Rod Reuven Dovid Bryant and Jerry Gordon bring back Diliman Abdulkader, director of the Kurdistan Project of the Washington, DC – based Endowment for Middle East Truth to review the current status of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Force and Council given developments in the northeastern region and hearings in Washington, DC. At issue is will the US honor its commitments to protect this ally in the wake of the hard-fought campaign against self- proclaimed ISIS caliphate in Syria and threats from Turkey to establish so-called safe zones in the Kurdish control area. Diliman cites the inconclusive US withdrawal plans that appears to maintain a presence of between 400 to 1,000 US forces in the al-Tanf area in southern Syria and the flashpoint of the Arab city of Manbij on the west bank of the Euphrates. There have been a series of bombings in Manbij, that Diliman says are unclear as to whether they were perpetrated by ISIS or jihadist allies of Turkey, like the so-called Free Syrian Army. Erdogan’s threats to invade the Kurdish -controlled northeastern region of Syria Diliman said are opposed by Kurdish, Arab and minority Christian communities. Diliman noted the recent report of the Syrian Study Group presented to the US Senate found the Trump withdrawal plan would undermine the US commitments in Syria drawing attention to the detention of thousands of ISIS foreign fighters and their families. He also brought up the several proposals for international tribunals to prosecute ISIS fighters for possible repatriation ad incarceration in home countries. Moreover, there is concern over the deepening Iranian encroachment in Syria that has engendered Israeli attacks. Diliman noted that the ISIS threats remain active in both Syria and Iraq where attacks have been made in the Kurdish regional area agricultural communities. He also noted the letter signed by 79 US Senators and 303 Congressional Representatives that questioned the wisdom of the Trump withdrawal plan threatening allies like Israel and the Kurds, further requesting pressure by the Administration on both Russia and Iran on the latter’s activities and those of its proxy Hezbollah. Diliman noted the recent appearance of US Envoy to Syria and Turkey James Jeffries before the US House Foreign Affairs committee, Jeffries appears to favor some form of compromise with Turkey with its interests in Kurdish controlled Syria. Diliman cited the record of Turkey’s oppression and record of human rights violations of the Kurdish enclave of Afrin building a wall around the city of Afrin and removal of several hundred Kurdish prisoners from the area. Diliman noted that one of the factors behind the call for formation of a European Army by France and Germany may have to do with finding a way to exclude Turkey, impossible under the current NATO charter. He is very concerned about the current standoff between the US and Iran impact on Iraqi Kurdistan as reflected in a National Interest article of his. He concluded that the betrayal of the September 2017 Independence referendum, the KRG might ‘lie low’ if a conflict erupted between the US and Iran. This follows a pattern of abandonment of Kurdish aspirations by the West. Diliman is very concerned about the Russian offer to sell Iraq an S-400 system, that would threaten both US and Israel security interests in Syria and Iraq. That is compounded by Iranian supply of long-range rockets and missiles to the Hashd al Shaabi Shi’ite Popular Mobilization Units.
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