Turkish forces along with their FSA proxies have successfully captured the strategically important town of Bulbul in Kurdish occupied northern Syria. It is thought that all of Afrin might soon be under Turkish control as YPG/PKK fighters have been exposed as inadequate when faced with forces backed by a full modern army and air force. While this helps expose the myth of Kurdish military brilliance, just as the Iraqi operation against the Kurdish Peshmerga exposed in Autumn of 2017, Syria has cleverly used the events in and around Afrin to expose something even more geopolitically important.
Beginning around the time that Donald Trump won his election, the United States hoped to use the Kurdish issue to draw Turkey into a wider war against the Syrian Arab Army, thus justifying America’s illegal presence under the false guise of ‘neutrality’ in a wider Turkish/Kurdish conflict that had the potential to spiral into a Turkish/Syria conflict. Following on from this, if Syria fell into the trap that the Kurdish YPG set and sent forces to Afrin to engage in combat with Turkish troops, Turkey would have likely realigned its mission statement and once again set out to overthrow the Syrian government in retribution for a state of war which would have automatically existed if Syrian and Turkish troops began firing upon one another in Afrin.
This would have not only endangered Turkey’s new found partnership with Russia and Iran, but could simultaneously push Turkey back into the NATO fold, all while the Kurdish question would have sunk back into oblivion as the US would have readily traded its dream of creating a Kurdish statelet in Syria to the original goal of overthrowing the Syrian government. With Russia’s patience already wearing thin in respect of the Syrian conflict, the US may well have gotten much of what it originally wanted in Syria.
Luckily such a suicide scenario for Syria has not played out, primarily because Syria has quietly accepted the fact that Turkey, while still an unwelcome guest, is helping Syria to solve the problem that is a triple-headed snake of a Kurdish/American/Israel axis. Syria’s wise move to stay out of the Turkey/YPG conflict has also helped to draw a further schism between NATO members Turkey and the United States, where initially the US sought to exploit the situation to turn Syria and Turkey into even bigger opponents than they are – prohibiting the much sought after Ankara-Damascus rapprochement that Russia has been quietly working to facilitate. Finally, by exposing the blatant hypocrisy of the US and EU over just what constitutes an “invasion” of Syria, Damascus has made it clear where the loyalties of the west lie.
This final element is in many ways the most geopolitically satisfying for Syria. While Syria says “Turkey must vacate Syria”, it is doing the opposite materially, but nevertheless the right thing geopolitically. By staying out of the Turkish/YPG conflict, Syria has exposed the total hypocrisy of western governments who never once cared about the inviolability of Syria’s territorial integrity, nor did they ever care about the illegality of bombing, invading and occupying Syria.
Today, now that pro-Israeli Kurds are on the back-foot because of Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch in northern Syria, officials from NATO members US, UK, Germany and most prominently French President Macron, have openly challenged the prudence and even the legality of fellow NATO member Turkey’s operation in Syria. This is the case even though due to its participation in the Astana Format whose memoranda Syria has approved, Turkey’s presence in Syria has been vastly more “normalised” than anything French, American, British or German armed forces ever did in Syria–all of which was totally illegal, according to international law.
Against the background of these developments, the Syrian Arab Republic has drafted letters of grievance to the United Nations Security Council, demanding Turkey’s withdrawal from Syria. The letters state,
“The Syrian Arab Republic stresses that the presence of any foreign military operations on its territories without its overt approval is an assault and occupation, which will be dealt with on that basis…
…Syria urges the UNSC not to allow to any state to use force in a way that contradicts with the international law or to depend on the charter to justify its aggressive atrocities as it also urges the Council not to make the Charter a method by the hands of such states to explain it in accordance to their narrow interests that contradict with the context and core of the Charter”.
Beyond mere a symbolic and moral victory for Syria, these statements amount to Syria calling the western bluff in the following ways.
1. Syria is challenging the US and major EU players to formally condemn Turkey for doing what they themselves have been doing for the last seven years. In other words, if the US was forced to demand a Turkish withdrawal from Syria, according to the same legal logic, the US and its EU allies would then have to show themselves the exit door from Syria and go back from whence they came including Jordan, “Israel”, Iraq and most ironically, Turkey itself.
2. In calling the western bluff, Syria is also forcing the US and EU to face the fact that technically, they share a position with the very Syrian government that they have been trying to oust for the last seven years, insofar as on the face of it Damascus, Washington, Berlin, London and Paris are all seeking to force Turkey to cease its latest incursion into Syria, with Macron even using the word “invasion”, a stronger word than those used even in Syria’s letters to the UN.
Would the US and major EU players ever openly stand with Syria against a fellow NATO member? The clear answer is no, which is why Syria’s letter exposes not only western hypocrisy but also western impotence in respect of having any control over events no the ground in the region.
3. Finally, the Syrian letters to the UN expose a would-be myth of Kurdish exceptionalism. If the US and EU had no problem when Turkey invaded Syria to foment regime change, if they had no problem with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar sending thousands of Takfiri terrorists into Syria to destroy a secular progressive Arab Republic and if they had no problem when “Israel” continually bombing Syrian targets including the Syrian Arab Army, then why are they so concerned when a country with a powerful army goes after Kurdish extremist groups?
Either the Kurds are a magically exceptional people to the west, which considering that the west is not materially supporting the YPG in its battles against Turkey is probably not the case, or, because the Kurds are an “Israeli” geopolitical asset in the region–the western powers are once again standing up for “Israel” against everyone else’s interests.
For those who claim that the concept of western wars for Israel is just a conspiracy theory, just consider the fact that the only time the US and its European partners is speaking on the need to protect Syria, is when an “Israeli” asset in Syria has come under attack, thus preventing the establishment of a “second Israel” within a short flight away from the first.