Will We Witness a New American Approach with Kurds of Syria?
Since USA announced its support for Syrian Kurds, militarily, in combating ISIS, it has always proceeded along these lines and also, has always avoided any political recognition of a region rich in wealth and has the greatest influence among all other regions of the country. The question is always: Why does America follow this policy, as long as it remains in the region in the long run?
We must remember the nature of its relationship with Kurds in general, regarding this policy, and specifically the relationship with Kurdistan Region of Iraq. As the United States has consistently, dealt with Kurds in Iraq as part of a united Iraq, by imposing certain policies on the Kurdish government there. As well as, pressure it to deal, in whatever manner, with the Iraqi central government and to move away from any independent ambition.
Perhaps it also comes back to our minds how the American position was negative towards the announcement of the "independence referendum" that took place several years ago. As American diplomacy was clear in this regard, by pressing Barzani to refrain from conducting any referendum that would disturb the composition of its policy in Iraq and the region.
Therefore, it is necessary to approach the recent old experience and the new American alliance with Syrian Kurds. As America pursued the same policy in dealing with Kurdish forces in Syria, however, with some slight differences among both cases. It, also, remained supportive of Kurds in the military term only; limiting their role to combating terrorism solely and often indicating a long-term stay in the Kurdish region. This puts us before cautious predictions and optimism bound to developments in Syria, as well as the earnestness of the United States.
Of course, American policy depends on interests first, as it is not reasonable for a country of this status to neglect its policy and allies in the region just because Syrian Kurds are powerful allies in their war on terrorism. As Turkish satisfaction is a high priority in American foreign policy, given that both sides are bound by indispensable old alliances.
Current President Donald Trump has publicly admitted that it is difficult to give up and enrage Turkey. The recently released book of John Bolton, the former US National Security Adviser, has revealed the content of the call between Trump and Erdogan and the fact that he gave him the green light for military intervention in some Kurdish areas.
Bolton did not only start with the revelation of President Trump rather he also pointed to the negative role played by the US special envoy to Syria, James Jeffrey, who appeared to have played a prominent role in inciting and encouraging President Trump to allow Turkey to intervene militarily in Kurdish areas along the borders. As he criticized in his book Jeffrey’s talk, when he stated at a press conference in August 2019, “There have been no talks with Turks on protecting Kurds or halting the invasion, as they don't consider it an invasion.” Indeed, just two months after this statement, the Turkish army conducted an incursion with pro-Turkish Syrian factions in the area of Tell Abyad and Ras Al-Ain, as a result this current situation took place.
Usually, we are accustomed to the fact that there are no absolute standards in politics, especially in a country of a great power like America; a country that controls the course of events in countries of conflict. There is a close variant looming in the horizon that might suggest a glimmer of hope for achieving something for Syrian Kurds, despite all these precursors that Kurds have been subjected to as a result of these standards. For the Turkish threats, after the invasion of Tell Abyad and Ras Al-Ain, have become a serious threat to the rest of regions and the American spheres of influence as well. Consequently, the American decision comes to rise up on wrong decisions made by Trump regarding this matter, as well as limiting the expansion of Turkey.
Those hopes rose recently when the US, in coordination with the initiative of SDF commander; Mazloum Abdi, that called on both the Kurdish National Council and the Democratic Society Movement to the necessity of holding meetings between both parties; in order to reach a comprehensive agreement for controlling the region, consequently, representing their cause in international forums. This in its turn may limit Turkey’s allegedly fixed pretexts, that there is one party controlling the region and it must be fought and eliminated.
In fact, American diplomacy managed to put pressure on both parties; by undertaking marathon negotiations. They resulted in agreement on a document of political principles for the future of Syria, the Kurdish region and the evident position of the Syrian regime and neighboring countries. Hence, allowing the identification and detection of some kind of relative seriousness of America in how to deal with rapid developments in the country and the Kurdish region.
Based on these new shifts initiated by the United States, we can say that the change in its policies towards Kurds in Syria has begun to take a turn of transformation, coinciding with the oversight and practical supervision of the currently ongoing negotiations between both political Kurdish parties. This indicates America's entry into the depth of the Kurdish policy and its prolonged search for its own foothold in Syria, which implies opening a gate to the Syrian interior, namely; through Kurds.
Will the political overt engagement of the United States with the Syrian Kurds, for the first time, create a new approach with Syrian Kurds?