The US will withdraw her troops from Syria. Will they really? – Let’s take Trump at his word, just for argument’s sake. Though in the meantime, RT reports that the withdrawal may be slower than anticipated, to allow Erdogan making his own “strategic arrangements”, while US troops depart. During his flash visit to the US troops in Iraq on Christmas Day, Mr. Trump already indicated that any US intervention – if necessary – would be launched from Iraq. Of course.
The US will not let go of such a strategic country with access to Four Seas, as promoted by President Bashar al-Assad, linking the Mediterranean, the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf into an energy network. Washington had the full dominion of Syria in mind as the pivotal country in the Middle East, already when Washington first attempted to “negotiate” with Bashar’s dad, Háfez al-Ásad, in the late 1990s, and then after his death in 2000, the secret gnomes of Washington continued the process of coercion with Háfez’s son and heir, Bashar. To no avail, as we know.
Therefore, the question, “Will Syria ever Become a “Normal” Country Again?” – sounds almost rhetorical. Syria is one of those predestined countries to “fall”, decided by the empire, of course, long before the ascension to the throne by Mr. Trump. Others include and are well outlined in the PNAC (Plan for a New American Century) – Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Sudan, Lebanon – and Iran. As we see, the plan is progressing nicely – and letting go of any of the ‘milestones’ within this plan – is simply not in the cards. Deviations are not tolerated. That’s presumably why James “Mad Dog” Mattis resigned as Secretary of Defense upon Trump’s announcement to withdraw from Syria. The Pentagon has its mandate, given by the Military Industrial Complex.
So, war or peace (and war it is) has become full spectrum Pentagon territory, not to be meddled with. It has nothing to do with terrorism, or saving the world from terrorism – it is pure and simple ´calcule’ for profit from the war machine, from stolen and confiscated oil and gas and, ultimately but not lastly, for full power dominance of the world. The Middle East is one of those focal points of the empire that needs to be plunged in eternal chaos. Peace is never an option. Unless empire falls. But until then, the Middle East is a multi-purpose ‘gold mine’, in terms of resources, a test ground for the East-West arms race, a terrain for almost endless destruction – and reconstruction – and a bottomless source of a continuous and destabilizing flow of refugees to Europe. It’s all planned. No human suffering is able to halt this project – and we can but hope that Russia and China see clear on this, that they won’t fall for promises of peace, for make-believe withdrawals, for lies and deceit.
Will Syria ever become a ‘normal’ country again? – I opt for yes. But empire must fall. And fall it will. It’s a question of time and maybe strategy? – For hundreds of years, the Kurds are an ethnicity of between 25 and 35 million people. They inhabit a mountainous region straddling the borders of Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and a tiny bit of Armenia. They make up the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East, but they have never obtained a permanent nation state. Wouldn’t this rearrangement of power in Syria due to the apparent US troop withdrawals be an opportunity to find a solution for the century old Kurdish “problem”?
President Assad might seize the opportunity to accept the Kurds ‘invitation’ to enter the city of Manbij, the current Kurdish stronghold in Syria. And this despite the fact that the Kurds have often fought against the Syrian military, either alongside the US / NATO forces or alongside ISIS. It’s time to rethink geopolitics in the Middle East, beginning with Syria. After all, Manbij is Syrian territory, and Turkey has no legitimate claim on any land within Syria. Except in the case of a possible land swap.
On these grounds Syria might want to initiate negotiations with Turkey, Iraq and Iran to finally establish within the borders of Syria and Iraq (and Iran, as it were), some kind of a Kurdish territory which might over time become a fully autonomous Kurdish Homeland, what today is already called, Kurdistan. Much like Israel was carved out of Palestine, except that Israel was an artificial creation, commanded by outside forces, with the specific purpose already 70 years ago to destabilize the region. Whereas Kurdistan would be a stabilizing factor, a natural process facilitated by the countries within the region.
There are, of course, other players with high stakes in this peace process, like Russia, Turkey and Iraq – and the two rogue nations, paradoxically bound together, Israel and Saudia Arabia. Two nations that have no right whatsoever to even come close to Syria. But they continue having US support, even with the apparent US withdrawal from Syria, or because of it, as they will now play the role of US proxies in fighting Mr. Assad’s legitimate regime.
Russia would most likely prefer no Turkish interference in Syria, for example the occupation of Manbij, but would rather see Syrian control of Syrian territory with negotiated land swap deals with neighboring countries, especially Turkey and Iraq, to bring eventually the Kurdish question to a solution. That is of course just the beginning. The easy part.
The current semi-offical Kurdistan is one of the oil richest territories of the region. At present these oil resources are divided more or less along the border divisions of Kurdistan, i.e. Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. For these countries hydrocarbon is a key factor in their economy. Therefore, the creation of an autonomous region within Syria, Iraq and Iran, called Kurdistan, might require not only an honest process and equitable division of the Black Gold, but also a withdrawal of Trukey from Kurdistan, i.e. through a land swap. The development towards a sovereign Kurdistan – no time frame might at this point be suggested – would require Kurdish concessions. In other words, peace and homeland have a price. However, this price will never even come close to the benefits of independence and peace.
At present, Kurdistan’s oil reserves are estimated at 45 billion gallon, almost a third of Iraq’s total untapped 150 billion gallons of petrol. The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), with her capital, Erbil in Iraq (pop. about 900,000), would of course prefer becoming an independent state. But that is just not going to happen out of the blue. Therefore, peace in the region and a Kurdish Homeland is worth a negotiated land and petrol concession. And when would be a better moment for such thoughts and negotiations than NOW?
There are other signs that Syria is in the process of becoming a “normal” country again. The re-opening of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) embassy in Syria, may be considered a major public step to welcoming Bashar al-Assad back into the fold of the Arab League, from which it was banned at the beginning of the 2011 CIA induced war on Mr. Assad’s government. Bahrain has also announced it will reopen shortly diplomatic relations with Damascus. Is this move by the UAE and Bahrain the first step of a new “Arab solidarity”? – In any case, it signals a new recognition of Syria under President Assad.
With Syria becoming a fully autonomous and sovereign country again, where diplomatic missions are being re-established and where refugees return to help rebuild their nation, and where a new Kurdistan, may just be the dot bringing peace and stability to the region. Though that may succeed only without any Atlantist interference – being handled only as a regional project.
A last thought for those who are shaking their heads in disbelief, because of the political and economic volatility of Kurdistan, due to her exorbitant oil riches which are currently spread among four countries – listen! – peak oil is a thing of the past. Hydrocarbons are rather rapidly being replaced as key energy provider by alternative sources of energy, of which the Middle East also has plenty, but which cannot be stolen – solar energy. The East, foremost China, is rapidly developing new and more efficient ways of transferring sun light into electricity, with the appropriate storage technology that may make it possible to largely face out hydrocarbons within the next generation.
Hence, the momentum is NOW – US troop withdrawals – to create a stabilizing Kurdistan and make Syria a “normal country again.
Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. After working for over 30 years with the World Bank he penned Implosion, an economic thriller, based on his first-hand experience. Exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”