A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Syria's Kurds Going Their Own Way; Turkey Concerned

PKK (left) and KRG (top) flags join a Syrian rebel flag
As Syrian regime forces have pulled back from the Kurdish regions of northeast Syria along the borders with Turkey, local Kurds have broken out Kurdish flags — that of the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq and that of the PKK, the radical movement of Turkish Kurds. Josh Landis' Syria Comment has a collection of articles,  and this piece at Al-Monitor goes into some detail.

Regional and ethnic interests are asserting themselves all over Syria, and Syrian Kurds have major grievances,including th fqct that for many years large numbers were denied Syrian nationality. But the presence of the PKK in the mix at a time when Turkey is, by default, the main external cheerleader and supply source for the rebels, really tosses fuel on the fire. A quasi-independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq has been tough enough for Turkey to swallow; a link between the KRG and Syrian Kurds raises the stakes considerably.

The volatile mix of Israel, Iran, Hizbullah, the Gulf Arab States and Turkey in the Syrian mix was already alarming. Now there's a Kurdish element too.

What could possibly go wrong?

1 comment:

David Mack said...

Kurdish history is rife with examples of Kurdish nationalists overplaying their hands. This is bad news for the Syrian opposition in the short term and bad news for Syrian Kurds in the long run.