Let's mobilize the good guys in the Middle East!

A flexible model for a reconstructed Middle East, giving proper place to Kurds and Druze.

KURDNAS President Sherkoh Abbas, | updated: 17:06

Shertoh Abbas
Shertoh Abbas
INN:SA

Co-authored by Robert Sklaroff 

Bipartisan, harsh and sustained, criticism of any American military withdrawal from Syria has prompted President Trump to insert a proviso: Iran mustn’t be emboldened.

But Jonathan Spyer has revealed Iran’s four-prong strategy to achieve long-term control over Syria, even as Seth Frantzman has emphasized that an end to the Syrian War places the region at a historic crossroad;  both have advised America must assume control over the tectonic shifts that are enveloping the region.

Meanwhile, as U.S. influence wanes, the Islamic State has re-morphed into a terrorist organization and Iran is attempting to dominate shell-governments in Lebanon and Iraq; in Arab parlance, the Iranians increasingly claim their “strong horse” is trouncing fleeing Americans.

A reality-based hypothetical dramatizes why Kurdistan remains at the physical nexus of these conflicts: If Iraqi threats to expel America’s military stationed in western Iraq effectuated with avid Iranian assistance — while Islamists roam about — from what “over the horizon” land-base would the U.S. be able to re-enter Syria expeditiously were Kurdish allies subsequently attacked?

Trump’s gambit to invoke Turkey to complete the task of expunging the Islamic State from Syria has been almost universally trashed, and the public meeting of the 79-nation coalition ended without its issuing a strategic declaration as to how it is to sustain its efforts.

Indeed, despite broad recognition that Kurds freed Raqqa and Mosul, the word “Kurd” was absent from both the remarks of Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo; ditto for its “Statement by Ministers of the Global Coalition To Defeat ISIS/DAESH.”

Meanwhile, invoking the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act to recognize the necessity to protect Kurds — a directive ensconced within a resolution proposed by Sen. John Kennedy (R., Louisiana) — was blocked by Sen. James Risch (R., Idaho) because of reticence to anger the Turks.

Thus, Trump apparently needs guidance as to how he might effectively apply his Doctrine of “Principled Realism” to a Syria that reflects the turmoil of a Middle East in which the Kurds try to forestall annihilation by Sunni/Shi’ite Islamists functioning through Turkish, Iranian and Russian proxies.

A clue as to how to conceptualize the optimal approach — indeed, the only paradigm that befits awareness of the forces-at-play — emerges when noting the proposal of Sen. Tom Cotton to endorse Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights.

This intervention would assuage long-term worriment that aligning with Israel could prove fatal were the Golan to be relinquished to Damascus.


Trump must adopt a proactive posture that amalgamates recognition of the unique self-governance capacities of Kurdish and Druze communities:
Thus, Trump must adopt a proactive posture that amalgamates recognition of the unique self-governance capacities of Kurdish and Druze communities:

-Whereas, Both Kurds and Druze trace their ethnic histories to ancient times;

-Whereas, Both Kurds and Druze are distinct communities having large populations within definable borders in Syria;

-Whereas, Both Kurds and Druze trace their ethnic histories to ancient times;

-Whereas, Both Kurds and Druze are distinct communities having large populations within definable borders in Syria;

-Whereas, Kurds are federated with Iraq and Druze can elect Israeli citizenship;

-Whereas, Kurds residing in pre-1946 Syria have defended themselves within West Kurdistan (Kurdistan Rojava) or North of Syria region;

-Whereas, Druze residing in pre-1967 Syria have been free to conduct their faith under Israeli protection;

-Whereas, Growing Iranian influence in Syria threatens the ethnic and religious independence of Kurds and Druze;

-Whereas, Iraqi Kurds voted to function independently (pursuant to the Iraqi Constitution) and have done so within pre-1932 Iraq;

-Whereas, Both Kurds and Druze share Western, Israeli and American cultural values, notably religious freedom; and

-Whereas, Multiple geopolitical forces necessitate resolving the Syrian War by honoring previously-suppressed Kurdish and Druze empowerment.

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED:

  • That the United States recognizes the abilities of Kurds and Druze to achieve self-determination congruent with their distinct histories;

  • That the United States recognizes the existence of an independent Kurdistan in North and Northeast Syria and along the Syrian-Turkish Border;

  • That the United States recognizes the ability of Druze to maximize their ability to achieve self-governance under Israeli auspices; and

  • That the United States will support the Kurds and the Druze in the furtherance of the aforementioned goals [inter alia diplomatically, economically and militarily].

One might envision the ability to accrue desirable “secondary gain” by recalling how the late Jack Wheeler (former advisor to three presidents) conjured in 2006 how Kurdish empowerment — inspiring other minorities to express their ethnic pride — could help to implode Iran.

Stumped think-tanks are long on diagnosis but short on treatment; the challenge is well-known and this incremental intervention promises to serve as a measured strategy.

Prior op-ed essays have elucidated why Kurdistan remains a “linchpin to America’s Middle East Policy” and, of course, why “Syrian withdrawal must protect the Kurds”; for additional background, consult how we have detailed “how to resolve the Turkish-Kurdish standoff in Syria.”

Just as in other global theaters, Trump must deftly emulate Reagan’s ability to mesh America’s prowess in diplomatic, economic and military realms.

Robert Sklaroff is a physician-activist. This article constitutes the policy of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria. Sherkoh Abbas is president of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria.




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