Amid the usual hysterics of ‘impending genocide’ and ‘brutal betrayal’, the long-expected Turkish operation in northeast Syria is rolling, and Turkish troops accompanied by their Syrian rebel allies quickly advance into the former US occupation zone east of the Euphrates River, pushing the Kurdish nationalist militias away from the border. The American soldiers withdrew from the area by the order of their Supreme Commander (save some Special Forces who came under fire but safely retreated).
The Kurds (or their advisers) excel in PR and they created a beautiful image of their girl fighter, which resonates with the paradigm of a strong Superwoman beating the hell out of male chauvinist pigs. Every second recent action movie has such a girl, carrying out the War on Man. Lefty Western feminists love them, as they loved its prototype, Israeli Sabra soldier girl. The Syrians do not share this love. They view the Kurd fighters as brutal ethnic cleansing US mercenaries.
‘One Israel is more than enough’, say the locals who are mighty pleased with the forthcoming defeat of the “New Israel”, the Kurdish entity of ‘Rojava’, or ‘Syrian Kurdistan’. Its backbone, YPG fighters, had made a good try in using the civil war as an opportunity to carve out a piece of Syria for them. Their ruthless gangs flourished “under the canopy of F-18s, as the YPG has stretched across a vast swath of northeast Syria, acting as the Kurdish janissaries of America. The Kurds were engaged in their own nation-building exercise on the ruins of ISIS,’ in words of the Forbes.
President Obama, acting upon advice of his neocon advisers, had chosen them as a proxy to fight ISIS on the ground, as he removed the bulk of American soldiers out of Syria. It was a rotten advice: the Kurdish YPG was a Syrian subsidiary of a veteran Kurdish terror organization in Turkey that killed tens of thousands of Turks over forty years of activity. The Turks weren’t amused when fighters and weapons began to flow from Syria to the terrorists in Turkey.
“The YPG was given an inch and took a mile, and built huge extensions to its homeland in Syria along the Turkish border” – continued the Forbes.
However, their attempt misfired, and now they have to retreat inland. They threatened to fight the Turks tooth and claw, but their bite is not as awesome as their bark. They declare that they ‘will win, or will die‘ to a CNN lady reporter, but in reality the Kurds are good at retreating. During the previous Turkish operation in March 2018 centred at the enclave of Afrin, they promptly withdrew when facing superior force. The Kurds withdrew even faster from Kirkuk and Mosul in Iraq, in October 2017, following a similar scenario of independence claims, threats “to win or die”, American calls for restraint and European insistence that “military action must be stopped immediately”. They have no reason to fight to the death: they know they and their families can continue carry on their lives peacefully after the independence-seeking firebrands will be gone. The collapse of the nascent Kurdish entities had not been accompanied by massacres or ‘genocide’ as the prophets of doom predicted: those chimeras dispersed rather painlessly like mist at sunrise.
The Syrian patriots are ambivalent about the Turkish invasion. It’s good that the Americans have been withdrawing and their occupation zone is shrinking. It would be even better if they would all leave Syria completely, but even this partial withdrawal is a good start. It’s good that the Turks are squeezing out the ruthless gangs of Kurdish nationalists. Not only the Kurds entered into a close alliance with the United States and Israel, but they also carried out violent ethnic cleansing of the local Arab population, trying to create a “Syrian Kurdistan”. Now Syrian Arabs will be able to return to their homes.
But what if the territory liberated from Kurdish militants would become permanently occupied by Turkey and its allied Islamist militants? It is the choice between the devil and the deep blue sea. Turks say their plans are limited – to push the Kurdish fighters some 20 miles from the border, disrupt the “Syrian Kurdistan” venture, and transfer Syrian refugees from Turkey to the created strip of land. President Erdogan knows that his citizens are fed up with millions of Syrian refugees. If he doesn’t figure out how to drive them back to Syria, the Turks can drive him away – this scenario has already been rehearsed in Istanbul, where citizens voted for the opposition promising to make peace with Assad and send the Syrians back home. Erdogan says he recognises the integrity and sovereignty of Syria, and that is already big progress, but Damascus doubts his sincerity and condemns the invasion.
There is a simple way to deal with the refugee problem: let them go home, to their own towns and villages. Damascus government wants it and ready to accept them, granting amnesty and pardon for past offences. But Erdogan is not ready for that, yet. The Americans do not want to vacate their zone, for it has oil. If Assad will get it, he will be able to rebuild Syria with his own money without assistance from the West. The West wants a Syrian government poor and broke, needing money, taking loans, begging for help. That’s why they do not allow the Syrian army to enter the areas beyond the Euphrates. Syrians tried to make a move when the American troops departed, but they were warned they will be mercilessly bombed if they just try. For Syria it is too much: to fight Kurds, Turks and Americans at once.
The Kurds try to preserve what they can. Their supporters speak of impending “ethnic cleansing” – although until now the Kurds were the ones who carried out ethnic cleansing. The Kurds also threaten to resuscitate the defeated Islamic Caliphate by releasing tens of thousands of captured Islamist fighters. This blackmail is no bluff, but it will have to be dealt with if and when it happens.
The Europeans oppose the Turkish offensive. This is a violation of Syrian sovereignty, they say. For some reason, they did not recall Syrian sovereignty when the American troops and their Kurdish allies were deployed there. Brussels does not like the Turkish plan to move millions of Syrian refugees back to Syria in the territory freed from Kurdish militias. The EU wants Syrian war to go until Assad is gone and a neo-colonial administration comes in his stead.
Erdogan knows how to reply to Europeans. If you condemn my measures, he said, I’d unleash three and a half million refugees upon Europe. This threat does not scare Kurdish supporters in Europe: Antifa, various Jewish organisations and pro-immigrant NGOs would just welcome more diversity. But the governments know it could become very hard to stop such a wave.
Israel sides with the Kurds for they aren’t Arabs. The Kurdish entities and movements enjoyed Israeli support, received Israeli weapons and instructors, as they were supposed to create a ‘New Israel’ on the regained ground. The creation of Syrian Kurdistan, and before that – Iraqi Kurdistan, and if you were lucky – also Kurdistan in Anatolia and Iran – was always a Zionist plan. Pro-Israeli forces in Europe and America play for the Kurds, replaying their old cliché. “Why Arabs can have 22 states, and Jews/Kurds can’t?” – they ask. They demand the creation of Kurdistan under the Israeli-American protectorate, having cut it from Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq. The implementation of such a plan is fraught with ethnic cleansing and can raise a wave of refugees in the tens of millions of people, which, of course, would be ok with Israel: it does not accept refugees. As opposed to other forces, Israel would be satisfied by ruining the region. Defeat of Kurd clients and success of Erdogan, this sworn enemy of the Jewish state, is a huge blow for Israel.
What is much worse for Israel, is Trump’s intent to leave the region. There is a good chance you haven’t seen relevant tweets of the President, for the MSM doomed to surround it by the wall of silence. That is what the President said while ordering withdrawal:
“Fighting between various groups that has been going on for hundreds of years. USA should never have been in Middle East. The stupid endless wars, for us, are ending! The United States has spent EIGHT TRILLION DOLLARS fighting and policing in the Middle East. Thousands of our Great Soldiers have died or been badly wounded. Millions of people have died on the other side. GOING INTO THE MIDDLE EAST IS THE WORST DECISION EVER MADE … IN THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY! Now we are slowly & carefully bringing our great soldiers & military home. Our focus is on the BIG PICTURE!”
Just for this recognition “GOING INTO THE MIDDLE EAST IS THE WORST DECISION EVER MADE … IN THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY” and for this promise “The stupid endless wars, for us, are ending!” Trump deserves to be re-elected and remembered as the most courageous and independent US President since Richard Nixon.
His efforts on withdrawing from the Middle East remind of Nixon’s hard struggle to leave Vietnam and to make peace with Russia and China. If he succeeds in this endeavour, he will be rewarded by the American people in 2020, as Nixon was in 1972, when he won the presidential [re-]election in the biggest landslide to date in U.S. history. Yes, eventually Nixon had been removed from power, for he was hated by the War Party and by the Jews, and since then until now the White House had been inhabited by figures subservient to the Jews and War Party. (Noam Chomsky confirmed in our private conversation that Nixon was the last president independent of the Jewish Lobby.)
Nixon’s withdrawal from Vietnam had also been accompanied by accusations of ‘betrayal’. He ‘betrayed’ the corrupted Saigon government and the South Vietnam army, they said. However, the US could not stay in Vietnam forever, or kill all enemies of Saigon in their millions just to avoid this accusation. Withdrawals are painful for the proxies and local allies, c’est la vie. Charles de Gaulle withdrew from Algeria, ‘betraying’ the colons and native loyalists. The Soviets ‘betrayed’ their Afghan protégé by withdrawing from Afghanistan. Israelis withdrew from South Lebanon after twenty years of occupation under pressure of Hezbollah armed resistance, and ‘betrayed’ their quislings. Even the Romans had to sail back home from Britain. History justified them.
People who accuse Trump of ‘betrayal’ want the US troops to stay forever in the Middle East. This is the main goal of Israel Lobby, as Thomas Friedman expounded at length. That’s why the Israelis had build Kurdish militias and advised Obama to give them the job to police Syria. Now they do not want Americans to leave. This is especially true for liberal American Jews: they want Israel to be their pet and they hate Netanyahu, who prefers Israel to be fully independent and very powerful. Netanyahu didn’t accuse Trump of betraying “gallant Kurds”, but he promised non-lethal aid to the Kurdish militias, and said that Israel can manage without anybody’s support.
Only minor media outlets paid heed to Trump’s tweets. The major ones blacked it out, and another Trump’s tweet had been removed by networks from the Web altogether, in their unfair fight against the President.
Russia’s position is quite fair and straightforward: all foreign troops must leave Syria unless invited by Damascus government. Kurds must accept the rule of Damascus. Stop your romance with the United States, become again faithful citizens of your homeland – Syria, and everything will work out for you fine. Last year, Kurdish militants had sent a delegation to Damascus, and discussed reconciliation – but then they did bargain too hard, demanding a very broad autonomy. They didn’t want to soften their demands, relying on American support. Now the situation has changed, and they could adjust their sights and swear loyalty to Syria.
Unlike Brussels, Moscow is sympathetic to Ankara’s motives. Of course, Turkey is not satisfied with the emergence of a terrorist Kurdish enclave on its border! Kurdish terrorists killed tens of thousands of Turkish citizens, including ethnic Kurds. Russian – Turkish relations are excellent; Erdogan talks to Putin (and to Trump) almost daily. At the same time, Russia is traditionally friendly to Kurds; in the Soviet days their nationalist leaders, hardcore Marxist to a man, studied in Moscow, and there is a big Kurd diaspora. Russia and the US joined their forces in the UN Security Council against the European proposal condemning Turkey. It appears that Trump is worried of some real or staged ‘Turkish atrocity’ he would be blamed for. Putin is worried by tens of thousands Islamists the Kurds are likely to set free.
As for the ‘big picture’, in Trump’s words, the American president wants to get out of the Middle East where the US Empire is overextended. Europeans and the Democrats want to bring their brand of ‘democracy’, while Putin seeks to establish stability, law and order in the region.
The Middle East needs reconciliation, Moscow believes. Syria’s integrity under Damascus is the key to reconciliation. In parallel, the ongoing process of constitutional reform will help to resolve differences between communities peacefully. The chances of implementing Moscow’s plans aren’t bad. One of the main instigators of the Syrian imbroglio – Saudi Arabia – had been beaten in Yemen and is no longer eager for battle; ditto Qatar and UAE. Europe is less keen on removing “bloody dictators” than it was. CIA, Jewish Lobby and Clintonite Democrats would keep Syria boiling, but mercifully they are not in full command in Washington. We may feel cautiously optimist, though many things can go wrong.
Very good developments in Syria prove that there is nothing like a good slap to bring an arrogant bitch to her senses. The slap was delivered by the Turks; the Kurd militias came to their senses in no time at all. They understood that Bashar al Assad is no butcher, but their legitimate ruler and protector, and ran to Damascus for protection. They were offered it time and again, but they arrogantly and stubbornly refused. Until now, when the US troops departed, and the Turkish troops rolled in. Still, they are (wayward) children of Mother Syria, and Assad promptly accepted their plea. He is not a malicious guy, and ready to forgive and forget. The banner of Syrian Arab Republic came up to fly over northern towns of East Syria; Syrian army began its deployment taking over the American bases. President Trump was as good as his word: he continued withdrawal of his troops from the area, giving a chance for the Syrians to regain peace on their land.
Things still can go wrong; it is not clear how the Turks will react to this development. Their first wish – elimination of semi-independent Kurdish terrorist entity – had been already achieved. Assad would never allow Kurds to mount cross-border raids into Turkey. But Erdogan allies, the Syrian anti-Assad militants, could become difficult. Russian Air Force provides some possible answers. Russian diplomacy has a difficult but not impossible task. Even more reason for cautious optimism!
Israel Shamir can be reached at [email protected]
This article was first published at The Unz Review