SDF has maintained its unity even in the face of Turkish occupation – US Middle East Analyst

Syrian Democratic Forces (North Press)

(North Press) – The Kurdish National Congress of North America (KNCNA), a nonprofit organization founded in 1988 focused on Kurdish rights and the attainment of an independent Kurdistan, held an online seminar on North and East Syria titled “Where’s Rojava Today?” on Saturday. The seminar’s panelists included Syrian Democratic Council Representative to the US Sinam Muhammad, Middle East Scholar Dr. Amy Austin Holmes, Rojava Activist and KNCNA Member Dr. Ihsan Efrini, and Kurdish Journalist and Analyst Mutlu Civiroglu.
The organization has been organizing conferences since 1988, and wanted to organize a conference in Washington, but “because of [coronavirus], we couldn’t go ahead, therefore we thought about a webinar,” Ihsan Efrini, a native of Afrin currently residing in Canada, told North Press. “In 2019, Rojava was trending, but it seems like people have forgotten the region. There is still a lot happening in the region that needs to be talked about,” he added about the need for such a conference to take place.
Sinam Muhammad opened the discussion by talking about the dissolution of the Syrian opposition and the invasion and occupation of her native Afrin. “Afrin was a painful moment not only for Afrinis, but for all people in Syria, and also Arabs. They felt that they were also under attack and worried about Turkish intervention in Syria, and this is what Turkey did [in Sere Kaniye and Tel Abyad].” Muhammad went on to discuss the completion of the first stage of the intra-Kurdish dialogue, stating, “It was so good that we reached an agreement together with the help of the United States, and I would like to thank Mr. William Roebuck this effort.” She added, “it is good for Kurdish parties to have unity…in order to have a stronger administration and stronger political solution to present to the future constitutional committee of Syria.”
Dr. Amy Holmes discussed several subjects, chief among them the unity of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as one of its key characteristics from which it draws its strength. “The SDF is a multi-ethnic force…and a multi-religious force, with Muslims, Christians, and Yezidis,” said Dr. Holmes, who previously completed a thorough and comprehensive study on the SDF in all regions of northeastern Syria.
“When Turkey invaded in October 2019…many people thought that the SDF would disintegrate, or that, for example, the Arabs in the SDF would defect – that they would go back to the regime with Assad, or that they would join Turkey…but really, nothing like that happened. There [were] no major defections within the SDF as the result of the Turkish intervention,” Holmes explained, later telling a personal anecdote about an Arab individual from Sere Kaniye who joined the SDF in 2015, as well as mentioning Kurds who joined the SDF to liberate Arab-majority areas such as Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor. “The SDF has maintained its unity even in the face of this Turkish aggression,” she continued.
Mutlu Civiroglu further commented on the talks, saying that “the initiative has brought a very optimistic atmosphere to the region…[it] has caused happiness among the people: activists, local people, military people, and politicians.” Civiroglu also mentioned local concern about the Caesar Act, saying “the other major topic in the region was the Caesar Act, and its impacts on the region under the Syrian Democratic Council or Syrian Democratic Forces’ control – how will the region be protected?”
The seminar lasted around an hour and a half, with each panelist sharing their views and answering viewer’s questions in the end. Many topics, including the intra-Kurdish negotiations, entry of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq-based Rojava Peshmerga into Rojava, the Turkish occupations of Afrin, Serekaniye, and Tel Abyad, and the efforts and unity of the Syrian Democratic Forces, were discussed during the meeting.

 

Reporting by Lucas Chapman

https://npasyria.com/en/blog.php?id_blog=2860&sub_blog=12&name_blog=SDF%20has%20maintained%20its%20unity%20even%20in%20the%20face%20of%20Turkish%20occupation%20-%20US%20Middle%20East%20Analyst

‘Kürdistan Bölgesi ile Rojava Kürdistanı Washington’a ortak mesaj verebilmeli’

Ruken Hatun Turhallı

BasNews – ABD’nin Irak’ta Kudüs Tugayları Komutanı Kasım Süleymani’ye karşı gerçekleştirdiği suikast  ve daha öncesinde Irak’ta başlayan, yoğunluk kazanan protesto eylemleri ile birlikte çok yönlü sorunlar yaşayan Irak, ABD’yle de derin sorunlar içerisine girdi. En son  Irak Parlamentosu’nda ABD ve yabancı güçlerin ülke dışına çıkartılma kararı ardından, Irak  bilinmezliğe doğru büyük bir hızla sürüklendi. Kürtlerin ve Suni Arapların parlamento oturumuna katılmamaları, mevcut kararı desteklememeleri bu süreçte Kürtlerin elini güçlendirdi. ABD ve Irak ilişkilerinde yaşanan kriz ve olası sonuçları, yaşanan durumun Kürdistan Bölgesi’ni etkileme boyutunu, ABD’de yaşayan deneyimli gazeteci ve siyasal analizci Mutlu Çiviroğlu’na sorduk.

Gazeteci ve Siyasal analizci Mutlu Çiviroğlu: ” ABD’nin Irak’la yaşadığı sorunlar Kürdistan Bölgesi için yeni fırsatlar doğurabilir. Bu nedenle Kürdistan Bölgesi ve Rojava’nın ABD ve Washington siyaseti açısından artık birlikte hareket etmeleri ve birlikte ortak taleplerde bulunmaları çok önemli. Özellikle Ortadoğu gibi her an her şeyin olabileceği ve her gün yeni fırsatların doğabileceği bir coğrafyada Kürtlerin bu şekilde birlikte hareket etmelerinin önemi her geçen gün daha da fazla ortaya çıkıyor.” dedi.

ABD’nin 2003 sonrası Irak’a dönük bir stratejisi oldu mu? ABD’nin Irak’ı Saddam’dan alarak İran’a sunduğu yönünde görüşler mevcut. Bu durum Amerika’da nasıl yorumlanıyor?

George W. Bush döneminde Amerika’nın Saddam’ı devirmeye yönelik içerisine girdiği tutuma ilişkin tartışmalar günümüze kadar birçok kesim tarafından eleştiriliyor. Aynı şekilde Obama’nın Irak’tan zamansız bir şekilde askerleri geri çekme kararı da birçok kesim tarafından, Irak’ta yaşanan istikrarsızlığın asıl sebebi olarak gösteriliyor. Özellikle Cumhuriyetçiler IŞİD’in doğuşunu ve Irak’ta yaşanan istikrarsızlığın asıl sebebinin Obama’nın zamansız asker çekmesinden kaynaklı olduğunu düşünüyor. Genel olarak Amerika’nın Irak operasyonu çok sert bir şekilde eleştirilere tabi tutuluyor.

Kasım ayında gerçekleşecek ABD seçimlerinde Demokratlardan aday olacağı belirtilen ve Irak operasyonuna aktif destek veren Joe Biden bu nedenle çok sert bir şekilde eleştiriliyor ve adaylığı tehlike altında görülüyor. Yani kısaca Irak operasyonu tartışmalarının, ABD’de de günümüze kadar hararetli bir şekilde devam ettiğini belirtebiliriz.

Başkan Trump’ın Irak’a dönük açıklamalarının net bir şekilde anlaşılmadığı tartışılıyor. Aslında mevcut haliyle ABD’nin dış siyasetinde ki duruşunun, Irak’a ilişkin siyasetinin de net olmadığı kanısı baskın durumda. Örneğin Trump’ın ‘Suriye’den çekileceğiz ama Irak’ta kalacağız’ söylemi, Kasım Süleymani’ye yapılan suikast, akabinde Irak Parlamentosu’nun yabancı güçler ve özellikle ABD’nin ülke topraklarından çıkmasına dönük aldığı karar ve özellikle Şii grupların bu konudaki tavırları, ABD’yi sıkıştıran bir durum olarak kabul edilmekte. Ama unutulmamalıdır ki her şeye rağmen Irak ABD’nin dış siyasetinde önemli bir yere sahip olan bir ülke.

Başkan Trump’ın Davos Zirvesi’nde hem Irak Cumhurbaşkanı Berhem Salih ve hem de Kürdistan Bölgesi Başkanı Neçirvan Barzani ile görüşmesi de bununla alakalı. Görüşmelerde Başkan Trump ırak için ‘ilişkilerimiz gayet iyi’ dese de ağır problemlerin olduğu aşikar. Fakat Kürtler açısından önemli olan, ABD’nin Irak’la ilişkilerinde ki belirsizlik ve istikrarsızlığın avantajlar doğurmasıdır. Bu durum Kürtler açısından doğru ele alınır ve kullanılırsa, hem Güney hem de Rojavalı Kürtler açısından büyük imkanlar yaratabilir. Kürtlerin böylesi problemli dönemlerde yüzlerinin Batı’ya ve ABD’ye dönük olması, hem Batı hem de ABD kamuoyunda büyük imkanların doğmasını sağlıyor. Zaten son dönemlerde Washington’da bu durum açık bir şekilde dillendiriliyor.

ABD’nin Irak’ta (Exxon Mobil şirketi) dışında ekonomik ve ticari ilişkilerinin olmadığı söyleniyor. ABD’yi Irak’ta tutan etkenler nelerdir?

Irak ABD’nin büyük yatırımlar yaptığı, askeri, ekonomik anlamda her türlü imkanını kullandığı bir saha. İran’a baskı uygulamak için de ideal bir alan. ABD Irak’ta olduğu sürece, bu coğrafyada etkinliğinin sürekli devam edeceği kanaatinde. Örneğin, ABD’nin Suriye ve Rojava Kürdistanı üzerindeki varlığı Irak üzerinden sağlanıyor. Rojava’ya lojistik teminini Irak üzerinden Semelka kapısından sağlıyor. Bu açıdan istikrarlı, Şii, Suni Arapların ve Kürtlerin bir arada yaşadığı bir Irak ABD için önemli.

Kürtler Irak ile ilişkilerini ‘zoraki evlilik ya da zoraki ev arkadaşlığına’ benzetiyorlar ve haklılar. Fakat ABD’nin yakın döneme kadar, Irak için düşündüğü ve uyguladığı, kendi menfaatleri açısından uygun gördüğü yapı; dini, mezhebi ve etnik bütün yapıların bir arada yaşamayı esas aldığı bir Irak’tır. Bunun ne kadar gerçekçi ve sahaya uygun bir durum olduğu tartışılması gereken bir realite. Irak’ta giderek artan Şii mezhep baskısı ve neredeyse bir bütün İran’ın hegemonyacı yaklaşımı altına girmeleri, bölgede yeni ve daha tehlikeli problemlere neden oluyor. Mevcut durum için ‘saatli bomba’ tabirini kullanmak çok da abartılı olmasa gerek.

Bildiğiniz gibi bu sene ABD’de Başkanlık seçimleri olacak ve Başkan Trump kamuoyu nezdinde zayıf bir Başkan olarak görülmek istemiyor. Bundan dolayı da İran’ın saldırılarına karşılık yeni bir hamle geliştirme olasılığının da mevcut olabileceği kanaatindeyim. ABD’nin Irak’ta ki ekonomik varlığını sadece Exxson Mobil olarak düşünmemek gerek. Bunun haricinde çok geniş ekonomik ilişkiler de mevcut. ABD’nin Ortadoğu’daki varlık siyaseti için Irak’ın jeopolitik ve lojistik arka cephesi konumu çok önemli. Irak’ta ki mevcut istikrarsızlık ve kaosta ABD’nin payının çok büyük olduğu düşünülüyor. Çünkü askeri bir operasyonu fiziksel olarak Irak’a yapan güç olarak biliniyor ve buranın bir istikrara kavuşması ABD’nin hem Dünya’da hem de ABD’de ki prestiji açısından çok önemli.

ABD’nin Ortadoğu ve Irak’a yönelik stratejisinde, Kürdistan Bölgesi’ne dönük özel bir siyaseti var mıdır?

ABD’nin Irak siyaseti, Bağdat merkezli, Şiilerin çoğunluğunu kabul eden, ama Sunileri ve Kürtleri de siyasi, ekonomik, toplumsal hayatta belirgin anlamda var olmasını benimseyen bir yaklaşımı esas alıyor. Yani ABD ilk süreçlerde belirlediği Cumhurbaşkanı Kürt, Başbakan Şii, Parlamento Başkanı Suni sisteminin istikrar açısından devam etmesi gerektiği kanaatine sahip. Zaten ABD’nin Kürdistan Bölgesine bakış açısı; Irak’ın İran eksenine kaymasını engellemek için denge unsuru olması gereken bir bölge şeklinde. ABD, Bağımsızlık referandumu sürecinde aslında bunu çok açık bir şekilde dillendirdi. Yani ABD’nin Kürdistan Bölgesi’ne yönelik siyasetinin, Kürdistan Bölgesini Irak’ın bir parçası olarak görmek istediğini belirtebiliriz. Zaten Irak’ın geleceği açısından Kürtlerin varlığını bir zorunluluk olarak gördüğü için ayrı bir yapı olarak görme yaklaşımına şimdilik karşı gibi duruyor. Özellikle Kürtlerin laik, coğrafyasındaki farklı bileşenlere pozitif yaklaşımları ve yüzlerinin Batı’ya dönük olmasından kaynaklı olarak, ABD Irak’ın geleceği açısından Kürtlerin varlığını olmazsa olmaz şeklinde görüyor.  Fakat son dönemlerde İran’la fiili olarak yaşanan çatışma durumu ve burada ortaya çıkan Şii, Suni ve Kürtlerin tavır ve tutumlarından kaynaklı ABD’nin şimdiye kadar ki siyasetinin değişme ihtimali olabilir diye düşünüyorum ve böylesi bir değişikliğin Kürtlerin lehine olacağı kanaatindeyim. Ama bu durumda Kürtlerin bu yeni durumu nasıl kullanacakları önemli.

Özellikle ABD’de ve Washington’da Kürtler ve Kürtlerin temsili denildiğinde Rojavalı Kürtler ve Rojava  önplana çıkmakta. Özellikle onlara dönük sempati ve destek oldukça fazla. Zaten ABD basınında Başkan Trum’ın Davos Zirvesinde Kürdistan Bölgesi Başkanı Neçirvan Barzani ile görüşmesin de, Trump’ın sanki karşısında Suriye Kürtlerinin temsilcisi ve lideri varmış gibi davrandığını yazıp çiziyorlar ve hatta eleştiriyorlar. Ama bu durumu şu şekilde de okuyabiliriz; ABD kamuoyunda Kürtler denildiğinde akla ilk gelen, Rojava Kürtleri ve bu durum aslında şu fırsatı doğuruyor diye düşünüyorum; Kürdistan Bölgesi ve Rojava’nın ABD ve Washington siyaseti açısından artık birlikte hareket etmeleri ve birlikte ortak taleplerde bulunmaları çok önemli. Özellikle Ortadoğu gibi her an her şeyin olabileceği ve her gün yeni fırsatların doğabileceği bir coğrafyada Kürtlerin bu şekilde birlikte hareket etmelerinin önemi her geçen gün daha da fazla ortaya çıkıyor.

2003’te ABD’nin Irak müdahalesi sırasında karadan askerlerini ve lojistik desteğini geçirebilmek için Türkiye’den istediği iznin, Türkiye Parlamentosunda çıkmaması ve ABD’nin güçlerini başka yerlerden götürmek zorunda kalması gibi bir durum Kürtlerin daha fazla önem kazanmasına sebep olmuştu. Zaten şu an ABD’de Kürtlere yönelik yanlış siyaset yaklaşımlarını eleştirenler, yöneticilere şunları söylüyorlar; ‘ İşte görüyor musunuz, bugün bile Irak’ta kalabiliyorsak bu Kürtler sayesinde. Kürtler Irak Parlamentosu oturumuna katılmayarak, alınan kararı protesto ettiler’. Kürtlerin kararda yer almaması, ABD karşıtı açıklamalar yapmaması ve Suriye’de ABD varlığını sağlayan tek güç olmaları nedeniyle, kamuoyu ve siyasetçiler nezdinde, Kürtlere yönelik genel anlamda ciddi bir sempati ve saygı durumu söz konusu. Bundan dolayı da herkes Kürtlere daha fazla önem verilmesi ve daha fazla değer verilmesi gerektiği kanaatinde. Ama dediğim gibi, bütün bu durumlar karşısında önemli ve belirleyici olacak olan şey; Kürtlerin hem kendi aralarında ki, hem de dışarıya yönelik geliştirecekleri tavır ve tutum olacak.

Kürtlere yönelik ABD’nin siyasetini bir de şu şekilde okumak gerektiği kanaatindeyim; ABD’nin dış siyaseti şu an birçok yerde belirsiz ve net değil. Mesela İran’a yönelik siyasetini ‘bir adım ileri, iki adım geri’ diye eleştirenler var. Kuzey Kore ile, Avrupa Birliği ile olan ilişkiler, Suriye konusunda, yani birçok dış siyaset konusunda net olmadığı göze çarpmakta. Bundan dolayı da ABD’nin dış siyasetini mevcut haliyle okuyabilmek ve hangi adımları atacağını kestirebilmek çok güç. Yani şunu iyi bilmek gerekir, belirsizlik sadece Kürtlere dönük bir durum değil. ABD’nin dış siyasetinde ki ana konularda da bu belirsizlik mevcut. Ama ne yazık ki Kürtler realist bir yaklaşımdan uzak bir şekilde ABD’ye yönelik büyük beklentilere girdiler. Tabi bu durumu sadece Kürdistan Bölgesi açısından değil, aynı zamanda Rojava açısından da söylüyorum. Katıldığım birçok toplantı, konferans ve röportajlarımda bunu dile getirmeye çalıştım. ABD’ye dönük bu türden beklentilerin gerçekçi olmadığını anlatmaya çalıştım. Ama ne yazık ki insanlarımız sadece görmek istediğini veya duymak istediğinin söylenmesini istiyorlar. Zaten dediğim gibi ABD’nin bir bütün dış siyasetinde de bu yönlü bir problem var ve bu sadece Kürtlere yönelik özel bir durum değil.

IŞİD sonrası ABD Ortadoğu ve Irak ‘ta stratejik bir değişime gitti mi? IŞİD’e karşı mücadelede sahadaki partnerlerini yalnızlaştırması (Kürtler) İran’ın bölgede güçlenmesine nasıl bir zemin sundu?

ABD, IŞİD sonrası stratejik bir değişime gitti mi? Sorusuna ancak bir soruyla cevap verilebilir. ABD’nin stratejisi neydi ki, nasıl bir değişikliğe gitsin? ABD’nin zaten söylediğim gibi belirgin bir dış siyaseti maalesef ki yok. Mevcut yönetim dış siyasette çok ciddi problemler yaşıyor ne yazık ki. Bu durumu Başkan Trump’ın klasik bir siyasetçi olmayışıyla değerlendirebiliriz kısaca. Zaten Ortadoğu siyasetiyle en fazla alakalı olan iki Bakanlığa, yani Dışişleri ve Pentagon’a baktığımızda, en tepedeki sorumluların istifa ettiklerini ya da ettirildiklerini görüyoruz. Bu sebeple mevcut yönetimin hem iç kamuoyunda, hem de kendi yönetimleri içerisinde yaşadıkları sorunlar nedeniyle belirsizliklerin kendisini her alanda gösterdiğine tanık oluyoruz. Zaten Trump’ın seçim vaatleri içerisinde en önemli olanlarından biri, dünyanın birçok yerinde olan ABD güçlerini kademeli olarak ülkeye geri çekmekti. Burada Trump’ın sloganı ‘ ABD’yi yeniden büyütelim’. Bununla Amerika’nın kaynaklarını Amerika için harcama gibi bir yaklaşımı söz konusuydu. Bu nedenle her seferinde ‘ABD güçlerinin Suriye çöllerinde, tozunda ne işi var’ gibi sözleri çok rahatlıkla sarf ediyor. Aynı şekilde Irak’ta güç azaltmaya gideceğini de yakın zamanda açıklamıştı. Yani kısacası Trump’ın alakadar olduğu konu Ortadoğu’da ki güçlerin ya tümden çekilmesi, ya da azaltılması. Bu yaklaşım sadece Ortadoğu için değil Dünya’nın her yerindeki ABD güçleri için geçerli bir yaklaşımdır. Trump bu durumu ‘Biz Dünya’nın polis gücü değiliz’ şeklinde ele aldı zaten. Aynı şekilde ‘Bütün Dünya’nın ekonomik masraflarını biz üzerimize almak zorunda değiliz’ tarzında yaklaşımı belirginleşti. Hatta Trump daha da ileri giderek; ‘ ABD halkı NATO’nun, Birleşmiş Milletlerin, Ortadoğu’nun, Suudi Arabistan’ın bütün yükünü çekmek zorunda değildir’ dedi. Yani Trump’ın kafasında şekillendirdiği siyaset tarzı bu şekilde diyebiliriz. Bu nedenledir ki ‘IŞİD bitti, yüzde yüz halloldu, herhangi bir sıkıntı kalmadı. Bu yüzden güçlerimizi geri çekeceğiz’ yaklaşımına girmekte. Zaten Trump’ın tabanının da görmek istediği bu. Şunu da görmek gerek, Trump’ın ekibinin büyük çoğunluğunu silahlı güçlerden, yani asker kökenlilerden oluşuyor. Siyasetini, ekonomik yaklaşımını, diplomasisini belirleyen kişilerin geldiği kaynak eski silahlı güçler çalışanları. Bu nedenle bu grup, askeri güçlerin yurt dışından ülkeye dönüşlerini olumlu buluyor ve destekliyor. Zaten Trump’ta özellikle yurt dışındaki askeri güçlere harcanan kaynağın Amerika’nın içine harcanması taraftarı. Bunun için Trump IŞİD’in yüzde yüz bitirildiğine inanıyor ve buradaki güçlerinin kalmaları için meşru bir gerekçenin olmadığına inanıyor. Ama şu bir gerçek ki Ortadoğu Dünya’nın hiçbir yerine benzememekte. Değil bir yıl sonrasını, bir ay, bir hafta, hatta bir gün sonrasını bile çoğu zaman kestirmek mümkün olmuyor. Zaten ABD ile İran arasında fiziksel olarak yaşanan son durumda, nihayetinde böyle olduğunun kanıtı.

Irak ve Suriye’de ABD – İran çekişmesinin sonuçları Kürtlere nasıl yansır?

Amerika için özellikle Kürdistan Bölgesi’nde referandum sürecinde öne çıkan ‘ABD bizi sattı, bizi kandırdı veya yalnız bıraktı’ gibi yaklaşımlar olduysa da şunu unutmamak gerekir ki, o dönem ABD yönetimi, diplomasisi ve hatta etkin çevrelerinin bile referandum olayına bakış açıları çok net ve açıktı.  Özellikle referandumun zamanlamasının yanlış olduğu, referandumun ABD’nin Irak siyasetine hizmet etmeyeceği en açık bir biçimde dile getirildi. Zaten ABD’nin şimdi de bu konuda değişikliğe gittiği bir siyasi yaklaşım mevcut değil.

özellikle İran’la yaşanan son gerginlik nedeniyle ABD yönetiminin Kürdistan Bölgesi’ne dönük siyasetinde bir değişiklik yapma olasılığı mevcut olabilir. Bu durum da Kürdistan Bölgesine yeni ve olumlu olanaklar sunabilir. Tabi şunu da unutmamak gerekir; böylesi durumlar pozitif olanaklar sağladıkları gibi, negatif durumlarda ortaya çıkarabilirler. Kürtlerin olası bir gerginlikte hedef alınma durumu da yaşanabilir. Bunu da görerek tedbirlerini almak önemlidir diye düşünüyorum. Son olarak, Kürdistan Bölgesi için ABD’de yaşanılan son durumlara bağlı olarak; ‘Kürdistan Bölgesi’ni güçlendirelim’ tarzında söylem ve yaklaşımlara da giderek daha fazla rastladığımızı da belirtmekte fayda olur kanaatindeyim.

Rojava konusunda ABD’de ki farklı birçok çevrede ciddi bir rahatsızlık durumu söz konusu. Hem Kongre’de, hem Cumhuriyetçi Parti’nin kendi bünyesindeki Trump’a yakın kesimler içerisinde de yine Demokratlar içerisinde ve genel kamuoyu nezdinde Suriye politikasının yanlışlığı ve Rojava Kürtlerine haksızlık yapıldığı sıkça vurgulanmakta.  Burada Kürt güçlerinin IŞİD’le savaşta kaybettiği 10 binlerce savaşçı var ve ABD kamuoyu bunu görüyor. Bu nedenle ABD içerisinde Suriye Kürtlerine yönelik bir hassasiyet, hatta ‘biz Kürtlere ihanet ettik’ tarzında bir yaklaşım söz konusu.

Trump bir konuşmasında, ‘ABD’nin amacı yurt dışında ‘Ulus İnşası yaratmak değil’ dediğini biliyoruz. ABD’nin Irak ve Suriye’de Kürtlerle ilişkilerinin askeri bir ilişkiyi aşamamasının nedeni bu yaklaşım olabilir mi?

ABD, Kürtleri Irak’ta Şiilerin dominosunu dengeleme unsuru olarak ele alıyor. Ve zaten ABD’nin Irak’ta Kürtlere yönelik resmi siyaseti bu. Yani bu siyaset sadece Trump yönetiminin değil, Obama yönetimin de siyaseti bu şekildeydi. Yani genel yaklaşım şu; ‘Kürtler bağımsız bir devlet olmamalı, Kürtler Irak içerisinde bir denge unsuru olarak kalmalı’ tarzında bir yaklaşım belirgin şu ana kadar. ABD’ye göre Kürtlerin Irak’tan ayrılması halinde Irak’ın tamamen bir Arap devleti olması hassasiyeti söz konusu. Ve sadece Araplara ait Irak’ta da Şii mezhebin belirleyici olması halinde, İran’ın yörüngesine kayma tehlikesi olacağı kaygısı içerisinde ABD. Oysa Kürtler olduğunda, yine Suni mezheple birlikte Irak genelinde bir denge unsuru rolü üstlenebilirler düşüncesine sahipler. Irak’ın toprak bütünlüğüne atıfta bulunurken, yine Peşmerge güçlerine askeri destekler verirken ya da uluslararası resmi ilişkiler oluştururken ABD, çok bilinçli bir şekilde bütün bunları Bağdat üzerinden geliştirmeyi esas alıyor. Tabi denge unsuru konusu uygulanırken, işte İran’la yaşanan gerginlik, Irak Parlamentosu’nda alınan karar sonrası, bazı ABD’li yetkililerin bilerek Bağdat’ı By – pas ederek Erbil’e gelmeleri durumu söz konusu oldu. Bu durum gelişen konjektürel durumla çok yakından ilintili. Bağdat yönetiminin İran güdümünde olduğu düşüncesi nedeniyle, Kürtleri ön plana çıkartma ve İran’a yakın gruplara gözdağı verme yaklaşımı olduğu şeklinde Washington’da yorumlar gelişti bu dönemde.

ABD’nin Suriye’de ki Kürtlerle ilişkisi, Kürdistan Bölgesi’ne olan yaklaşımından çok farklı değil. ABD’nin Suriye’deki Kürtlerle ilişkisi tamamen askeri bir ilişki ve zaten ABD resmi yetkilileri her açıklamalarında bunu hiç gizlemeden dile getiriyorlar. Buradaki ilişki hiçbir zaman siyasi veya ekonomik bir ilişkiye dönüşmedi. Suriye Kürtlerinin de var olan mevcut durumu yanlış okuma durumları söz konusuydu. Özellikle Ortadoğu gerçeğinde siyasi yapıyı domine eden güç, askeri güç olduğu için ABD’nin askeri varlığının da bu şekilde olduğu yanılgısına kapıldı. Nitekim 15 – 20 yıl daha Suriye’den çıkılmaz denilen ABD’nin bir gecede buradaki bütün mühimatını nasıl çıkarttığı da görüldü. Irak’ta olduğu gibi Suriye’de de ABD’nin politik yaklaşımı aşikar. Yani sır değil. ABD burada ki Kürtleri siyasi bir güç olarak ele almak istemedi ve salt askeri güç olarak ele aldı, ilişkilendi. Peki buradaki Kürtler siyasi güç olarak kendilerini kabul ettiremezler miydi? Diye sorulursa, elbette ki bunun imkanları vardı. Fakat Kürtlerin ciddi bir lobi anlayışının olmayışı, ABD kamuoyunu bir bütün etkileyecek güçlerinin olmayışı, bunun yanında kamuoyunda doğal yollarla gelişen ilişki ağı – ki ben buna doğal lobi diyorum bu şekilde olunca da siz bu ilişkiye yön veremiyorsunuz, etkileyemiyorsunuz ve karar gücü olamıyorsunuz. Nitekim bir gecede verilen bir kararla güçler çekilebiliyor ve siz kendinizi ortalıkta yapayalnız görebiliyorsunuz. Suriye’de ki Kürtler açısından da durumu bu şekilde okumak doğru olur sanırım. Zaten Trump’ın ‘ulus inşaası bizim işimiz değildir dediği’ durum, Kürtlere devlet sağlama konusunda ‘bizim öyle bir amaç veya planımız yok’ demek olduğu çok açık bir yaklaşım. Trump ile Erdoğan ilişkisi de kamuoyuna açık bir ilişki. Kasım ayında Türkiye’nin Gri Sipi ve Seré Kaniye yönelik operasyonu sırasında, kamuoyu, Kongre ve siyasi çevrelerin Trump’a itirazlarına rağmen, Trump’ın Erdoğan’a verdiği destek halen devam etmekte. En son olarak Trump’ın ‘ulus inşasına yokuz’ sözlerinden okuyabildiğimiz, Irak’ta bir Kürt devletine, Suriye’de ise sınırları belli bir federasyon yapılanmasına destek vermeyeceği yaklaşımının öne çıktığı durumu burada en fazla değerlendirilen durumlar arasında.

Kasım Süleymani suikastı, seçilen zaman ve mekanın özel bir anlamı var mıydı? Bu suikast ile neler hedeflendi? ABD açısından amacına ulaşıldı mı?

Trump seçim sürecinde Hillary Clinton’a en fazla Libya Bingazi’de ki ABD elçiliğine yapılan saldırı ve elçinin burada öldürülmesi üzerinden yüklendi. Trump bu olayda Dışişleri Bakanı Hillary Clinton’un ihmalkarlığının olduğu konusunu ön plana çıkardı sürekli olarak. Zaten bu olay Cumhuriyetçiler tarafından halen de çok sıkça değerlendirilmekte ve eleştirilmekte. Trump aynı durumu kendisinin de yaşayabileceğinden çok korktuğu için, ABD’nin Irak’ta ki Büyükelçiliğinin saldırıya uğrama kaygısından dolayı bir şeyler yapma zorunluluğunda hissetti kendisini. ABD’li İş insanının öldürülmesi olayı zaten bir alarm durumu ortaya çıkarmıştı. ABD Büyükelçiliğinin saldırıya uğraması hali de kırmızı çizginin aşılması anlamına gelecekti. Trump kamuoyunda Hillary Clinton’u en fazla eleştirdiği bir konuda kendisinin de aynı duruma düşmesi halinde neler olabileceğini kestirebiliyordu. Bu nedenle de böylesi bir duruma düşmemek adına ve tedbir amaçlı bu kadar sert bir tavır göstermeyi uygun gördü diyebiliriz. Zaten Washington kulislerinde bu konuya ilişkin en fazla gelişen kanı bu şekilde. İran’ın Ortadoğu sahasında ki beyni, örgütleme gücü olarak kabul gören Kasım Süleymani suikastına karar verildi ve uygulandı. Zamanlama olarak; birincisi, ABD’li bir sözleşmeli personelinin İran’a bağlı güçler tarafından öldürülmesi, ikinci olarak, ABD toprağı olarak kabul edilen Büyükelçilik binasının kuşatılması ve fiziki saldırıya uğraması, bu nedenle burada bulunan diplomatik ekibin zorunlu olarak çekilmesi durumu Bingazi olayını anımsattığı için, ABD’nin ve onun Başkanı’nın güçsüz, zayıf olmadığı imajını göstermek için bu suikasta karar verildi. Tabi bu suikast Trump açısından, kamuoyu nezdinde ABD’yi ve vatandaşlarını koruyan, kollayan, sahiplenen Başkan imajını oluşturma adına iyi bir fırsat sundu. Genel anlamda Cumhuriyetçiler bu suikasttan çok memnun. Hakeza ABD kamuoyu genel anlamda Kasım Süleymani’nin öldürülmesinden gayet memnun diyebiliriz. Burada Demokratların getirdiği eleştirileri, bir muhalefet partisinin yaptığı eleştiriler dozunda görmek gerekir. Aslında Demokratlar arasında da çok güçlü bir memnuniyet yaklaşımı söz konusu. Zaten bu suikastla, bölgeyi kendi çıkarlarına göre dizayn etmek isteyen İran’ın bu yaklaşımının nötr edilmesi olarak görülme durumu söz konusu. Tabi en önemli konulardan birisi de seçim yılı içerisinde Trump seçime giderken asla güçsüz, zayıf bir başkan görüntüsü vermek istemiyor. Bu suikastla Trump İran karşısında ve bütün Dünya’ya ABD’nin gücünü, kararlılığını ve hassasiyetlerini göstererek kendisi açısından da bir artı puan oluşturmayı hedefliyor ve zaten bu yaklaşım aslında ABD açısından gerçekçi bir yaklaşım olarak ta ele alınabilir.

Irak Parlamentosu’nun aldığı, ABD ve yabancı güçlerin Irak’tan çekilmesi kararı, ABD’de bölgeye yönelik her hangi bir tavır değişikliğine sebep olur mu?

Son olarak Irak Parlamentosu’nun aldığı karar, aslında ABD’nin Irak siyasetinin ne kadar sağlıksız bir siyaset olduğunun göstergesi. Çünkü Irak doğal bir ülke değil. zorla ele geçirilmiş bir ülke ve ayrı 3 grubun zorla bir evde birlikte yaşamaya zorlatılması, bunun yanında örneğin; Kürtlerin kendileri açısından bağımsızlık istemelerinin ne kadar meşru olduğunun görülmesi açısından farklı bir olanak sağlıyor. Irak’ta her ne kadar Parlamento’nun aldığı kararların bağlayıcılığı olmazsa da çoğunluğunu İran yanlısı Şiilerin oluşturduğu Parlamento ABD ve yabancı güçlerin, Irak’tan güçlerini çekmesi kararı aldı. Bu ciddi ve önemli bir karar, fakat Kürtlerin bu parlamento oturumlarına katılmayışı da çok önemli bir durum. Burada Kürtlerin ABD’ye bakış açılarının dostane bir bakış açısı olduğu gerçeği ortaya çıktı. Aksi durumu ele aldığımızda, şayet Kürtlerin de Parlamento’da alınan bu kararda olmaları halinde ABD’nin Irak’ta kalma koşulları yok denilecek kadar az bir realiteyle karşı karşıya kalacaktı. Bu durum ABD’de Kürtlere sempati duyan, dayanışma geliştiren kesimler açısından ABD’de siyasi arenada daha rahat bir şekilde görüşlerini ve yaklaşımlarını sergileyebilmeleri açısından büyük bir avantaj yaratmakta. Ama son olarak bir kez daha tekrarlama gereği hissediyorum; Washington’un şimdi de yapmaya çalıştığı, Irak’ı biraz yumuşatmaya çalışmak ve Kürtlerle ilişkilerini daha da sıcak bir hale getirmek. Zaten Erbil’e gerçekleştirilen üst düzey ziyaretlerle de Iraklı, Kürt olmayan siyasetçilere yukarıda da değindiğim gibi bazı mesajlar vermeye çalışıyor ABD. Ve ‘bizimle ilişkilerinizi düzeltmezseniz, Kürtler üzerinden alternatif oluştururuz’ yaklaşımını hissettirmek istiyorlar.

http://www.basnews.com/index.php/tr/interviews/577920?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=11ecbf547e05e5c6cef6a87bce68d7c87fbedfc5-1587397179-0-AaIlX5DoaiYcEyPc2-YwomPVWJ-72BjGMsCRdBZeZ_SMOtwzq1zAEXVn6AymVwrZyqC2eNf1vBmJi1qYBNsm9Q6dhDaxA6n1ShWoWARW7V_rg7ypZWEmsK1Qd6Aat18XfVSupaPU2D9p1Q-fumq61njVblZB12LZa6zlDLdhjHj51c_sazi0HgDwYnjquVOYKl_L9VEpajUHtfxNV5qAhnHG476yDVNEtbqu3WmCG_1sEVg6-0VFXoy0actiACPqZvDGdv4v1F41R9gLI-mI3br24uKMIKAmcUTnehVZyyebZxaE0qQMv0hqo9_969VhhQ#.XjH5Snm4EYM.whatsapp

 

Son dakika – SDG ile anlaşan Suriye ordusu Menbiç’e girdi, sırada Kobani var

Türkiye’nin Suriye’nin kuzeyine yönelik askerî harekâtının beşinci gününde Suriye ordusunun ana omurgasını YPG’nin oluşturduğu Suriye Demokratik Güçleri (SDG) ile anlaştığı öğrenildi. Bu anlaşma kapsamında Suriye ordusunun Menbiç’e girdiği duyuruldu. Suriye ordusunun bu gece de Kobani’ye gireceği belirtiliyor.

Menbiç yerel kaynakları Suriye ordusunun çeşitli bölgelerden kente doğru ilerlemeye başladığını aktarıyor.

Menbiç’e giren Suriye ordusundan ilk görüntüler geldi.

Fırat Bölgesi Savunma Komitesi Eşbaşkanı İsmet Şêx Hesen de Kuzey ve Doğu Suriye Özerk Yönetimi’nin Suriye rejimi ile anlaştığını açıkladı. Hesen “Rusya ve Suriye rejimiyle anlaştık. Bugün akşama kadar gelmeleri gerekiyor” dedi.

Mezopotamya Ajansı‘nın haberine göre Hesen “Elimizden geleni yapıyoruz. Bütün devletlere çağrıda bulunduk; ancak bir şey yapmadılar. Kendi derdimize derman olacağız. Yaralarımızı kendimiz saracağız” diye konuştu.

Gazeteci Mutlu Çiviroğlu da Kuzey ve Doğu Suriye Özerk Yönetimi’nin Şam yönetimi ile SDG’nin Suriye sınırını birlikte koruması konusunda anlaşmaya vardığını yazdı. Çiviroğlu, anlaşmanın Afrin de dahil tüm bölgelerin özgürlüğüne kavuşturulmasını da içerdiğini belirtti.

North Press Agency’nin haberine göre Suriye rejiminin Fırat Bölgesi Başkan Yardımcısı Mohammed Shaheen, SDG ile anlaşan Suriye ordusunun bugün Kobani bölgesine girmeye hazırlandığını duyurdu.

Kobani’deki SDG yetkilisi, Suriye hükümetiyle birkaç saat içinde Kobani’ye girmek için bir anlaşma yaptıklarını söyledi.

Gazeteci Aylina Kılıç da bölgedeki bazı yerel kaynakların SDG ile anlaştığını ve Suriye ordusunun Kobani’ye gireceğini bildirdiğini yazdı. Kılıç, “Aynı zamanda Minbiç için de bu yönde bir anlaşma olduğu belirtiliyor. Dün akşam ABD ile Rusya’nın Minbiç’te görüştüğü iddia edilmişti” dedi.

Kılıç anlaşamaya Rusya’nın dahil olduğuna dair haberlerin bulunduğunu belirtti.

https://ahvalnews.com/tr/firatin-dogusu/son-dakika-sdg-ile-anlasan-suriye-ordusu-menbice-girdi-sirada-kobani-var

Turkey military operation much larger than anticipated: Analysts

Tactic is to advance into Arab-majority areas and drive a wedge between YPG-controlled territory, observers say.

Arab and Kurdish civilians flee following Turkish bombardment in Syria's northeastern town of Ras al-Ain [Delil Souleiman/AFP]

Arab and Kurdish civilians flee following Turkish bombardment in Syria’s northeastern town of Ras al-Ain [Delil Souleiman/AFP]

 

The long-awaited operation launched by Turkey into northeastern Syria extended far beyond what was initially expected by military observers who predicted Ankara would likely embark on limited action.

In the first hours of Operation Peace Spring, Turkish air raids across the border reached as far as Qamishli in the east and further west of Kobane.

Mutlu Civiroglu, a Washington-based Middle East analyst, told Al Jazeera the scale of the attack surprised many analysts.

“They’ve already hit 300km length and 50km depth, almost all major cities are hit,” Civiroglu said.

Soner Cagaptay, Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s research programme director, told Al Jazeera Turkey’s assault at this point was focused on Arab-majority towns.

“I think that’s quite a smart choice for Ankara because of the fact that Turkish troops will be more welcome in Arab-majority areas, given how friendly Turkey has been towards the Arab population,” Cagaptay said.

He said Turkey will continue to drive a wedge between Kurdish-controlled territory as a strategy to undermine the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and weaken the political authority that controls the border region with Turkey.

The SDF is spearheaded by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara considers to be linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has operated inside Turkey for decades. The PKK has been branded a “terrorist” organisation by Turkey and several other countries.

Wednesday’s cross-border operation was not the first. Last year, Turkey launched a similar offensive dubbed Operation Olive Branch into Syria’s Afrin town to “clear the area of terrorists”.

The SDF, while not wanting to comment on specifics, told Al Jazeera it was reviewing Turkish military strategy during Olive Branch to map out a response to the current operation.

According to local activists on the ground, the number one target for Turkey is the Arab-majority town of Tal Abyad, where Ankara hopes to quickly establish a ground presence.

Turkish security analyst and former special forces soldier Necdet Ozcelik told Al Jazeera he expects the first phase of Turkey’s operation will only last about 10 days, or a couple of weeks maximum, with the goal to take control of the area between Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain.

The offensive will also involve thousands of Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels providing ground support for Turkish commandos and its regular soldiers.

‘Under pressure’

Civiroglu said two scenarios were likely to unfold: Turkey intensifying ground operations, or the operation being halted because of condemnation from the international community.

“Trump is under pressure, the Turkish government is under pressure, the UN Security Council will meet today … The world is not buying arguments of the Turkish government,” he said.

“The SDF always wanted good relations [with Turkey] … Kurdish sympathy is very strong, that’s why there’s strong diplomatic efforts to put an end to this.”

The possibility remains that Syrian government forces of President Bashar al-Assad may try to capture the main city of Manbij, if the United States decides to withdraw its troops from there without giving early warning to the Turks.

“In this case, the Syrian army may try to capture Manbij before the Turkish forces or the FSA,” Ozcelik said.

“We might be seeing some sort of tension, or maybe limited confrontation, between the FSA elements and the Assad regime forces in Manbij area, but not in the eastern part.”

‘Turkish aggression’

The SDF responded to Turkey’s military action with artillery attacks and rockets fired into Turkish territory.

SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali said on Twitter the Kurdish fighters would not allow Turkish troops to advance further. “We will use all our possibilities against Turkish aggression,” he said.

Heavy fighting was taking place in Syrian border villages between advancing Turkish forces and SDF soldiers on Thursday.

Ozcelik said the Kurds were no match for the advancing Turkish-led forces.

“The YPG elements are composed of a lot of PKK ideology people, and they forcibly recruited many people who did not have serious military experience,” he said. “I’m expecting a lot of defections from the YPG side, so the Turkish military is going to take advantage of that.”

Robert Wesley of the Terrorism Research Initiative told Al Jazeera that Turkey will also suffer setbacks considering how vast the area is that it wants to control.

“It will require huge amounts of direct military engagement from the Turkish side,” Wesley said.

“The use of the FSA, that will also be limited [because] these groups are not really well-trained. They don’t have a strong track record with more sophisticated defences.”

Turkey may not have the appetite for sustaining significant casualties, Wesley said, which a serious military encounter with the SDF would necessitate.

“I don’t think either side is particularly well prepared for the engagement,” he said.

The biggest challenge for the SDF is not having a weapon system that can counter Turkish air attacks, Civiroglu said.

“[Even so] they have said they will defend themselves until the end,” he noted.

Russian reaction

Russian President Vladimir Putin phoned Ankara after the Turkish operation began to stress that Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity be respected.

The Kremlin said it would not interfere further in Syria after years of supporting Assad’s forces against rebel groups, but cautioned Turkey not to take any steps that would destabilise the region.

Cagaptay said Moscow has no choice but to back Turkey’s move. “The most Russia will do is to voice support behind closed doors, even though they may publicly criticise the operation,” he said.

He said the Kremlin may even be welcoming Ankara’s military action. 

“The [Syrian] regime and Russia consider Turkey a threat, so by provoking Turkey to attack Kurds really Russia is hitting two birds with one,” Cagaptay said. “Hitting Kurds, trying to make Kurds dependent on Russia, at the same time allow Turkey to suppress the Kurds, not allow them to make gains.”

Even if Turkey is successful in securing its so-called “safe-zone” to return about two million Syrian refugees, there will be major challenges ahead, observers said.

The complex issue of containing the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) fighters who are still active in the region must be addressed by Turkey.

As seen by the suicide attack claimed by the armed group in Raqqa on an SDF intelligence base, killing 13 people, ISIL may be defeated militarily but sleeper cells are still prevalent.

“It’s unfamiliar territory for Turkey,” Civiroglu said. “It’s Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Christians, and Yazidis of the region [who] fought these people.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/turkey-military-operation-larger-anticipated-analysts-191010054605380.html

‘A bloody conflict’: Trump’s actions in Syria will have long-term consequences

Kurds call it a stab in the back: chaos to come will have many participants

Feuding Syrian Kurdish political blocs dance around rapprochement

As French and US initiatives for intra-Kurdish rapprochement in Syria stall, it seems that piecemeal defections from the Kurdish National Council to the Kurdish autonomous administration in the north of the country are the rule of the day.

al-monitor An officer of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) stands guard near the Syrian-Iraq border, Oct. 31, 2012. Photo by REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani.

 

France and the United States are encouraging a rapprochement between Syria’s two feuding Kurdish political blocs, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Kurdish National Council, which is an official part of the Syrian opposition in exile known as the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces.

A Kurdish detente could serve as an early step toward incorporating parts of the opposition into the PYD-led autonomous administration of northeast Syria. In turn, wider opposition participation could help the autonomous administration gain a seat at negotiations to end the civil war, as well as win local and international recognition now that the main reason for the autonomous administration’s foreign support — the territorial fight against the Islamic State (IS) — has ended.

But the prospect of Kurdish rapprochement in Syria faces an uphill battle. Turkey wields influence over the Kurdish National Council and opposes the move; meanwhile, both Kurdish factions have unrealistic demands for a deal. Rather than an agreement at the organizational level, the most likely path forward for Syrian Kurdish cooperation involves disaffected council groups breaking off piecemeal to join the PYD-led autonomous administration, as they have done in the past.

The PYD and the council are at odds over the PYD’s nonconfrontational stance toward Damascus, the council’s proximity to the Turkish-backed Syrian opposition and each faction’s connection to rival Kurdish regional powers. Negotiations between the two sides to unite failed early in the civil war over power-sharing disputes. Since then, the council’s parties have refused to apply for licenses to participate in the autonomous administration, a fact the PYD has used to repress the council’s political activity.

Turkey opposes a Syrian Kurdish detente, as well as any step that might legitimize the presence of the PYD in northeast Syria. Ankara considers the PYD to be a branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought a decades-long insurgency against Turkey. Turkey’s peace process with the PKK collapsed in 2015, and despite hopeful indications this spring, it will likely remain that way as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seeks to divert attention from recent political setbacks. In July, Turkey launched a new phase of its military campaign against the PKK in Iraq and once again threatened to invade PYD-led northeast Syria.

Mutlu Civiroglu, a journalist who specializes in Kurdish affairs in Syria and Turkey, told Al-Monitor that following the blow Erdogan received in local elections this year, “he needs something to consolidate, to bring back his support, the morale of his base.” Civiroglu added, “National security is beyond sacred for many Turkish politicians. When the issue is national security, they all keep silent, they all support the government.”

Turkish opposition is not the only hurdle to Syrian Kurdish rapprochement. While both Kurdish parties endorsed the detente proposal, their key demands seem to preclude a deal. Top PYD officials have stipulated that for talks to move forward, the Kurdish National Council must leave the Syrian National Coalition, which would strip the council of its political relevance as the only internationally recognized Syrian Kurdish opposition group, as well as disrupt the lives of council members living in Turkey.

“There’s no talk within this [detente] initiative, nor any direction within this initiative, toward withdrawing from the Syrian National Coalition or dealing negatively with it,” Hawwas Khalil Saadun, a council representative and member of the Syrian National Council, told Al-Monitor.

Meanwhile, the Kurdish National Council has called on the Rojava Peshmerga, its military wing based in Iraqi Kurdistan, to enter northern Syria to ensure the terms of an agreement with the PYD are implemented. The PYD will “never” accept this, Mohammed Abdulsattar Ibrahim, a Syrian Kurdish journalist with Syria Direct, told Al-Monitor. PYD officials maintain that “if there are two Kurdish forces on the ground, they will fight with each other, as happened between [Massoud] Barzani and [Jalal] Talabani from 1994-1998 [in Iraq]. That’s very possible,” Ibrahim said.

While the Kurdish National Council and the PYD are unlikely to strike a deal, wider Kurdish participation in the autonomous administration is possible — via council parties breaking off piecemeal and joining the administration.

Some council members have long disagreed with their organization’s closeness to the Turkish-backed Syrian opposition. One sticking point was Turkey’s resistance to the 2017 Kurdish independence referendum championed by Barzani of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Iraq; he helped found the council and enjoys good relations with Ankara. Then came the rebel invasion of the Syrian Kurdish enclave of Afrin in January 2018. Turkish-backed Syrian opposition groups committed widespread human rights violations against Kurds, and resettled Arabs evacuated from the suburbs of Damascus — who survived years of strangling siege imposed by the Syrian government — in houses abandoned by Kurdish residents. The council condemned the assault on Afrin when it occurred, but ultimately remained within the Syrian opposition.

“What happened in Afrin horrified people, including [Kurdish National Council] people in Kobani, Jazeera and other parts. They are very much afraid the ongoing atrocities in Afrin will recur in other Kurdish regions,” said Civiroglu.

Internal tensions caused by the council’s closeness to the Turkish-backed Syrian opposition, in addition to routine conflicts over power and positions, have resulted in several defections over to the autonomous administration. Certain council politicians imply that the defectors are PYD plants.

In 2016, three parties previously expelled from the council formed the Kurdish National Alliance, which went on to participate in formal autonomous administration elections. Two years later, prompted by Turkey’s assault on Afrin, the president of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria split from the council and established a new party that now works alongside the PYD. Thirty more colleagues from the Kurdish Future Movement followed suit soon after.

The specter of future defections looms large as long as the PYD is the dominant Kurdish power in Syria. Ibrahim said that when the council “used to call for a protest or demonstration, thousands of people came. Now, a few people attend.” He added, “When the [council] parties defect, it’s for their own interests — they want to have a role.”

In June 2019, one of the council’s oldest factions, known as the Yekiti Party in Syria, expelled three leaders primarily because of a power dispute, said Ivan Hassib, a local Kurdish journalist who covers internal council dynamics. These leaders, who went on to form a new party, have not expressed a desire to work under the autonomous administration, as their “popular base is Barzani’s people. … Today, if the party that defected directly joined the PYD, that’s like suicide,” Hassib told Al-Monitor.

Nevertheless, he added that two of the three ousted politicians were accused by former colleagues of connections to the PYD. They might remain independent, or join the autonomous administration sometime in the future.

For its part, the PYD encourages Kurdish (and Arab) opposition parties to participate in the autonomous administration system that it leads, if they register, and provides a degree of freedom to criticize policy while maintaining control over the most important decisions. The more opposition parties join the administration, the more they dilute the presence of leaders connected to the PKK, and the closer the administration appears to its ideological premise as a decentralized, democratic system. Movement in this direction reduces the chance of a Turkish invasion and increases the chance of continued Western support.

“The entire [autonomous] administration wants to unify the Syrian opposition,” said Khabat Shakir, a PYD representative in Germany.

Pending a major shift in northeast Syria — such as US President Donald Trump pulling out US troops in advance of the 2020 presidential elections, and/or a Turkish invasion — piecemeal defections from the Kurdish National Council to the autonomous administration are the most likely form of Kurdish rapprochement currently available.

Dan Wilkofsky

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/08/syria-kurdish-national-council-defections-rapprochement.ac.html

A ticking time bomb: Meeting the ISIS women of al-Hol

Al-Hol woman A woman at al-Hol camp in Syria. Image: Mutlu Civiroglu

A pregnant woman was reportedly beaten to death this week in a Syrian refugee camp housing tens of thousands of people displaced by the war against Islamic State where they live among the militants’ wives and children in conditions described by international agencies and reporters who have visited the camp as harsh, dire, and even apocalyptic.

The woman, identified as 30-year-old Sodermini by ANHA news agency, was six months pregnant, and originally from Indonesia. On July 28, her body was discovered in a tent and taken to a hospital run by the Kurdish Red Crescent, where an autopsy determined she had suffered tremendously before she died.

The Indonesian government said it is investigating the circumstances of her death, and the woman is believed to be among about 50 Indonesian adherents to Islamic State living among about 70,000 people in the camp. It’s not known yet who killed her or why.

Children have died in the camp, and the International Committee of the Red Cross said recently that, despite the efforts of international NGOs to treat people with war wounds, infections, or who are suffering from malnutrition, the humanitarian needs in al-Hol remain “tremendous.”

Last month, Kurdish analyst and journalist Mutlu Civiroglu visited al-Hol camp and other areas managed by the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, the de facto government in northern and eastern Syria. He found al-Hol to be a “ticking time bomb” – dangerously overcrowded, too large for the Kurdish internal security police force called the Asayish to control, and full of children deeply at risk of becoming the next generation of ISIS fighters.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Women in al-Hol campWomen walk in al-Hol camp in Syria in July 2019. Image: Mutlu Civiroglu

The Defense Post: To start, tell me about the camps. Who runs them? How many people are there –how many women, men and children? How many are believed to be ISIS adherents and their families? How many are civilians?

Mutlu Civiroglu: According to the U.N. over 70,000 people live in al-Hol Camp. UNICEF estimates that more than 90% of them are children and women. Nearly 20,000 of the children are Syrians. According to Kurdish officials I spoke with, in total there are about 30,000 ISIS women and their children from 62 different countries. They are mainly in al-Hol but also in Ain Issa and Roj camps.

The whole of al-Hol camp is very crowded. Over 70,000 people live there. Considering the very hot summer, the camp residents live under very tough circumstances.

We were there one day when it was very hot. The sewage water was outside, on the surface – a very unhygienic environment and invitation for disease and illness. There are not enough doctors or health centers, according to the people we spoke to.

Security-wise it’s very risky because it’s over-crowded, hard to control. A few weeks ago an Asayish officer was stabbed. A 14-year-old Azeri girl was killed because she was not covering her hair, according to the people on the ground. I had to go to the camp with strong protection after this incident. It’s like a ticking bomb. The Kurdish administration runs the camp but UNICEF [the U.N. children’s agency], UNHCR [the U.N. refugee agency], the Red Cross, World Health Organization, and other intergovernmental organizations are there to support them, from what I could see.

Abdulkarim Omar, head of foreign relations in Jazira canton, told me that including Syrians and Iraqis there a total of 30,000 ISIS women and children under their control and around 12,000 are foreigners (muhajirs) and 8,000 of them are children. Of course male suspected ISIS members are kept in prison in different locations. Currently some 6,000 ISIS fighters are under SDF control: 5,000 are Iraqi and Syrian, and the other 1,000 are foreigners from 55 different states.

TDP: How are they separated?

The ISIS families are separated from the rest of the Iraqis and Syrians. There are wires separating them from the rest of the refugee community in the camp, and their location is known by the security and Asayish forces.

TDP: Do they live more or less freely within the camp or are their schedules and movements restricted?

The camp residents were allowed to go out for shopping until recently, but several escape incidents took place, and some ISIS women were taken out by smugglers, so the camp administration recently banned residents from going out. Instead they set up a new market inside of the camp, called Baghuz market. The administration is more strict now.

Their movements have to be restricted because of the killings. I was told the Russian women did that [killing of a 14-year-old Azeri girl] – by Russian I mean women from Chechnya, Dagestan, the Muslim republics of Russia – so their movements are more restricted and security is tightened after these incidents. Some camp residents have complained that because they’re not allowed out of the camp, the prices became more expensive and they’re having a hard time living because things are more expensive now. But they also acknowledge that by the mistake of some of the ISIS wives they’re all suffering.

I was told that kids are encouraged by women to throw stones at the camp officials. This also creates pressure on the security forces to be more careful.

TDP: What is the food and water supply like? Medicine? Sanitation? Are international organisations helping with humanitarian needs?

Based on what I saw I think there is enough water, but because the camp is overcrowded it causes problems especially with the water and in the summer. The Red Cross, WHO and UNHCR are there to provide help in addition to the Kurdish administration. They are also in-camp hospitals and health centers being built and mobile health centers set up by the Kurdish Red Crescent, so I don’t think there is a very desperate need, but because of the large number of residents I’m sure from time to time food and water is becoming a problem. International organizations and the local government are there trying to do their best.

However, Kurdish officials are asking for more support from the international community in terms of medicine, hospitals, water and cleaning materials. They also want countries to take back their citizens so that the population of the camp will be reduced.

TDP: There were some reports recently that some women escaped – do you know how? What is internal security like?

I was told the same thing and also read that some people in the Asayish are involved in taking the women out of the camps, but Kurdish officials strongly denied that and said it’s propaganda and their members would never be involved in such a thing because money is nothing for them, and they do this because of their values.

But the way different sources explained it to me is this: The women were allowed to leave the camp before for shopping, and since they all have the black burqa on, they look alike, and when they leave, they never come back because their families arrange a smuggler who is waiting for them in the town. Once these women go out of the camp they change their clothes and they are smuggled out. Since the camp is very large it’s not possible to have 100% control. That’s why the camp administration has now stopped allowing the women to leave for shopping. According to sources it’s arranged by families who pay a large amount of money to smugglers.

Internal security is tight. There are many Asayish forces guarding the camp, and the main gate is also a checkpoint. Before you reach the camp you pass through several checkpoints on the road from Hasakah. After you enter the main gate there’s another gate that’s also well-protected, and visitors are strictly controlled. When you’re inside they give you protection so stabbing incidents won’t happen. With me I think there were four people guarding us.

But again, because of the large area and a huge number of residents it’s not very easy to control the camp, and since you don’t know what’s inside of the tents or what kind of weapons they might have it’s not 100% safe or secured.

Al-Hol marketAuthorities in the al-Hol camp in Syria set up a market called Baghuz in an attempt to counter the smuggling of female ISIS adherents. Image: Mutlu Civiroglu

TDP: Do the families seem to be repentant?

I observed mixed feelings. Some were defiant; for example an Egyptian woman was cursing us. She was using bad language and was very aggressive towards us, and was chanting pro-ISIS slogans. Also Russian-origin ISIS wives were very aggressive, so you see that they’re very motivated by what they’re doing. Some Turkish ISIS families seemed defiant, but at the same time I saw some Azeri women look very regretful. They seemed willing to go back home.

One Tajik woman showed me drawings by her child, saying her son drew their home and they want to go home. And you see people saying they were deceived, especially Dutch and Belgian ISIS wives, they say they believed everyone was equal but realized that the rich lived better lives, and the emirs paid money to smuggle their families out of Baghuz before the SDF took control, but these women ended up in these camps in very tough circumstances.

They were criticizing Baghdadi, saying he was in Libya living a good life but they are like this [in al-Hol], and they want their countries to take them back. When I pressured ed them, saying they had many opportunities to leave and that they came to Syria willingly, they said they are ready to be in prison in their countries, but at least their children would not live in camp conditions. They hoped even when they are in prison, their families will be able to take care of children. They were well-aware that they might spend long years in prison, which I found very interesting.

Because of the tough circumstances in the camp I think going home is a common desire. But to me the most important thing was that the vast majority of the camp residents are children, and especially children under 12. They are on the dirt, they play in dusty alleys – no playground, no sanitizing, under the sun – I think no child should be living under those circumstances, no matter what their parents did. Children have nothing to do with this, so they need to be given the opportunity to play and be a child, to flourish. They need help to get out of this trauma and be de-radicalized and rehabilitated, and the camp is no place for that. They need expert support and psychological support.

I am hoping that the governments will understand that children desperately need help, because if they stay there they will be brainwashed by their mothers. In a few years these children are going to be core ISIS members, so there’s a danger waiting for societies if these kids are not helped as soon as possible.

TDP: Do you think there’s a realistic possibility of a tribunal? Why in North and East Syria rather than the International Criminal Court, or trials in Iraq for foreigners, as with some French citizens who already have been sentenced? The Autonomous Administration isn’t recognized as a government, so how would sentences or verdicts given by the tribunal have any force in international law?

The Autonomous Administration feels like they’re under pressure because there are thousands of ISIS fighters, their wives and children. It’s a heavy burden for them to carry so they need the international community to help them. Especially after the Turkish statements about a military operation inside Syria, there are concerns that such a move may help these people to flee from the prisons and camps. But so far very few countries have taken back their citizens so the problem remains on Kurds’ shoulders and they feel like they need to do something.

The idea of an international tribunal is a step in this direction to push the international community to do more to share the burden with them.

Currently the administration is not recognized officially but a tribunal can be different. The legal experts in International Forum on ISIS conference agreed that there is a base for establishing a tribunal in Rojava because there is already a judicial system, legal experts, lawyers and with the support of the international community a tribunal could be established and it would be a good way to start to find a solution to the huge problem of post-caliphate ISIS.

Again, there are thousands of fighters under SDF control, many of their wives, and tens of thousands of children and they feel like they need to do something because so far the international community is turning a blind eye to the issue.

The caliphate was ended in March. Western countries are not open to the idea to expatriate their citizens. So the problem is with Rojava, with the Syrian Kurds. The attacks show the gravity of the situation, and since nothing is being done, Kurds and their allies feel like they need to take the initiative.

Iraq is motivated to do that in a way to clear its name that was ruined when it was overrun by ISIS. The Iraqi army fled from ISIS and left it for them. But at the same time, Iraq is also driven by the idea of revenge. Numerous ISIS members have already been executed.

The system in Rojava is more progressive and closer to Western systems and it is a better location for an international court because most of the fight was done in Syria. The caliphate’s heart was in Raqqa. Manbij is where the attacks against the West were planned. Kobani is where ISIS was first defeated and ISIS’s unstoppable advance was first prevented. Baghuz was the last remaining stronghold of the caliphate. They’re all in Syria. And the SDF, YPG, YPJ, Syriac Military Council are there so Syria is more suitable than Iraq considering these people have done the work, they have paid the highest price. These people defeated ISIS.

Al-Hol security gateA security gate separates the families from ISIS fighters from displaced Syrians and Iraqis at al-Hol camp. Image: Mutlu Civiroglu

TDP: Are there plans to help the victims of ISIS?

There are some orphanages for the Yazidi children, de-radicalization centers for Yazidi children and other ISIS children, and some villages for Yazidi women who were not accepted back by their communities, but the resources are very limited in the Kurdish parts of Syria. Finances, expert advice and equipment are limited, so there has to be external support. The West especially should step in because the problem is very serious and requires a joint effort by Kurds and the West, especially the countries that are members of the international Coalition. The camps have the support of the international, humanitarian organizations but mainly Kurds are running them. There are great efforts, but it’s not enough.

TDP: Do you see any sign that the International Forum on ISIS conference has influenced foreign countries to change their Syria policies? Will they leave troops in the north, will they take their citizens back?

Such international forums are good venues to understand what’s happening on the ground and hear what people people on the ground – activists, experts, military and political leadership – say. It’s very important. There were representatives from the U.S., France, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other European countries, as well as South Africa. It’s important that people from different backgrounds come and learn about the situation in Syria, ISIS captives, operations against ISIS families, and also share with the local people what their countries think about it. So it’s a good platform for them, and when these people go back they talk to the public, media and think-tanks. I’m optimistic that they’ll have an impact in their own countries.

I think the countries that have a military presence in northern and eastern Syria will continue; I don’t foresee any significant change in the plans of these countries, specifically the U.S., France, Germany and others. They’ll be there because they all know the ISIS threat is not fully resolved yet. The caliphate is ended but the danger, the ideology is there, the support base is there, sleeper cells are there. CENTCOM Commander Kenneth McKenzie and Ambassador William Roebuck’s recent visit shows that the Coalition gives the same importance to Rojava.

The world has almost forgotten Syria. International foreign policy priorities change so rapidly that Syria does not have the same spot it used to have, but ISIS is a global problem and it hasn’t been fully resolved. The resolution needs a global effort. Taking back citizens from Syria is one way of doing that, because the more people who stay there, the more is it is a ticking bomb.

All countries should repatriate their citizens, and they should try these people in their countries. If not, they should support the idea of helping to set up a tribunal in Rojava so that these people can be brought to justice and pay the price for the atrocities they committed. But I think the world is still turning a blind eye, although recently I see more awareness in terms of countries taking back at least the women and children and sentencing them in their own countries instead of keeping them in Syria.

JOANNE STOCKER

A ticking time bomb: Meeting the ISIS women of al-Hol

ISIS’s ‘caliphate’ was crushed. Now Syria’s Kurd-led alliance faces bigger battles

Reporting from shattered Syria in the dying days of the caliphate, Jared Szuba talks to Kurds and Arabs about the fight for their shared future

SDF fighters in Baghuz, SyriaSDF fighters in Baghuz, Syria in March 2019. Image: Jared Szuba for The Defense Post

In the last days of Islamic State’s professed caliphate, under the cover of thunder and heavy rain, Coalition aircraft bombed an ammunition depot south of the Syrian village of Baghuz.

The detonation touched off a cluster of fires in the cult’s densely-inhabited encampment.

The next morning, more than one thousand of the remaining believers gathered at the foot of Mount Baghuz to surrender to the alliance of Syrian militias that surrounded them on three fronts. To their south lay the Euphrates riverbank, within range of the Syrian Arab Army across the water.

For weeks their tents had been raked with automatic fire, their zealous mujahideen picked off by the polished snipers of the predominantly Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). Each night, their dugouts and shelters were slammed from all sides with American and French 155mm artillery and 120mm SDF mortars.

“Strike and wait, strike and wait,” a stocky Syrian Democratic Forces conscript told me at the base of the cliff. The progress was grueling. “We’re advancing, but can’t with the civilians in front,” he said.

Every few days the jihadists called for an evacuation, and the main assault halted. But sniper operations continued, cadre said, to prevent them from exploiting the quasi-ceasefire.

“They send the civilians out then they stay. We keep telling them, ‘Whoever doesn’t surrender, dies.’”

Behind him, a procession of black veils shuffled up the path, contrasting with the sandy bluff illuminated by the setting sun. They clung to dirty children, some crying.

A lanky teenager with a Kalashnikov gestured to the bags born by one of the black forms. Without hesitation, she jettisoned the luggage down the cliff.

“That’s the last group!” someone shouted in Arabic. A gang of fighters shouldered their rifles and jumped off sandbags, skidding and jogging down the gravel path towards the front. One told me to leave the area. “It’s going to begin again any minute.”

I legged it back to the van and climbed in. Half a football field ahead, two American-made Humvees bearing the yellow flag of the SDF squatted before of a one-story concrete home.

On the roof, silhouetted against the sun through palm fronds, two fighters extended the bipod of a PKM with casual proficiency. As we pulled away, the crackle of small arms fire broke out, then grew into a steady rhythm. A Dushka chugged away somewhere behind.

“Their resistance is softening,” said Haval Ahmed, my 20-year old escort.

“It’ll probably end within days.”

People surrender to the SDF in ISIS-held Baghuz, SyriaA YPJ fighter watches as people surrender to SDF colleagues in ISIS-held Baghuz, Syria in March 2019. Image: Jared Szuba for The Defense Post

The ground war against Islamic State has been declared finished. Coalition bombs are still pounding the last stragglers holed up under the south face of the cliff.

At a safe house a few kilometers north of the front, veteran SDF fighters told me Baghuz had been the most taxing fight of their war against ISIS.

“Honestly when we came here, we expected a big battle. But not these enormous numbers,” Mervan Qamishlo of the SDF’s Military Media Command said.

As we spoke, the ostensible caliphate that had once stretched nearly from Aleppo to Baghdad was being measured in square meters.

Already synonymous with savagery, the death cult nearly outdid itself in its last stand. Women and children returned fire on the SDF, an officer at the front said, and at least one surrendered mujahid said their leaders were withholding food from those who refused to fight.

The day after I arrived, a delegation of black-veiled suicide bombers mingled with the evacuees only to detonate among their own, wounding a handful of SDF guards.

Veteran jihadists from Anbar, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Turkey commanded the last of the believers, Mervan Qamishlo told me.

The hardened cadre had slipped past the Iraqi Army at Mosul and the YPG in Manbij, fled Raqqa and pulled back across the desert plain of Deir Ezzor, Hajin, and Sousa under catastrophic bombardment.

But if Daesh’s “elite” had concentrated in Baghuz, the same was true for their adversaries.

With every city the fanatics fled over the past four-and-a-half years, they surrendered thousands of their able-bodied survivors to a confederation of Western-backed militias that promised revenge, and a place in a new Syria.

SDF continue ISIS clearing operations inside Baghuz, SyriaSDF continues ISIS clearing operations inside Baghuz, Syria on March 20, 2019. Image: Mutlu Civiroglu/@mutludc/Twitter

Detachments from the YPG, its all-female counterpart the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), and the Syriac, Manbij, and Deir Ezzor Military Councils, as well as former Free Syrian Army factions such as the Liwa al-Shamal al-Dimokrati (Northern Democratic Brigade) and Jaysh al-Thuwar (Army of Revolutionaries), congregated for the final thrust of the war. (That SDF representatives in Baghuz could not account for all units participating signalled both the unity and urgency of their cause.)

Salih, a 20-year-old self-professed forward observer from Hasakah, had joined the YPG three years earlier “to fight terrorism.” We spoke on the roof of the house, overlooking miles of ruins that stretched from the Euphrates to the Iraq border.

After Baghuz, he said, he wanted “to go home.”

“We’ve finished the end of the road,” Salih, an Arab who previously had been affiliated with a Sunni rebel group, said. He stared over the sunlit battlefield with a sharp, empty gaze.

“This is the end of Daesh … We’ve liberated ourselves from terrorism inshahallah,” he said”We want a homeland so we can just live in security.”

For others, the fight was far from over.

Inside the house, a group of tired recruits just back from the front huddled on the floor scooping heaps hot rice and chicken from styrofoam trays.

I asked what they expected next after Baghuz. They hesitated, keeping their eyes on the food. A burly fighter in his late twenties took the opportunity to speak for them.

“We’ve had enough of war,” he said. He gave his name as Salaheddin.

A five-year YPG veteran who fought at al-Hol, al-Shaddadi, Manbij, Raqqa, and other battles – more than he could now recall – Salaheddin was on his third tour of the Deir Ezzor campaign.

“We’d love to rest,” he said, before adding, “we have much work ahead. Daesh isn’t finished. There are a lot of sleeper cells.”

“After we finish with the sleeper cells,” he paused, then gave a sly grin. “I’m not able to talk about that.”

YPG fighters on Mount Baghuz, SyriaYPG fighters YPG on Mount Baghuz overlooking the evacuation of ISIS civilians. Image: Jared Szuba for The Defense Post

Threat of Turkish invasion

The SDF declared Saturday it has taken a staggering 32,000 casualties in the conflict. If accurate, the losses are more than half the Pentagon’s estimate of its current forces. 11,000, including civilian volunteers who took up arms in Kobane and Efrin, are believed to have died.

The half-decade war against the Islamist genocidaires will one day be seen as the easy part, northern Syrian officials told The Defense Post.

To the north of their nascent territory, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is openly vowing a military assault to destroy the YPG and to purge its political arm, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), from local governance and re-settle hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees into Kurdish-majority areas in the north.

YPG officials, some known to be former members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), have long sought to distance the Syrian project from the insurgent group, but Turkey isn’t buying it.

The Washington establishment may have called Erdogan’s bluff on an invasion for now, but northern Syrian officials are taking the threats very seriously. In 2017, Turkey launched an incursion into Efrin that displaced hundreds of thousands of people, mainly Kurds, in an act yet to be labeled by any international body as an ethnic cleansing.

YPG graffitiYPG graffiti in eastern Syria in March 2019. Image: Jared Szuba for The Defense Post

To the south, Syrian Defense Minister Ali Abdullah Ayoub last week reiterated his government’s demands for the north’s total capitulation and reintegration into the pre-war Baathist system, under which Kurds were denied citizenship for decades.

A regime assault would “only lead to more losses, destruction and difficulties for the Syrian people,” the SDF responded.

The Kremlin, having offered to mediate a favorable outcome for the north, now say they can do little to sway Assad, northern Syrian officials say.

Within their current borders, the conflict has dumped tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners and their families into under-prepared internment camps. Northern Syrian authorities are now calling for U.N.-led and financed international tribunal to be held in Rojava (the Kurdish name for majority-Kurdish lands in northern Syria), their previous requests for the repatriation of foreign fighters mostly ignored.

Without formal international recognition, heavy artillery, armor or aircraft, the fledgling province’s fate may be largely out of its leaders’ hands for now.

Democratic project in northern Syria

In the meantime, northern Syrian authorities are managing matters within their control.

“We have defeated ISIS militarily. Now, we must do so ideologically,” said SDF media chief Mustafa Bali.

The north’s security institutions are set to be reorganized to focus on internal security operations. Officials are tight-lipped about details, but both the SDF and Asayish, or police forces, have already received new training programs focusing on hunting ISIS sleeper cells and dealing with explosives.

The U.S. Defense Department has requested $300 million in the 2020 budget for “vetted Syrian opposition” partners, including increased outfitting of northern Syria’s internal security forces and $250 million to support “border security requirements” of partner forces.

“Fighting at the front is different than the internal battle,” Aldar Xelil, senior TEV-DEM foreign affairs official, explained to me in Qamishli.

“The sleeper cells are considered the hardest phase. Harder than the phase we are undertaking now,” Mervan told me in Baghuz, as gunfire rattled in the distance.

Shouldering the weight will be the Asayish and internal intelligence services. But the vanguard against whatever remains of ISIS or its ideology will be the population of northern Syria itself, officials say.

People surrender in ISIS-held BaghuzPeople leave their belongings behind as they surrender from ISIS-held territory to SDF fighters in Baghuz, Syria in March 2019. Image: Jared Szuba for The Defense Post

There is a perception among many northern Syrians that segments of region’s Sunni Arab population are now more religiously conservative after living years under Islamic State, so the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria has instituted an ambitious education campaign to break down what they see is a toxic mixture of Sunni Arab chauvinism and Assadist authoritarianism.

“For 50 years this region was indoctrinated with the racism of Arab nationalism under the Baath party,” Bali said. Sectarianism, officials say, is ingrained in the Syrian constitution, legal code, and culture.

“This generation must learn and be raised [knowing] there are others such as Kurds, others such as Syriacs, others such as Christians, and it’s their right to live like you,” Bali said.

“Hussein and Mu’awiya,” early Islamic figures associated with the roots of the Sunni-Shia split, “are gone,” Bali said. “They’re dead. We need to learn how to live together.”

They will need to proceed cautiously.

The PYD’s social policies have already incurred protest in some majority-Arab areas, such as Raqqa and Deir Ezzor. Their enforcement of mandatory conscription for men and moves against political opponents have earned them some detractors among the Kurdish population.

“Every new project is met with violent reaction,” Bali told me. Nonetheless, officials say they are confident Syria’s disparate sects will embrace their stated goal of secular democratic confederalism – and a society in which women wield significant authority – once properly exposed to it.

“Society needs to breathe the oxygen of life,” Bali said. “The educational system can rescue future generations from war, from sectarian war.”

“We want to remove the barriers between nationalisms and religions,” Xelil said.

“We’re seeing a lot of progress … but we still need much time.”

They may not have it.

‘Multiple parties, not multiple armies’

The Pentagon’s reassuring gestures to the SDF belie the deeper crisis: that American diplomats have not yet found a force sufficient to replace the more than 2,000 U.S. troops maintaining stability in the north.

Nor have they found an appropriate force to man the Turkish border. Nor have they made northern Syrian officials any promises.

A residual presence of a few hundred American troops is not remotely adequate to accomplish either, former U.S. defense and national security officials say.

Syria-Turkey borderThe Syria-Turkey border in March 2019. Image: Jared Szuba for The Defense Post

Northern Syrian officials have called for an international force for border protection against Turkey, and continue to receive sympathetic reassurances from the French and British.

But the Europeans say they cannot commit to a mission not led by a sizeable U.S. force. Even if American officials could wheedle Trump up to leaving, say, 1,000 residual troops, they still appear not to have an exit strategy to offer their western allies.

James Jeffrey, Washington’s pointman on the crisis, downplayed the dilemma last Friday.

“We’re not really looking to a coalition being peacekeepers or anything like that … We’re asking coalition personnel to continue to contribute and to up their D-ISIS operations, and we’re getting a pretty good response initially,” Jeffrey said.

James JeffreyUS Ambassador James F. Jeffrey swears in as Special Representative for Syria Engagement, at the US Department of State on August 17, 2018. Image: US State Dept/Ron Przysucha

Meanwhile, Jeffrey’s team is seeking local Syrian forces to guard the border in order to “meet everybody’s needs.”

So far that has proven elusive. Turkey rejects any YPG presence on the border, a position Jeffrey endorsed last week. “We don’t want another Qandil in Syria,” Jeffrey said, referring to the PKK headquarters in northern Iraq.

“We need defense against Turkey, not the other way around,” a northern Syrian source with knowledge of the discussions said.

Publicly, officials from the SDF’s political arm, the Syrian Democratic Council, say they believe Jeffrey’s team is working on their behalf, and that they can understand the U.S.’s strategic concerns as Turkey flirts with Moscow.

Privately, there are frustrations. Jeffrey is perceived as ingratiating to an erratic and duplicitous supposed NATO ally using the YPG issue as a political steam-valve.

Indeed the American team appears to be waiting out Turkey’s regional elections, set for March 31, to plan the next move.

The friction may well be mutual. Northern Syrian officials reject the veteran diplomat’s proposals to bring in at least two exiled Syrian militia forces, the Rojava Peshmerga and the Syrian Elite Forces (the latter affiliated with Syrian opposition leader Ahmed Jarba), to secure the Turkish border.

“Not possible,” Xelil told me. “First of all, Jarba doesn’t have the forces. Secondly, to those who liberated this region and administrate it, there’s no place for Jarba in this whole project. Where did this come from? It’s not possible.”

The Elite Forces’ brief cooperation with and integration into the SDF in 2016 and 2017 was seen as a political win for the Kurdish-led administration, but they fell out during the battle of Raqqa in 2017.

The Rojava Peshmerga is aligned with the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Syria, a political rival of the PYD closely linked to its namesake in Iraq.

“The [Rojava] Peshmerga,” Xelil said, “is a red line.” He accuses the force of being trained and funded by Turkey. “How can we trust them?”

Importing rival forces with unclear allegiances will only complicate matters, northern Syrian officials said, at a time when the SDF is striving to unify its own various components.

“Democracy means multiple parties, not multiple armies,” the source said.

“We don’t see this as in the best interest of North and East Syria’s security,” the source said, speaking to The Defense Post on the condition of anonymity.

The American team is set to discuss its “initial concept,” whatever that may be, with Turkish officials any day now.

“After this is agreed upon, then we can discuss the details,” Xelil said.

In the meantime, they have instructed northern Syrian officials not to engage with the Assad regime, a difficult seat to take.

Rebuilding Syria

Even if the U.S. can cut a deal for additional forces, the Autonomous Administration must still confront near-Sisyphean tasks.

Much of Syria’s north lies in ruins from eight years of war, and there is no coherent plan to rebuild.

Trump unilaterally cancelled $230 million set aside for the endeavor last year. The president wants the rest of the Coalition to foot the bill, and U.S. officials say the $230 million has been replaced by pledges from Gulf nations. But the city of Raqqa, which was largely destroyed by Coalition airstrikes, alone needs some $5 billion, the city’s mayor said last autumn.

Apartment buildings near February 23 Street, Raqqa, SyriaApartment buildings near February 23 Street, Raqqa, Syria, July 25, 2018. Image: Gernas Maao/The Defense Post

Incidentally, the Saudis asked the U.S. government if Trump’s December withdrawal announcement meant they were off the financial hook (Trump’s subsequent tweet made it clear they were not).

The northern administration’s domestic legitimacy rests heavily on its ability to fight ISIS. With the caliphate gone, people will be looking for a return to normalcy.

“The SDF bring great security but it can still be hard to get basic goods. The situation is much better now than before, but we need help,” said Hassan, a shopkeeper in Tal Abyad.

Civilians who spoke to The Defense Post in Hasakah, Manbij, and other areas of northern Syria echoed similar sentiments. Whatever their opinions of the SDF, they feared the American withdrawal.

“We’re still living in a state of war,” Xelil said. “We need a number of services to be rebuilt. We’re deficient in municipal services, electricity, food distribution, healthcare. Syria in general is crushed.”

“The services in some other areas may be better, but our ambition is stronger,” Xelil said.

SDC officials have elicited the technical support of the Syrian regime in limited projects, but full reconstruction depends on a political settlement to the civil war.

And the Americans appear unwilling to offer that, likely in deference to Ankara’s long-standing opposition to the SDC’s participation in the U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Geneva.

“We need doors open for our participation in political operations,” a source with knowledge of the discussions told The Defense Post, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter.

Lack of reconstruction is a serious long-term security threat, former U.S. officials said.

Raqqa Internal Security ForceA Raqqa Internal Security Force member guards an entrance to a courtyard in Raqqa, Syria, February 19, 2018. Image: US Army/Sgt. Travis Jones

In Deir Ezzor, especially, tribal grievances linger from the ISIS war and the destruction of the local oil economy by Coalition bombing.

“There is animosity towards the Kurds in some Arab areas for what is perceived as heavy-handed ​governance or the inequitable sharing of power and resources,” said Alexander Bick, who was Syria director in Barack Obama’s National Security Council.

“That’s a fairly combustible situation. Certainly something the Defense Department is well aware of, and has tried to address by pushing the SDF to be more inclusive, but there aren’t perfect solutions to it – particularly in the absence of resources, which this administration has decided not to put in.”

US support for the YPG

In retrospect, former U.S. officials who spoke to The Defense Post say roots of today’s crisis were sown from the beginning.

On the one hand, aligning with the YPG’s tactical goals has borne perhaps the most successful U.S. Special Forces train-and-assist mission to date.

But American officials ignored the gap between their and the YPG’s strategic goals for years, an oversight that now threatens to leave one of the world’s most vulnerable populations in what appears to be an intractable geostrategic crisis.

YPJ fighter in RaqqaA YPJ fighter in Raqqa, Syria, October 2017. Image: YPJ/Twitter

Still, officials say, the decision to arm and support the YPG was not made lightly.

“They were problematic from a number of different angles,” a former official said, not simply for their roots in the PKK, which Turkey and its western allies have designated a terrorist organization.

For the Americans, however, the alternative was to accept a Turkish proposal to utilize Arab rebels “without even being shown evidence that these groups existed in sufficient numbers, organization, training to actually carry that out.”

The YPG was undoubtedly the most adept ground force available in northern Syria. And, two former officials said, its secular ideology proved an appealing antidote to the region’s toxic sectarianism.

“There are 20 million Sunni Arabs between Baghdad and Damascus who in important respects lack meaningful political representation in either country,” Bick said.

“So as long as this persists, we can and should expect radicalism to reemerge down the road.”

It was American planners who pushed a reluctant YPG to capture vast Arab-majority territories in Raqqa and Deir Ezzor.

“I think everybody [in Washington] recognized at the time that you didn’t want to be trying to govern large swaths of territory with Kurdish forces that would be perceived as outsiders,” Bick explained.

“We didn’t want a situation, strategically, where we’d be relying … exclusively on the Kurds.”

Hence the “snowball” method: As the YPG took territory, it absorbed local factions into a “professional coalition” – the Syrian Democratic Forces.

The challenge for the Obama administration was how to leverage the YPG’s military and organizational abilities against ISIS while ensuring that the burgeoning alliance was constituted in a way that would minimize intercommunal tensions after the war.

“We worried about all of those issues,” Bick said.

“The question is not was the choice perfect, but what were the other choices?”

“Did we think about it? Yes. Did we come up with a satisfactory answer to it? No,” he said.

“Did we think that getting ISIS out was a sufficiently important priority for the United States that we would, to some extent, have to fly the plane as we built it? Yes.”

The consequences of that decision have come home to roost. Turkey’s position on the YPG shifted fiercely after the U.S. in 2016 pushed the group to capture from ISIS the majority-Arab city of Manbij, near the Turkish border.

“It’s probably the most complex security situation, fighting situation I’ve seen in over four decades of dealing with – with fights,” then Defense Secretary James Mattis said in February 2018 when asked about Turkey’s position on Manbij.

“And it is one where I believe we are finding common ground and there are areas of uncommon ground where sometimes war just gives you bad alternatives to choose from.”

US and Turkey conduct joint patrol near Manbij, SyriaUS and Turkish forces conduct a convoy during a joint combined patrol near Manbij, Syria, November 8, 2018. image: US Army/Spc. Zoe Garbarino

The U.S. did not have a coherent Syria policy until at least early 2018 – a year into Trump’s presidency – a former official with knowledge of the matter said.

“As the terrain changed, they moved … You end up at a place based on one decision, one decision, one more,” the official told The Defense Post on the condition of anonymity.

“There were people saying, ‘We can stop this anytime we want.’ No, you can’t,” the former official said. “If you go in here and you start doing this, you own this problem.”

The Trump administration finally pronounced a Syria plan to Congress in January 2018, after the SDF had largely captured the country’s north.

American troops would continue to occupy the country’s resource-rich territories while the Treasury Department would economically isolate the Syrian regime to bring Assad to the Geneva negotiating table, David Satterfield, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, told a baffled senators in a chaotic hearing.

Just five weeks later, Trump began suggesting it was about time to pull the plug. In his December phone call with Erdogan, he tanked the whole policy.

“No prom queen aspires to be a crack whore. But some end up there through incremental bad decision-making,” the former official said.

Efrîn bernadin

With or without the Americans, the war is not over for the SDF.

Back in Baghuz, I caught one of Salaheddin’s young recruits in the stairwell of the safe house and asked what comes next for him after this battle.

He responded excitedly, “I’ll go to Efrin.”

I felt a bolt of sympathy for the kid. “You’re from Efrin?” He looked no older than 19.

He glanced over my shoulder, smile intact. “No, I’m from the graveyard of ISIS.” Kobane.

Bombs hit Efrin, SyriaA plume of smoke rises near a village after bombs were dropped by aircraft as Turkey’s military began Operation Olive Branch against the Kurd-controlled Efrin region in Syria, January 20, 2018. Image: trthaber/Twitter

“We’ll go wherever the revolution is needed,” said a European YPJ volunteer, who gave her name as Cude, later that afternoon on the roof.

“We will take back Efrin, we will keep our liberated area and when we are finished with Rojava, we will liberate all the other oppressed areas,” she proudly told me.

No decision to widen operations against Turkey-backed Islamist rebels in Efrin has yet been made, Xelil emphasized. But covert operations and military preparations, he said, are “always being made.”

The SDF declared in February that, though it prefers dialogue with Turkey, it intends to retake Efrin and facilitate the return of its population in the post-ISIS stage.

Efrin is surrounded, Xelil said, and Russian and Syrian regime troops have been interdicting attempted YPG deployments, so any future operations depend in part on those actors.

“I think the end of Baghuz and military victory over ISIS will greatly ease matters regarding Efrin,” Xelil said.

The Americans reportedly censured the YPG for its insurgency tactics there in late 2018.

How the YPG’s ambitions may impact U.S. efforts to make nice between their partner force and NATO ally to the north was of little concern, Xelil said.

Baghuz, SyriaBaghuz, Syria after it was deserted by thousands of ISIS fighters and their families in March 2019. Image: Jared Szuba for The Defense Post

Northern Syrian leaders expressed profound gratitude for the support of the Americans, but Xelil said Efrin was their decision to make.

“If [the Americans] get involved, we’ll say why didn’t you get involved when Turkey attacked us?”

In Baghuz, SDF fighters were of the same mind. “If America leaves, nothing changes. We will resist,” Cude said. It was a uniform refrain.

“No one asked [the Americans] to come, no one will ask them to stay,” she said, adding, “I don’t know who to trust less, Trump or Erdogan or Putin.”

Asked if she was prepared to fight the Turkish Army or the Syrian regime, she hesitated. “I don’t know. If it’s necessary? Yeah.”

She was hopeful that a deal with Damascus would secure the north’s autonomy.

“You cannot make war all the time. You must make compromises sometimes,” she said.

Without the Americans, “it’s going to be harder, [but] we will fight until the end.”

“If we lose, we will lose fighting. There can be no surrender.”

SDF fighters in eastern SyriaSDF fighters near Baghuz, Syria in March 2019. Image: Jared Szuba for The Defense Post

Around midnight, back at al-Omar oilfield, some 50 miles north across the desert from Baghuz, I hunched over the embers of a dying campfire.

Two SDF fighters emerged from the darkness and sat next to me. One placed a tin pot on the coals to boil coffee, and offered me some.

The pair chatted in Kurdish for a while. Then one stood up from his chair, walked to a nearby pickup truck, and plugged his smartphone into the audio system.

A haunting Kurdish song played, one I had heard before on the road to Deir Ezzor. I asked what the words meant.

He was silent for nearly a minute, then said in Arabic, “Bombing of villages in Qandil. Turkey, about 15 years ago,” he said.

“For no reason,” he added.

We sat for several minutes in silence. One fighter rose, said goodnight, and walked away.

After some time I asked the other if he thought the Americans would stay. ”They’ll stay. They reversed the decision,” he said.

“But if you go to Efrin, won’t that make the Americans’ diplomatic efforts harder?”

He let out a long drag of his cigarette with a sigh. “God, I don’t know.” He extended his legs and planted the heels of his combat boots at the edge of the fire.

The song ended, and the officer tossed back the last of his coffee. He stood up, and took his phone from the truck.

“Sleep well. Hope to see you again.”

“Inshahallah,” I answered.

He took several paces towards the barracks then stopped. “Inshahallah after Efrin.”

American artillery thudded flatly in the distance.

JARED SZUBA

ISIS’s ‘caliphate’ was crushed. Now Syria’s Kurd-led alliance faces bigger battles

ANALİST MUTLU CİVİROĞLU “IŞİD Coğrafi Olarak Bitti, Ama Bir de Uyuyan Hücre Gerçekliği Var”

*Fotoğraflar: Mutlu Civiroğlu/ Suriye

SDG’nin Bağuz operasyonu sonrası “IŞİD’in yenildiği” yönündeki açıklamasının ardından, gelişmelerle ilgili Suriye’de izleyen analist Mutlu Civiroğlu, bianet’e konuştu.

Suriye Demokratik Güçleri (SDG), Cumartesi günü Suriye’de Irak Şam İslam Devleti’nin (IŞİD) yerleşik olarak bulunduğu son yerleşim yeri Bağuz’un da ele geçirildiğini açıkladı.

SDG, IŞİD’in kesin olarak yenildiğini ilan etti. Gelişmeleri yerinde izleyen gazeteci/analist Mutlu Civiroğlu, bianet’e konuştu.

“IŞİD’in kendini hilafet olarak adlandırdığı yapı bitti”

SDG’nin Bağuz’daki başarısını nasıl değerlendiriyorsunuz? Suriye için IŞİD’den yüzde 100 özgürleştirildi demek doğru bir ifade mi?

SDG’nin Bağuz’daki başarısı tabii ki çok önemli. Uzunca yıllar Irak’ta ve Suriye’de etkili olan bir örgütün Bağuz’daki bulunduğu son bölgede sona erdirilmiş oldu.

Bu IŞİD’in kendini hilafet olarak adlandırdığı yapının bitmesi anlamına geliyor. Oldukça önemli bir başarı. Hem SDG için, hem uluslararası koalisyon için önemli bir başarı.

Saklanan bir grup IŞİD üyesi en son yakalandı ve kalanı teslim oldu. Şu anda coğrafi olarak alan kalmadı. YPG’nin başını çektiği SDG bütün bu alanları özgürleştirmiş oldu.

Yüzde 100 özgürleştirildi denilebilir mi? Bu operasyonla IŞİD’in elinde tuttuğu alan kalmadı. Ama IŞİD’in yüzde 100 bittiği anlamına gelmiyor bu. Çünkü IŞİD’in ideolojisi halen mevcut. IŞİD’i doğuran siyasi, sosyolojik, ekonomik, tarihsel nedenler özellikle Suriye bağlamında konuştuğumuz için söylüyorum, yerinde duruyor.

Uluslararası koalisyonun artık bu saatten sonraki gündemi bu özgürleştirilen yerlerde istikrarın sağlanması olacak. Özellikle uyuyan hücreler konusu ciddi bir konu. Hem Deyr-ez Zor bölgesinde hem Haseke’de, hem Halep, Menbiç, Rakka bölgelerinde bir uyuyan hücre gerçekliği var.

IŞİD’e yardım yataklık yapmış bölgelerin özgürleştirilmesi için operasyona başlanacak. Coğrafi olarak IŞİD yüzde 100 bitirildi ama siyasi, askeri ve toplumsal bir sorun olarak duruyor. Bunun hem SDG hem de uluslararası koalisyon farkında.

Onlardan gelen açıklamalardan da görüyoruz ki, zaten sahadaki görüşmelerimizde de artık Bağoz’dan sonra gündemin bu olacağını görüyoruz. Şu anda coğrafi olarak IŞİD bitirildiği için, aslında olay çok daha kapsamlı ve çok daha zor.

Düşman belli bir coğrafyadayken, siz de ona göre mücadelenizi şekillendiriyorsunuz. Ama şu anda bahsettiğimiz mücadele çok daha yorucu ve zahmetli bir süreç. Böyle bir aşama olmadan da IŞİD’in hilafetinin sona ermesi bir şey ifade etmeyecek.

“SDG tarafından verilen bedel çok ağır”

IŞİD’in bölgede yenilmesinin ardından AFP ajansına verdiğiniz demeçte de “Kürtleri iki taraftan da (Suriye-Türkiye) zorlu bir süreç beklediğini” söylüyorsunuz. Bölge Kürtleri açısından önümüzdeki dönemde en büyük problemler ne olabilir?

Suriye Kürtleri, SDG Genel Komutanı Mazlum Kobani’nin deyimiyle 11 bin kayıp verdiler. IŞİD ve diğer örgütlerle mücadelelerde 20 bin yaralı var. Verilen bedel çok ağır. Ama dünya da bu başarıyı gördü. Özellikle Suriye’de Kürtlerin oynadığı asli rol görüldü.

Uluslararası koalisyonun yükünü çeken SDG’ydi. Bu yüzden bedel ödediler ve Suriye içerisinde kendi yarattıklarını korumak istiyorlar.

Suriye’de dışarıdan bir formülün tutmadığı da görüldü. Kürtlerin, Arapların, Ezidilerin, Kürt Alevilerin beraber oluşturduğu bu yapılanma hem kendi halkları için hem de Suriye’nin geneli için bir model teşkil ediyor.

Kürtler, bu kazanımlarını siyasi alanda geliştirme çabasında olacaklar. Kürtlerin özellikle Cenevre görüşmelerinde var olma isteği var. IŞİD’in coğrafi olarak bitirilmesinden sonra Kürtlerin bu taraflarının daha çok başarı görebileceği düşünülebilir.

Bedel ödediler, sahada projeleri var. Yerelden güçlenen ve her etnik yapının kendi özgürlüğü içinde yaşayabilecekleri bir süreç istiyorlar. O sebeple siyasi açıdan Kürtlerin öncelikleri bu olacak.

Üç hafta önce ben oradaydım. Oradaki siyasi, askeri yetkililerle yaptığımız görüşmelerde Türkiye’nin bölgeye yönelik açıklamaları çok kaygı verici boyutlarda, ciddi tehdit olarak algılanmakta, onu gördük.

Önümüzdeki günlerde Türkiye’nin olası bir saldırgan tutumu ya da olası bir operasyon onların gündeminde ilk sırada. Sadece Kürtler değil bunu Araplar da, Süryaniler de görüyor.

Özellikle Afrin’de Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri ve Türkiye destekli grupların Afrin’i ele geçirdiği dönemden sonra yaşananlar, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International gibi kurumların da dile getirdiği gibi Suriye’nin Kürt bölgelerinde ve SDG’nin kontrol ettiği bölgelerde büyük bir rahatsızlık yaratmış durumda. Aynı pratiklerin tekrarlanma ihtimali kaygı yaratıyor.

“Etnik kimliklerin anayasal güvence altına alınması bekleniyor”

O sebeple Kürtlerin, Arapların, Süryanilerin, Ezidilerin en büyük kaygısı Türkiye’nin kendi bölgelerine bir saldırı düzenlemeleri, buna karşı hazırlıkları da var zaten.

Öte yandan Suriye rejiminin halen, bunca yıldır devam eden iç savaştaki tutumunda bir değişiklik olmadığı da görülüyor. Halen Suriye’yi tek bir ulustan oluşan, tek bir ideolojinin yönetebileceği düşünülüyor. Kürtlerin kontrol ettiği toprakların seve seve ya da zorla alınacağı yönünde açıklamalar yapılıyor.

Ülkenin en büyük azınlığı olarak kendi yaşama taleplerine saygı gösterilmesi, Suriye’nin demir yumrukla yönetilemeyeceğinin anlaşılması, Suriye’nin etnik farklılıklarına uygun yeni bir anayasa oluşturulması, Kürt dilinin tanınması, Kürtçe eğitimin önünün açılması, Kürt ve diğer kimliklerin anayasal güvence altına alınması bekleniyor.

İstihbarat raporu: Ağları hala çok geniş

*Büyütmek için tıklayın. 

ABD İstihbarat yetkilileri Şubat ayının ilk günlerinde kongreye sundukları “Küresel Risk Değerlendirme” raporunda “IŞİD’in kayda değer derecede liderlik ve bölge kaybına rağmen hala Irak ve Suriye’deki binlerce savaşçıya komuta ettiğini, bu savaşçıların sekiz ayrı dala (örgüte) ayrıldığını ve dünya çapında binlerce destekçisi olduğunu” kaydetmişti.

İstihbarat raporunda ayrıca IŞİD’in Suriye ve Irak’taki “normalleşme çabalarını sarsmak için saldırı hazırlıklarında olduğu, mezhep çatışmasını artırma hedefinde olduğu” ifadeleri kullanıldı.

TIKLAYIN – ABD istihbaratının kongreye sunduğu Küresel Risk Değerlendirme raporu

(PT) Pınar Tarcan

https://m.bianet.org/bianet/militarizm/206781-isid-cografi-olarak-bitti-ama-bir-de-uyuyan-hucre-gercekligi-var