Analysis - Ibrahim Al-Shammari
Distorted federalism… Al-Assad's idea to pressure on Arabs
Historically, the Syrian regime supported the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) against Turkey and supported the Kurds in northern Iraq against Saddam Hussein. Therefore, Syria, every now and then, was receiving Kurdish leaders in Syria (Öcalan, Barzani and Talabani). The Syrian regime helped facilitate the activity of the Kurdish parties in Syria, reserving the Arab component which it deemed clashing and questionable about its loyalty. Thousands of the Arab component are still locked in its prisons because of this charge, and most probably have been eliminated all.
Kurdish parties and narrow mindedness
The military security of the Syrian regime is responsible for the file of Kurdish parties in Qamishli. It establishes good relations with these parties, causing splits in their rows to reach 50 parties.
Kurdish parties in Syria are divided into two blocs:
A- The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK): Its reference is Abdullah Öcalan (Kurdish-Alawite), most of its leaders are Kurdish Alawite. It has a pro-Syrian military force (the Syrian Democratic Forces), promotes a self-management project and uses dubious names from other components to polish its image, despite its grave violations and massacres against civilians who oppose its suspicious project.
B- The Kurdish National Council: This group promotes among its supporters the draft of the experience of the Iraqi Kurds. They are falsely attributed to Barzani who is a basic reference to them and this is reflected in their speech, which tries to repeat the speech of the Kurds of Iraq in full without taking into account the contradiction between the Kurdish minority reality in Syria and northern Iraq where the Kurds are a majority.
It turns out to us that Barzani and Öcalan are still the main references for the Kurds of Syria. Since the inception of their activity in 1957, the Syrian Kurdish parties have failed to establish in Syria a reference that is independent from the Kurds of Iraq or Turkey, but rather remained fragmented parties which multiply by getting divided. Each bloc tries to apply the experience of its reference whether in Iraq or in Turkey to the Syrian reality.
As much as the anger of Syrians in 2004 due to the US occupation of Iraq, optimism prevailed among the Kurds in Syria due to the U.S presence which was supported by the Kurdish leaders in Iraq to facilitate their mission. Thus, pro-slogans were raised during the 2004 events in Qamishli and other slogans were raised saluting Bush whom they dubbed "Buffy Azad", which means in Arabic "The Father of Freedom". They also attacked a myriad of Arab civilians, schools and some government departments, destroyed their contents and burned the Syrian flag. This all increased tensions, congestion and negative impression of the Kurds.
The regime, in turn, did not miss the opportunity to increase the rift and exploit the situation. It made use of some Arab impulsive furious youth who gathered in dozens and collectively drove cars to the downtown, carrying some machine guns in a parade that the authorities expressed satisfaction with. This was intensified even further by security's incitement of some inferiors in these groupings to break into a building in the center of the market that included cell phones market. They destroyed the contents of more than twenty stores in that building and looted them, which caused major harm to owners of stores.
Rebellion breaks out
The Syrian rebellion unmasked further fragmentation among the Kurdish parties. With the entry of the Kurdish parties, the images of the leaders of the parties, their flags and national slogans began to dominate the streets in the Kurdish demonstrations after the Arabs withdrew in independent demonstrations that raised the flag and slogans of the revolution. Thus, the Syrian rebellion went through major repression by the regime apparatus in Qamishli, in contrast to the demonstrations by the Kurdish parties, especially the PKK groups which took part with the Syrian regime in sharing and exchanging roles in the Governorate and controlling it and repressing the peaceful movement of the Arabs, and the Kurdish movement appeared fragile.
Replicating the Iraqi experience
The Kurdish parties are trying to replicate the Kurdish experience in Iraq without taking into account the radical difference between the Kurdish reality in Iraq and its Syrian counterpart in all respects, especially (demographic, geographical and historical). It is strange that the Kurdish nationalists are giving and taking this subject and attributing it entirely to the Chauvinism revival policy aimed at Arabizing, as they claim, the Kurdish areas, to justify the Kurdization of the region by circulating terms such as "Kurdish region" and "Lands with Kurdish majority. Then, they intensify the use of "Western Kurdistan" after the outbreak of the Syrian revolution as a sign of (Al-Hasakah) and part of Aleppo, to the extent that all the Kurdish parties have changed their internal systems or radically updated their political vision to use the same record and the focused propaganda that Kurdistan was divided into four sections, and part of it (Al-Hasakah, the northern Aleppo countryside) was annexed to Syria under the Sykes-Picot Agreement, without any historical or objective evidence of this allegation or without even finding a reference to that in the Sykes-Picot Agreement.
The irrational introduction of the Kurdish parties aims to mobilize the masses and form a popular base through a popular discourse based on the tone of national passion and imaginations and is never based on facts or scientific evidence and realistic reading, a matter that we can call the unlimited legendary fabrication. The calamity lies in the approval by the minds of non-Kurdish Arabs and Syrians as well.
The Syrian and "Kurdistani" regimes sponsor the Kurdish demonstrations and suppress the Arab ones
The Kurdish situation in Syria is totally different from Iraq or Turkey as there is no such thing as Syrian Kurdistan, neither politically nor geographically.
Kurdish claims began to appear in the last quarter of the twentieth century without pretexts or historical documents but their saying that they live on their historical land in Kurdistan, which was captured and annexed to Syria under Sykes-Picot treaty, which divided the Greater Kurdistan!.
The “Sifr” agreement is also of great interest to Kurdish politicians in any discussion. Reviewing these agreements will prove that a claim of the size of a Kurdish national homeland in Syria is merely a big lie without evidence or basis in the international agreements declared by the Kurdish politicians in Syria. The texts of the agreements are well known and available for all and the agreements do not make any part of Kurdistan in Syria, and the Western world, especially France, knows this fact. It also knows the history of modern Syria, its components and history, but it cares only about its interests and tries to keep the East weak, warring and divided.
The Kurdish media propaganda exaggerates the state of oppression they suffered, and uses the ready-made charges against those who reject their discourse, especially if he is an Arab, and he is sometimes accused of being a "B’athist" or "Chauvinist" and finally the most popular accusation is "Daeshi".
Despite the media aura which the Kurds obtained, especially after their cooperation and fighting under the banner of the United States of America, in addition to the false promotion of the existence of a Kurdish region through an unprecedented Arab and international media coverage, the propaganda of the Kurdish parties depends deliberately on distortion and counterfeiting at the highest levels, and this is unfortunately and scandalously done, ignoring historical facts and scientific approach, even if it is within the scope of modern history.
The speeches, statements and internal regulations of the Kurdish parties always repeat the following phrase: "Kurdish people are genuine people living on their historic land, our demands are federalism, Kurdish national rights, autonomy for the Kurds, the Kurdish regions and Western Kurdistan, the Greater Kurdistan, etc."
If we know that the Kurdish Democratic Party, which used the term "Iraqi Kurdistan", also used the term "Kurdish people in Syria", (Statement of the Central Committee of the Kurdish Democratic Party on 13/11/1964), and this indicates that there is no Syrian Kurdistan in their minds before the Syrian revolution, and it is even clear from the Kurdish sources and documents themselves that the term «Syrian Kurdistan» is a temporary term that actually has no basis.
The term «Kurdish areas» - in reference to the Syrian Al-Jazeera region, in particular, in addition to “Afrin” and “Ain Al-Arab” - began to appear since the beginning of the Syrian revolution, and the term took its way to the media through a large media infusion practiced by Kurds who appeared to be clinging to achieving a Kurdish national dream in Syria.
The ambitions of the Kurdish parties are increasing steadily as the international community gives them greater importance. The Kurdish parties discussed a map that represents the areas that must be annexed to the Kurdish regions. “Al-Hasakah, Ain Al-Arab and Afrin” are areas that the Democratic Union Party called “Cantons” and said that these areas enjoy self-administration and these areas or "Cantons" are common areas inhabited by Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Armenians, Turkmens and other sects, and they do not constitute a Kurdish majority as they are an immigrant minority. Moreover, these areas are not connected and are separated by thousands of Arab towns and villages. The separating Arab regions represent three folds of the regions under the project of self-administration. The question of securing "safe corridors" between these cantons is an excuse that the Kurdish parties have naively used to annex all the territories that separate these cantons to call them all “Syrian Kurdistan”.
To sum up, there is nothing in Syria that is called Kurdish cities, cantons or provinces, and the media promotion of the existence of Kurdish areas is merely a lie, refuted by reality and historical facts, whether in terms of history, demography or geography.
The Kurdish discourse is divided between the demands of national rights, which soon become a demand for federalism, while other parties ask for self-rule, but all parties agree on a phrase propagated by the media (In areas with a Kurdish majority), and this is completely ungrounded, as their numbers, according to all the neutral studies conducted by Syrian activists and according to the number of their villages and regions, do not exceed 26% in the province of Al-Hasakah, for example.
The announcement of the Union Democratic Party of applying federalism in the areas it controlled in northern Syria, including areas where the regime is still present and a major player such as Hasakah governorate, has sparked a wave of protests among Syrians. These protests can be translated through the stance of the Syrians who rejected federalism and who took part in the demonstrations that declared their rejection of these proposals.
The federalism proposed is, of course, a distorted system, as a unilateral Kurdish project on a part of Syria, because it did not take into account the overwhelming Arab majority there and was not presented as a national umbrella project. On the other hand, proposing federalism in a simple state such as Syria contradicts the experiences of all countries of the world that adopted federalism as a system for governing.
The main obstacles facing federalism are not geographical ones. The Kurds are distributed along the narrow border with Turkey and in three separate areas, namely (Al-Hasakah, Ain Al-Arab and Afrin). These regions are separated from each other by large areas, populated by Arabs and some Turkmens. However, there is another shocking fact that represents the biggest stumbling block in the demographic project, namely the demographic structure of these areas which confirms that the Kurds do not constitute a majority even in the regions they claim, and that the myth of the Kurdish areas is merely a political motive that aimed at simulating the Kurdish experience in Iraq and creating a Kurdish province in Syria!
All these facts along with the existence of the Syrian regime on Al Jazeera region until this moment, makes us believe that the initiators of the federal project know that it is dead and unfounded, and there are doubts if they really believe it. It is an idea invented by Bashar Al-Assad to press the Arab Syrians to accept him for fear of kidnapping their areas by the Kurds.
The alleged Kurdish areas are to come within the context of the propaganda launched by the Kurdish parties and believed by ordinary Kurds, before others of the Arab and foreign media men, that they constitute a majority and live on their historic land and that the others are mere settlers. They trusted the story without any proof!
Therefore, there must be a serious and firm Arab stand against this absurd misuse of the Syrian territorial integrity and the cutting off of a portion of its territory to serve well known foreign projects.