Unforgiving Reality Impinges
"Unfortunately, as Kurdish allies fighting against terrorism and making a lot of victories, we expected more from the United States."
"We expect them to support us and not let Turkey target us."
Idriss Naasan, former official, Kurdish Syrian government
"We in the U.S. and Europe may see ISIL as the primary threat. But for everyone else, it is a struggle for national ethnic or sectarian power and identity"
"The U.S. can only do so much in this environment. It is not going to persuade Turkey to give up its national interests, and it will not persuade any Kurdish factions not to serve their interests."
Anthony Cordesman, Middle East expert, Centre for Strategic and International Studies
"Kurdish fighters fought and died for a city [Manbij] the U.S. is now requesting they evacuate."
"I think the Syrian Kurds will think twice before they engage in any additional U.S.-backed offensive."
Michael Horowitz, senior analyst, Levantine Group security consultancy
The chess pieces keep getting scattered all over the board of the Middle East. Nothing wants to stay where it is placed in the game of territorial and sectarian and tribal conquest. That the world's remaining superpower is engaging in a charade with its old nemesis, reduced in global status but determined to regain what was lost, moving chess pieces with the superpower newly comfortable in shedding its status, is merely a continuation of a game played over and over again.
In the long history of the area there have been countless episodes of betrayals, and what is now playing out between the Kurds of the region, those within Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria and the governments insistent on retaining their intact borders irrespective of their inclusion of Kurdish ancestral lands, do so at the eternal expense of a people forever betrayed, their legitimate aspirations relegated to the trash heap of history.
While there is a certain nobility invested in a people dedicated to protecting their own while formulating plans to recoup what has been lost and in the process dignify the human rights and chances for survival of other targeted groups as the Kurds have done with the Yazidis and with other minority groups like Christians fleeing Islamist persecution, there is nothing noble in the presence of the United States and Russia purporting to battle Islamist fanaticism while simultaneously manipulating those suffering its effects.
The proxy war waged by Russia and the U.S. is shielded by the vicarious proxies they have chosen to champion; on the one hand a murdering tyrant whose regime should have been erased for the greater good of Syrians in general rather than allowing the death of a half-million of its citizens and the dispersing of four million more, forcing Europe to render haven to over a million refugees. Neither Iraq nor Syria have proven capable of defending their geography from brutally marauding ISIL.
Only the Kurdish militias have had the courage and the determination to mount offensives against the murder-and-mayhem-crazed jihadis. If the Western world were not so intimidated and fearful of the threats emanating from Islamist fascism they would have no presence combating the terrorists. But as they do fear them they have committed to aiding the Syrian rebels and the Kurds in defending themselves from ISIL
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose hubris is a match for Russian President Vladimir Putin's, has marginalized, oppressed, brutalized and now bombs the U.S.'s Kurdish allies for fear they will succeed in organizing sufficiently well to convince the global theatre that it is time their yearning for a legitimized homeland be recognized and granted. Erdogan's furious hatred for the Kurds is geared toward destroying their ambition and their capability to realize it.
The feeble efforts manifested by the Obama administration in chastizing both Turkey and the Kurds, straining not to identify Turkey as a violent aggressor and the Kurds as their victims, represents yet another unforgivable betrayal of an ally by the United States. In urging Turkey to comply with the American request to stand down and halt its attacks against its Kurdish allies, the Turks respond with utter contempt: Turkey "has a right to defend itself", "U.S. can like it or lump it".
Without the Kurds joining in the campaign to liberate Raqqa, the Syrian-based 'capital' of the Islamic State caliphate, how likely is it that the Syrians will succeed? And why should the Kurds now? How can they now, if they are being attacked relentlessly by a Turkey determined to obliterate them entirely? Turkey's fears that the Syrian Democratic Forces dominated by the YPG would establish itself firmly on its border, its presence encouraging the PKK, prompted Erdogan to attack.
Erdogan speaks of the American concessions to a "terrorist group". "Having refused to put boots on the ground to stop the bloodshed for years, the Obama administration now wants to prevent Turkey's decisive move to end the war next door just to save their favourite terrorist organization in the Middle East" read the editorial in the Turkish Daily Sabah newspaper.
"Let Turkey recruit an army for the U.S. to liberate Raqqa", one Kurdish activist retorted. "America cannot have the two sides at the same time", stated Sihanouk Dibo, senior political adviser in the YPG political arm; time and past time for the U.S. to decide whom it most needs to support. Turkey under Erdogan is unstable and as dangerous to the region in his volatile, grudgingly impetuous violence as is the Syrian regime and for that matter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
They are, all three, merely three vicious manifestations of Islamist dysfunctional threats against humanity.
“ISIS commanders told us to fear nothing at all [from Turkey],” a former ISIS communications technician told Newsweek, “because there was full cooperation with the Turks and they reassured us that nothing will happen . . . ISIS saw the Turkish army as its ally especially when it came to attacking the Kurds in Syria. The Kurds were the common enemy for both ISIS and Turkey.”
Turkey has a world-class army—the second-largest in NATO—and could obliterate ISIS from the face of the earth if it wanted. If the Kurdish People’s Protection Units can make headway into ISIS-held territory with just a ragtag militia, Turkey could liberate the Syrian population from Assad, Hezbollah, and ISIS simultaneously.
World Affairs -- Michael J. Totten