Interesting and provocative read!
btw: we aren't talking "Syria's Kurds" the militias are chock full of PKK aka Turkey's Kurds
Atlantic Council- The Kurds and the future of Assad
PKK fighters returned to Syria during the civil war. Jordi Tejel, an expert on Syrian Kurds says, “already in April 2011 the PKK sent one thousand armed fighters to establish the YPG in Syria.
The PYD’s militia, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), created by former PKK fighters....
Rudaw piece authored by: Paul Davis is a retired US Army military intelligence analyst and a consultant to the American intelligence community specializing in the Middle East with a concentration on Kurdish affairs. Currently he is the President of the consulting firm JANUS Think in Washington D.C.
Ties nicely in with this news: US Moves f-15's to Syria
F-15Cs are armed with only air-to-air weaponry, making the plane unnecessary in operations against ISIS, which doesn't have a functioning air element. Instead, the jets could have one of two purposes in the region — they could either be used to help protect Turkey's border against periodic incursions by Syrian jets and helicopters.In plain talk the F-15's may be used to protect the NATO created, "greater Israel" expansion/ally, inevitable terror state - Kurdistan.
Or, under certain circumstances, the F-15Cs could be used to help counter Russian activity over Syria. A hypothetical no-fly zone over northern Syria near the Turkish border, for instance, would have to be maintained using planes that could enforce the zone against both Russian and Syrian aircraft.
One of my commenters had asked?
AnonymousNovember 4, 2015 at 5:44 AMPerhaps the US/NATO tyrants are going to try a 'no fly' zone to protect their Kurdish terrorists ? Oh yes, the YPG/PKK are indeed NATO backed terrorists. Armed and backed by NATO/US/Israel. Fighting against the SAA. Ethnically cleansing both the Kurd and non Kurd Syrian populace, burning their homes, stealing their property and raping women. Calling in airstrikes to kill civilians etc., These terrorists have done it all.
My blog is not a place for NATO disinfo spreaders- So the reality of the NATO/Kurd terrorism has always been addressed here! In literally 100's of posts going back years.
Let's move on to the Rudaw piece:
Russia’s foray into Syria is one of opportunism delivered to them by a leadership vacuum created by the west. The stated intent is to fight ISIS, however the real victims of this will likely be the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Syrian Kurds in the short term.Ironically the NATO supported Kurdish state puts Erdogan & Assad in the same position. Each leader facing the destruction of their nation's territorial integrity. Bet all the Erdogan bashers hadn't considered that reality?
It has been 45 years since the Soviet Union intervened in the Middle East. In 1970, during the war of attrition, the Soviets sent men and equipment to support the Egyptian army in an ongoing fight in the Sinai. Now Russia is moving in to fill a new void. Then, as now, one of the main objectives is to show the flag and secure concessions from client states as well as the west. Now, unlike then, there does not appear to be any western constraints on Russian ambition. The introduction of Russian forces and equipment can very quickly turn the tide of battle in favor of the Assad regime. Currently the Syrian forces, supported by Iran, have fought various opposition groups including the YPG and the FSA while both of these are also engaged fighting ISIS.
From the military perspective Russian interest in the Levant has always been to maintain a warm water port for a Mediterranean fleet. Politically they will have a leverage point in the region added to the support they gave to Iran during the 5+1 talks on the nuclear deal.
Western response has been muted other than Secretary Kerry and Secretary Ashton Carter contacting their opposites in Russia and President Obama calling the move a mistake. Europe shows signs of acquiescence hoping that cooperation with Russia will end the flow of refugees into the EU. Many are hoping that Russian forces can stem the tide of ISIS and end that nightmare with direct action the west is unwilling to provide.
The problem with this analysis is it ignores the fact that ISIS is not the only enemy of Assad and not even the first. While ISIS remains the number one enemy in the eyes of the west it does not threaten Russia other than its attacks on Syrian population centers which destabilized Assad. Russia has maintained a naval presence in Syria since the days of the cold war. The base in Tartus serves as a logistical and support depot. The new build-up is taking place at the port city of Latakia whose airfield is being used to support a number of Russian fighter jets as well as men and equipment.
On the question of how far this build-up will go and what the end state is requires an analysis of the equipment. While most aircraft are ground support type there have also been reports of SU-35 Flanker fighters, the most advanced in the Russian arsenal. The Russians have also deployed SS-21 Surface to Air (SAM) units. This last must be questioned as none of Assad’s opponents possess any type of aircraft. The rest, T-90 tanks and Armored Personnel Carriers, are consistent with a ground campaign.The Kurds a functioning threat to the Assad government, same as in Turkey. Oh my!
Should all this build-up be for the sole purpose of defeating ISIS then the world will rejoice, but nothing is ever as it seems. Assad is a pariah among nations only supported by Russia and Iran. The call for Assad to step down preceded ISIS as a menace. Calls now to accept a long term phase out of Assad to be replaced by another member of the Alawite sect should be a non-starter in any negotiated peace. It would mean very little to the Russians who ends up in charge of Syria, as long as they retain their base(s) and political leverage. The easiest way right now would be to ensure a victorious and compliant Assad. This would require the removal of threats to Assad and his government. The three threats of course are ISIS, the FSA and the Kurds.
There is some analysis that says Iran does not want ISIS defeated, just contained, in order to justify continued Iranian presence in the region. Iran and Russia are joined in this fight. The FSA is a small threat to Assad but is disorganized, infiltrated and basically dysfunctional. Without continued support from the west and assistance of the YPG they will have very little chance of success. Which brings us to the Kurds who are a functioning threat to the regime. With increasing success and continuing western support the Syrian Kurds have pushed ISIS back and are on the brink of their capitol Raqqa.
The Syrian forces fighting for Assad have rarely engaged ISIS, they are more involved fighting FSA in Idilb and the FSA, YPG and Sunni Militias in Aleppo. Idilb and Aleppo are much closer to the new Russian base than any of the ISIS locations. The question now becomes how Russian forces will define terrorist and enemies of Assad. As we have seen when Turkey joined the fight against ISIS their more immediate goal was the PKK.Thinking about the F-15's
The biggest question will be to what extent the west, mostly the US, is willing to support their allies (Kurdish militias) against Russian aggression. Should Russian Close Air Support (CAS) aircraft appear over FSA or YPG positions, protected by Russian fighter aircraft, will the west engage in aerial combat? Should Russian tanks and combat forces begin to engage anti-Assad forces will the west support their allies with CAS missions as they do today against ISIS? Sadly I believe the answer will be no, at least at this point in time.
The threat of military action by the west is seen as an empty one by Russia. Russia saw the weakness during the episode of Syria’s use of chemical weapons. Russia quickly negated the military option. The west will now, as then, resort to a long drawn out diplomatic response which may result in a negotiated settlement, but by then the Kurds and other anti-Assad forces will have been badly degraded if not completely defeated.Well, please do share some relevant thoughts about this article?
Considering the movement of the planes? Consider the massive weapons drops to Kurds in Syria's north? Consider the benefit to Israel from the creation of Kurdistan? Think about the recent win by Erdogan and why the 'west' seems so upset with it? How might this all play out?
Don't miss two earlier posts!