Syria - Intervention messes up a Dictatorship

By pjain      Published Oct. 15, 2019, 11:37 p.m. in blog Geo-Politics   

History of Syria

  • Kurds strategic retreat

History of Syrian Kurd in Syrian War and Foreign interventions

  • See in particular for history, politics of northeast Syria in context

  • 2003 The PYD was founded in 2003 as an offshoot of the PKK, to which it remains closely tied. The PYD's armed wing is the People's Protection Units (YPG). The group has coordinated with both Syrian rebels and government forces in different parts of Syria to further its interests.

2011+ Syrian War ignites on ISIL sweep in Iraq

  • In mid-2012, government forces withdrew to concentrate on fighting the rebels elsewhere, and Kurdish groups took control in their wake.

  • 2014 summer as brutal, raping ISIL forces swept across large swaths of Iraq. They targeted three Kurdish enclaves that bordered territory under its control in northern Syria. It was not just repeated attacks but the treatment of women treated as sex-slaves, and killing of unarmed populations scared the Kurds on other side of Iraq. By mid-2014 the mercenary ISIL were repelled by the People's Protection Units (YPG) - the armed wing of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).

  • A number of towns inhabited by religious minorities fell, notably Sinjar, where IS militants killed or captured thousands of Yazidis. The sub-human treatment of Yazidis by the ISIL especially the women has been condemned by even the amoral arabs sheikhs.

  • An IS advance in northern Iraq in June 2014 also drew that country's Kurds into the conflict. To counter this threat to millions of civilians, Kurdish Peshmerga forces moved into the city to prevent it from falling into the group's hands.

Turkey aligned and supported Jihadis and ISIS

Turkey purposely left its border wide open... It became a gateway for tens of thousands of international jihadists to openly enter Syria and fight alongside the FSA against the Syrian government. These foreign fighters filled the ranks of al-Qaeda's Syrian franchise, the al-Nusra Front, the Salafist group Ahrar al-Sham, and later, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). A Syrian jihad was born.

US fights back with 2014 air-strikes, aligns with Syrian Kurds

Seeing an opportunity to crush the Assad government — an old rival often at odds with the Western and Gulf sphere of influence — Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United States, Israel, the United Kingdom, and other NATO-aligned European powers all acted in their own way against the crumbling Syrian state. Intelligence services sent vast amounts of weapons, money, and other materials to the rebels. Western and Gulf states chose their own champions in the war...

Hillary war hawk - bombs away - campaign funding from military-industrial complex!

  • Was Hillary fired by Obama as Sec of State ?

  • By Sep 2014, US-air strikes (was this Hillary Clinton) in northern Iraq

  • 2014-Q3. Iraqi Kurds repositioned to align "saving Iraq" from falling to ISIL, winning sponsorship from the US which had burnt over a trillion dollars in Iraq since 2003.

Limited US-Kurd military support

It was purely a military alliance [the US and YPG/J/SDF forces], and the Americans rejected recognizing any political project of Kurdish autonomy in Syria. The US-led coalition support was extremely limited to the occasional delivery of light weapons and airstrikes, which were called in covertly by a small number of special operations forces embedded among the fighters. The US was wary to give the YPG/J heavy weapons such as the anti-tank TOW missile, perhaps fearing that one day they could fall into the hands of the PKK against their NATO partner, Turkey."

2014 Kurds drawn into Syrian War as Assad-retreats - Kurdish YPG are the teeth of SDF

  • In July 2012, the Syrian Arab Army abandoned Kurdish enclaves of Syria to dedicate their dwindling resources to other areas of the country at war. Kurds were now free of the repressive nature of the Assad regime, but at the same time, they were left on their own to defend themselves from the al-Qaeda-linked rebel groups ravaging the land.

  • ISIL and Jihadis genocide of Kurds. Even though the Syrian Kurds were predominantly of Sunni faith, the secular nature of the community in general was perceived as heretical by Sunni fundamentalists groups like ISIS, and were therefore targeted for conversion or extermination. Raping women and using them as sex slaves to reward fighters was common.

Thus, the People's Protection Units (YPG) and their all-female wing, the Women's Protection Units (YPJ), were born. Other spectrums of Kurdish political voices either abandoned the region and fled across the border, or were forced out by the domination of the new power structure. As foreign fighters were flooding into Syria from Turkey, the regime left the Kurds — Turkey's insurgent enemy — to fight jihadist groups along the border. Clashes between the YPG/J and the Syrian Arab Army happened on many occasions, but a pragmatic neutrality would always be restored. Both sides knew that opening fronts against one another would weaken themselves, and both feared the future country falling in the hands of jihadists. It seemed neither the Syrian government nor the Turkish-backed rebels could guarantee minority rights for the Kurds, and the YPG/J chose a delicate third path in the war.

  • In January 2014, Kurdish parties - including the dominant Democratic Union Party (PYD) - declared the creation of "autonomous administrations" in the three "cantons" of Afrin, Kobane and Jazira.

  • As the latest conflict in Iraq and Syria, starting in 2011, spiraled out of control, Assad-state powers that once kept the Kurdish ethnic minority down found themselves spread thin, fighting against both rebellions and jihadist insurgencies; they were forced to retreat from Kurdish areas and dedicate resources to government heartlands to the west.

The SDF used to recruit local Kurdish and Arab fighters to provide internal security, while its political arm, the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC), helps establish civil councils formed of locals representing all ethnic factions.

In practice, the YPG dominates the SDF’s command structure and trains all recruits in strict PKK ideology. Also, the Kurds call the shots in the SDC-led councils.

Kurds state referendum and formation hopes rising

For decades, the Syrian Ba'ath regime under Assad viewed the Kurdish population as too large to risk empowering with representation in politics, yet small enough to keep down. The regime outlawed speaking the Kurdish language in public, as well as all related cultural activities. In the 1970s, the Syrian Ba'ath regime had enacted a forced resettlement program that changed the ethnographic makeup of predominantly Kurdish regions.

In April 2011, the Assad government, losing control of the population following the large-scale demonstrations and riots sweeping the country, reversed some of these policies. The Syrian government vowed to issue identity cards back to a small portion of the stateless Kurds, but could never fully reconcile given the growing dissent within the population.

In a fight for survival, however grim, the crisis and dismantling of perceived nation-state borders presented Kurds with a golden opportunity. The once-persecuted rose to secure power in the vacuum."

The very success against heavily armed ISIL has emboldened the Kurds, and they have been armed to the teeth with latest weapons.

  • July 2014 KDP declared a plan to hold a referendum on independence from Iraq. The declaration caused alarm in bordering countries, who were fearful that their own restive Kurdish populations would follow suit.

  • Oct 2015 PYD is a major part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish, Arab, Assyrians, Armenian, and Turkmen groups that was established. The SDF has become an effective and hard hitting 60,000-strong Syrian militia that has been Washington’s primary partner in the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS), Backed by US coalition air strikes, the US-backed SDF have been fighting ISIL in an effort to recapture Raqqa, the armed group's self-declared capital.

  • In March 2016, they announced the establishment of a "federal system" that included mainly Arab and Turkmen areas captured from IS. The PYD says it is not seeking independence, but insists that any political settlement to end the conflict in Syria must include legal guarantees for Kurdish rights and recognition of Kurdish autonomy.

  • Sep 2017 - Iraqi Kurds backed independence from Baghdad in a referendum showing that a majority of Iraqi Kurds supported secession. This has heightened regional tensions.

2020-Arab SDF: Less-effective and become irrelevant into 2020+

  • Since 2015, the SDF has become an effective and hard hitting 60,000-strong Syrian militia that has been Washington’s primary partner in the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS), Backed by US coalition air strikes, the US-backed SDF have been fighting ISIL in an effort to recapture Raqqa, the armed group's self-declared capital.

  • There is a need to reshape the SDF into a force capable of providing long-term stability on the ground.

2017-19 Trump cut Syrian US presence - most fighting by Kurds

  • Trump not interested in Obama-Hillary Clinton era Syria Policy

  • Dec 2018 Trump announced wanted to withdraw 2,000 American troops helping the SDF administer and control the northeastern third of the country. Basically they served to keep Turkish army away and protect the Kurds.

  • Mar 2019 the SDF captured the Syrian town of Baghouz, marking the final territorial defeat of the ISIS which at its peak in 2014 controlled nearly 40,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria.

  • Mar 2019 Trump said instead of withdrawing, might leave a small presence of 400 U.S. troops in Syria.

  • March 2019 - The last pocket of territory held by IS in Syria - around the village of Baghouz - fell to the SDF.

2019-10 Trump lets Turkey Invade NE Syria - back-stabs Kurds the real fighters of SDF

  • Oct 2019 - Trump withdrawal from Northern Syria. After a phone call with the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Trump surprised the world – and many in his own administration – by announcing US troops would stand aside, effectively allowing the Turkish army to enter north-eastern Syria and clear the border areas of the Kurdish fighters that Ankara considers to be terrorists, and who until a few days ago were the US’s staunchest allies in the fight against IS.

The reward for suppressing ISIL was brutal back-stabbing by the US administration.

NeoCons want US stabs Kurds in back to fragment SDF into Sunni Arabs and control YPG's Kurds

To alleviate interethnic tension and preempt violence that might flow from it, the United States should attempt to limit the YPG’s ideological influence by conditioning further support for the SDF on the expansion of local Arab recruitment into the group’s command structure. ... As an US strategic think states "Reforming the SDF to be less threatening to Ankara would be a start." basically the key fighters left will partition Syria - with northeast in fight-to-death Iraqi backed Kurds!

2019-10 Turkey anxious on Kurd progress : Invades NE Syria Limited border control then stay put

  • March 2019 - The last pocket of territory held by IS in Syria - around the village of Baghouz - fell to the SDF.

Turkey watched the successful SDF budding alliance with increasing alarm as Kurds once again got support of the fickle US regime. As in WWII the Anglos got Russia to do 90% of the bleeding in fight against Hitler, so they let the Kurds bleed to bring Osama bin Laden's successors in ISIL be defeated.

For years, Turkey perceives a serious threat from the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian-Kurdish militia that dominates the SDF. The YPG is the Syrian wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Turkey-designated terror group that has been waging an insurgency against Turkey for more than 30 years.

  • Oct 10, 2019 This allowed Turkey to mass through Kurdish strongholds there.

  • Ankara seeks to create a “20-mile safe zone” in northeastern Syria, from which it would expel the YPG.

  • Turkey may also resettle up to 2 million Syrian refugees from Turkey - most will be Sunni Arab and non-Kurds - basically changing the demographics of that corner.

2020 S-400s risk Russia- US clash - Realpolitik of US impotence forcing exit

In the past > US interests in the country include: countering Iranian influence, preventing a return of ISIS, isolating the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and protecting the people of northeastern Syria from further slaughter. ...

  • To some extent S-300 and S-400 have nullified US and Israeli airpower in Syria.

This makes US impotent to support their own forces against Turkey and Syria's Assad regimes. Does it want to show the world that its multi-hundred-million dollar F-35s can be shot down by the S400 systems or risk a war with Russia?

Now in 2020+> It is better to pull out than to lose hundreds of US soldiers.

2020-Assad, Iran and Russia likely to stay put and OUT of NE Syria - deal with Kurds

Safely embedded in West Syria, avoiding most of the fighting, President Assad has vowed to retake "every inch" of Syrian territory, whether by negotiations or military force.

Assad's government has also rejected Kurdish demands for autonomy, saying that "nobody in Syria accepts talk about independent entities or federalism".

  • However with victory over the ISIL, there is now since mid-2019 been a stagnation, as Turkey flexes its muscles.

The Syrian government, which is backed by Russia, also pays lip-service to take back control of all of Syria.

Damascus is likely to make a deal with YPG/SDF forces and a potential direct cooperation between the Syrian Army and SDF to push out the Turks. State-run SANA did say that national forces were moving north to "confront" Turkish forces and its "aggression".

Iran, Assad are content to just consolidate their hold, and stop having to fight the SDF rebels, ISIL and all the insane politics of Syria.

Achieving these goals will require the United States to use its troop presence to prevent the Syrian regime from attempting to retake the country’s northeast with Iranian and Russian assistance. - US "strategic" think tank.

2020 Strategic Three-way Truce with Turkey-Syria-Kurdistan for now, YPG to split off

  • While Turkey just wants to protect its mostly barren eastern/southern borders with Syria, one way the Kurds can resolve is to limit "Turkish" bleeding, and agree to a split. Thus Turkey gets what it wants without bad PR.

  • Looking at the map - the Turkish safe-zone is a tiny strip of prime Kurdish Eastern territory. Basically, the REST of Syria gives the Kurds their own SAFE ZONE! Likely refugees will aggregate, and Kurds will push out pre-settled Arabs into the north and west to then "unite" with Iraqi Kurds on the other side.

YPG to split off

Since the YPG depends on the PKK for commanders, militants, training, and weapons, Ankara will see any YPG-controlled territory as a threat to its security. Turkey would prefer to create a safe zone in northeastern Syria, in which the Turkish military would occupy Kurdish population centers and clear them of YPG militants, as it did in the Kurdish canton of Afrin in early 2018.

Other Kurd factions are likely to seek an independent settlement with Assad—an outcome that would effectively return northeastern Syria to the regime and, by extension, invite in Iran and Russia.

So it seems the middle SDF occupied Syria and northern bordering Turkey will be emptied, but defacto control will be firmed up by Syrian Kurds.


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