An easier way is to protect Russia’s interest to maintain control over their gas interests and ports in Syria, protect allies, have compromises, and bring international support for a new Syrian confederation.
FP: What are your thoughts on how the Obama administration has handled it thus far?
Abbas: The administration has failed in leadership, and failed in preventing human lives from being saved by doing nothing, and has instead enabled more violence, and has encouraged the regime to slaughter and kill more people. The regime has killed the Syrian people, and the administration should have been more proactive in supporting regime change while finding true groups that can work together and in working with Russia on protecting its interests after Assad. The Syrian regime learned that the U.S. was all talk and not action-oriented. It is a disaster for the Syrian people.
In 2003 when Saddam was gone, Assad was so afraid of the U.S., and then the Kurds and others in Syria stood up and protested in the 2004 Kurdish uprising, while a few people were killed and injured compared to now. The Syrian people want change, and hopefully the U.S. will provide leadership. But until then, thousands of people are getting killed.
FP: Shed some light on the Obama-Erdogan Alliance and the dangers it poses.
Abbas: Obama and Erdogan show a lot of public respect for each other in Istanbul and Ankara, which promotes their concept of “moderates,” but it’s not moderate when a system is slaughtering Kurds and others. Their relationship does not serve the Kurdish people nor democracy.
The PKK is not the answer, but 25-30 million Kurds don’t have rights in Turkey. Erdogan managed to purport to Europeans that he is a moderate; he tried to use the Turkish platform, but the people deserve their rights and Kurds in Turkey have no rights and he is threatening Syrian Kurds.
Sunni-Arabs are being supported as a result of the alliance, but their interest is energy in Syria and the Middle East so that they can dictate oil or energy prices and distribution into Europe.
President Obama shouldn’t be enabling them in these areas. Obama does believe that they are moderate Muslims, but they are not. A true moderate treats fellow people right, and doesn’t slaughter minorities like Kurds.
The best thing is for the U.S. to divest from this relationship, and put down a road-map to federalism that will not show any threats to Turkey, does not support Iran, and does not support the Muslim Brotherhood. In other words, don’t subcontract American foreign policy to Turkey, instead institute a new democratic policy for Syria.
FP: Crystallize for us the problems of a unified Syria and what Syrian Kurdish autonomy would look like.
Abbas: The Syrian Kurdish region is not like Iraq, because Iraq did not solve the Kurdish problem until now. The Kurdish region of Syria is not necessarily under Kurdish control. There are parts that have been Arabized, the northwest coastal region/Kurdish Mountain area, but should be part of the Kurdish region. If you refer to the demographic map (above), the north up to the coast is our area. We want federalism, as in a federal government of Syria involving multiple federations as Sunni, Alawite, and Kurd. The Kurds would also be part of the central government with joint leadership.
The U.S. should not falsely talk about developing a coalition, as it cannot bridge gaps by selecting Syrian leaders that Americans want. Coalition is about finding people who work together based on what they want and a workable solution. Sometimes not all sides will agree, but it’s important to see a compromise for all. If all the groups want a decentralized government, then it is important for Kurds to be vocal in support of their fellow Syrian compatriots. We suffered too much for too long and cannot wait 50 more years to find out that we have a failed state again.
FP: Sherkoh Abbas, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.
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