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Bhadrakumar on Syria

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In the following article, M. K. Bhadrakumar posits that Syria is moving toward the decisive phase, and that Israel—rather than Turkey—will be entrusted with the lion’s share of post-Assad security. Furthermore, many actors in the region are being brought together by an energy opportunity involving the U.S., Iraqi Kurdistan, Syria, and Turkey.

Is this the solution to Turkey’s “Kurdish problem” in Syria?

The rise and fall of Turkey’s Erdogan
M. K. Bhadrakumar; Asia Times Online; Jul. 24, 2012

In the ultimate analysis, the US holds many trump cards, finessed through the Cold war era, to manipulate Turkish policies. This is quite evident from the centrality attached by Washington to the Iraqi Kurdish leader, Massoud Barzani, in the overall US strategy.

Obama received Barzani in the White House recently. Barzani has become a “lynchpin” in the US-Turkish policies on Syria. This was within months of ExxonMobil signing up in October to develop the fabulous oil fields located in the Kurdistan region controlled by Barzani, ignoring protests from Baghdad that such a deal with a provincial authority bypassing the central government would violate Iraq’s sovereignty.

Last week, the US oil giant Chevron announced that it too has acquired an 80% controlling share in a company operating in the region covering a combined area of 1,124 square kilometers that is under Barzani’s control.

The entry of ExxonMobile and Chevron is a game-changer in the regional politics over Syria. The point is, the best transportation route to the world market for the massive oil and gas deposits in Kurdistan will be via the Syrian port city of Latakia on the eastern Mediterranean. Indeed, an altogether new dimension to the US-Turkish game plan on Syria comes into view.

Siyah Kalem, a Turkish engineering and construction company, has bid for the transportation of natural gas from Kurdistan. Evidently, somewhere in the subsoil, the interests of the Anatolian corporate business (which has links with Turkey’s ruling Islamist party) and the country’s foreign policy orientations toward Syria and Iraq are converging. The US and Turkish interests overlap in the geopolitics of northern Iraq’s energy reserves.

But Barzani is not only a business partner for Washington and Ankara but also a key agent who could leverage Turkey’s Kurdish problem. With Washington’s backing, he has launched a project to bring together the various Kurdish factions – Turkish, Iraqi and Syrian – on to a new political track.

He held a meeting of the Kurdish factions in Arbil last month. Plainly, Barzani tried to bribe the leaders of various Kurdish factions with funds provided from Ankara. He claims he has succeeded in reconciling the different Kurdish groups in Syria. (The Kurdish insurgency in Turkey is led by ethnic Syrian Kurds.) He also claims to have persuaded the Syrian Kurds to snap their links with Bashar and line up with the Syrian opposition.

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Written by M. James

July 25, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Posted in News, Politics, Turkey

Tagged with , , , ,

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