Much commentary about the Syrian conflict is divided into two camps: ‘Assad must go!’ propaganda and those that are critical of the ‘Assad must go!’ Coalition. Each have biases of their own. And any independent observer has to try to piece together what is really happening and what may happen in the future based on an understanding of history and power-relations.
There are bound to be blind-spots.
I’ve written of the logic behind the creation of Sunnistan and the hardball that Trump might play to make Sunnistan a reality but a post at moonofalabama.org, which references one by ElijahJM shows that I have been somewhat off in my expectations. While I expected that there would be both a Kurdistan and Sunnistan, my expectation was that they would be established at about the same time. But it makes more sense that the Kurds would declare a state first because they have a stronger claim to their own state. They are the largest ethic grouping without a state of their own.
MoA and ElijahJM are both skeptical that a Kurdish state is workable, but:
1. Sunnistan likely follows the establishment of Kurdistan – and will be an ally and trading partner (because both are supported by GCC and the West). So Kurdistan will not be “surrounded by enemies” for long.
2. Erdogan is a wild card. I really don’t know how committed he is to Russia. One could well argue that the apparent coup attempt last year has helped the US to get closer to the Kurds by (apparently) divorcing USA from the hated Turks.
3. The Kurdish ire will likely be directed toward Iran. The GCC and West will support efforts to “liberate” Iranian Kurds. One could well imagine a ‘deal’ whereby if the Kurds are successful with Iran, Turkey will be prevailed upon to give up some Kurdish territory.
This leads to the following questions: Have R+6 erred by not being more sensitive to Kurdish national aspirations? Have they been blinded by the apparent movement of Turkey to their side? Would they oppose the creation of a Kurdish state? (Note: There may not be anything they can actually do about it as they are busy elsewhere.)
All of this points to an ‘Assad must go!’ Coalition strategy that is more clever and more persistent than their critics have expected.