks like Washington prefers to balance on the brink of war in the region in an effort to boost its influence and make the situation unfold the way it wants.

The Kurds: Washington’s Weapon of Mass Destabilization in the Middle East

Part I of the Three-Part Series

Global Research, July 14, 2017
The Rabbit Hole 13 July 2017

In this three part series, MintPress  and Global Research contributor Sarah Abed analyzes the role that some Kurdish factions have played throughout history in helping major powers create chaos in the Middle East – from the Kurdish uprising in Iraq in the 1960s to the ongoing conflict in Syria today.

SYRIA (Analysis)– Historical accounts of the Kurds have been a subject of mystery and perplexity for years, and have been seldom discussed by major Western media outlets until recently. Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the ongoing conflict in Syria, Kurds have been romanticized by mainstream media and U.S. politicians alike to justify a Western interventionist narrative in those countries. Ever since the U.S. invaded Syria, the U.S. and Israel have supported the semi-autonomous Kurdistan, with Israel purchasing $3.84 billion dollars worth of oil from them, a move that could have geopolitical and economic ramifications for both parties.

In 2015, the Financial Times reported that Israel had imported as much as 77 percent of its oil supply from Kurdistan in recent months, bringing in some 19 million barrels between the beginning of May and August 11. During that period, more than a third of all northern Iraqi exports, shipped through Turkey’s Ceyhan port, went to Israel, with transactions amounting to almost $1 billion, the report said, citing “shipping data, trading sources, and satellite tanker tracking.”

The sales are a sign of Iraqi Kurdistan’s growing assertiveness and the further fraying of ties between Erbil and Baghdad, which has long harbored fears that the Kurds’ ultimate objective is full independence from Iraq.

Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Units, (Y.P.G), stand guard next to American armored vehicles at the Syria-Turkey border, Apri, 2017. (Youssef Rabie Youssef/EPA)

In 1966, Iraqi defense minister Abd al-Aziz al-Uqayli blamed the Kurds of Iraq for seeking to establish “a second Israel” in the Middle East. He also claimed that “the West and the East are supporting the rebels to create [khalq] a new Israeli state in the north of the homeland as they had done in 1948 when they created Israel. Interestingly enough, history is repeating itself with their present-day relationship – the existence of which is only acknowledged in passing by either side for fear of retribution.

For much of the conflict in Syria, several Kurdish militias have become some of the U.S.-led coalition’s closest allies within the country, receiving massive amounts of arms and heavy weapon shipments, as well as training from coalition members. Kurdish militias also dominate the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the U.S.-backed group best known for leading the coalition-supported offensive targeting the Daesh (ISIS) stronghold of Raqqa.The weapons that the United States has provided Kurdish and Arab fighters in the anti-Islamic State coalition include heavy machine guns, mortars, anti-tank weapons, armored cars and engineering equipment.

In May, U.S. President Donald Trump approved arming Kurdish militiamen in Syria with heavy weaponry, including mortars and machine guns. Within one month of Trump’s approval, 348 trucks with military assistance had been passed to the group, Anadolu added. According to the news agency’s data, the Pentagon’s list of weapons to be delivered to the group includes 12,000 Kalashnikov rifles, 6,000 machine guns, 3,000 grenade launchers and around 1,000 anti-tank weapons of Russian or U.S. origin.

The United States’ shipments included 130 trucks, with 60 cars passing on June 5, and 20 vehicles on June 12, per Sputnik News.

On June 17, Sputnik News reported that the United States is still supplying the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria with ammunition to fight Daesh, delivering 50 truckloads in one day alone, according to Turkish media reports. Earlier in the day, the trucks reached the city of al-Hasakah in northwest Syria.

Both historical and modern day ties between Israel and the Kurds have brought benefits to both sides. In the past, Israel has obtained intelligence, as well as support, for a few thousand Jews fleeing Ba’athist Iraq. The Kurds have received security and humanitarian aid, as well as links to the outside world, especially the United States. The first official acknowledgment that Jerusalem had provided aid to the Kurds dates back to Sept. 29, 1980, when Prime Minister Menachem Begin disclosed that Israel had supported the Kurds “during their uprising against the Iraqis in 1965 to 1975” and that the United States was aware of this fact. Begin added that Israel had sent instructors and arms, but not military units.

Ethnic Kurdish Israelis protest outside the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, July 8, 2010.

The Kurds are the largest group of nomadic people in the world that have remained stateless since the beginning of time. This fact has allowed Western powers to use the “stateless” plight of the Kurdish people as a tool to divide, destabilize and conquer Iraq and Syria, where colonial oil and gas interests run deep.

The U.S.-led coalition of war criminals is using elements of Syria’s Kurdish population to achieve its goal of destroying the non-belligerent, democratic country of Syria, led by its popular, democratically-elected President Bashar al-Assad. Washington seeks to create sectarianism and ethnic divides in a country that, prior to the Western-launched war, had neither.

However, Kurdologists reject this characterization because it does not fit into their account of historical events that attributes a state to them at one point in time. Their estimated population is 30 million, according to most demographic sources. They also reject the idea that they are being used as pawns.

Responding to a question about where the autonomous administration would “draw the line” on U.S. support and the support of other superpowers, the co-leader of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Salih Muslim Muhammad, stated

“Our guarantee is our mindset. It depends on how much we educate and organize our people. If we defend our morals and ideology, then bigger powers cannot use us as pawns.”

Perhaps no other group of people in modern times has been as romanticized in the Western conscience as the Kurds. Consistently portrayed as “freedom fighters” who are eternally struggling for a land denied to them, the Kurds have been frequently utilized throughout history by other countries and empires as an arrow and have never themselves been the bow.

In today’s case, the Kurds are being used by NATO and Israel to fulfill the modern-day colonialist aim of breaking up large states like Iraq into statelets to ensure geopolitical goals. When nations are divided into smaller statelets, they are easier to conquer by foreign entities. This is a signature move that powerful imperialist nations use for the purpose of colonizing smaller and less influential nations. The Kurds have been utilized as pawns in this “divide and conquer” strategy throughout history and continue to allow themselves to be used by colonial powers.

Ultra-leftist opportunists or real revolutionaries?

In an article written in 2007, NPR senior news analyst Daniel Schorr stated that the Kurds of Iraq have a long history of being used as pawns in regional power struggles. Now, they are finding themselves in the middle of a contest between the United States and Iran for dominance in the Middle East.

In 1973, President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had the CIA instigate a Kurdish uprising in northern Iraq against Saddam Hussein. The United States walked away from the rebellion when Saddam and the Shah of Iran settled their differences, leaving the Kurds to face their own fate. Interestingly, the Kurds seem to have developed amnesia by once again choosing to cooperate with Washington, which has repeatedly used them solely for its own benefit.

In the Gulf War over the Iraqi seizure of Kuwait in 1990, President George H.W. Bush appealed to the Kurds, as well as the Shiites in the south, to rise up in rebellion against Saddam.

A Kurd kisses a picture of United States President George W. Bush during celebrations in the streets of Sulaymaniyah, northern Iraq Wednesday April 9, 2003. (AP/Kevin Frayer)

Victorious in that war, the American military permitted Saddam to retain his helicopter gunships, which he used to retaliate against the Kurds, along with Shiites, by the hundreds. American public opinion eventually forced the administration to establish northern and southern no-fly zones to protect the two populations.

Kurdish loyalty to America has cost them quite a bit, and so it is with a certain narcissism that the Bush administration presumed to tell the allegedly autonomous Kurds what kind of relations they could entertain with other countries in the region, including American rival Iran. But the Kurds appear to be finding themselves in a contest between the U.S. and Iran for dominance in the Middle East yet again.

Andrew Exum, a former top Pentagon Middle East policy official who served as an Army Ranger, stated

”… this decision — to arm a group closely associated with a foreign terrorist organization, and one that has waged a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state — will likely reverberate through U.S. relations with Turkey for decades to come.”

The Turkish government has long insisted that the Kurdish militia is closely linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a separatist group known as the PKK. That group is listed by Turkey, the United States and Europe as a terrorist organization.

A rough estimate found in the CIA Factbook sets the Kurdish population at 14.5 million in Turkey, 6 million in Iran, about 5 to 6 million in Iraq and less than 2 million in Syria, which adds up to close to 28 million Kurds in what they refer to as “Kurdistan” and adjacent regions.

However, other sources state that there are only about 1.2 million Kurds left in Syria due to the carefully calculated and planned imposed war by NATO and its Gulf Allies. Roughly the same number migrated to Germany during the past six years.

It’s important to differentiate between Kurdish people who have assimilated in the countries they now reside in and reject the idea of establishing an illegal Kurdistan and those who are power hungry and are allowing themselves to team up with the West and Israel to assist in the destabilization of the region. Some Kurdish people in Syria, especially those that reside in areas that are not controlled by the Kurds, such as Damascus, are loyal to the Syrian government and have stated that they voted for Assad in 2014.

This free and democratic election saw Assad win 88.7 percent of the popular vote over the other two nominees. In the beginning of the war in Syria, there were Kurds fighting in the Syrian Arab Army, who received arms and salaries just like their Syrian counterparts. There are a small number that are still in the Syrian Arab Army in the southern Syria.

But in northeastern Syria, many Kurds have defected to the U.S.-led SDF where arms, salaries, and training are provided by the U.S. Syrians consider the Kurds who have remained loyal to Syria as their fellow Syrian brothers and sisters and the descriptions of Kurdish treachery in this article do not apply to them.

The loosely-knit coalition of Syrian rebel groups known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), are armed, trained and backed by the U.S. The group is currently engaged in the early stages of battle in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria.

Independence and disunity

An important thing to remember is that the ethnic marker “Kurd” refers to speakers of several different related, but distinct, languages. The two most important are Sorani in Iraq and Iran and Kurmanji in Syria, Turkey and smaller contiguous regions in Iraq and Iran. Sorani tends to use Arabic script, while Kurmanji uses Latin script, which shows how different they can be from one another.

Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is predominantly made up of Sorani speakers, while the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), PYD and other nationalist groups in Syria and Turkey speak Kurmanji. This division naturally maps these divergent political expressions. It is not as simple as superimposing the KRG’s borders over the PYD and PKK-controlled territory.

On the other hand, Turkey does not contest Sorani speakers’ aspirations to the same extent as it does Kurmanji speakers. Encouraging the autonomy of the Iraqi Kurds should not entail the same problems for the Turco-American alliance as encouraging Syro-Turkish Kurdish nationalism would.

The quest for independence is intrinsic to Kurdish identity. However, not all Kurds envision a unified Kurdistan that would span the Kurdish regions of four different sovereign countries. Most Kurdish movements and political parties are focused on the concerns and autonomy of Kurds within their respective countries. Within each country, there are Kurds who have assimilated and whose aspirations may be limited to greater cultural freedoms and political recognition.

Kurd

Kurds throughout the Middle East have vigorously pursued their goals through a multitude of groups. While some Kurds established legitimate political parties and organizations in efforts to promote Kurdish rights and freedom, others have waged armed struggles. Some, like the Turkish PKK, have employed guerrilla tactics and terror attacks that have targeted civilians, including their fellow Kurds.

The wide array of Kurdish political parties and groups reflects the internal divisions among Kurds, which often follow tribal, linguistic and national fault lines, in addition to political disagreements and rivalries. Tensions between the two dominant Iraqi Kurdish political parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) escalated to a civil war that killed more than 2,000 Kurds in the mid-1990s.

Political disunity stretches across borders as well, with Kurdish parties and organizations forming offshoots or forging alliances in neighboring countries. Today, disagreements over prospects for Kurdish autonomy in Syria or Iraqi Kurds’ relations with the Turkish government have fostered tensions that have pitted the Iraqi KDP and its Syrian sister organization, the KDP-S, against the PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD. Still, adversarial Kurdish groups have worked together when it has been expedient. The threat posed by Daesh has led the KDP-affiliated Peshmerga to fight alongside Syrian PYD forces.

Kurdish groups have, at times, bargained with not only their own governments but also neighboring ones – in some cases at the expense of their relations with their Kurdish brethren. The complex relationships among Kurdish groups and between the Kurds and the region’s governments have fluctuated, and alliances have formed and faltered as political conditions have changed. The Kurds’ disunity is cited by experts as one of the primary causes for their inability to form a state of their own.

The Kurds’ illegal, unjustified claims for autonomy

The West claims that the Kurds are one of the most moral and dignified forces in the Middle East fighting against Daesh. But if their focus is on defeating Daesh, as they claim, why are they committing genocide against Syrians in the process? Taking this into consideration, it is hard to justify the West’s persistent claim that armed Kurdish terrorist groups are trying to help Syria. The reality on the ground contradicts these empty compliments, which the West uses to save face while supporting these terrorist organizations. This false narrative was in fact used to arm the Kurds in Syria in order to create instability and division.

U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led Syria Democratic Forces raise their flag in the center of the town of Manbij after driving ISIS out of the area, in Aleppo province, Syria. (ANHA via AP)

It is strange that the Kurds would be so antagonistic towards Syrians, as the country has largely been welcoming for them. For example, reforms were made in Syria in 2012 to benefit the Kurds.

“President Assad issued a decree granting Arab Syrian citizenship to people registered as foreigners in the (governorate of Hassake),” said the SANA news agency.

The measure, which benefited about 300,000 Kurds, came a week after Assad tasked a committee with “resolving the problem of the 1962 census in the governorate of Hassake.”

In January 2015, SANA news reported that then-Syrian Prime Minister Dr. Wael al-Halqi said:

“the Kurds are a deeply-ingrained component of the Syrian society and Ayn al-Arab is part of Syria that is dear to the hearts of all Syrians.”

Al-Halqi’s affirmation came during his meeting with a Kurdish delegation which comprised Kurdish figures. He also urged all to discard violence and spread amity, reiterating that a solution to the Syrian crisis could be achieved “through national dialogue and consolidating national reconciliations,” indicating that dialogue will definitely be “under the homeland’s umbrella away from foreign dictates.”

In 2014, The Civil Democratic Gathering of Syrian Kurds said that the steadfastness of the people of Ayn al-Arab in the face of terrorists was a form of expression of the Syrian Kurds’ commitment to their affiliation to their homeland of Syria. The gathering’s Higher Council of Secretaries said that the steadfastness of Ayn al-Arab was cause for admiration and that attempts to transgress against the territorial integrity of Syria were parts of a plot to cause chaos and division and undermine the resistance axis.

These are just a few examples of the Syrian government’s attempts to unify all of those who live within the country’s borders. But even with these actions of good faith, the SDF has chosen to side with Syria’s enemies rather than work with the Syrian army.

A recent agreement – initiated and brokered by the U.S. between a Free Syrian Army (FSA) faction and the Kurdish-led SDF lays out conditions whereby U.S.-initiated negotiations would allow the FSA faction al-Muatasim Brigade to peacefully take over 11 villages in northern Syria that are controlled by the SDF. The general outlines of this unprecedented agreement were announced on May 10, stating that the U.S.-led coalition had delegated to al-Muatasim the task of being in charge of and administering the designated villages.

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Al-Muatasim is known to be a strong ally of the U.S., which is why it was chosen to be in charge of the designated villages. This further proves the point that the U.S., SDF and FSA are still working together. Their cooperation is part of an effort to counter the progress being made by the Syrian Arab Army and its allies.

In Part II of MPN’s Sarah Abed analysis of the Kurds’ role in helping the U.S. and Israel destabilize the Middle East, she will explore more of their ties to Israel and other countries, as well as their links to Daesh.

Sarah Abed is an independent journalist and political commentator. Focused on exposing the lies and propaganda in mainstream media news, as it relates to domestic and foreign policy with an emphasis on the Middle East. Contributed to various radio shows, news publications and spoken at forums. For media inquiries please email sarahabed84@gmail.com.

All images in this article are from the author.

SDF IN AFRIN HAS TO CHOOSE BETWEEN TURKISH INVASION AND HANDING OVER AREA TO SYRIAN GOVERNMENT – REPORTS

South Front

SDF In Afrin Has To Choose Between Turkish Invasion And Handing Over Area To Syrian Government - Reports

According to some Kurdish sources, Russia has informed the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Afrin that it has to choose between a Turkish invasion of in the area and the handover of the area to the Syrian government. The source also claimed that Russia had been asked by the PYD to protect it from any Turkish intervention, including preventing Iranian or American troops from entering the area.

The allegaitions have still not been confirmed or commented by any PYD or Russian official sources.

The PYD military wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), is a core of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) operating in southeastern Syria.

According to the Russian daily UTRO, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu allegedly told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during their meeting on July 2 in Turkey that the Kremlin has agreed to a Turkish military operation against the PYD party in Afrin.

Sipan Hamo, commander of the YPG, said that the US-led coalition has 7 bases in the areas controlled by the SDF east of the Euphrates, including two air bases in Al-Hasakah, an air base in Qamishli, two other air bases in Al-Malikiya, an airport in a Tal Abiad on the Turkish border and a center in Manbij.

“Launching the Turkey’s military operation in Afrin in Aleppo countryside will negatively affect the battle for the liberation of Raqqa from ISIS,” Hamo said. “Russia and the Syrian regime, which says that it is a state and safeguard the borders and sovereignty, leave Turkey to incursion and intervention and bomb Aleppo countryside without any clear position. It’s clear that there is collusion from under the table between the three parties.”

As Turkey continues to mobilize its troops at the Syrian-Turkish border north of Afrin, thousands of PYD supporters demonstrated in Afrin city against the expected  Turkish operation. It’s believed that the aggressive behavior of the YPG and the SDF over the past months against all other Syrian parties has given Turkey additional opportunities to launch the military operation against Kurdish militias in northern Aleppo.

SDF In Afrin Has To Choose Between Turkish Invasion And Handing Over Area To Syrian Government - Reports

After the ISIS War, a US-Russia Collision?

20.06.2017

Written by Patrick J. Buchanan [American conservative political commentator, author, syndicated columnist, politician and broadcaster]; Originally appeared at Buchanan.org

Sunday, a Navy F-18 Hornet shot down a Syrian air force jet, an act of war against a nation with which Congress has never declared or authorized a war.

Washington says the Syrian plane was bombing U.S.-backed rebels. Damascus says its plane was attacking ISIS.

After the ISIS War, a US-Russia Collision?

Vladimir Putin’s defense ministry was direct and blunt:

“Repeated combat actions by U.S. aviation under the cover of counterterrorism against lawful armed forces of a country that is a member of the U.N. are a massive violation of international law and de facto a military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic.”

An ABC report appears to back up Moscow’s claims:

“Over the last four weeks, the U.S. has conducted three air strikes on pro-regime forces backed by Iran that have moved into a deconfliction zone around the town of Tanf in southwestern Syria, where there is a coalition training base for local forces fighting ISIS.”

Russia has now declared an end to cooperation to prevent air clashes over Syria and asserted an intent to track and target aerial intruders in its area of operations west of the Euphrates.

Such targets would be U.S. planes and surveillance drones.

If Moscow is not bluffing, we could be headed for U.S.-Russian collision in Syria.

Sunday’s shoot-down of a hostile aircraft was the first by U.S. planes in this conflict. It follows President Trump’s launch of scores of cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield in April. The U.S. said the airfield was the base of Syrian planes that used chemical weapons on civilians.

We are getting ever deeper into this six-year sectarian and civil war. And what we may be witnessing now are the opening shots of its next phase — the battle for control of the territory and population liberated by the fall of Raqqa and the death of the ISIS “caliphate.”

The army of President Bashar Assad seeks to recapture as much lost territory as possible and they have the backing of Russia, Iranian troops, Shiite militia from Iraq and Afghanistan, and Hezbollah.

Assad’s and his allied forces opposing ISIS are now colliding with the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces opposing ISIS, which consist of Arab rebels and the Syrian Kurds of the PYD.

But if America has decided to use its air power to shoot down Syrian planes attacking rebels we support, this could lead to a confrontation with Russia and a broader, more dangerous, and deadly war for the United States.

How would we win such a war, without massive intervention?

Is this where we are headed? Is this where we want to go?

For, again, Congress has never authorized such a war, and there seems to be no vital U.S. interest involved in who controls Raqqa and neighboring lands, as long as ISIS is expelled. During the campaign, Trump even spoke of U.S.-Russian cooperation to kill ISIS.

While in Saudi Arabia, however, he seemed to sign on to what is being hyped as an “Arab NATO,” where the U.S. accepts Riyadh as the principal ally and leader of the Gulf Arabs in the regional struggle for hegemony with Shiite Iran.

Following that Trump trip, the Saudis — backed by Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain — sealed their border with Qatar, which maintains ties to Iran. And though Qatar is also host to the largest U.S. air base in the region, al-Udeid, Trump gave the impression its isolation was his idea.

President Trump and his country seem to be at a decision point.

If, after the fall of ISIS in Raqqa, we are going to use U.S. power and leverage to solidify the position of Syrian rebels and Kurds, at the expense of Damascus, we could find ourselves in a collision with Syria, Russia, Hezbollah, Iran and even Turkey.

For Turkish President Erdogan looks on our Kurdish allies in Syria as Kurdish allies of the terrorist PKK inside his own country.

During the campaign, candidate Trump won support by pledging to work with Russia to defeat our common enemy. But if, after ISIS is gone from Syria, we decide it is in our interests to confront Assad, we are going to find ourselves in a regional confrontation.

In Iraq, the U.S. and Iran have a common foe, ISIS, and a common ally, the government in Baghdad. In Syria, we have a common foe, ISIS. But our allies are opposed by Assad, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.

The question before us: After Raqqa and Mosul fall and the caliphate disappears, who inherits the ISIS estate?

The U.S. needs now to delineate the lines of advance for Syria’s Kurds, and to talk to the Russians, Syrians and Iranians.

We cannot allow our friends in the Middle East and Persian Gulf to play our hand for us, for it is all too often in their interests to have us come fight their wars, which are not necessarily our wars.

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Syrian War Report – May 31, 2017: US-led Coalition Panics As ISIS Collapses In Syria And Iraq

May 31, 2017

The US-led coalition and US-backed forces are on full alert over the collapse of ISIS in the Syrian province of Aleppo and the success of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) against the terrorist group at the Iraqi border with Syria.

The Kurdish Security Police of the Asayish held a meeting on Monday in Qamishli city to discuss the formation of a defence system ‘to confront the Iranian project’ that is allegedly supported by by the Syrian government. In other words, the Asayish is concerned that a part of the Syrian-Iraqi border was liberated from ISIS by the PMU.

The Asayish is a 15,000-strong force controlled by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD). At the same time, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) that are the core of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are military wings of the PYD. Thus, the Asayish statement could be considered as an official position of the PYD and the SDF.

Furthermore, the Asayish was involved in heavy clashes against the National Defense Forces and the Syrian Army in the city of Hasakah in August 2016. The Asayish was supported by the YPG and the US-led coalition.

The US-backed force has also increased its activity on the southern bank of Euphrates capturing the villages al-Mushayrifah, Bir Akhu Hadlah, Bir al-David and Bir Hajj al-Mufazi near Tabqah as well as the Baath Dam and the villages of Hawra, al-Barouda and al-Matiyura south of it. According to some experts, the SDF is aiming to reach the Resafa Crossroads in order to cut off the Salamiyah-Raqqah highway that links up the SAA-held city of Salamiyah with Raqqah, and to expand its presence near the N4 Highway in order to prevent the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) Tiger Forces from reaching the province of Raqqah.

The SDF advance followed a collapse of the ISIS defenses in the countryside of Maskanah and a failure of US-backed militant groups to counter government forces in southeastern Syria along the borders with Jordan and Iraq.

Thus, the US-led coalition may even decide to develop the SDF advance in the direction of Deir Ezzor in order to capture Deir Ezzor oil and gas fields on pretext of the battle against ISIS. However, this will be possible only if ISIS units deployed in Raqqah continue keep a defense attitude and avoid counter-attacking advancing SDF units.

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Will U.S. Partition Syria?

Will U.S. Partition Syria?

By Sharmine Narwani

U.S. strategy seems to be shifting toward creating a buffer state between Iran and Israel.

May 13, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – BEIRUT—Given the rhetoric of most U.S. policymakers, one might conclude that the conflict in Syria is about establishing freedom and democracy in the Levantine state. But no genuine aspiration for democracy ever came from a line-up of allies that includes countries like Saudi Arabia, Israel, Qatar, and Turkey. Seen from the Middle East, American intervention here appears to be aimed at putting the last genuinely independent Arab state under Washington’s sphere of influence—and cutting off a key Iranian ally in the region.

Today, after six years of regime-change operations that failed to unseat Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and install a compliant regime in Damascus, the west’s strategy seems to be shifting toward partitioning Syria. Specifically, the new U.S. policy would seek to sever the unimpeded geographic line between Iran and Israel by creating a buffer entity that runs through Iraq and Syria.

But here’s the twist: in Syria’s northeast/east and in Iraq’s northwest/west, where the Islamic State once occupied a vast swathe of territory, ISIS has helped to enable this U.S. goal by delineating the borders of this future buffer zone.

The only question is which U.S. “asset” will rule that buffer zone once it is liberated from ISIS. Would it be Sunni Arabs of the sectarian variety? A declassified 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report seemed to suggest this option when it confirmed U.S. and Western support for the establishment of a “Salafist Principality” on the Syrian-Iraqi border.

Or will it be a Kurdish-ruled zone? U.S.-Kurdish machinations have, after all, borne a similar Shia-thwarting buffer on Iran’s western border with Iraq, with the creation of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) headed by the famously opportunistic and corrupt Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) leader Masoud Barzani.

Either way, what transpired is this: ISIS occupied the areas flanking Syria and Iraq’s northern border. The U.S.-led coalition has had a presence in these territories for several years, without impairing ISIS control. At the right time, under U.S. cover, Kurds are moving in to “recapture” them.

Kurds constitute a minority in all these governorates, which is how the presence of ISIS became a valuable U.S./Kurdish strategic asset. ISIS’s invasion of these areas is delineating the borders of the new entity and depopulating it—creating an opportunity for Washington to champion the Kurds as the primary “liberating” force within those borders, after which Kurds can claim this territorial bounty.

“This is conquest masquerading as liberation,” says Assyrian writer Max Joseph, who explains how KDP Peshmerga forces disarmed Assyrian Christians and Yezidis two weeks before ISIS invaded in August 2014, then retreated from their promise to protect those populations just as ISIS entered Sinjar and the Nineveh Plains.

In the immediate aftermath of the ISIS invasion, Reuters quoted a KRG official saying: “Everyone is worried, but this is a big chance for us. ISIL gave us in two weeks what Maliki couldn’t give us in eight years.”

“By disarming and disabling communities who live in territories the Kurdish leadership have designs on controlling, then letting a ready-made aggressive foreign force invade and uproot native communities, forcing them to flee, KRG forces backed by Western airstrikes will be seen as ‘retaking’ land never even theirs,” explains Joseph.

Two years later, in July 2016, the KRG’s Peshmerga ministry gave credence to those claims by announcing that “Peshmerga forces will not withdraw from areas they have recaptured from the Islamic State.”

This is nothing less than an attempt to establish “Kurdistan,” a nation for the historically stateless Kurds, which has long-envisioned swallowing up parts of Syria, Iraq, Turkey, and Iran.

Some context helps explain the current situation. The KDP-ruled Kurdish entity in Iraq currently governs vast areas stretching from Iran’s western border to the Turkish border, stopping short east of Mosul and Kirkuk (an oil-rich city it openly covets). But the KDP has aspirations that run through Mosul to the western province of Nineveh—the historic home of a Christian Assyrian population—which would create a contiguous line across the north of Iraq to the Syrian border.

Last week, the “Kurdistan” flag was hoisted above all government buildings in Kirkuk—a move deemed unconstitutional and opposed by local non-Kurdish leaders and the Iraqi government alike.

A Syrian-Kurdish Entity?

In Syria, one can see a picture developing that mirrors Iraq’s experiences with the Kurds, Americans, and ISIS. Under U.S. patronage, areas occupied by the terror group are allowed to be “recaptured” by Kurdish forces, with a smattering of subordinate Arab Sunni forces to lend broader legitimacy.

Kurdish-controlled territory now traverses much of Syria’s three northern governorates where Kurds remain a minority—Hasakah, Raqqa, and Aleppo—and has earned the wrath of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has sent in troops and Arab proxies to break this “Kurdish corridor,” placing him in direct confrontation with the objectives of Washington, his NATO ally.

The Kurdish Nationalist Party (PYD) and its military wing. the People’s Protection Units (YPG), have unilaterally declared Hasakah a federal Kurdish state, a designation that is unrecognized by the Syrian government and other states. But Kurds barely make up 40 percent of the governorate’s population, which consists of Assyrians, Arabs, Armenians, Turkmen, and other ethnic groups as well. Likewise, in Aleppo, the most populous of Syria’s 14 governorates, where 40 percent of Syrian Kurds reside, Kurds make up only 15 percent of the population and are a majority only in Afrin and Ayn al-Arab (Kobane).

Meanwhile, Kurdish nationalists identify all of Hasakah and northern Raqqa/ Aleppo as “Rojova”—or Western Kurdistan—even though significant Kurdish populations live outside these areas and significant non-Kurdish populations live within them. Furthermore, many of these Kurds are not of Syrian origin, but fled Turkey last century after several failed uprisings against that state. The entire Kurdish population of Syria amounts to about 10 percent (although figures are slightly disputed both upward and downward). Hundreds of thousands of Kurds have since fled the conflict in Syria for safer shores. And there is not a single contiguous line of Kurdish majority-populated areas from the northeast to northwest of Syria.

Yet the U.S. is storming ahead with Project Buffer State, erecting military bases left, right, and center, in violation of Syria’s sovereignty and international law. Various news reports claim the Pentagon and its 1,000 or so troops in Syria have established up to six bases in the north of the country—in the Rmelan region near the Iraqi border, in Qamishli (Hasakah), Kobane (Aleppo), and now in Tabqa, several dozen kilometers west of the ISIS capital of Raqqa.

But the American plan to storm Raqqa has stalled due to Turkey’s refusal to be excluded, and its objection to Syrian Kurdish involvement. Washington wants its Syrian Defense Forces (SDF) allies to liberate the city, but this group consists mainly of YPG Kurds who are aligned with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), a Turkish and U.S.-designated terrorist group. The U.S. pretends these Kurdish militias are the only fighting force that can defeat ISIS. Never mind that the Syrian army and its allied troops have been defeating ISIS and al-Qaeda-affiliated militants around the country for years.

The inconvenient fact is, besides the Kurds—not all of whom back the U.S. project on the Syrian-Iraqi border—no forces have fought ISIS and other terrorist groups more successfully than the Syrian army and its Iranian, Russian, and Hezbollah allies.

By contrast, ISIS actually expanded and strengthened after the U.S.-led coalition began its strikes against the terror group. Recall ISIS trekking in plain sight across the Syrian border from Iraq to capture Palmyra—or tankers filled with ISIS oil crossing over to Turkey with nary a U.S. strike. It wasn’t until the Russian air force entered the fray and shamed the U.S. coalition that ISIS began to suffer some defeats. Washington had only really contained ISIS within the borders it was shaping, not struck any serious blows to the group.

After all, it is Washington’s awkward alliance in the region—Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Britain, France, Israel—that has supported the growth of ISIS and like-minded extremists. U.S. President Donald Trump even went so far as to accuse his predecessor Barack Obama of being “the founder of ISIS.”

Certainly, Obama watched as his Turkish NATO ally allowed ISIS freedom of movement across its borders and purchased its stolen oil in bulk. We also now know via email leaks that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was aware that U.S. anti-ISIS coalition allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar were funding ISIS.

Why would Washington tolerate allied support of the very terrorist group it claims to want to destroy? By portraying ISIS as the worst of all terror groups, al-Qaeda and its affiliates—by far the most efficient fighting force against the Syrian army and its allies—were able to fly under the radar to fight for regime change. Furthermore, a globally demonized ISIS has also provided justification for direct Western action that might otherwise have been impossible after “humanitarian interventions” lost their allure, post-Libya. Finally, this supposedly very dangerous ISIS was able to invade and occupy, for great lengths of time, territories on the Syrian-Iraqi border that would create the boundaries for a buffer state that could eventually be “liberated” and led by Western-controlled proxies.

Stealing Syria

If the U.S. forges ahead with plans to lead its Kurdish allies into the Raqqa battle it will risk further alienating Turkey. Don’t expect ISIS to be defeated, however. Instead, expect ISIS to be driven southward toward Deirezzor and other eastern points along Iraq’s border, where the terror group’s presence can act yet again as a U.S. strategic asset—specifically, by moving the fight away from Washington’s Kurdish project in the north and hindering the ability of Iraqi militias to cross the border in aid of Syrian troops.

That’s not such a leap. Deirezzor is where U.S. fighter jets bombed the Syrian army for an hour straight last September, killing over 100 Syrian forces. The strikes enabled ISIS to capture several strategic points around Deirezzor airport, which the Syrian state was dependent on to protect populations in the ISIS-besieged area. The Pentagon swore it was an error, the Syrians and Russians swore it was not.

Meanwhile, in Syria’s south, U.S.-backed militants, aided by Jordanians, Saudis, and the usual Western suspects,  are rallying their forces to expand the ground battle inside Syria.

Why the sudden surge of activity? Mainly because the Syrian government and its allies have, since the liberation of East Aleppo in January, succeeded in pushing back terrorists in key areas, regaining strategic territory, and striking reconciliation and ceasefire deals in other parts of the state.

“Western states with the United States at their head interfere in favor of the terrorists whenever the Syrian Arab Army makes a significant advance,” Assad observed in a recent interview.

But the U.S. overestimates its capabilities. With few troops on the ground, radical militants as allies, and pushback from Syria, Iran, Turkey, Russia, and Iraq, Washington will face a steep climb ahead.

In fact, all U.S. gains could be abruptly reversed with this one Kurdish card. Nothing is more likely to draw Syrians, Iraqis, Turks, and Iranians together than the threat of a Kurdish national entity that will seek to carve itself out of these four states. And as the U.S. tries to establish “self-rule” by its allies in the northeast of Syria, it will once again be confronted with the same crippling infighting that comes from foisting an un-organic leadership onto populations.

Syria will become an American quagmire. Washington simply cannot manage its partition plans with so few troops on the ground, surrounded by the terror forces it so recently spawned, as able adversaries chip away at its project. Stealing Syria will not be an easy trick.

Sharmine Narwani is a commentator and analyst of Mideast geopolitics, based in Beirut.

This article was first published by The American Conservative

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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