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Political Information Last Updated: Aug 11, 2020 - 11:36:04 PM

Syria - Trump's 'Keep The Oil' Occupation Runs Into Trouble
By Moon of Alabama
Aug 11, 2020 - 10:05:15 PM

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Turkey's occupation of some areas in north Iraq is in trouble as is the U.S. occupation of northeast Syria.

Turkey has for some time taken positions inside north Iraq to prevent Kurdish PKK fighters from infiltrating into Turkey. It also uses drones to hit PKK positions. The corrupt leader of the ruling Kurdish clan in north Iraq, Masoud Barzani, has no problem with Turkey hunting his brethren as long as Turkey buys oil from him. But the Iraqi government in Baghdad sees every Turkish intrusion as an attack on Iraq's sovereignty.

Turkey reported today that it 'neutralized 7 PKK terrorists in north Iraq'. That was however not the case:

BAGHDAD -- A Turkish drone strike killed two senior Iraqi security officials, Iraq's military said Tuesday, marking the first time Turkey's operation to root out Kurdish rebels in Iraq's north produced fatalities among high-ranking Iraqi personnel.

The drone targeted a vehicle belonging to the Border Guards in the Bradost area, north of Irbil, the military statement said, causing the deaths of two commanders and the vehicle's driver.

Gen. Mohammed Rushdi, commander of the Border Guards' 2nd Brigade and Brig. Zubair Hali, commander of the 3rd Regiment, were killed in the attack Ihsan Chelebi, the mayor of Bradost, told The Associated Press. He said they had been establishing new posts in the area.
The operation drew the ire of Iraqi officials who on two occasions summoned Turkey's ambassador to Baghdad to deliver a protest note. The killing of the high-ranking Iraqi officials is expected to further strain Iraq's relations with Turkey.

This will add another hostile nation to Erdogan's ever growing portfolio of these.

A different situation involving the PKK is the U.S. occupation of northeast Syria between the Turkish boarder and the Euphrates river. The U.S. proxy force are local PKK fighters under Mazloum Kobani Abdi who have renamed themselves Syrian Democratic Forces so that the U.S. can pretend that they are not the enemies of its NATO ally Turkey. Mazloum recently had a meeting with Barzani who the PKK views as a more or less hostile element.

There have recently been additional incidents that put Mazloum and the SDF into a very bad light. Islamic State fighters and their families who are imprisoned in camps guarded by the SDF have been let go by heavily bribed guards. A Sheik of an Arab tribe in east Deir Ezzor governorate has been murdered by SDF members. The tribe has rebelled and set an ultimatum to the SDF deliver the killers to them.

Then there is the oil which Trump claims to keep. Mazloum first tried to sell it to an Israeli company. That did not work out but in late July a deal was signed between Mazloum and a small U.S. company. That angered not only Syria and Turkey but has now led to the rejection of Mazloum by the PKK itself.

Today Cemîl Bayik, one of the five founders of the PKK, condemned the oil deal (machine translation):

The PKK's roof structure, KCK's Co-chair Cemil Bayık, regarding the oil agreement signed with the US company in Rojava, said, "Syria is an internationally accepted state. That is why all of Syria's underground and aboveground resources belong to the people, not to anyone. I mean, nobody can do these things.

Speaking to the media close to the PKK, Cemil Bayık said that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) signed an oil agreement with a US company, "We are also following some things from the press. I don't know exactly what is the reality. For example, it is said that an alliance was made through an oil company, and even the Syrian regime said that it did not accept it, it was illegal, it said things like "they are stealing our oil".

Saying that "Syria is an internationally recognized state", Bayık said:

"That is why all of Syria's underground and aboveground resources belong to the people, not to anyone. So nobody can make these things property. We say that the Autonomous Syrian administration, oil, underground and aboveground wealth are all of the Syrian peoples. ..."

Mazloum's oil deal is illegal says the leader of the PKK. It seems that Mazloum has thereby lost his authority.

Also today the Arab tribes of Deir Ezzor held another meeting which ended with a demand to the U.S. and the SDF to leave their areas:

The Al-Akidat tribal leaders demanded, as quoted by the Sputnik Agency, that "the administration of the region be for our people. Arabs exclusively, and the emphasis on the unity and independence of Syria."

The news agency quoted local sources in the countryside of Deir Ezzor as saying that nearly 5,000 people, including a large number of notables and sheikhs of the Al-Akidat Tribe and other tribes, held an expanded meeting in the house of the tribe's chief general, Ibrahim Khalil al-Hafl, in the village Dheban and gave the U.S.-led Coalition forces only one month to fulfill the demands that came out of the meeting, the most important of which are the disclosure of the perpetrators of the assassinations, the release of detainees, and the removal of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and its affiliates.

The reporter added that the tribal meeting condemned the state of security chaos, administrative and military corruption, and the assassinations, the latest of which was the assassination of Sheikh Mutashar Al-Hafil and his relative, Dara Mikhlif Al-Khalaf, for which the Al-Akidat Tribe held the SDF and the U.S. Coalition responsible.

The U.S. troops in Syria and their SDF proxies may soon see a full blown rebellion against their occupation. This while Mazloum's authority over the Kurds of north Syria has been seriously weakened. Trump's instinct to pull the troops out of Syria was right. After he ran into resistance from the Pentagon and hawkish senators he invented the 'keep the oil' excuse to justify his lack of insistence. That will now come back to haunt him. Loosing troops in Syria during the campaign season may well cost him votes.

Posted by b on August 11, 2020

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