Syria – The Kurds Want to Play on Both Sides
President Donald Trump says he wants to “end endless wars.” But the counter-Iran, counter-Russia hawks on his national security team are planning to sneak in a long-term U.S. military presence in southeast Syria. And their plans may have been in the works for a while.
With U.S. forces opening the gates for Turkey to take over northeast Syria, Trump administration officials are now drawing up plans to keep several hundred U.S. troops alongside Arab rebel groups in the country’s oil-rich southeast. Trump has said, “we have secured the oil.” And Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) diplomats have said they’re willing to work with such a plan.
The National Interest has learned that the Trump administration’s anti-ISIS team, led by Ambassador James Jeffrey, has floated the idea of a counter-Iran presence in Deir ez-Zor for some time now.
“Every day, the [U.S.-led] coalition has been very strong against [Syrian ruler] Assad,” said Omar Abu Layla, CEO of Deirezzor24, who said that he has seen U.S. helicopters and F-35 fighter jets increase their presence against Iranian-backed forces in the region.
Abu Layla told the National Interest that he spoke to Jeffrey’s team three or four months ago. “They promised, ‘we will not leave Syria before we kick Iran out of Syria,’” he claimed. “They will not leave our province easily.”
While James Jeffrey pushes the anti-Iran nonsense Trump dreams of winning a Nobel Peace Prize by facilitating a deal between Turkey and the Kurds:
In the infamous “undiplomatic” letter to Erdogan a few days ago, Trump had voiced an audacious idea that Gen. Mazloum could be a potential negotiator with Erdogan. To quote Trump, “General Mazloum is willing to negotiate with you (Erdogan), and he is willing to make concessions that they would never have made in the past. I am confidentially enclosing a copy of his letter to me, just received.”
Yet, General Mazloum is Turkey’s most wanted terrorist who worked in the ranks of the separatist PKK for nearly 3 decades and it is necessary to connect some dots at this point.
Gen. Mazloum is likely to visit Washington in a near future; so is Erdogan. Trump is promoting Kurdish reconciliation with Turkey. The last fortnight’s developments on the diplomatic front have removed the single biggest source of tension in the US-Turkey relations — US’ alliance with YPG and the presence of Kurdish fighters along Syria’s border with Turkey.
When one combines the two items one can understand the thinking behind this otherwise idiotic tweet:
The Kurds live in the northern part of east Syria. The oilfields are in the eastern part of Deir Ezzor governorate, 300 kilometers south of the Kurdish areas. The oil fields lie in an area that has a 100% Arabic population and Kurds are generally not welcome there. But the U.S. does not want to send enough troops to occupy the oil fields. It needs a proxy force it can trust.
Should the U.S. try occupy the oil fields area with the help of a Kurdish militia the local Arabs will immediately (re-)convert to ISIS and fight the occupiers of their land.
I had some hope that Trump had recognized that James Jeffrey was working against his effort the pull U.S. troops out of Syria. Jeffrey should have been fired long ago. Instead it seems that Trump is still listening to him.
Meanwhile the Kurds again prove their utter lack of political sensibility. The State Department insulted them:
A State Department official broke a pencil and screamed at the Syrian Kurdish delegation during a dramatic breakdown of relations between the United States and the Syrian Kurds. The high-tension moment in September highlights the diplomatic problems plaguing the Trump administration ..
The U.S. envoys lied to them and Trump betrayed them. But they still believe that they can make deals on both sides of the Syria conflict.
The Syrian government and the Russian military must tell the PKK-Kurds that they can not play on both sides of the game. No Syrian or Russian soldier shall risk their life to secure and defend the Kurdish majority areas against a Turkish invasion while the Kurds help the U.S. to occupy and steal Syrian oil fields. Either they submit to the Syrian government and end their relations with the U.S. or they shall have to confront a Turkish invasion of their northern areas.
“General” Mazloum Abdi must be told in very clear words that there is no other chance for the Kurds and for himself to survive.
Source: Moon of Alabama