Since the start of the new Turkish military operation in Syria with the pathetic name “Peace Spring”, a new wave of information warfare in support of the Kurds has been launched by the Western media. It’s not the first time it’s happened though. Most of the people who’ve been following the situation in the Middle East and the war in Syria know very well how for years the West tried to portray the Kurds as the “Freedom fighters” against the evil dictator Erdogan who doesn’t allow them to have their own state. We’ve seen all forms of pure propaganda – from movies and documentaries about the YPJ – the Women’s protection units (not to be confused with the YPG – the People’s protection unit), that showed how young women took arms to fight against the oppressor to “expert analysts” who went on the media outlets to defend the creation of a Kurdish state.
As a result of this, we saw a growing number of “progressive liberals” across Europe and the US call for measures against Turkey. These people, who have little or no understanding of the Kurds, turned to out to be proactive advocates of a Kurdish state. These campaigns perfectly set the information environment for the Coup attempt against Erdogan and only fueled the tensions.
If we have to summarize the view of the Western media towards the Kurds, then they should be a united ethnic group that’s been struggling for years for its freedom. Heroes who’ve resisted against the oppressor and have taken arms to fight against it in all odds, in the name of freedom, democracy and human rights. Sounds like a combination of a Hollywood movie for William Wallace and Martin Luther King Jr where the main heroes no matter their efforts at the end don’t get the needed support and are defeated in a Jesus Christ-style way – crucified martyrs who’ve died for the greater good of the others.
Let’s set aside the propaganda and see what the reality is.
The Kurds are not as united as you’d think
One of the big mistakes most people make when talking about “the Kurds” is that they refer to them as a unified body or nation which is not exactly true. “The Kurds” are actually split into many groups due to various reason. First of all, they actually speak different languages in the different regions. It’s generally accepted to split them into three main language groups (Kurmanji, Sorani and Palewani), however they have even more dialect versions. This makes it sometimes even hard for Kurds from different regions to understand each other. Second, in addition to the fact that the Kurds live in different countries, predominantly in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran, in those same countries, they’re also separated in more groups with different leaders. As a consequence, it’s very hard to negotiate with a unified body when it actually matters because, just like a lot of rebel groups, the different leaders have different opinions. As a result, situation where different Kurdish groups make contradictory decisions are very common.
The Kurds are not the victim
Let’s begin with some historical facts. The “peaceful Kurds” were in fact on of the main forces in the Armenian genocide. The territories, which now they call “theirs”, have been historically the home of Armenians, Christians, Turks and some other smaller ethnic groups. After the genocide, the whole south-eastern part of Turkey and especially the Diyarbakir region became predominantly populated with Kurds. When their hopes for an international support for thein own state were shattered, the Kurds started a partisan war with Turkey. The culmination point was in 1925 with their largest uprising which was crushed by Kemal Ataturk’s forces which led to a mass wave of Kurdish refugees to Syrian and Iraq. Syria welcomed the refugees in the Northern regions and until the breakout of the war, the situation was relatively peaceful with them. They’ve always been a minority in the North and had little power.
When the war broke out, the Kurds, supported by their friends in Washington, decided to take advantage of the situation and to get a hold on territories in Syria that have never been theirs. On top of this, both the Kurds in Syria, and the ones in Iraq cooperated with ISIS and Turkey! for their illegal oil trade and smuggling.
When the Syrian Arab Army, supported by Russia, started to liberate the territories on the eastern side of the Euphrates, the Kurds, with the help of their US “mentors” captured the territories on the western side where all the big oil and gas fields are, thus cutting the Syrian government from their main source of income and grabbing territories that have never been populated by Kurds.
So how can the Kurds be portrayed as martyrs? What happened was more than logical.
The gambled and lost
It’s one thing to defend your nation or territories, it’s another to be greedy and feel like you’re untouchable. The Kurds arrogantly denied any cooperation with the Syrian government and Russia and heavily relied on the US to defend them. They placed a bet that nobody can win. The US is well known for treating their proxies just as vassals who’ll do the dirty work and then would be thrown in the graveyard of history when they become useless. The current administration in Washington doesn’t want a Kurdish state, they just need to keep the region in a constant state of war without being too much involved in the process. When Turkey, Iran and Russia decided that the current situation is not fitting them, they decided to pull the trigger and put the Kurds in their place.
Today the Kurdish leaders remind of the Polish ones between WWI and WWII. The Poles thought they could just grab territories that historically had never been theirs and had the nerve to even think they could have their country span from the Baltic Sea all the way to the Black Sea. Churchill even told them that they have no idea what they’re doing and have lost their minds. Exactly as the Kurds do right now. Trump won’t shatter a tear if the Kurds get wiped out as long as its in the interest of the US.
As ironic as it may sound, the fate of the Kurds is in the hand of the Russian diplomacy. They’re faced with a choice between being destroyed by the Turkish army and its proxies and settling for a deal with the Syrian government and Russia. Moscow, as the mediator of all processes in Syria, will be left with the final word. They are the only ones who can actually stop Turkey and are the only ones who defend the interests of the Syrian state.
What will happen, we’re yet to see.