Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Currently, most of President Trump’s critics are raising fingers at his decision of pulling the US soldiers from Syria, saying this will place the Kurds into “extreme vulnerability” and Turkish fascist Recep Tayyip Erdogan will now use this opportunity in “crushing” the Kurds. Some people are also saying, Trump’s decision has been a “betrayal” with Turk’s dream of emerging as an “independent nation”.
Commenting on this issue, Ziad K Abdelnour, a well-respected and known individual both in the financial sector as well as geopolitics in the United States, in an exclusive interview to Blitz said, “President Trump, pundits say, is “making a serious mistake” by moving our forces away from what is described as “Kurdish territory”; the resulting invasion by superior Turkish forces will “kill American allies” while “carving out a zone of dominance” that will serve further to “inflame and complicate” the region.
“Where to begin? Perhaps with the basic fact that there is no Kurdish territory. There is Syrian territory on Turkey’s border that the Kurds are occupying — a situation that itself serves to “inflame and complicate” the region for reasons I shall come to. Ethnic Kurds do not have a state. They live in contiguous parts of Syria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. Most are integrated into these countries, but many are separatists.
“The Kurds have been our allies against ISIS, but it is not for us that they have fought. They fight ISIS for themselves, with our help. They are seeking an autonomous zone and, ultimately, statehood. The Kurds we have backed, led by the YPG (People’s Protection Units), are the Syrian branch of the PKK (the Kurdistan Worker’s Party) in Turkey. The PKK is a militant separatist organization with Marxist-Leninist roots. Although such informed observers as Michael Rubin contend that the PKK has “evolved,” it remains a formally designated foreign terrorist organization under U.S. law. While our government materially supports the PKK’s confederates, ordinary Americans have been prosecuted for materially supporting the PKK.
“The PKK has a long history of conducting terrorist attacks, but their quarrel is not with us. So why has our government designated them as terrorists? Because they have been fighting an insurgent war against Turkey for over 30 years. Turkey remains our NATO ally, even though the Erdogan government is one of the more duplicitous and anti-Western actors in a region that teems with them. The Erdogan problem complicates but does not change the fact that Turkey is of great strategic significance to our security.
While it is a longer discussion, I would be open to considering the removal of both the PKK from the terrorist list and Turkey from NATO. For now, though, the blunt facts are that the PKK is a terrorist organization and Turkey is our ally. These are not mere technicalities.
“Without any public debate, the Obama administration in 2014 insinuated our nation into the Kurdish–Turk conflict by arming the YPG. To be sure, our intentions were good. ISIS had besieged the city of Kobani in northern Syria; but Turkey understandably regards the YPG as a terrorist organization, complicit in the PKK insurgency.
“That brings us to another non-technicality: Our intervention in Syria has never been authorized by Congress. Those of us who opposed intervention maintained that congressional authorization was necessary because there was no imminent threat to our nation. Having U.S. forces “deter further genocidal bloodshed in northern Syria” is not a mission for which Americans support committing our men and women in uniform. Such bloodlettings are the Muslim Middle East’s default condition, so the missions would never end.
It is true that “there are no easy answers in Syria.” That is no excuse for offering an answer that makes no sense: “The United States should have an exit strategy, but one that neither squanders our tactical gains against ISIS nor exposes our allies to unacceptable retribution.” Put aside that our arming of the Kurds has already exposed our allies in Turkey to unacceptable risk. What neocons pose is not an “exit strategy” but its opposite. In effect, it would keep U.S. forces in Syria interminably, permanently interposed between the Kurds and the Turks. The untidy questions of how that would be justifiable legally or politically go unaddressed.
“President Trump has an exit strategy, which is to exit. He promises to cripple Turkey economically if the Kurds are harmed. If early reports of Turkey’s military assault are accurate, the president will soon be put to the test. I hope he is up to it. For a change, he should have strong support from Congress, which is threatening heavy sanctions if Turkey routs the Kurds.
Americans, however, are not of a mind to do more than that. We are grateful for what the Kurds did in our mutual interest against ISIS. We should try to help them, but no one wants to risk war with Turkey over them. The American people’s representatives never endorsed combat operations in Syria, and the president is right that the public wants out. Of course, we must prioritize the denial of safe havens from which jihadists can attack American interests. We have to stop pretending, though, that if our intentions toward this neighborhood are pure, its brutal history, enduring hostilities, and significant downside risks can be ignored”.
Although people are talking about “Kurdistan” or an independent state for the Kurds, the basic fact is – there is not any Kurdish territory. Those actually are Syrian territory on the Turkish border that the Kurds are occupying and this situation serves to inflame and complicate the region. More precisely, Ethnic Kurds do not have a state. They live in contiguous parts of Suria, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. Most are integrated into these countries, but many are separatists. Meaning, the madness of Kurdistan or an independent country for the Kurds would actually encourage separatists in various countries in that region in coming up with similar demands of independence. In other words, giving space to anarchy within the Middle East and beyond.
The flag and so-called existence of “Kurdistan” in Wikipedia is fake.
A similar madness is continuing in Balochistan, the southwestern region of Pakistan. The main ethnic groups in the province are the Baloch people and the Pashtuns, who constitute 52 and 36 percent of the total population respectively. The remaining 12% comprises smaller communities of Brahuis, Hazaras along with other settlers such as Sindhis, Punjabis, Uzbeks, and Turkmens. The name “Balochistan” means “the land of the Baloch”. Largely underdeveloped, its provincial economy is dominated by natural resources, especially its natural gas fields, estimated to have sufficient capacity to supply Pakistan’s demands over the medium to long term. Aside from Quetta, the second-largest city of the province is Turbat in the south, while another area of major economic importance is Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.
In recent years, especially ever-since Narendra Modi and his radical Hinduist Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014, the Indian government has been openly giving support to the “independent Balochistan” movement. Some wealthy Baloch is holding seminars, symposiums and press conferences in various countries, which are mostly attended by pro-Indian or anti-Muslim elements.
India’s support to Balochistan is strategic as New Delhi wants to create extra pressure on Islamabad by giving instigation to those Baloch separatists without realizing, it would ultimately backfire and go against India’s interest. Independent Balochistan movement and India’s open support to it would actually grant grounds to separatists in the northeastern states in India as well as Punjab, and may even open the prospect for people in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and other states gradually begin separatist movement demanding independence from India.
We are aware of the separatist movement in Catalonia in Spain, which was initiated by the Catalan independence movement. Originally the Catalan separatist activities began in 1922, when Francesc Macià founded a political party named Estat Català (Catalan State). In 1931, Estat Català and other parties formed Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (Republican Left of Catalonia; ERC). Macià proclaimed the Catalan Republic in 1931, subsequently accepting autonomy within the Spanish state after negotiations with the leaders of the Second Spanish Republic. During the Spanish Civil War, General Francisco Franco abolished Catalan autonomy in 1938. Following Franco’s death in 1975, Catalan political parties concentrated on autonomy rather than independence.
The modern separatist movement began in 2010 when the Constitutional Court of Spain ruled that some of the articles of the 2006 Statute of Autonomy—which had been agreed with the Spanish government and passed by a referendum in Catalonia—were unconstitutional, and others were to be interpreted restrictively. Popular protest against the decision quickly turned into demands for independence.
Most of the Western leaders did not extend support to Catalan separatists as they knew, giving support to Catalans would ultimately give encouragement to similar separatist groups in other European countries.
A number of countries in the recent past have taken steps against those autonomous states or regions within. Just recently, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has scrapped the autonomy in Jammu and Kashmir. We are witnessing the extreme lawlessness and anarchism in Hong Kong simply because China has given nod to its autonomy a few years back. Now, taking the undue advantage of autonomy, a section of the Hong Kong population is continuing destructive acts in the name of the pro-democracy movement. It may be mentioned here that, such anarchists do not enjoy support from the majority of the people of Hong Kong. Here again, enemies of China are giving open or secret instigation to those anarchists in Hong Kong.
Giving encouragement of instigation to any sort of anarchism, terrorism or separatist activities would ultimately bring severe consequences to those encouragers or instigators. Those who are giving instigation to Kurds, Balochs or Catalans should immediately distance themselves from such wrong hoods.
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is a multi-award-winning journalist and editor of Blitz. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.