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‘The real purpose of the policy in Syria’

Oct 25,2017 - Last updated at Oct 25,2017

Western powers and Turkey involved in proxy and direct warfare in Syria are staking out territorial redoubts as the war against Daesh winds down and Syrian government forces consolidate their grip on the country’s major cities, natural resources and vast swathes of countryside.

The US is using the Kurdish-dominated Democratic Forces (KDF) militia to halt the Syrian army’s advance east of the Euphrates River to the border with Iraq.

The justification for this policy is a claim that Iran, Syria’s ally, seeks to establish a corridor between its border across Iraq and Syria to Lebanon where Tehran’s protégé, Hizbollah, is a power in the land and the chief deterrent to fresh Israeli wars on that country and Syria.

This is, in fact, a nonsensical idea, as Syria has a very long border with Iraq that cannot, by any stretch of imagination, be controlled by a paramilitary force of a few thousand spread out in eastern Raqqa and Deir Ezzor provinces.

The real purpose of the policy is to parcel up Syria into zones of proxy occupation and influence, thereby destroying the country’s territorial integrity and its very existence.

The US and Europe have learned nothing from their destruction of Iraq as a nation state.

Having so far failed to use proxies to break up Syria into vassal warlord fiefdoms, the West and its regional allies are determined to continue the struggle for Syria after the anti-Daesh war ends.

Syrian military and political experts who discussed this policy with this correspondent over the past 10 days are convinced it will not work.

When deciding to deploy the Kurds in Raqqa, in particular, the US did not take into consideration the inhabitants of the city and the province are largely Arabs who will resent and resist Kurdish rule, even indirect rule by Arab councils appointed by local Kurdish military bodies.

Arab children living in Kurdish held towns and villages were presented at the start of the school year with Kurdish language textbooks, stirring protests.

Like the Iraqi Kurds, whose declaration of independence last month caused an uproar and prompted Iraqi military action to retake disputed territory, the Syrian Kurds have become “too big for their boots”, arrogant and confident that they can do whatever they like where they have imposed military occupation.

They seem to have forgotten they have to live with the overwhelming majority of non-Kurds in both Iraq and Syria.

While promising to establish democracy in areas they hold, Syrian Kurds are not abiding by democratic principles or international human rights norms.

For example, the Kurds deny the right to enter to anyone who was not born in Hasakeh province, which has had substantial Assyrian, Armenian, Arab and Turkmen populations, as well as Kurds.

A Hasakeh-born source said she was able to visit her sister in Hasakeh city, but other passengers on the bus she took were kept for some hours in tents and sent back where they had come from as they had been born elsewhere.

The aim, of course, is to exclude non-Kurds.

According to sources in Damascus and Aleppo, the Kurds are also making deals with Daesh fighters: those who want to go home with their families exit through Turkey and are given air tickets, while those who want to fight join the KDF.

Recruiting fighters amounts to continuation of the practice of shifting fighters from “moderate” militias to takfiri militias and back again.

This business explains why the vast arsenal of weaponry captured from Daesh by the Syrian army in Deir Ezzor and Mayadin includes German-, US-, British- and Turkish-made arms.

Senior Daesh commanders and their wives and children are said to have been not-so-covertly helicoptered to the Iraqi Kurdish region from Raqqa, as the Daesh capital was about to fall to the SDF.

If these reports are correct, it is doubtful that these big wig Daesh followers will face prosecution for crimes committed during their reign of terror.

These men could prove useful to the US sooner or later.

Al Qaeda controlled Idlib province — where Turkey has deployed surrogate militiamen — is also a looming problem. However, the deal made by Moscow and Tehran with Ankara requires all three parties — notably Turkey — to withdraw forces from the area once it is stabilised.

Turkey is trying to convince Al Qaeda’s Jabhat Fatah Al Sham fighters to join its sponsored militia consisting of remnants of the Free Syrian Army and other takfiri factions.

It is obvious that the Western powers and their allies — which have decisive influence on the talks between the government and the political opposition — are not in a hurry to see the UN-brokered Geneva negotiations resume.

For the time being, the government is winning the war on the ground while the insurgents are being either squeezed or compelled to abide by ceasefires imposed by Russia, Iran and Turkey.

Therefore, the opposition is in a weak position and cannot continue demanding the resignation of President Bashar Assad as the primary condition for reaching a political settlement.

To get round opposition hardliners, Russia and Iran intend to continue talks in Astana, in Kazakhstan, with the aim of imposing a national ceasefire. 

Once that is in place, the Astana process, rather than the Geneva talks, could become the vehicle for negotiating a political deal that leaves Assad in office and Syria in one piece.

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Comments

Nodding in agreement here. And the only ones in the region who will benefit will be 'israel' of course.

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