Many in Turkey are no doubt unhappy about this, as they’ve got their own Kurdish problems in the southeast:
‘Long oppressed under Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his father before him, Kurds view the civil war as an opportunity to gain the kind of autonomy enjoyed by their ethnic kin in neighboring Iraq.’
Why is this important? Well, it could really change our fortunes in that region, and the Iraqi Kurds, certainly, are strong supporters of America:
Totten interviewed Dr. Sherkoh Abbas a few years ago, leader of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria. The interview finishes with Abbas saying the following:
‘Full scale civil war. It has already started. Syria could change from a failed dictatorship to something that looks like Somalia or Afghanistan, or—at best—Lebanon during its civil war. The fighting will continue and Syria could become a haven for Islamists.
The United States should work with Russia and create a federal system. Russian interests can be guaranteed in an Alawite state while American and Israeli interests can be guaranteed in Syrian Kurdistan.’
The Kurds see a window, however, and they do show strong support for the U.S,, as Totten notes:
‘Most Kurds are Sunni Muslims, but the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical Islamist groups have never been able to get much traction in that community. The Muslim Brotherhood is an exclusively Sunni organization, and it’s also, for the most part, an Arab one. Rather than viewing Islam as “the solution” to what ails them, most Kurds in Syria as well as Iraq view freedom and independence as the solution, along with an alliance with the U.S. and Israel.’
‘Kurdistan, a self-governing region, has a decadelong head start on the rest of Iraq, and it has peace, too. For that, it can thank—and Kurds do thank—the United States, and especially for the no-fly zone, erected in 1991, that kept Saddam’s armies at bay, until the U.S. took him and his government down, twelve years later. The Kurds are reaping the fruits.’
Will it stick? They’re only about 15% of the population, but it shows you how unstable the Syrian situation is.
In his book Where The West Ends, Totten described visiting Northern Iraq briefly as a tourist with a friend, and the general feeling of pro-Americanism in Kurdish Northern Iraq that generally one can only feel in Poland, parts of the former Yugoslavia etc.
***A pretty damned good overview of Syria for the non-initiated, including what’s been going on since 2011 and the backstory at the thehowardbealeshow. Recommended. Really.
Related On This Site: Longer odds, lots of risk: Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest’s Via Media: “The Rise Of Independent Kurdistan?”…From Reuters: ‘Analysis: Syrian Kurds Sense Freedom, Power Struggle Awaits’