Will U.S. include PKK in anti-ISIS coalition?

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By: Guy Swan

U.S. pundits and politicians alike expect the U.S. to make conciliatory gestures toward the Kurdistan Work’s Party (PKK) and in particular, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) –Syrian version of the PKK.  The U.S. is looking for help but not finding it in its fight against IS, the Islamic State.  Not one country in the Middle East or from around the world has agreed to commit their ground forces.  The U.S believes that arming and training the Syrian moderates is their most expedient course of action. 

The Syrian moderates can help themselves while helping the U.S fulfill two of their three goals of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, as stated yesterday by the Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Wendy Sherman.  These goals (although not necessarily in this order) are defeating violent extremists, ending Syria’s civil war and stopping Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  It is, to say the least, a convenient arrangement for both sides concerning the first two items on the list. 

But the Syrian moderates and U.S. air power alone are not enough to win the war.  President Obama is depending on the Iraqis; however, that government is considered unstable and its army’s performance on the battle field has been less than stellar.

Other than the moderate Syrians, who else will comprise this all-inclusive coalition that the Obama administration keeps referring to?

The only armies on the ground with a proven track record are the Kurds.  A combination of the combined Kurdish ground forces and American air power could prove an unstoppable force, yet the Americans are reluctant to approach the Kurds, at least publicly.

Since 1997, the U.S. has listed the PKK as a terrorist group.  This was, and still is, a move to placate Turkey.  However, the PKK has not in its history threatened any U.S. interest.

Turkey an official NATO country is, solely by extension, an ally of the U.S.  Nonetheless, the former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, Francis Ricciardone, said last week that Turkey supports the al-Qaida-affiliated al-Nusra Front in Syria.  Which, according to Turkey’s own standards, is a terrorist organization with an ideology that reflects that of al-Qaida.

Furthermore, Turkey is accused by some states of funding and training IS (ISIS,ISIL) in Turkey.

It should be noted that the U.S. State Department denies any knowledge of any state supporting IS.  But in a similar context, General Dempsey, the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, when asked about IS supporters, said that he was aware that some governments are supporting the Islamic State.

On Thursday General Dempsey told the Associated Press that arming the Syrian Kurds (YPG) is a possibility.  As of yet there has been no mention of the possibility of arming the PKK, but it would stand to reason that the first step in that process would be to declassify the PKK as a terrorist group.

Opinions do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of ARA News. 

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