By Daniel Greenfield at Front Page:
This is an interesting development. Assad is in no shape to do anything about it right now and is hoping that the various Sunni Jihadist groups begin pressing down harder on the Kurds to give him some breathing room.
Considering that Turkey is terrified of Kurdish autonomy and is backing the Sunni forces, that is inevitable. But Iraq, Assad’s Shiite ally, also has a serious Kurdish autonomy problem. But then again it also has a serious Sunni Jihadist problem too.
If Assad makes a full comeback, no Kurdish autonomous state is likely to survive for long. It might be different with American backing, but that won’t come. Not under Obama.
Following a series of military gains, Syrian Kurds in the northeast of the country announced on Tuesday the formation of a transitional autonomous government.
The latest declaration comes amid a general strengthening of Kurdish rights in neighboring Turkey, and increasing moves towards independence by Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.
Long oppressed under Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his father before him, Kurds view the civil war as an opportunity to gain the kind of autonomy enjoyed by their ethnic kin in neighboring Iraq.
The announcement was made after talks in the mostly-Kurdish town of Qamishli, and comes after Kurdish leaders announced plans to create the temporary government in July.
Kurdish regions of northern Syria have been administered by local Kurdish councils since forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad withdrew in the middle of 2012.
The redeployment was seen as a tactical move by the regime, one which freed up forces to battle rebels elsewhere, and encouraged the Kurds to avoid allying with the opposition.
A Kurdish state across parts of what used to be Iraq, Syria and Turkey is still probably a fantasy, but Kurds have been one of the biggest beneficiaries of American foreign policy; though unintentionally.
The Iraq War and the extended violence afterward, backed by Syria, gave Iraqi Kurds the breathing room to become a success. Now the Arab Spring has likewise made it possible for the Kurds to carve up a piece of Syria. And if Erdogan manages to tear apart Turkey, the Kurds might just be 3 for 3.
by Robert Hatem and Mark Dohrmann
Middle East Quarterly
Fall 2013, pp. 49-58 (view PDF)