Beyond the Cusp

October 22, 2019

The Kurdish Dilemma

 

History will judge and rejudge President Trump’s move to pull American forces out of the Kurdish region of northern Syria allowing a Turkish invasion. This move by the President is likely traceable to his main weakness, taking leaders of other nations at their word. In the situation with the Kurds, the word of Turkish President Erdoğan stating that he was merely going to keep the Islamic State and other terrorists from making bases and a home in Syria and leaving civilian Syrians at peace is worthless. President Trump and his advisors should know from history that President Erdoğan considers all Kurds to be terrorists. Further, they should have researched and found where Erdoğan claimed to be leading the reestablishment of the Ottoman Empire and desires absorbing Syria as far as Aleppo and Iraq all the way through Mosul and the Mosul oil fields. This would also place almost all the remaining Kurds outside of Turkey within the enlarged Turkey and thus facing genocidal efforts. We had discussed and revealed Erdoğan’s plans back on April 25, 2017, in our article Turkey Has a New Caliph Called THE President complete with a map of the Greater Turkey he envisions. We understood that the argument favoring Erdoğan’s expansionist plans was the fact that Turkey is a NATO member state and thus the United States is obliged to militarily support Turkey against perceived threats. If that is what NATO demands, then this we elucidated upon in our January 25, 2018, article, Time for United States or Turkey to Leave NATO. We discussed and proposed establishing Kurdistan numerous times including here, here and here. These should stand as providing a solid background and so now on to the current set of events.

 

We understand that President Trump promised on the campaign trail to disengage from all the Middle East squabbling and specifically the Arab on Arab fighting. This promise was his direct reference when announcing the pullout of American forces from the Kurdish regions of Syria and probably will soon be followed by the same in Iraq if our premises prove accurate. There are a few intractable facts which make the situation with the Kurds different and separate from President Trump’s campaign promise. The Kurds are amongst the very few peoples who refused to Arabize and thereby have kept much of their culture, kept their language and have distinct practices and are not uniformly following the Arab or Islamic dictates which have influenced most of the cultures which the Arabs have absorbed and destroyed. The Kurdish tribes include a large minority of Christians who the Islamic State had trapped and were set to annihilate them. These were the Yazidis of whom we spoke during our article of November 13, 2016, titled Erdogan Declares Border War on European Union, where the world, United States and her State Department included, ignored the plight of these largely unarmed civilians trapped on a mountain where ISIS promised to slaughter the men and use the women as they pleased. The Kurds of northern Iraq and Syria came to the rescue and pulled a majority of the Yazidis to safety. This is not an Arab on Arab fight but a Turk vs, Kurd war. We agree with President Trump when he complains that these wars between MENA tribes have been going on for centuries and the United States has fought in a few too many. We understand his not wanting to be dragged into another MENA conflict. We will even go so far as to understand his premise that the Kurds have received aid moneys, arms, training and support from the United States and it is time for them to stand on their own and emulate Israel, the one MENA nation to never have foreign troops defending them from her enemies. This begs one simple set of questions; can the Kurds be equated with the Israelis, does the United States owe the Kurds protections, and lastly, is there some means by which the United States can prevent a genocidal war by Turkey against the Kurds. We will take them one at a time.

 

Can the Kurds be equated with Israel? Actually, this is possible in a plethora of means. The first concerns statehood. When the Iraqi Kurds held their referendum and of those polled over 75% desired their declaring their independence, this was where the United States could have assisted the Kurds greatly. Instead, the State Department insisted that the United States would not provide them with support or even recognition as a new country insisting that this was not a good time for such a declaration. The State Department promised to let the Kurds know when it would be convenient. Read the top of this paragraph and instead of Kurds or Kurdish, replace it with Israel and Jewish and you have the reaction of the State Department to Israeli declaration of independence in May of 1948. Yes, President Truman recognized Israel and then the American government slapped an arms embargo on the entire region. As the Soviets were arming the Arabs, this embargo really only affected Israel. With the Kurds you have a heavily armed with American weapons Turkish military, one of the largest and presumed best armies in the world ranking within the top ten and the Kurdish militias who have limited armor and no air cover. Israel had far less equipped armies when the several Arab states augmented by militias attacking her on the very first morning of her existence. Israel received a fair amount of military aid from Czechoslovakia who sold Israel most of the arms remaining within their borders from the several armies of World War II. This aid included some armor and aircraft. The aid granted the Kurds had largely not included armor and had never included aircraft and minimal artillery. Any war between Turkey and the Kurds of either northern Syria or Iraq would be similar to Godzilla vs. Bambi. Israel was very fortunate to not be crushed in the 1948 Arab war to annihilate the Jewish State at her birth. Many feel it was nothing short of a miracle. Should the Kurds manage to throw off any Turkish attack, that too would be a miracle.

 

Next, we ask, does the United States owe the Kurds protections? The answer in realpolitik is an abrupt, “No!” According to realpolitik, no nation ever really owes another country or group anything just because they faced a common foe together. Britain used the animosity existing between Spain and France to their advantage by backing the weaker of the two turning the tables on the more powerful nation. When such a war ended, and during the lead-up to the next bout between France and Spain, Britain often was required to change sides as the other was not the weaker of the two. Britain never felt any debt to their last ally as for them, it was about preventing either France or Spain from becoming strong enough to challenge Britain. The United States never felt any debt to France for their aid in the Revolutionary War against Britain thus when the French Revolution erupted, the United States simply watched officially from the other side of the pond. If any nation has shown to be out of character and actually shown allegiance to former allies, that has been the United States who gives preference to things European, and particularly British. So, in the real-world of everyone out for number one, the United States does not actually owe the Kurds anything as they were fighting a common foe which the Kurds would have been required to face with or without any assist from the United States. This was proven when the Kurds went to the aid of the Yazidis and the world twiddled their thumbs.

 

And lastly, is there some means by which the United States can prevent a genocidal war by Turkey against the Kurds? The answer is that there is a means by which the United States can assist the Kurds, and not all of them require the use of any military force. Probably the most obvious would be for the United States to pressure Turkey such that they decide that it is not worth the sacrifice just to attack the Kurds of Syria and probably Iraq after them. President Trump honestly believes that economic threats and potential sanctions will be sufficient to persuade President Erdoğan to largely remain within his borders. One only need look at the collapsing economy and currency of Turkey to realize that Erdoğan does not care about these things anywhere near as much as he desires to reestablish the Ottoman Empire, or at least taking the initial steps, which he defines as taking northern Syria and Iraq south to Aleppo and Mosul along with the oil fields and the elimination of the Kurds. One would not be unfair to expect Turkey to follow up with the elimination of the Kurds within their current borders. They have carried out such attacks previously. The United States, had the Kurds been of any real importance, could have aided them far more greatly by aiding their declaring independence at least from Iraq after the resolution for independence. There are two means by which America could back their former allied Kurds at this late date. The first would be to threaten to remove Turkey from NATO, something which should have been done over a decade past. The other would be to provide air cover for the Kurds against Turkish air power which the Kurds have no ability to fight alone. This could be provided by providing them with anti-aircraft missiles, namely MANPADS. The other would be using American air-power to prevent Turkish raids on Kurdish villages, something we predict will soon be part of the Turkish offensive. Without such aid, the Kurds will prove to be sitting ducks falling victim to Turkish air attacks aiding their military thrusts into northern Syria and probably northern Iraq soon thereafter. President Erdoğan was completely serious when he claimed to be the new leader of the reestablished Ottoman Empire and his desire to capture Aleppo and Mosul.

 

Shiite Crescent including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran

Shiite Crescent including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran

 

Could there be a bright side to the presumed coming Turkish assault on northern Syria and Iraq? Yes, there is one positive in that Turkey will become a threat to the Iranians establishing their Shiite Crescent pictured above connecting Iran with the Mediterranean and placing them on the borders of Israel. The downside would be a conflict between Iran and Turkey which would bathe the entire region in blood. Such a conflict would greatly weaken one side while likely eliminating the military ability of the other. In case of a war between Iran and Turkey, the United States can expect to be drawn into a far more costly war in the Middle East as Turkey could call upon NATO to aid in any conflict with Iran. Should NATO members agree to intervene, their decision would mean that most of the fighting would be conducted by the United States with perhaps moral support from the remainder of NATO. American air power should be used either as a threat or, should it be necessary, as a hammer to crush any ability for the genocidal assault on the Kurds. Still, much of the problem the Kurds currently face comes down to two main factors. The first is the Kurds not following through and establishing their own nation of Kurdistan and the second the inability for the Syrian Kurds and Iraqi Kurds from being able to join together and form a political entity which both could endure. There are strong differences in their political outlooks with one favoring a democratic rule and the other a socialist government under a strong leadership. The coming conflagration between the Kurds and Erdoğan’s Turkey could result in a far greater conflict between Iran and Turkey which will result in a great loss of life and far reaching destruction. Such a conflict could result in one side initiating the use of nuclear weapons. We have stated often our expectation that Iran already had dozens of nuclear weapons and possibly a number of thermonuclear weapons while Turkey had a sharing agreement with NATO should they face nuclear attacks to utilize in their response, NATO willing. Should an Iran-Turkey war turn to nuclear weapons, it will be unavoidable for NATO to remain neutral as Turkey would most likely be the one attacked with such weapons which obligates the intervention of NATO and thus the United States. Such an escalation could pull Russia, amongst others, into the fray leading to escalation after escalation with nobody knowing what would be the end result.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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