The Kurdish question has been getting well-intentioned, intelligent people to support US military interventions for decades. First in Iraq, now in Syria. It will probably be used to manufacture consent for an intervention in Iran someday. Christopher Hitchens was a vocal opponent of the Vietnam war; He later went on to write damning exposes on Henry Kissinger and Bill Clinton, but late in life he basically turned into a frothing-at-the-mouth neocon due largely, though not entirely, to his desire to protect the Kurds; he became one of the biggest cheerleaders for the illegal invasion of Iraq. More recently, long-time peace activist Noam Chomsky fell victim to the Kurdish question, saying that US troops should stay in Syria.
The Military Industrial Complex is thanking God for the existence of the Kurds. They are the gift that keeps on giving. Many Western leftists, especially in Europe, have gone to join the fight . These are the types of people who are often non-interventionists, but they have thrown their hats in with the Kurds and, by extension, the US war machine. How convenient for the Pentagon. Establishment news outlets like Vice have reported favorably on the insurgency.
Let me start by saying that I admire the Syrian Kurds in some ways. My political philosophy aligns with theirs more than it does with Damascus. Also, I concede that the Iraqi Kurds are better off now than they were under Saddam, but that doesn’t justify the invasion; I believe the overall net effect has been negative. Furthermore, it’s debatable whether it is Iran or the US who deserves credit for the increased standard of living in Iraqi Kurdistan. One must weigh all options and make decisions about what is best for humanity, and, given the current geopolitical landscape of the region, I don’t see an independent Rojava as a thing worth fighting for. However, what they accomplished there is admirable and should be studied and replicated elsewhere if possible.
It also needs to be stated that the Kurds in Syria are not a unified group. There are certain ‘tribes’ as they are sometimes called, or villages ruled by a powerful family. Some of these tribes have ended up in de facto rulers of some of the newly conquered areas. The Kurds are not without their faults. In 2015, Amnesty International revealed proof of the YPG razing Arab villages. There have also been reports of three Turkmen villages being wiped off the map. And the US destruction of Raqqa, which they turned over to the Kurdish-led SDF, was one of the worst crimes of the war So lets not fall into the trap of thinking that an independent Rojava world be a bastion of human rights.
The Kurdish forces (SDF) and the Syrian government forces (SAA) have rarely engaged each other over the course of the war. This has happened only a few times and not at all before 2018. I’ve heard the mainstream media strongly imply, and in some cases explicitly state that the SDF and SAA at war with one another. The SDF formed as a necessity when Rojava was being attacked by Wahhabi terror groups. Only when it became clear that the US’s Wahhabi proxies and ISIS would not be able to maintain control of the oil-rich area on the Northeast bank of the Euphrates did the US go all-in with the SDF. This was only to weaken Damascus by depriving it if its oil, not out of admiration for Libertarian Socialism or concern for the preservation of the Kurdish language.
The Kurdish language was banned from Syrian public schools in 1962, and now Arabic is banned in many parts of Rojava. As a teacher I can assure you that switching language mid-course is detrimental to the education process, especially when some of the textbooks are printed in a strange Iraqi dialect.
The current conflict really began in 2004 when an Arab soccer team from Deir ez-Zor visited Rojava, and some Arab fans taunted the Kurdish fans by waving pictures of Saddam Hussein, an archenemy of the Kurdish people. Riots broke out that resulted in Kurds burning down the local government building and Syrian police forces killing more than 30 Kurds. There was then a violent crackdown on all protests and even the celebration of the Kurdish New Years Festival. Then the Gulf State proxies in the now-defunct Free Syrian Army led their “peaceful protests” into battle in 2011 and Turkey gave free and easy transit to any and all terrorists and dumped them over their southern border. The Kurdish forces seized the opportunity and consolidated the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, which later went on to ally with local Arabs to form the SDF.
With the terrorists mostly defeated, the SDF has been in talks with Damascus since at least July of 2018. This is a hard fact to swallow for a propagandized Western population who has been bombarded with the now-contradictory narratives of “Assad is a Monster” and “The Kurds are lovely people.” It also presents major difficulties to the Pentagon, as well as a major opportunity for Moscow. The Kurds are bringing a lot of leverage to the negotiations and will likely, under Moscow’s mediation, come out of this with semi autonomy. This is a nightmare for Washington and Jerusalem, who are now facing the threat of peace, Assad staying in power, and, heaven forbid, a happy Kurdish population. Meanwhile Moscow and Tehran may end up with the entire country stacked with allies. The West and the Gulf will have nothing to show for the bloodbath they worked so hard for.
Analysts were, for good reason, fearing a Turkish invasion of Rojava, but, with Erdogan going to Moscow to meet with Putin this week and ‘Vowing closer cooperation in Syria,’ that possibility looks less likely. Erdogan has been moving more towards Moscow since the failed CIA coup in 2016.
Needless to say, the neocons are doing their best to get Trump to change his mind about pulling out. The #Resistance is also bursting blood vessels, as they would apparently rather have the rivers and streams of Syria run red with the blood of children than let Trump get what he wants, but this and Venezuela are huge distractions from Russiagate, so, unless Saint Mueller indicts a member of the military currently stationed in Syria, they are not likely to make too much of a fuss over it.
Now the real worry for anyone who seriously values peace is the threat of military privatization. Christian terrorist and founder of Blackwater Eric Prince has been taking out full-page adds in military publications and making appearances on Fox News talking about how private mercenaries are the fighting forces of the future.
I think things are finally moving in the right direction in Syria. Let’s just home the withdrawal continues as planned. And to all you lefties, do you not find it disconcerting that you are agreeing with General Mad Dog Mattis and the CIA on a foreign intervention?