After Iraq, West is obliged to support Syr­ian Kurds at the hands of IS

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - Bash­dar Pusho Is­maeel

The rapid and bar­baric ad­vance of the Is­lamic State (IS) in Iraq gripped the world’s at­ten­tion, lead­ing to even­tual Western in­ter­ven­tion and arm­ing of the Kur­dish Pesh­merga forces. How­ever, the IS prob­lem has long fes­tered un­touched in Syria.

The Kur­dish Peo­ple's Pro­tec­tion Units (YPG) forces have been locked in bloody bat­tles with IS mil­i­tants since 2013 with lit­tle support. The fierce bat­tle for Kobane in the Kur­dish re­gion of Syria has been rag­ing for sev­eral months, but armed with heavy weaponry tak­ing from their spoils in Iraq and re­group­ing for a ma­jor new as­sault, Syria is on the cusp of yet another hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis at the hands of IS.

While the Syr­ian Kur­dish bat­tle against IS has re­ceived far less at­ten­tion and back­ing than the Kur­dish forces re­pelling IS forces in Iraq, the strug­gle against IS in that part of the world is just as im­por­tant and strate­gic as the ones in Iraq. The Syr­ian Kur­dish strug­gle against IS not a sep­a­rate equa­tion but in all re­al­ity one and the same.

Thou­sands of des­per­ate Syr­ian Kurds fled dozens of vil­lages around Kobane as Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Ah­met Davu­to­glu, show­ing ini­tial hes­i­tance, fi­nally au­tho­rized the open­ing of the bor­der as grate­ful civil­ians flooded into the Turk­ish town of Dik­metas.

"IS fight­ers have seized at least 21 vil­lages around Kobane," con­firmed Rami Ab­del Rah­man of the Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights, with re­ports that IS had al­ready cut off wa­ter and elec­tric­ity sup­plies to the city.

Un­der a new strat­egy to com­bat IS, US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama fi­nally agreed to hit IS strongholds in Syria and as such there is no bet­ter place to start than pre­vent­ing a hu­man­i­tar­ian catas­tro­phe in Kobane.

The same YPG forces helped in the fight back against IS forces in Iraq and in turn they must now be helped by Western and Iraqi Kur­dish forces.

With common af­fil­i­a­tions to the PKK blight- ing per­cep­tion, YPG has been viewed with much sus­pi­cion and mis­trust, par­tic­u­larly by Turkey who has failed to rec­og­nize the big­ger pic­ture at times. Reser­va­tions from na­tion­al­ists will lead to a much deeper prob­lem for Turkey with a po­tent IS across its long por­ous bor­ders.

Re­cently, Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan con­firmed that Turkey was con­sid­er­ing plans for a buf­fer zone on its bor­der with Iraq and Syria. Although this is a much wel­come move, such a buf­fer zone was needed a long-time ago.

The West saw that Pesh­merga forces in Iraq were its nat­u­ral part­ners and hand in the push back of IS and pro­vided the lightly armed Pesh­merga in com­par­i­son with IS much needed weaponry.

Kur­dis­tan Pres­i­dent Ma­soud Barzani urged Western support against IS in Kobane amidst "bar­baric and ter­ror­ist acts". Barzani stated, "I call on the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to use ev­ery means as soon as pos­si­ble to pro­tect Kobane," while adding that "IS ter­ror­ists ... must be hit and de­stroyed wher­ever they are.”

In Syria, the same sit­u­a­tion as Iraq must some­how be repli­cated as US tries to bol­ster mod­er­ate Syr­ian op­po­si­tion forces. Much in the same way as the Iraqi Kur­dish forces have been so vi­tal in push­ing back IS, the Syr­ian Kur­dish forces ulti- mately hold sig­nif­i­cant sway to any de­feat of IS.

US State Depart­ment spokesman Jeff Rathke said the U.S. was "deeply con­cerned" about the IS gains and ad­vance around Kobane.

The US needs part­ners it can trust and Syr­ian Kurds are will­ing al­lies. This has proved a dif­fi­cult re­al­ity with deep reser­va­tions from Turkey and ties to the PKK, but the sit­u­a­tion on the ground needs de­ci­sive ac­tion and decision mak­ing and fur­ther US and Western dither­ing will not only see fur­ther atroc­i­ties at the hands of IS but the US plan again to de­feat IS greatly weak­ened.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Iraq

© PressReader. All rights reserved.