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Syria prepared to discuss post-war autonomy with Kurds in geo-strategic blow to the US and Israel

Like Russia, Syria plays the long game.

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Syria’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has stated that once the conflict against terrorist groups is finished in Syria, Damascus will be willing to politically negotiate internal autonomy for Syrian Kurds.

Reuters quotes Muallem, who delivered Syria’s address to the United Nations, as stating,

“This topic (Kurdish autonomy) is open to negotiation and discussion and when we are done eliminating Daesh (aka ISIS), we can sit with our Kurdish sons and reach an understanding on a formula for the future”.

There are several geo-political implications to this statement.

1. Seizing the initiative from the US occupiers 

First and foremost, Muallem’s proposals take the wind out of the sails of the United States. As I wrote previously in The Duran, with Syria and Russia quickly securing control over areas east of the River Euphrates, the US is being squeezed out of Syria.

Bearing these realities in mind, one of the only options the US has left is to use the Kurdish national cause in order to foment either a new puppet state in the region that is build on stolen Syrian territory or else create a permanently occupied entity similar to the Serbian Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija. Apart from this, the US will have no choice but to either leave Syria or directly confront the Syrian Arab Army and most likely, also its Russia ally. Presently, the US seems unwilling to confront Russia by any means other than through the US of proxy/terrorist forces and this is unlikely to change.

The US proxy war against Russia in Syria is not being fought so much as it is being lost

However, given the extreme backlash against Kurdish separatism in Iraq, the US would not only retain old enemies but gain new ones, particularly in the form of Turkey. Ankara is vocally opposed to Kurdish separatism in Iraq and has threatened to take all measures necessary to stop moves in this direction. Turkey has an even worse relationship with Syrian Kurds. This would automatically mean that the US would be in for a very difficult ride if they backed Kurdish separatism in Syria.

With Turkey’s President Erdogan specifically telling Iraqi Kurds “The Israel flag will not save you”, Syria’s proposals would be a geo-strategic blow not only to the US but also to Israel.

2. Separating SDF terrorists from civilian Kurds with Syrian citizenship 

The Arab Socialist Ba’ath party has already given Syrian Kurds full citizenship rights which means that they are co-equals to Arabs as well as to other minorities including Assyrians and Armenians, both of whom are grateful to the pluralistic Ba’athist government for protecting them from foreign funded Sunni supremacist terrorism.

While it is clear that the Kurdish fronted SDF proxy militia is operating as a terrorist force in Syria, the old line about separating terrorists from moderates could work in a post-war scenario where the SDF has been defeated in certain regions and rendered irrelevant in others.

In exchange for negotiated autonomy, one which would clearly have to protect the rights of Arabs in ‘Kurdish regions’ of an Arab Republic, Syria could force Kurdish leaders to weed out those who have collaborated with foreign powers and created a new political paradigm for Kurds in Syria.

This would give the moderate Kurds what they want, it would protect the human rights of Arabs and Syrian minorities and it would allow Syria to further purge her soil of terrorists and enemy collaborators.

3. Leverage with Turkey 

Unlike Iraq which is currently collaborating with Turkey in military drills bordering separatist regions of Iraq, Syria has no plans to engage with Turkey after years of Turkey’s participation in the pro-jihadist war against Syria.

However, in actively preventing the formation of a Kurdish state in Syria through a negotiated settlement which Turkey’s new found partner Russia could possibly help to broker, Syria could effective end the current ‘Kurdish excuse’ which is being subtly invoked by Turkey to justify its continued presence in Syria.

Furthermore, Syria could, possibly again via Russia, offer Turkey assurances that Syria will not allow for PKK activity directed against Turkey to foment on Syrian soil. This would be in the best interests of peace in the region as Turkey and Syria both need to eventually come to terms with the fact that they are neighbours.

Historically, Syria’s traditional regional adversaries have been Israel and Jordan and more recently the extremist Arab states of the Persian Gulf. These are the states Syria must be on guard against when looking to the wider future. Because of this, Syria and Turkey will and should slowly but surely normalise relations.

4. Containing Iraqi Kurds 

While Iraqi Kurds are politically at odds with their Kurdish counterparts, there exists a fear that the menacing separatist movement in Iraq could lead towards a greater Kurdish push for a multi-state land grab which would be supported by Israel, especially where Syria and Iran are concerned.

If, as is expected, Turkey sends its troops into northern Iraq, it would send a message to the wider Kurdish movement that Kurdish independence equals creating not a greater Kurdistan but a greater Turkey.

Thus, the example of Iraq when viewed simultaneously with the generous offer from Syria, may lead to moderate elements within the Syrian Kurdish movement making the pragmatic choice for guaranteed autonomy versus the prospect of Turkish domination.

Conclusion 

Far from being a concession, it was always expected that after the present conflict against imperialism and imperialist funded jihad, Syria would happily engage in a political process with various parts of the Syrian population, including Kurds, in order to develop a settled internal peace.

Syria, in announcing this now however, sends a strong message to radical Kurds and the United States. The message is clear, Syria is a sovereign country and the Kurdish issue is a purely internal matter.

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Le Ruscino
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Le Ruscino

If Western Elites had an IQ to match their greed they’d be good at Geo-Politics….. but alas !………

brucehayden
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brucehayden

Greed is just one form of ‘bait’ that the controllers of the western elite use to hasten the destruction of that exact same elite. They are just pawns in the game the same as the rest of us. A bunch of geniuses too stupid to see that they are simply the equivalent of economic Brownshirts. They destroy their own cultures and economic base by their incessant greed. They followed the carrot of the controllers one step too far. Those who have not realized this by now are about to get a big surprise. It can be hard to pay attention… Read more »

colum
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colum

Miracles never cease 🙂 To the Kurds get your asses around the table. By all means be firm in your goals but be reasonable and be prepared to give ground to gain ground.

samo war
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samo war
Leonardo Facchin
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Leonardo Facchin

Maybe it’s like this, or maybe Syria has no other choice right now. I mean, look at the most recent military operations maps and you will see that the SDF has basically cut the SAA off the eastern Deir Ez Zor province. They managed to do almost exactly what the SAA did with the US proxies in Al-Tanf just a few months ago. The Syrian army now faces the choice between standing down or opening a new front against the Kurds if it intends to move further east. And the latter is not a realistic path forward, in my opinion.… Read more »

Ismail Hikmet Cevik
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Ismail Hikmet Cevik

This is a dream. After separatist referandum in Irak, an impossible dream. This is an USA project. USA will never give up II. Israel, only by forvet. PYD is PKK, and they all think that, they have a chance for a sovering Kurdish nation-state. They will never give up also, only by force. All kind of settlements inside can be possible after defeat of separatism by force. Rubicon has already been crossed for any kind of peaceful settlement. I don’t think that Syrian goverment changed his mind about SDF aims. Recent move can only be a tactical step and will… Read more »

Omega
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Omega

Rather, it’s a British project to the core executed by Britain’s military arm, the USA and it’s puppet state in the ME, Israel.

They took over South Sudan to point missiles at Egypt (it could explain the rapprochement with Russia) and did the same with Iraqi-Kurdistan to point missiles at Iran.

Barzani is a long time collaborator of the Anglo-Americans (Cold War era) and was put in “power” in 1991(Desert Storm) to start the ethnic cleaning of the land until 2003. Each referendum vote (1994, 2014 and this week) resulted in higher turn around and more “yes” votes.

cap960
Guest
cap960

Syria needs to take a good look at Canada as on how to deal with the Kurds situation. The English speaking majority with its culture live quite well with the French speaking counterpart outside of Quebec. It’s not 100% great some woud say but they aren’t going at each other’s throat. Example of autonomy can also be seen with Quebec using the Napoleon code while the rest of the country prefers the Commonwealth code. The country recognizes English and French as their national languages.

Neil
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Neil

You don’t get a lot of extremists in Canada. Trailer Park Boys is a bad as it gets.

cap960
Guest
cap960

And your point is…? Can you explain? “Trailer boys is..,,”

FlorianGeyer
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FlorianGeyer

Plus the Jews and Ukranians ?

Neil
Guest
Neil

Terrance and Philip?

Kaput
Member
Kaput

Canada was a Colony right ????? fail to see any similarities

cap960
Guest
cap960

And your point is? We are talking about two cultures trying to live together. Syrian Arabs and Kurds. English and French. Two cultures trying to live together without killing each other. That was my point. Canada was a colony!!! What a comment!

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Rod Rosenstein resigns from his post before President Trump can fire him

Rosenstein’s comments about secretly recording the President backfire, and resignation may throw the Mueller Russiagate probe into question.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The Washington Times broke the story that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein resigned from his post. He submitted his resignation to Chief of Staff John Kelly.  At present the breaking story says the following:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is out at the Department of Justice.

Axios reported that Mr. Rosenstein verbally resigned to White House Chief Of Staff John Kelly, but CNN said that he is expecting to be fired.

Sarah Isgur Flores, a Department of Justice spokeswoman, declined to comment on the reports.

Mr. Rosenstein’s departure immediately throws Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion probe into chaos.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation, leaving Mr. Rosenstein in charge.

President Trump mulled firing the No. 2 at the Department of Justice over the weekend.

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This report came after Fox News reported that the Deputy AG was summoned to the White House. Fox reported a little more detail:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is heading to the White House expecting to be fired, sources tell Fox News, in the wake of a report that he suggested wearing a wire against President Trump and invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office last year.

This is a developing story, however one major factor that comes under consideration is the fate of Robert Mueller and his Russiagate investigation, which was authorized by Rosenstein. CNBC had this to say in their piece:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is resigning Monday, according to Axios, which cited a source familiar with the matter.

NBC News’ Pete Williams, however, reported that Rosenstein would not resign of his own accord, and that he will only depart if the White House fired him. He will refuse to resign if asked to do so, Williams added.

Rosenstein was at the White House when Williams reported this on the air. However, President Donald Trump is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

Bloomberg later reported that the White House accepted Rosenstein’s resignation, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Rosenstein’s expected resignation will immediately raise questions about the fate of the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump.

Rosenstein’s job security was called into question after The New York Times reported last week that the No. 2 DOJ official had discussed invoking the 25th amendment to remove Trump, and had also talked about surreptitiously recording the president.

Rosenstein oversees the special counsel investigation, and has appointed Mueller to run the Russia probe last year, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the case.

The special counsel’s office declined to comment on the report.

The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Axios’ report. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to CNBC’s inquiry.

Trump has repeatedly blasted Mueller’s inquiry, which also is focused on possible collusion with Russia by members of the Trump campaign.

He has called the investigation a “witch hunt,” and has repeatedly vented frustration about Sessions’ recusal, which directly led to Mueller’s appointment by Rosenstein.

Rosenstein’s expected departure comes on the heels of a guilty plea by Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort to conspiracy charges related to his consulting work in Ukraine, which predates his role on the campaign.

As part of the investigation, Mueller’s team has been locked in an ongoing back-and-forth with Trump’s legal team over an in-person interview with the president.

Trump’s lawyers, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, have signaled that Trump is unwilling to sit for an interview, calling it a “perjury trap” and setting up a potential challenge for Mueller to subpoena the president.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

 

 

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European Council crushes Theresa May’s soft Brexit dream (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 116.

Alex Christoforou

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UK Prime Minister Theresa May hoped that the European Council was ready to see things her way, in terms of proceeding with a soft Brexit, which was essentially no Brexit at all…at least not the hard Brexit that was voted on in a democratic referendum approximately two years ago.

Much to May’s surprise, European Council President Donald Tusk delivered a death blow verdict for May’s Brexit, noting that EU leaders are in full agreement that Chequers plan for Brexit “will not work” because “it risks undermining the single market.”

Without a miracle compromise springing up come during the October summit, the UK will drift into the March 29, 2019 deadline without a deal and out of the European Union…which was initially what was voted for way back in 2016, leaving everyone asking, what the hell was May doing wasting Britain’s time and resources for two years, so as to return back to the hard Brexit terms she was charged with carrying forward after the 2016 referendum?

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss what was a disastrous EU summit in Salzburg for UK PM Theresa May, in what looks to be the final nail in May’s tenure as UK Prime Minister, as a hard Brexit now seems all but certain.

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Via Zerohedge

Tusk was speaking at the end of an EU summit in Salzburg, where the leaders of the 27 remaining states in the bloc were discussing Brexit. He said that while there were “positive elements” in May’s Chequers plan, a deal that puts the single market at risk cannot be accepted.

“Everybody shared the view that while there are positive elements in the Chequers proposal, the suggested framework for economic co-operation will not work, not least because it is undermining the single market,” Tusk said. He also said that he could not “exclude” the possibility that the UK could exit the EU in March with no deal.

May has been urging her European counterparts to accept her controversial Chequers plan which has split both the Conservative party and the broader UK population after it was thrashed out back in July. However, despite the painfully-slow negotiation process, which appears to have made little headway with just a few months left, the UK is set to leave the EU on March 29 2019 – with or without an exit deal.

The main sticking point that has emerged, and left May and the EU at loggerheads, has been how to avoid new checks on the Irish border. May has claimed that her proposals were the “only serious, credible” way to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland. She said during a press conference after the Salzburg meeting that she would not accept the EU’s “backstop” plan to avoid a Northern Ireland hard border. She said the UK would shortly be bringing forward its own proposals.

May also said that there was “a lot of hard work to be done,” adding that the UK was also preparing for the eventuality of having to leave the EU without a deal. Tusk, meanwhile, said that the upcoming October summit would be the “moment of truth” for reaching a deal, and that “if the conditions are there” another summit would be held in November to “formalize” it.

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Russia makes HUGE strides in drone technology

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The US and Israel are universally recognized leaders in the development and use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones. Thousands of American and Israeli UAVs are operating across the world daily.

The US military has recently successfully tested an air-to-air missile to turn its MQ-9 Reaper drone into an effective long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance unmanned spy aircraft capable of air-to-surface as well as air-to-air missions. This is a major breakthrough. It’s not a secret that Russia has been lagging behind in UAV development. Now its seems to be going to change with tangible progress made to narrow the gap.

Very few nations boast drones capable of high-altitude long endurance (HALE) missions. Russia is to enter the club of the chosen. In late 2017, the Russian Defense Ministry awarded a HALE UAV contract to the Kazan-based Simonov design bureau.

This month, Russian Zvezda military news TV channel showed a video (below) of Altair (Altius) heavy drone prototype aircraft number “03”, going through its first flight test.

Propelled by two RED A03/V12 500hp high fuel efficiency diesel engines, each producing a capacity of 500 hp on takeoff, the 5-ton heavy vehicle with a wingspan of 28.5 meters boasts a maximum altitude of 12km and a range of 10,000km at a cruising speed of 150-250km/h.

Wingspan: about 30 meters. Maximum speed: up to 950 km/h. Flight endurance: 48 hours. Payload: two tons, which allows the creation of a strike version. The vehicle is able to autonomously take off and land or be guided by an operator from the ground.

The UAV can carry the usual range of optical and thermal sensors as well as synthetic-aperture ground-surveillance radar with the resolution of .1 meter at the range of 35km and 1 meter at the range of 125km. The communications equipment allows real-time data exchange.

Russia’s UAV program currently underway includes the development of a range of large, small, and mid-sized drones. The Orion-E medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV was unveiled at the MAKS 2017 air show. Its developer, Kronstadt Technologies, claims it could be modified for strike missions. The one-ton drone is going through testing now. The Orion-E is capable of automatic takeoff and landing.

It can fly continuously for 24 hours, carrying a surveillance payload of up to 200 kg to include a forward looking infra-red (FLIR) turret, synthetic aperture radar and high resolution cameras. The drone can reach a maximum altitude of 7,500 m. Its range is 250 km.

The Sukhoi design bureau is currently developing the Okhotnik (Hunter) strike drone with a range of about 3,500km. The drone made its maiden flight this year. In its current capacity, it has an anti-radar coating, and will store missiles and precision-guided bombs internally to avoid radar detection.

The Kazan-based Eniks Design Bureau is working on the small T-16 weaponized aerial vehicle able to carry 6 kg of payload.

The new Russian Korsar (Corsair) tactical surveillance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) will be upgraded to receive an electronic warfare system. Its operational range will be increased from 150km to 250km. The drone was revealed at Victory Day military parade along with the Korsar unmanned combat helicopter version.

The rotary wing drone lacks the speed and altitude of the fixed wing variant, but has a great advantage of being able to operate without landing strips and can be sea-based. Both drones can carry guided and unguided munitions. The fixed-wing version can be armed with Ataka 9M120 missiles.

The first Russian helicopter-type unmanned aerial vehicle powered by hydrogen fuel cells was presented at the Army-2018 international forum. With the horizontal cruising speed of the drone up to 60 kph, the unmanned chopper can stay in the air at least 2.5 hours to conduct reconnaissance operations. Its payload is up to 5 kg.

Last November, the Kalashnikov Concern reported that it would start production of heavy unmanned aerial vehicles capable of carrying up to several tons of cargo and operating for several days at a time without needing to recharge.

All in all, the Russian military operate 1,900 drones on a daily basis. The multi-purpose Orlan-10 with a range of 600km has become a working horse that no military operation, including combat actions in Syria, can be conducted without. Maj. Gen. Alexander Novikov,
the head of the Russian General Staff’s Office for UAV Development, Russian drones performed over 23,000 flights, lasting 140,000 hours in total.

Russia’s State Armament Program for 2018-2027 puts the creation of armed UAVs at the top of priorities’ list. Looks like the effort begins to pay off. Russia is well on the way to become second to none in UAV capability.

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Via Strategic Culture

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