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Russia’s “Kurdish” Dilemma

Russia’s “Kurdish” Dilemma

Organisation which faced numerous betrayals in Northern Iraq and Syria and became pawns of the Greater Middle-East Project (GMEP) are now accusing imperial forces with “treason”.

In other words, those who have betrayed their countries are complaining of being betrayed, which is indeed tragicomical.

The first incident, was regarding the September 25 referenda crisis. Now, Salih Muslim, is facing the same fate as Barzani, who was backed by USA-Israel but failed to achieve a sustainable result due to the resolute stance of Turkey-Iran-Iraq.

The “Olive Branch” operation, which has been initiated in Afrin and is expected to extended toward East of Euphrates in the coming days has brought by a second “treason” incident. Some groups claiming to represent the Kurds in the region are accusing the US with treason while others point the finger to Russia.

For instance, Sipan Hemo, the so-called General of the YPG-PYD/PKK/SDG terror organisation has accused Russia, which stationed military units in Afrin for two years with treason. Russia, however did not respond to such statements.

Does “No Response” Mean Being Open-Ended?

Such response has brought to mind the strong-deep cooperation between Turkey and Russia regarding the “Caucasian Wall Project” put into practise in 1920’s against the UK and the British project of “Greater Armenia”.

Therefore, there was also a sense of treason and Russia has taken the decision to punish PYD-YPG/PKK which began to serve US interest under the pretext of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDG).

In fact, a similar thought is expressed in the opinion “How Afrin Operations Will Affect the Relation of Parties in Syria”, published in Voice of America by Al Rai Newspaper foreign policy journalist Elijah Magnier. The journalist states that:

“It is suggested that the relationship between the Kurds and Russia, which has been in balance for a long time, began to deteriorate after the Kurds established closer relations with the US. The Russians throughout history have supported the Kurds. However, the Kurds in Syria have aligned themselves with the ranks of the US which is against Russian interests in the country. Russia supports the unity of Syria since it considers it as its back garden. Russia will remain in Syria for at least 50 years. For this reason, the security and stability of Syria is necessary for the interests of Russia. However, the US support the partition of Syria.”

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A similar determination is made by the Russian expert Vyacheslav Matuzov who assessed that the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the strategy to topple the Syrian government via ISIS is a “Kurdish project” and a new ring of successive chaos in the Middle-East.

In his interview with Izvestiya newspaper regarding the support given by the US to the Kurds, Matuzov argues that the US is taking concrete step to divide Syria and establish a Kurdish state and warns the Kurds not be blinded with empty promises and calls upon them to sustain their relations with neighbouring countries. He states that; “Kurds are being used as a tool. The more the Kurds are armed and supported by Washington, the stronger Ankara will retaliate and in Russia’s view this operation will gain better legitimacy. Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq, will not give permission to the Kurds to establish their own state. Besides, the US will remove the Kurds from its radar once they serve its interests.”

What is Russia Trying to Achieve?

Frankly speaking, Russia is still not clear upon the matter. As a matter of fact, Magnier has a testimony that the policy of Russia towards the Syrian Kurds might change. Magnier also states that prior to Turkey’s operation, there have been negotiations between Russia, Damascus and the Kurds in Moscow and Hmeymim Airbase in Latakia regarding transfer of power in Afrin. However, the parties failed to reach an agreement which led to the withdrawal of Russian forces from Afrin and lit the green light to carry the operation.

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However, it seems that the Russians haven’t completely closed its doors to PYD-YPG/PKK. As a matter of fact, it is aligning itself close with US’s vision regarding Syrian Kurds. Although there are no official announcements, messages given through the media indicate this. Another point to take from such messages are the “fine tunings” give to Turkey.

At this point Kommersant journalist Marriana Belenkaya states that the Kurds are in dilemma between “agreeing with Damascus” and “maintaining their confidence with the US”. In her opinion she also strives to narrow the scope of Operation Olive Branch and maintain a more innocent image of PYD-YPG/PKK.

Belenkaya states that, “the aim of the operation, is to create a security line of 30 kilometers. The Turks are calling upon the United States to stop supplying the Kurds with armaments and withdraw the armed Kurdish formations in Syria to the east of the Euphrates. Contrary to the Iraqi Kurds, Syrian Kurds want federalism instead of independence.”

The most striking evaluation comes, Nikolai Nikolovlotnikov an Oriental Studies fellow at the Russian Academy of Sciences, who spoke to Kommersant. Plotnikov states that the current situation in Syria is due to Turkey and US differences and interest and quotes that, “the Kurds are held hostage among both countries.”

Now we have to ask: Who systematically discharged North Syria and made the PYD-YPG/PKK an issue? Who are the real hostages? Will Moscow fall into the same pitfall of Stalin or Trump at the end of the bargain? Is Russia, which aims to punish the dilemma of the Kurds aware of the conundrum it is falling into?

Originally published in

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