THE U.S.’ ‘KURDISH CARD’ SERVES MORE THAN ONE PURPOSE

Washington’s pol­icy of sup­port­ing the PYD and YPG in Syria aims to push re­gional states into more clashes, which will only ben­e­fit Is­raeli in­ter­ests at the end of the day

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page - BURHANETTiN DURAN

THERE is no doubt that Washington’s YPG card is a di­rect threat against not only Syria but other re­gional states as well

The famous Mid­dle Eastern ex­pres­sion, the “Kurdish card,” was last used on Dec. 2 by Rus­sian For­eign Minister Sergey Lavrov. “The United States is try­ing to form a state-quasi for­ma­tion in the re­gion east of the Euphrates and it is very dan­ger­ous to play the Kurdish card [while] keep­ing in mind only [their] own geopo­lit­i­cal de­signs in one part of this re­gion, which the United States is cur­rently demon­strat­ing,” Lavrov said.

For some time, Rus­sian of­fi­cials have been in an ef­fort to draw the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity’s at­ten­tion to the east of the Euphrates and they have just re­cently re-ex­pressed their con­cerns on the U.S.’ re­gional stance – play­ing the Kurdish card in Syria.

A few days ago, the Rus­sian army’s head Valery Gerasi­mov re­peated the very same Rus­sian ar­gu­ment by stat­ing, “They [the U.S.] are also form­ing a gov­ern­ment for the so-called Demo­cratic Fed­er­a­tion of North­ern Syria. The Amer­i­cans, that sup­port the Kurds’ sep­a­ratist sen­ti­ments by de­liv­er­ing arms and mil­i­tary equip­ment, al­low them to op­press Arab tribes.”

With Gerasi­mov, Rus­sia has sim­ply sent a warn­ing message to the U.S. The Krem­lin’s in­ten­tion is clear: Show­ing the U.S. as a power that threat­ens the ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity of re­gional coun­tries, par­tic­u­larly Syria.

The “Kurdish card” was first used dur­ing the World War I pe­riod to di­vide the Ot­toman Em­pire. How­ever, with the Kurds pre­fer­ring to stay with the Ot­tomans and the Turk­ish In­de­pen­dence War mak­ing the Treaty of Sevres in­valid, the re­gion was pre­vented from be­ing di­vided into even more pieces.

Since then, the Kurdish card pol­icy has re­mained ac­tive, as it was used by Bri­tain af­ter WWI and then by the U.S. af­ter WWII against re­gional states. The Iraqi Kurds in Mul­lah Mustafa Barzani’s era, for ex­am­ple, who came closer with the Soviet Union in 1958, were the first tar­get of Washington.

Later on, the United States sup­ported Barzani in the 1974 Re­volt, but then left him in the lurch. Dur­ing the First Gulf War in 1991, the very same U.S. pol­icy abon­doned the Iraqi Kurds in the face of Sad­dam Hus­sein’s Iraq. Even so, an au­ton­o­mous gov­ern­ment was some­how al­lowed to be formed in north­ern Iraq and, af­ter the U.S.’ Iraqi in­va­sion in 2003, the cur­rent shape of the re­gional gov­ern­ment was cre­ated.

In 2017, the Barzani ad­min­is­tra­tion was not sup­ported by Washington in their in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum. This was re­lated to the U.S. want­ing Iraqi Kurds as an ally as part of its pol­icy to curb the Ira­ni­ans. The U.S.’ re­cent de­ci­sion to ex­pand the Herir mil­i­tary air base in Ir­bil also proves the U.S. is still in­ter­ested in play­ing the Kurdish card in Iraq.

With the emer­gence of the Syr­ian civil war in 2011, Washington has found an­other card to play in the re­gion – the out­lawed PKK’s af­fil­i­ates in north­ern Syria. The U.S. started us­ing the des­ig­nated PKK ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion’s Syr­ian wings, the Demo­cratic Union Party (PYD) and Peo­ple’s Pro­tec­tion Units (YPG), for its pur­poses in north­ern and eastern Syria.

Ig­nor­ing all Turk­ish crit­ics and re­ac­tions, the U.S. didn’t change its dan­ger­ous YPG pol­icy and is still so­lid­i­fy­ing the bloody group’s members east of the Euphrates with­out show­ing much concern over the YPG’s Marx­ist ide­ol­ogy or its de­mo­graphic cleans­ing against Arabs and Kurds.

Fur­ther­more, the U.S. has an­nounced a new project to es­tab­lish some ob­ser­va­tion points near the Turk­ish bor­der. The points, to be con­trolled by YPG members, are a mea­sure taken by the U.S. against the pos­si­ble Turk­ish of­fen­sives against the YPG ter­ror­ists. All these de­vel­op­ments prove Moscow’s ar­gu­ment right in the whole Mid­dle East.

There is no doubt that the U.S.’ YPG card is a di­rect threat against not only Syria but other re­gional states as well. What’s more, the game Wash­in­ton is play­ing doesn’t aim to help the Kurds form a state, but to pave the way for non­state groups to keep their pres­ence ac­tive. Re­lated to this, these U.S. moves have the po­ten­tial to lead to more un­end­ing blood­shed in the wider re­gion. In such a sce­nario, Kurds are likely to suf­fer more.

Be­sides, it has been ru­mored for a while in all Mid­dle Eastern cap­i­tals that the United States has a deeper aim in the re­gion. It is claimed that the sole goal of the U.S. is to pro­vide for the se­cu­rity of Is­rael by di­vid­ing the rest of the re­gional states. In or­der to make Is­rael the lead­ing dom­i­nant state in the re­gion, other re­gional pow­ers should be weak­ened.

For this purpose, the King­dom of Saudi Ara­bia, the clos­est ally of the U.S. which is about to com­plete an al­liance with the Is­raeli state has to be weak­ened as well. What’s worse, the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s on­go­ing poli­cies sup­port such claims. U.S. Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence must have been right when he said, “Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, a man who I be­lieve is the great­est de­fender the Jewish state has ever had sit­ting in the Oval Of­fice.”

The first mean­ing of the Kurdish card is that the Kurds are pushed to clash with Arabs, Turks and Ira­ni­ans; yet it also shouldn’t be for­got­ten that this very U.S. plan also aims to unite all the Arabs of the Saudi Ara­bia-UAE front and Is­raelis in the same line in or­der to limit the Ira­nian pres­ence. By do­ing so, the U.S. will lead the Gulf coun­tries to stop stand­ing up for the rights of Pales­tini­ans and forces them to fi­nance the YPG at the same time. Syr­ian sovereignty and the fu­ture of the Arabs in the coun­try are also put at risk. In the worst sce­nario, the Arabs are sep­a­rated from one an­other and po­lar­ized. This is an­other devel­op­ment that will solely ben­e­fit Is­raeli in­ter­ests at the end of the day.

A U.S. Army gen­eral (L) thanks a YPG mil­i­tant dur­ing a visit to a small out­post near the town of Man­bij, north­ern Syria, Feb. 7.

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