The Kobani Model: Strengthening Kurdish-Arab Relations in Syria

by Nicholas A. Heras and Wladimir van Wilgenburg

Wladimir van Wilgenburg KurdistanNick HerasThe Islamic State (IS) suffered a setback at the northern Syrian-Turkish border city of Kobani. This much-heralded event was important for a reason that has potential future ramifications for the civil war and the future stability of Syria: Arab-majority armed, moderate opposition groups and Kurdish militias under the People’s Protection Units (YPG) willingly entered into a joint operations room to coordinate the city’s defense. By standing and fighting against IS, the joint Kurdish-Arab effort in Kobani demonstrated that a multi-ethnic armed opposition coalition could function and succeed in the test of battle.

Euphrates Volcano Kurds Arabs Syria

Example of Euphrates Volcano press material

Building pan-ethnic cooperation as part of a pluralistic political program should be a core element of the U.S.-led Syrian rebel train-and-equip program. But so far, the most effective anti-IS force, the YPG, has not been included and its forces are euphemistically referred to as “anti-ISIL forces” by the Coalition. There is a reason for this: the YPG are linked to the most powerful Syrian Kurdish political faction, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is closely associated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Encouragingly, several Arab brigades associated with the mainstream moderate armed opposition coalition under the umbrella of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) participated in this joint operation with their Kurdish peers. Working together, their “Euphrates Volcano” campaign against the IS-held cities of Tal Abyad and Jarabulus is threatening IS’ grip on vital Syrian-Turkish border areas in its capital province of Raqqa. Until the Coalition has established actionable lines of influence into IS-held territory, it is likely that the most immediate and effective method of limiting the spread of IS and confronting it head-on is by operating on the margins of its territory in eastern and northern Syria, which is exactly what the Euphrates Volcano campaign is doing.

Speaking to this development, the PYD’s leader Salih Muslim stated to one of the authors in a March 11 interview at the Sulaimani Forum conference in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq that:

“If they [the U.S.] accept it, we will do it. Our people have more experience than those they will train [FSA forces]. But there should be coordination even for the training. If the U.S. supports this, it could be a model for a future Syria.”

Turkey, a key U.S. ally in the anti-IS campaign, will also be critical to any expansion of a joint Kurdish-Arab armed opposition campaign against IS. The brutal history of conflict between the Turkish government and the PKK, and the United States’ designation of the group as a terrorist organization, might seem to place a severe limit on the extent of future cooperation between U.S. trained-and-equipped Syrian Arab rebels and the YPG. Turkey’s early and sustained influence over the Syrian armed opposition movement, including hosting some of the Arab rebel leaders who are cooperating with the Kurdish militias, could also potentially limit the further development of a Kurdish-Arab joint operations room against IS.

There are signs, however, that a pragmatic Turkish approach to Syria’s Kurds may be emerging. There has been continuous, although at times contentious, engagement between Turkish officials and the PYD, including with Salih Muslim. The ongoing PKK-Turkish peace negotiations and political pressure from Turkey’s Kurdish-majority political parties also adds impetus for the Turkish government to tolerate the existence of the YPG and incorporate it in the anti-IS campaign. Turkey’s ability to work with the YPG was shown in the recent auxiliary role that the Kurdish militias played in assisting Turkish troops to secure the body of Suleiman Shah and relocate it to Kurdish-held areas of Syria.

Further, in October 2014, the Turks proposed a no fly zone and safe-haven in northern Syria, but so far this plan has not been implemented. Building on the cooperation between the YPG and the FSA, Turkey could use this to create a safe buffer zone between Turkey and Syria. Turkey initially strongly opposed Iraqi Kurdistan’s autonomy, but now the Iraqi Kurds are treated as potential allies by Ankara. Repairing relations between Sunni Arabs and Kurds in Syria will require a Turkish role.

Inside Syria, there is still a great deal of animosity between Arab and Kurdish communities, particularly in the strategic Syrian-Iraqi border province of al-Hasakah, where the YPG and its auxiliaries are waging a campaign against IS’ lines of supply and communication between Iraq and Syria. Arab tribes from Raqqa were settled in this predominantly Kurdish region the 1970s by the Syrian government as part of its “Arab belt” policy to weaken the demographic weight of the Kurds.

The YPG, under the influence of the PKK, is accused of trying to ethnically cleanse Arabs and rip the oil-rich areas that it dominates out of Syria, heightening ethnic tensions between it and the Arab-majority opposition movement. IS has preyed on the suspicion of local Arab communities toward the Kurds to recruit Arab rank-and-file fighters in al-Hasakah. However, members of local Arab tribes, such as from the powerful, trans-national Shammar confederation, actively cooperate with the YPG and have participated in the Syrian Kurds’ attempt to build a nascent government. Ethnic relations between Kurds and Arabs, complex and fraught as they may sometimes be, are not irreparable.

Still, a potential post-Assad/post-IS Syria will need to recognize and honor the desire of Syrian Kurds to have their ethno-linguistic cultural rights protected, promoted, and enshrined in law, or risk endemic ethnic conflict. It will also need to manage the process of incorporating Syrian Kurdish communities, many of them already practicing a de facto form of autonomy from the rest of the country, back into the national political fold.

To that end, developing Kurdish-Arab joint military campaigns against IS in Syria can have far-reaching impact. Continued Kurdish-Arab joint operations could end IS control over large areas of the Syrian-Turkish border and would cut the flow of IS fighters into Syria, denying IS strategic depth as the U.S.-led Coalition works to defeat IS in Iraq. Active encouragement and support from the Coalition for this organic process can contribute to the process of rebuilding trust between the communities. Improving Kurdish-Arab relations will be a core component of establishing an effective and stable security environment in Syria.


Nicholas A. Heras is the Research Associate in the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security

Wladimir van Wilgenburg is a Middle East Analyst at the Jamestown Foundation and a freelance journalist based in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan. Follow at @vvanwilgenburg

Comments (25)

mjabali said:

Do not fool yourself…

The Kurds have their own agenda to have a state and the Arabs are not in it.

Also, the writers did not explain why they termed the non Kurdish groups fighting alongside the Kurds in Ayn al-Arab/Kobani as Arabs. They Are Syrians, but not necessarily Arabs.

Did the writer mean the Arabic tribes residing in al-Jazeera?

March 20th, 2015, 8:39 am


Observer said:

I am responding from the previous post. It is interesting that some are what we call in French Extra Lucide or in other words have the ability to discern people’s thoughts and read their minds. So I am accused of lumping the cousins together as criminals because they belong to the sect. In reality they do not belong to any sect they belong to a mafia clan and are mirror images to the other barbarians some pretend to have a religious justification for dehumanizing and the others a secular justification for dehumanizing. They are mirror images of each other. IS=Assad=circular closed logic=barbarity.
However, I reiterate that the thought process of Ibn T has clearly penetrated that of the Extra Lucid for it seems that he now like Ibn T knows what is in other people’s thoughts.

Extraordinary indeed on how the Pretzel logic of sectarianism has become the only mind set with which this Extra Lucid thinks these days.

In Europe there is a prejudice against mountain people as some have called these people Cretins Des Alpes or Idiots des Balkans

March 20th, 2015, 12:36 pm


mjabali said:


Leave the Alawites now….the article is about your people the Kurds, are they gonna have a state or not?

Are you going to sell your property in Damascus and buy instead in Kurdistan?

The topic is the Kurds and the Arabs in this article…

Ibn Taymiyah is the most important figure to read to understand the problems in the Middle East….

March 20th, 2015, 2:11 pm


ghufran said:

Kurds deserve and want an independent state but I doubt that they will get one, however it will be very hard to prevent self rule or semi independence even with Turkey, the party pooper, being against it.
Do not blame Kurds for wanting to separate, frankly speaking Arabs and Muslims have been intolerant and are not ready for democracy.
The argument that we deserve western type political system just because we have been ruled by dictators is weak and could not stand the test of reality we see today. The first thing rebels and their supporters did when the central government in Syria lost control in certain areas was to kill, imprison or kick out every Alawite they can reach, that campaign started in April 2011 just few weeks after the “intifada”.
The only alternative Arabs and Muslims were able to provide to dictatorship, with rare exceptions, is another dictatorship, terrorism and Wahhabi movements. Do not blame the West for doubting our ability to prosper and tolerate others, look in the mirror and ask whether the people you claim to defend are able or willing to obtain freedom and give it to others.
ISIS slaughtered civilians in Tunisia, Yemen and Kahaska (Syria) amid efforts by the GCC and Turkey to present Nusra as a legitimate “moderate” opposition !!

March 20th, 2015, 3:11 pm


ALAN said:

/Building pan-ethnic cooperation as part of a pluralistic political program should be a core element of the U.S.-led Syrian rebel train-and-equip program./
America nothing to do in my country. US hands off Syria.
/Turkey, a key U.S. ally in the anti-IS campaign/ Do not lie! The United States and Turkey’s allies in supporting Islamic extremism and terror in Syria and are partners in failure
We Kurds see the western attack with (a hornet’s nest) has been hurt the Kurds and cost them precious blood and will not forget this crime, which was led by hordes planners of the United States,GCC states and Turkey.
You can not be able to use us in any function in your own political geography. We are in our lands and in our Arab Republics and not yours to intervene in our affairs

March 20th, 2015, 3:33 pm


Ghufran said:

Various Syrian rebel group leaders have sent congratulatory messages to newly re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to an Israeli Druse who has acted as a go-between with Israel.
“We extend to you and the great leadership of the Israeli people our warmest congratulations and blessings in the democratic wedding witnessed by the State of Israel,” wrote one opposition political activist, Musa Al-Nabhan, in a letter sent to Mendi Safadi and shared with The Jerusalem Post.
Specifically, Nabhan addressed his congratulations to Netanyahu as well as newly elected Druse Likud MK Ayoub Kara, adding, “We hope that your government will continue to provide the necessary support to the Syrian people, which are fond of you and looking to build the best of relations on all levels.”

March 20th, 2015, 9:40 pm


Observer said:

It is simple if the Kurds want to have a Kurdish state so be it. If the Christians want to have a state so be it. If the Alewites want to have a state so be it. If the Jews want to have a state so be it. You cannot force people to live together under some other nationality if they do not freely espouse that nationality and consider it more important than their original ethnic/religious affiliation.
The devil is in the details: how do you satisfy so many who live intermingled together in a geographic area where boundaries are impossible to draw without massive ethnic transfers? The Zionists did it to the Palestinians in 48 and have tried to continue to do it to this day through an apartheid state. The Sunnis did it to the Shias under Saddam where an apartheid state existed, the Shias are now doing it to the Sunnis where they are excluded. The Sunnis according to our historian in residence did it to the Alawis and others and now they are doing it to the Sunnis in reverse.
The Christians tried to do it to the Palestinians and their allies in Lebanon and they failed.
So that is the idea of Arab nationalism that would bring all under its banner but oops the Kurds are not Arabs therefore they are to have their state or their autonomy.

That is why also Iran is running under the banner of Shia Islam for only 51% of Iranians are Persians, to to keep it together they use religion. The problem is that the majority of Iranians under 50 are “surprise’ atheists like me.

So I am for an Alawi state if this is what they want and for a Kurdish state if this is what they want and for Yazidi state if this is what they want and for an Assyrian state if this is what they want and for a every conceivable state if this is what they want.

I am actually for the state of Malki and Abou Rumanah and perhaps Salhieh in Damascus. I am for Sitti Zainab state as well.

Read your daily dose of ibn T today with a cup of tea and continue to remain hostage to his teachings.

To each his dark ages, if today we cannot think outside of the box of Ibn T then surely the region is lost.

Last but not least, why leave the Alewites out of it? Why not also try to liberate them from Ibn T once and for all and have them have their own state with their own flag and their own culture and their own institutions and their own courts and their own songs and their own police and military? What is so wrong about that?

Long live Alawistan along a peaceful and prosperous Kurdistan.


Welcome to America the idea nation. Can you perhaps learn how to emulate the great Satan and build an idea nation somewhere in that wretched place called the Middle East?

March 21st, 2015, 9:11 am


Observer said:

how fortunate that this article came to my attention today. While some remain hostage to Ibn T’s thoughts today read this very very carefully and if you do not understand it have someone read it to you my friends
ماجد كيالي*
تكتسب الانتخابات الإسرائيلية أهميتها من دلالاتها الخارجية أيضاً، فضلاً عن أنها حدث سياسي داخلي،
إذ تؤكد أن إسرائيل الدولة الأكثر استقراراً من الناحية السياسية في هذه المنطقة، وأن مجتمعها هو الأكثر
توافقاً، على إجماعاته وطريقة تنظيمه لأحواله، ما يعني أن دولنا لا تبدو مصطنعة أقل من هذه الدولة التي
يطيب لنا اعتبارها كذلك، في خطاباتنا السياسية، علماً أن كل الدول الحديثة مصطنعة، بمعنى ما، أقله
بالمعنى التاريخي.
قد يحتاج الأمر لبعض التفكّر، فهذه الدولة قامت في الفترة التاريخية ذاتها التي قامت فيها الدولة العربية
في حقبة ما بعد الاستقلال، في النصف الثاني من القرن العشرين، والأهم أنها جمعت بين ظهرانيها
مهاجرين/مستعمرين، من مختلف أصقاع الدنيا، على اختلاف منابتهم الحضارية وتنوعاتهم الثقافية
واللغوية، إلا أنها بفضل نظامها الديموقراطي، وميزة التمثيل النسبي، استطاعت أن تتحول إلى دولة
ما مكنها من صنع أو سبك ما بات يعرف بالمجتمع الإسرائيلي. ،(« اليهود ») لمواطنيها
فيها يرتبطون في ما « المواطنين » في المقابل فالدولة العربية، أقله في المشرق، لم تستطع ذلك، على رغم أن
بينهم بقواسم مشتركة حضارية وثقافية ولغوية وتاريخية، أكثر بكثير مما لدى الإسرائيليين، وذلك تحديداً
بسبب غياب الديموقراطية، والافتقاد لعلاقات المواطنة، وغياب دولة القانون والمؤسسات. وكما بات معروفاً،
فالدولة الاستبدادية القائمة على الفساد لم تتح قيام دولة ولا بناء مجتمع، بمعنى الكلمة، في بلدانها، وهو ما
نلحظ تداعياته اليوم، في ما يحصل في سورية والعراق خصوصاً.
هكذا، ففي غضون 67 عاماً، منذ قيامها ( 1948 )، ظلت إسرائيل تحافظ على سلامة نظامها الديموقراطي،
الذي يتميز بتداول السلطة، وتنظيم الانتخابات على قاعدة التمثيل النسبي والاختيارات السياسية، وليس
على قاعدة طائفية أو مناطقية، وهي طريقة تتيح لأي تجمع مهما كان حجمه التمثل في الكنيست (وفق نسبة
معينة للحسم). مثلاً، شهدت الدورات الانتخابية الأخيرة تنافس أكثر من 25 قائمة حزبية على أصوات
الجمهور، وقد استطاع حوالى 15 منها تجاوز نسبة الحسم، والوصول إلى مقاعد الكنيست. ومنذ قيامها
فهذه هي المرة العشرون التي تجرى فيها الانتخابات في غضون 67 عاماً، أي أن إسرائيل شهدت انتخابات
كل ثلاثة إلى أربعة أعوام، لتعيين التوازنات السياسية فيها، وتفحص خيارات مواطنيها، وهي لم تلجأ ولا مرة
إلى تأجيل موعد الانتخابات، على رغم ما يحيطها من مخاطر، بل لجأت مراراً إلى تقريب مواعيدها.
القصد من ذلك لفت الانتباه إلى أن إسرائيل هذه لم تتفوق على العالم العربي بسبب قوتها العسكرية، أو
الدعم الذي تحظى به من الولايات المتحدة، أو بسبب قوتها الاقتصادية، على ما تروج بعض الأنظمة لتبرير
عجزها وفسادها، وإنما تفوقت بالذات بسبب طريقة إدارتها لأحوالها، وتنظيمها لمجتمعها، واحترامها
لمواطنيها. وقد بينت الوقائع أن الأنظمة المعنية لم تكن تنقصها الجيوش ولا الدبابات ولا الطائرات، ولا البراميل
المتفجرة، كما لم تكن تنقصها بلايين الدولارات، التي باتت تصب في حسابات الأسر الحاكمة، ولا محاباة
Page  1 of  2
الولايات المتحدة والتساوق مع سياساتها في كثير من المراحل، على ما فعل النظام السوري مثلاً، في
محطات عدة.
المفارقة أن الأنظمة السائدة التي سلبتنا الحرية والديموقراطية والتنمية والعيش الكريم برّرت كل ذلك بدعوى
التفرّغ للقضية المركزية، أي قضية فلسطين ومواجهة إسرائيل، في حين أن هذه الدولة الصغيرة، بمساحتها
وعدد سكانها ومواردها، والمعزولة وسط محيط عربي هائل، ومعاد لها، تواصل حياتها، وضمنه انتخاباتها
السياسية، كل ثلاثة أو أربعة أعوام!
واضح أن ما كان ينقص هذه الأنظمة هو بالذات هذا العنصر الذي تغتني وتتميز به إسرائيل ويضفي عليها
الحيوية، والمشروعية، وهو دولة المواطنين والمؤسسات والقانون، والديموقراطية، وتداول السلطة، والمشاركة
السياسية. هذا هو بالذات ما جعلها الدولة الأقوى اقتصادياً في المنطقة، مع ناتج سنوي يقدر ب 300 بليون
دولار، ودخل للفرد يقدر بحوالى 36 ألف دولار سنوياً، علماً أن ناتجها السنوي قبل خمسة أعوام كان حوالى
206 بلايين دولار. وهذا ما جعلها، أيضاً، الدولة الأرقى في المنطقة من حيث مستوى التعليم مع جامعات
تتمتع بمكانة مرموقة بين جامعات العالم. فوق ذلك، فهذه الدولة تُعرف منذ عقود بأنها من الدول الأكثر إنفاقاً
على البحث العلمي في العالم، بنسبة 3.5 في المئة من إجمالي دخلها السنوي، وهو يزيد عما ينفقه العالم
العربي كله. وللعلم فإنها تصدر بما قيمته 66 بليون دولار سنوياً، معظمها من الصناعات المتطورة
والالكترونيات، وهذا يعادل 25 في المئة من صادرات العالم العربي من الصناعات التحويلية.
والحال فإن هذه النسب العالية، التي تصب في مصلحة إسرائيل، تكشف العالم العربي الذي لا يمكن
مقارنته بها، في المساحة وعدد السكان والموارد الطبيعية، وأيضاً في التاريخ.
على ضوء كل ذلك، لا شك أن مراجعة مسيرة إسرائيل، بالمقارنة بأحوالنا، تبعث على القلق والأسى، لكنها
فوق ذلك تفيد أن أكثر من نصف قرن تم إهداره من عمر مجتمعاتنا العربية، خاصة في المشرق، بسبب
طبيعة النظم التي سادت.
* كاتب فلسطيني- سوري

March 21st, 2015, 9:16 am


habib said:

Assad should give the Kurds their state, just to piss off Turkey.

The Turks know that if they arm the Kurds, they’ll end up with blow-back.

Free Kurdistan!

March 21st, 2015, 10:53 am


ALAN said:

Most Syrians participants here are by nature defeatists.
It really is unfortunate.
You need the faith.

March 21st, 2015, 10:54 am


omen said:

mj – FYI – you only look like a retard mispronouncing people’s names.

March 21st, 2015, 11:23 am


omen said:

22. Badr said: Would you like to make a more convincing argument against this one by Aaron David Miller: The Risks in Negotiating With Syria’s Assad


“Assad must go” was a never a serious U.S. policy. President Barack Obama and Secretary Kerry may have said that, but they had neither the will nor the capacity to make good on it.

of course the US has capacity. we have trillions of dollars worth of hardware capable of blowing assad’s head off.

an obvious lie to say we lack capacity. also an unsupported assertion. are we supposed to be impressed with a blatant liar?

The administration’s actions—including not moving to enforce President Obama’s “red line” at the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons and brokering a deal with the Russians to dispose of Syrian chemical weapons—showed that Washington accepted that Bashar al-Assad was not only part of the problem in Syria but might also be part of the solution.

a. miller thinks it’s just peachy to embrace a regime who gasses children as part of the solution. would he still feel the same if the same regime gassed israelis?

solution to what exactly? assad is the solution to someone’s unstated agenda but not for the reasons articulated in this article.

March 21st, 2015, 11:51 am


mjabali said:

Omen the paid propagandist:

I think I am pronouncing your name right….

Observaaaar himself never complained because he knows this is the right way people from Damascus pronounce his name. learn how we pronounce things in Syria before meddling in our business…

By the way: have you any input about if the Kurds are going to have their own state? and if Turkey is going to be able to stop this?

This is the topic of the discussion just to let you know so please do not come here to incite more violence.

March 21st, 2015, 11:53 am


mjabali said:


What you wrote is circular logic sprinkled with some hippie thoughts….reality is something different..

The Kurds are strong so they are going to have a state. If you like that or not, they are going to. The recent events made many countries arm well, they can fend for themselves. Their strength is growing.

The Christians: they are getting driven out of the middle East, they are not armed so what do you expect in that violent world.

The Sunni Arabs: are lost between the Islamic State, and Assad/Iraqi government.

The Sunni Militants: strong and could maintain a state if others do not attack them. the question here are they going to attack others. Nusra/Ahrar/Jaysh al-Islam/Ansar al-Din…etc are strong Ibn Taymiyah leads all of them.

The Alawties: strong and have strong allies, plus many from the minorities are with them including tons of Sunnis. They are going to have a state at one point if things go from bad to worse.

Druze: Nusra is going to make them all Sunnis unless the world protect them.

Ismailis: the same fate as the Druze.

Dear Observaaaaar: Ibn Taymiyah is drawing the new map of the middle east.

March 21st, 2015, 12:01 pm


omen said:

if you want to look retarded, be my guest ;P

March 21st, 2015, 12:55 pm


Badr said:


Does the US have the capacity to fix Syria after blowing Assad’s head off?

“a. miller thinks it’s just peachy to embrace a regime who gasses children as part of the solution.”

Perhaps you did not read in his article that:

If Russia and Iran would support a transition in Syria that forces Mr. Assad, his family, and the regime’s mafia from power; that includes Alawites, Sunnis, Christians, and Kurds in the new Syria; and that doesn’t open the door to further ISIS gains, the outcome could be fine. But if that doesn’t happen, and the U.S. comes to terms with Mr. Assad, then Washington will have achieved a horrible trifecta: legitimizing a mass murderer, feeding ISIS propaganda, and alienating its own Sunni allies.

March 21st, 2015, 3:46 pm


ALAN said:

USA is playing the terrorist’s game in Middle East

March 21st, 2015, 4:53 pm


ALAN said:

US Special Forces caught red-handed in Syria
Christof Lehmann : Evidence about the presence of U.S. special forces in the Syrian town Ayn al-Arab a.k.a. Kobani emerged. Troops are guiding U.S. airstrikes as part of U.S support for the Kurdish separatist group PYD and the long-established plan to establish a Kurdish corridor.
The news about U.S. special forces in Syria is no novelty per se. The emergence of a photo that is verifiable with the help of metadata and corroborating testimony is, however, one of the first tangible pieces of evidence that supports the notion that NATO’s “Kurdish Corridor Project” is alive and kicking regardless how much the US government and Turkish AKP government “posture and position” themselves as being in disagreement.

March 21st, 2015, 5:51 pm


omen said:


Assad has infiltrated the Islamic State from day one with security men and moukhabarat operatives, if Assad did not create it from the bengining before it ever existed.

Assad and Malki set free hundreds of dangerous islamists and sent them to Raqqa in the year 2013.

All foreigners got by IS check points have been under real control of Assad men who got a lot of money in echange of liberation of their citizens from governments of countries like Spain, Turkey or Italy.

Assad been buying oil to ISIL at very low cost and keeping and agreement of no agression while ISIL and Assad together destroyed the FSA.

Hollywood productions are being produced by CIA -Iranian experts working side by side with Assad to create a state of horror around the world that eases the bombing campaing against IS and the end of the remnants of a revolution that have already been devorated by ISIL by the master hidden action of Iran-Assad-US cooperation.

Now Syria is ready to belong to the New Persian Empire. Brave syrians are 90 % buried. Dirty people support the most violent sides without principles. Let the iranians show us how they manage the arab world under their feet.

hear hear! conflict of interest, dishonest pundits like aaron miller bend over backwards to avoid mentioning assad/isis collusion. not sure about the cia part but just the checkpoint argument alone is devastating. others note how regime elements have no problem getting past isis checkpoints and vice versa.

blows my mind how any syrian can go along with iranian occupation of their own country. where is your patriotism? where is your love of country? how can you stand by and watch fellow human beings be decimated? some of whom are your own flesh and blood. you are a fool if you’re banking on iran to protect alawites.

assad must go, iran must go!

March 22nd, 2015, 4:56 am


Poul said:

Omen, you make the error of assuming that military hardware is the only capacity that matters. Iraq and Afghanistan showed how wrong that assumption is.

USA is utterly lacking in cultural capacities. Furthermore the USA refuses to learn from it’s failures.
Have you considered that the task is impossible.

A practical example from the recent past:
Just read about the collapse of the South Vietnamese Army in 1975.

They were plagued by the same problems (corruption, absent manpower and incompetence.) as the Iraqi army, and for that matter the Afghan army. So despite massive aid from the US they were an utter failure. Surprised that the Iraqi army collapsed?

March 23rd, 2015, 3:27 am


omen said:

20. Poul said:

Omen, you make the error of assuming that military hardware is the only capacity that matters. Iraq and Afghanistan showed how wrong that assumption is.

USA is utterly lacking in cultural capacities. Furthermore the USA refuses to learn from it’s failures.
Have you considered that the task is impossible.

A practical example from the recent past:
Just read about the collapse of the South Vietnamese Army in 1975.

They were plagued by the same problems (corruption, absent manpower and incompetence.) as the Iraqi army, and for that matter the Afghan army. So despite massive aid from the US they were an utter failure. Surprised that the Iraqi army collapsed?

what the what what?

i’m just a nobody but i’m not calling for full scale invasion. iraq? vietnam? afghanistan?? i have no idea what you are talking about.

at the most, i support pin point strikes obama earlier alluded to, to take out regime armor and/or to bomb & render inoperative the 18 tarmacs that are enabling assad aircraft to take off to carpet bomb civilians and allowing iran & russian cargo planes to land to resupply the regime with heavy arms.

examples you cite is the US acting to occupy a nation. in this case, the US is acting to deny the revolution a victory, undermining the rebels at every turn. see the difference? the US needs to stop acting to protect the regime.


Poul: So despite massive aid from the US they were an utter failure. Surprised that the Iraqi army collapsed?

if you mean how iraq forces folded in mosul, allowing isis to takeover – the army including kurds were given orders to fall back and abandon their posts. that’s a question of corruption, not competence.

March 24th, 2015, 12:29 pm


Alan said:

Jordan was, is and will remain in the american-israeli-saudi axis.
From The other side there are contacts between jordan and iran : king abdallah sent a nouroz greeting to khamenei and jordan foreign minister visited tehran. Iraqi politicians ( hakim ) visted jordan. To me this means nothing. The hashemite family in jordan has a long history of loyalty to israel It also has similar history of opportunism. They are thinking , what the hell if we can get some money oil and gas from iraq and iran. All they have to for is train some iraqi military and tell iran some lies about the mirage muslim unity.
King abdallah was the first to talk about the ” shia crescent” and its supposed danger to the arab and sunni communities. Jordan continues to be involved in training , arming and leading the mercenaries in southern syria. The last attack on busra sham, still ongoing is planned and coordinated by jordan. The Al-Nusrah has many Joradanians that are also present in leadership postions. Many of these Joranians are planted there by Jordan’s intelligence services.
On another note, what the Houthis are doing is very impressive. They are not intimidated by saudis or their tools. In response to the massacre that took place last friday, the houthis have counterattacked by taking the fight to the south of the country.The saudis are between a rock and a hard place. If they attack the houthis, there will be counterattack . if they do not interfer militarilly, their puppet Hadi will be remove. Saudis are trying to get the west, egypt and probbably pakistan to deal with the houthis
Hope that the russians will play intelligently in the UN security council this time

March 24th, 2015, 4:51 pm


Poul said:


Living in a dream, right?

The Iraqi army collapsed and much booty was taken by IS. Tanks, Humvees, artillery and what not. Two divisions worth of supplies.

The Kurds ran away in fear like little girls. No surprise giving that only the PKK Kurds have recent combat experience. Kobani showed they could hold their ground.

Have you observed that the ONLY reason the Iraqi Kurds are able to advance ever so slowly is because of US air support. IS have no air support and they wipe the floor with the Kurds. Same situation in Tikrit where a few hundreds IS soldiers are keeping 20,000 Shia troops at bay. That speaks of a major difference in military skill.

Bombing Assad in Syria is only going to help Al Nusra and IS, so why is that a better option for the USA? Remove a local secular dictator and replaced him with religious extremists who cut the heads of Americans and any Syrian infidels they can find.
How is that sound policy?

And no, bombs don’t give any influence on who will take over power afterwards as Libya shows. You are basically arguing for Al Nusra and IS to take over Syria if you destroy the Syrian Army’s resources. On top of that you will be in breach of international law by not having a UN mandat to attack. Try getting the Russians to vote “yes”.

Let face it you cannot bomb Assad into making peace with Al Nusra and IS and vice versa. They are mortal enemies. And they represent the three most effective military fractions in Syria.

March 25th, 2015, 5:29 am


Alan said:

True, but all the situation done by pentagon planers. You can’t deny the fact that planning in America is a game of war and spread chaos and terror deployment to achieve the goals

March 25th, 2015, 8:36 am


hectopod said:

I observe the events in the Middle East from an European distance but with great interest. Having read all the comments here I cannot help noticing one thing: most of the commentators claim that they know the local situation better than their opponents and they all differ from each other thoroughly. If everybody is correct here, then how many Middle Easts are there? At the same time most of the commentators, again, seem to agree completely with each other what Americans, far from them, are thinking. Now two journalists have done their research and they are presenting their results. This is a journalistic generalisation but still based on empirical evidence.

Another thing. How many commentators here agree that a society can be organised not only as a national state or a dictatorship? The third way which the Syrian Kurds are practicing, a system following a local community pattern, not some central nationalist or dictatorial pressure, has passed completely unnoticed by this group of commentators so far.

Am I doing very big injustice saying that most commentators here prefer to talk about what they like or understand and ignore what seems alien or unpleasant to them?

March 29th, 2015, 10:09 pm


Post a comment