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Syria Updates this Diwali - Arindam Mukherjee

The funny thing about the Kurdish affair and this space is that each update links itself to the earlier one on the same topic. A week or ten days ago I had hazarded a guess about a reconciliation between Syria and Syriac Kurds; and more than that, the emergence of Putin as The Dealmaker. [Most of it went unnoticed; except the regular few that click on Heartland Analyst. A little warm feeling was when an eminent political economist from the UK sent me a personal WA message saying he never thought that ‘that’ (the reconciliation) was a possibility.] That piece, I had linked with an update on the Kurds that I scribbled about 2 years ago. And, looks like this one’s going to be linked with the last one. So here we go.

Turkey wanted a 440 km buffer zone. They have got about a third of it; the rest of it remains with Syria. Uncle-begaani-shaadi-mein-diwana-Scrooge took to the twitter about an emphatic deal that was a result of his decision to pull out the troops; we know that it was the 22nd Oct meeting between Sultan and Putin in Sochi that was the real deal. The details that have come out so far are sketchy. That this is gonna be an incredibly complicated deal is anyone’s guess. But you gotta give it to the man; and his unbelievable luck. I mean Scrooge. He decides to up and move without the first clue, and as the world keeps dreading a mega-massacre of the Kurds, the man – confident that his ‘sanctions’ would scare the shit out of Turkey – struts around completely assured about the outcome. And now, link that with the recent announcement from Sultan that his pet Peace Spring is over: what would you think. Devil’s luck, I kid you not.

Back to Syria-Turkey border; there would not be blanket Turk Army; there would be joint patrols. Putin realizes that Turkey feels threatened because of the Kurdish irregulars, and Turks realize that they need to stop shelling and behave; Damascus and Ankara would get to sit and decide, under Russia’s guidance, the patrolling and control pattern of northern Syria. There are many sub-points, you can look them up on the net. I think Putin aims at a) keeping Syria Turkey border issue their bilateral affair; and b) stalling Uncle’s plan for Kurdistan – if there ever was any. The Kurds have been asked to patch up with Assad. Not left with many options, they are doing that. The Kurds of Turkey have been successfully separated off from the Syrian Kurds. Definitely not a permanent arrangement – but one that can be exploited quite well if you have smart people among your diplomatic ranks. This quick deal has enough material to keep Iran and Iraq relatively relieved about this round of the settling down of the Kurdish sentiments. ‘Relatively’ is the key word here.

A common knowledge among those with three-digit IQ is that Scrooge and his Generals don’t see eye to eye on anything at all. The pull-out – which is Scrooge’s idea and which got delayed initially because the generals had a decent working relation with the Kurds (they still have) – when happened, threw the ground open for a lot of fun as was visible immediately afterwards. That fun proceeded at such great speed (shelling and killing quickly moved towards an intervened status-quo, boundaries and pockets began getting agreed upon) that it made them realize that there was still food in the bin, the other dogs were waiting for them to move their ass out. That realization, and a strong Kurdish lobby in Uncleistan catalysed Uncle to have a quick change of heart and to get back to Syria again.

The latest is that Uncle is not gonna move out from the pocket where there is oil. And Uncle would try to work it out with the Sultan. So Uncle, in a bid to neutralize Putin’s importance in the Middle East have started digging and producing old prominent Kurds in exile, jail, or army barracks.  These are interesting characters with a lot of history, and they are being dangled in front of the Sultan to lure him to the table to talk. The larger idea of course is to wrestle Turkey back from Russian influence. More on that later.

My two personal takes: 1. No case is water-tight; there are always enough loose threads hanging. If you are creative enough, you can start weaving. And 2. The transition patches (think Pakistan and Turkey) are lucky dogs. They get rich by just existing, because across time there are always one or other state(s) with geostrategic ambitions that find them irresistible and shower them with ‘love’.

Happy Diwali.



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