Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Is Turkey Losing to the PKK?

Source The Kurdistan Tribune

Michael Rubin's rather weird take on things.

"In 1983, southern Sudanese rebels reignited their fight against a government and a state to which they did not pay allegiance. Last year, they finally won their independence. The PKK insurgency erupted in earnest in 1984. While diplomats in both Washington and Ankara refuse to speculate about the Kurdish future and the status of the PKK amidst the desire to keep close relations, facts on the ground, Turkish military failures, and events outside Turkey’s border raise the question about whether Turkey will lose its battle for unity and whether its future will resemble far more Sudan’s than the European states to which it says it aspires."

Michael Rubin's background on Wiki
Michael Rubin's website

Read the full article Is Turkey Losing to the PKK?

My response.
It’s a nice picture but you have painted with very broad strokes.

The Sudanese example is particularly selective, and I hope far from what we will see in Kurdistan- a hugely murderous civil war, over 200,000 women and children taken as slaves, mass starvation across the South, and even now an uneven and tense peace with the key issue of oil still unresolved and potentially the spark that will set off another war.

Frankly I won’t wish that solution on my worse enemy.

The situation is, I agree, very fluid at the moment. But I do think you have to see it as two related but fundamentally different fronts. The first being the PKK in Turkey. While the PKK have carried out a couple of tactical changes they have also unleashed a huge response from the Turkish army. It is one thing to attack small military targets and another altogether to claim this is a serious assault on the Turkish military machine. Moral in the Turkish army may be at an all time low, but that does not they have lost their will or ability to strike hard and fast against the small force that kills their colleagues. Even with low moral is still represents a huge and powerful beast.

The second ‘front’ is the situation in Syria. The withdrawal by the majority of the Assad military from Western Kurdistan has created a unique opening for Syrian Kurds. The future however is far from clear. The SNC have been making more kurd friendly sounds over the last 24 hours but their agenda of a single united Syria would take some unbending to make a federal Syria with a KRG level of autonomy, particularly as a large amount of the country’s oil wealth would lie in the Kurdish area. Kurkirk ring a bell? 20 years later and the Iraqi regime and the KRG Govt are still on a knife edge. Why would Syria, particularly one where the FSA holds 99% of the rebel's side military assets, particularly if it gets its hands on the regime’s arsenals, be any different?

Next is the ‘strategy’ of the PYD judged by their actions. They seem to want single control of the Kurdish areas, they previously have signed the Hewler agreement and then ignored them by forcing out other kurdish organisations. Secondly the PYD have liberated precisely nothing, it was the Regime that seceded their control not the PYD that seized control. Their keeping the FSA out of the kurdish areas and not take part in the fight against the regime can be read two ways, they want a Kurdish solution for Western Kurdistan and believe that they can keep what they claim whatever the outcome, or a more cynical reading that they are playing both sides and keeping their powder dry for whatever fight emerges afterwards. The Assad regime may give way if they survive as a thanks you, an FSA regime is likely to me much less forgiving for such passive supporters.

It seems to me that if the Kurds do not give practical and wholehearted support to the rebellion then the future of Western Kurdistan is even more problematic. Unlike the Iraqi Kurds they do not have a powerful patron like the US, they need to win friends not alienate potential allies.

Turkey is not going to stand by and watch the PKK’s sister party take over a large block of their frontier, for that reason if none other it would be better for the PYD to be part of a much broader Syrian solution for Syria- ideally a democratic federal country. If the future holds closer links between Erbil and the regional government in Western Kurdistan than between the central Syrian Govt and the federal govt in Western Kurdistan then so be it, but first lets get peaceful democracy and see how things work out, rather than a weak PYD imposed solution which will be surrounded by enemies ever eager to see a blood bath.

Lastly I would dispute your claims that the PYD commands the loyalty of 90% of Syrian Kurds, do you have any empirical evidence of this almost North Korean level of support?

1 comment:

  1. If you read Michael regularly you will know that empirical evidence is not his long suit. Slander and the "Big Lie" are more his style.