Written by Maskim Aleksandrov; Originally appeared in Russian at warsonline.info
Following the latest successes of Syrian Arab Army and its allies, and the conflict between Baghdad and Erbil, the closed-door meeting between Damascus and Kurdish National Council with Moscow went relatively unnoticed.
On October 20 the representatives of the Syrian government and Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria officials arrived to Al-Hasakah, where the High Council of Elders of Kurdistan, associated with Kurdish National Council and members of Democratic Union Party (PYD). According to unverified data, representatives of the city’s military council were also present. However the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) representatives were not there. Formally the meeting was dedicated to the humanitarian and military-political situation in the region.
The Kurdish side marked the readiness of Syrian authorities to commit to direct dialogue with Russia backing the negotiations as a positive. The Kurdish territorial foreign matters committees declared they were ready to further negotiations and adjust the main positions. “This is an important basis for further negotiations, for fight with terror and for regulating the conflict as soon as possible”, Abdulkarim Umar said.
On November 2 in Qamishli the second round of the negotiations took place. The sides represented were the Syrian Democratic Forces and People’s Protection Units (YPG). Despite the results not being disclosed, several sources lead us to believe that the main discussion point was the military-political situation in certain areas and military-technical cooperation. On November 10 a reconciliation meeting took place with YPG’s delegation in Coordination center at Khmeimim air base in the Syrian Arab Republic, where the sides signed several documents.
Earlier on November 8, the YPG command and SDF-coordinating center in Baghdad told about personnel changes in the People’s Protection Units (YPG) military councils in Manbij, Al-Hasakah, Al-Qamishli and Desert Scorpio militia that took part in fights on the eastern Euphrates shore near the Omar oil fields. Until recently this militia was a part of Ahfad al-Rasul, forming the Syrian Revolutionaries Front. After it collapsed, former members sided with SAA and SDF. The commander of the militia was accused of assisting Kurdistan Workers’ Party and Democratic Union Party. The command staff sided with the Syrian government forces.
Hence the events continuing the year-long conflict between Salih Muslim-led Syrian PYD, which wants to create an autonomous region in Syria, and Masoud Barzani’s Democratic Union Party (PDK) which wants Syrian Kurdistan to secede from the republic and combine into the Kurdish autonomous region in Iraq, thereby forming Free Kurdistan. These two organizations formed national councils: Movement for a Democratic Society by PYD and Kurdish National Council by PDK, both of which form the Kurdish Supreme Committee.
Curtailing the Kurdish national councils in Syria with the Iraqi Kurdistan crisis in the background means reformatting the whole Kurdish national territory project. This leads to reevaluating the US’s mid-term plans within the Greater Middle East project. In practice this means forming new pro-American military units in Syria, under the control of Security Raider Force, which is planned to be the basis of Security Force Assistance Brigades.
Geopolitical processes in Iraq also prove to be very interesting. The escalation of the Kurdish question leads us to several conclusions: firstly the US guarantee to Masoud Barzani that he will be president still, after the collapse of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s politburo, which had provided an alternative in the coalition model. Kosrat Rasul becoming the PUK’s Secretary General technically provides Barzani with the presidential seat.
Secondly, the main aim for the US is curbing regional competitors (mainly Iran) and also ousting the foreign actors out of the region — Russia and China. Washington and Riyadh, by forming an alliance of sorts, would form a buffer zone that would “let them affect the transit across Iran’s land corridor.” Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister, Prince Mohammad bin Salman al Saud declared forming the first block of basket investments for security maintenance worth up to $1 billion.
The internal factor stopping Iraqi Kurdistan is the rising popularity of “Movement for Change” aka Goran, a de-facto ready-made opposing political superstrata.
On November 7 the spokesman for Goran Shorsh Haji said: “KDP and PUK, and the Kurdistan government have failed. They not only failed, they brought catastrophe to our people. That’s why we asked the government to resign. We want the Kurdistan Regional Government to resign and form a temporary salvation government, which would only negotiate with Baghdad and make the necessary arrangements for elections.”
The withdrawal of the Peshmerga and others armed forces under Erbil’s control from the occupied territories, with Washington’s appeals for peaceful regulation of the conflict and overall neutral position, de facto mean that the US supports Iraq. These events coincide with the rise of the Iranian influence, which leads to the Kurdish armed forces dividing into the Kurds and the Shiite Arabs, more and more of whom side with the Popular Mobilization Forces and Hezbollah.
Back to Syria: while Erbil loses its influence in the north-east of Syria, the US, having tried to reformat the region, encountered a “crisis of interests”. Moscow and Damascus began developing relations with the Democratic Union Party-controlled YPG forces. Thanks to the negotiations an Afrin-formed special forces HPX unit is deployed on the eastern Euphrates shore. Along with that they cooperate with the Kurdish councils in order to find a political solution to the Kurdish question in Syria.