US could have prevented Turkey’s military action on Syria

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On Oct half dozen, throughout a call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, us President Donald Trump in agreement to maneuver yank troops out of northeast Syria to clear the method for a Turkish operation to overthrow the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from the realm.

Trump’s call diode to a wave of criticism reception and abroad, with several inculpative the president of abandoning America’s Kurdish allies. The move without doubt left the YPG, that vie the leading role within the fight against the monotheism State of Asian nation and also the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) cluster in Syria, in a very vulnerable position. However, a lot of of the chaos and suffering we tend to area unit witnessing nowadays can not be cursed on Trump’s thoughtlessness alone. the continuing Turkish offensive is, primarily, a by-product of the Obama administration’s incoherent and unsustainable policy regarding the conflict in Syria.

The YPG is that the Syrian affiliate of the Turkish Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Kurdish movement that has been waging associate degree armed campaign against the Turkish state since the Nineteen Eighties. Consequently, Turkey views the presence of any YPG controlled entity at its southern border as a serious threat to its national security and territorial integrity. So, for Ankara, its current incursion into northern Syria is associate degree inevitable act of self-defense.

However, all this might are avoided if the America had possessed a coherent strategy to organize the region politically for its ultimate withdrawal.

In 2012, within the wake of the Syrian struggle, YPG’s political wing, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and also the Kurdish National Council (KNC), backed by the President of geographic region leader Barzani, signed a cooperation agreement and shaped the Kurdish Supreme Committee (KSC) to fill the facility vacuum left behind by the retreating Syrian Army and to put together administer Kurdish thickly settled regions of northern Syria.

However, over time, the PYD became bold by the growing power and clout of its military wing and commenced to administer the region unilaterally. This, and also the lack of a 3rd party to manage and enforce the conditions of the cooperation agreement, diode the KNC to withdraw from the committee in 2013.

The PYD then established the Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV-DEM) coalition and, in Gregorian calendar month 2014, 3 areas below TEV-DEM rule declared autonomy. many months later, ISIL set blockade to the TEV-DEM dominated autonomous canton of Kobane. The canton’s televised resistance and ultimate ending against ISIL established the YPG fighters because the undisputed heroes of the conflict within the eyes of the international community.

However, the YPG didn’t win that struggle alone. Iraqi Kurds conjointly supported the canton’s fight against ISIL, and Ankara allowed around a hundred and fifty Iraqi Kurd fighters to cross from Turkey into Kobane. The US, meanwhile, supported the fight against ISIL with air raids.

Once Kobane was cleared of ISIL forces, given the support geographic region and also the Syrian Kurdish Pesmergha, allied with Barzani, offered to the canton, there was ample chance for the America to force the PYD to revive its agreement with the KNC.

Barzani has been associate degree ally of Turkey for many of his time in power, and also the KNC’s military wing, referred to as Roj Kurd, was trained by Turkey as a part of Iraqi Kurdish Zeravani forces back in 2014.

A revival of the agreement between the PYD and also the KNC earlier would have created it extraordinarily tough for Turkey to justify associate degree incursion into the region below the pretext of fighting terrorist act currently.

The America had enough leverage to enforce such associate degree agreement as long as each Iraqi and Syrian Kurds area unit America allies. rather than paving the method for a lot of cooperation between the PYD and also the KNC, however, America policymakers like Brett McGurk, the previous special presidential envoy for the worldwide Coalition to Counter ISIL, selected to figure solely with the YPG.

Such a power-sharing agreement wouldn’t solely have discouraged Turkey from stepping into Syria, however it might have conjointly absolutely affected Turkey’s current conflict with the PKK. Given the YPG’s affiliation with the PKK, the developments in northern Syria have an instantaneous impact on Turkey’s internal politics.

Back in 2013, the Turkish government was in negotiations with the PKK to settle their decades-long conflict. At the time, the leaders of the PYD met with Turkish officers in Ankara double. However, following the collapse of the negotiations in 2015, relations between the 2 deteriorated. though the most reason behind the top of the talks was the politicisation of the negotiations by Erdogan for electoral gains, one more reason was the PKK’s growing power in Syria.

The gains created by the YPG in Syria created any deal between Turkey and also the PKK nonmeaningful, as a Kurdish statelet brazenly controlled by teams closely aligned with the PKK was quietly being engineered on Turkey’s southern frontier.

It is necessary to notice that the PKK’s growth in Syria gave the PKK leaders primarily based within the Qandil Mountains in geographic region associate degree whip hand over the confined PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, with whom Turkey was negotiating throughout the blockade of Kobane. Having same that, if the PKK’s role among the administration of northern Syria was contained by sharing power with the KNC, it might have convinced each Erdogan and also the Qandil faction of the PKK to travel ahead with a settlement.

Lastly, because the international anti-ISIL coalition’s boots on the bottom, the YPG had overstretched its zone of influence into the bulk Sunni-Arab areas of Syria, like Deir Az Zor. Populations in these areas would ne’er settle for to measure below Kurdish rule once the America troops leave Syria. This close at hand drawback, however, might are became a chance. The Kurds might have used their de-facto authority over majority Arab areas as a negotiating card with the Assad regime and their Russian backers to ensure autonomy for the Kurdish areas once the America exit from Syria.

In short, just by pressuring the PYD into a power-sharing agreement with the KNC, and inspiring it to use its influence in Arab-majority regions of Syria as leverage for autonomy, the America might have secure the steadiness of northern Syria for years to come back, and please Turkey, Iraqi Kurds and Syrian Kurds at the same time.

Only many years past Obama left Asian nation untimely, while not creating political preparations to ensure the country’s stability. This stupendous mistake diode to the increase of ISIL. Trump is currently continuation his predecessor’s mistake in Syria. however his mistake risks not solely paving the method for forces like Bashar al-Assad, Islamic Republic of Iran and Russia to fill the vacuum the US’s departure can without doubt leave, however conjointly destroying Washington’s name as a reliable ally for years to come back.

Trump is true. America troops cannot keep within the geographic region forever. however a premature departure is probably going to be a lot of damaging than the other state of affairs.

The views expressed during this article area unit the author’s own and don’t essentially replicate Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.


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