Happy With Nobody
Michael Weiss links to a piece from August about some of the situation on the ground for civilians; stuff that can get lost in the geopolitics. In particular, it looks at protests in the Deir ez-Zur region against the SDF and how the SDF have (not) addressed the subject, and tensions (exploitation) within the Kurd dominated military and government.
Chatham House: Protests in Deir Ezzor: Causes and Main Demands
On the far western front, in Idlib, the people sound like they fucking hate everybody at this point. They are just so beyond fed up. With good cause; it seems that every force in the region has blown something up in their backyard and they’ve been occupied and had their occupation replaced several times by different forces in the last decade. Like, they went from being under Assad’s Arab Stalinist regime to being conquered by ISIS, and the SDF pushed out ISIS, and then the SNA seizes the area from the SDF, and then even one local al-Qaeda SNA militia lets an ISIS leader hang out so the USA blows the shit that you’d been displaced for these assholes to build their compounds up. Plus they’ve gotten bombed by Russia the whole time. People are living in caves and shit. They’re pissed.
Edit: As I was saying-this just came out:
SOHR: In conjunction with targeting vital facilities in Idlib countryside .. more than 50 airstrikes pound “Putin – Erdogan” area
Edit2: Just to round things out, here’s a piece on the situation on the ground in Turkish (backed forces) occupied Ras al-Ayn.
SOHR: In Ras al-Ayn, factions of the “National Army” continue their violations against civilians and attempts to intimidate the remaining population amid catastrophic bread and water crisis
A Tale of… How Many Policies?
So this is interesting: utterly scathing Jerusalem Post piece shredding the US state department and policy. I double checked to see if I actually had the source right.
Jerusalem Post: U.S. State Dept. hopes Turkey will help with Iran
Turkish President Erdogan to visit Washington on November 13.
A lot of it is clearly accurate factually, and a lot of it really checks out. And it’s a good read.
They build on what others have said in stating that the Iran-hawk faction is also pro-Turkey, and they ultimately want to work with Turkey to stem Iranian influence.
Wanting to work with Turkey, then, is the missing piece to why the US has abandoned the Kurdish dominated SDF, and now is working in a plan to recreate them around the Arab units within SDF, particularly those who are already in the southeast Deir ez-Zur region.
This all makes sense. However, it is inconsistent with some other stuff that makes sense. And nothing seems to explain everything, i.e. the empirical situation of US deployment.
But then the piece also, in great frustration, says this:
The US is trying to secure oil fields but the State Department doesn’t know about or care about this mission. As usual with Syrian policy the State Department conducts one foreign policy and the Pentagon another and the White House a third policy. So the State Department tells reporters to ask the Defense Department what is happening with the oil fields near Rmeilan in northeast Syria. That’s Pentagon territory. But the State Department and James Jeffrey, the Syria envoy and anti-ISIS envoy, does care about the anti-ISIS campaign, so they note that the oil fields might be anchor for the anti-ISIS fight and the “legal basis for our military to be there in northeast Syria in the first place with our local SDF allies.” The SDF needs the oil. The US State Department has no guidance on what to do with the oil though.
They’re basically confirming and explaining the factions within the administration with their differing goals, requiring different strategy and tactics.
It’s a really good, highly informed rant in some ways. Highly recommend.
Meanwhile, groups on the ground underneath the SDF continue to appeal to the international community to help. To the extent that the JPost piece is accurate, it’s not hard to understand why.
I still haven’t seen any report that anyone on the Trump administration has anything resembling a plan about what to do with the Kurdish military, which is tens of thousands of people.
Well, not counting Erdogan, I mean.