In January of 2015, a time so distant that no one in the state department seems to remember it, ISIS was running rickshaw through the villages of Northern Syria. American funded Jihadists simply could not compete with the more authentic, black draped, beheading variety of extremist. Despite America’s funding of various extremist groups in the region to fight ISIS ( and more realistically Assad), it’s fair to note ISIS still had more American weapons than our newly found “allies.”
The dominance ISIS had on the ground, with their fleet of armored vehicles made in America, was about to come to an end. The Kurds, perhaps the only force in the region not receiving money and arms from the United States, began their defense of the the Rojovan city known as Kobani ( North Eastern Syria/ Western Kurdistan) unsuccessfully. With Turkish troops watching ambivalently – if we’re being generous – the world was prepared to watch another massacre at the hands of ISIS.
An interesting thing happened next. Though Kobani was expected to fall immediately – especially with no support from the international community, the small province simply did not crumble. Compared to the attempt by Adolf Hitler to siege Stalingrad from the Soviets, the residents of Kobani refused to accept defeat and fought to a bloody, white knuckle stalemate. During this time, only months after the attempted Yazidi genocide atop the Sinjar mountain, the international media was tuned into the bloody fight occurring in Syria. “Stand With Kobani” trended on social media throughout the world, while pictures and videos of the atrocities circulated to the masses.
With the word’s attention on Kobani, the United States finally entered the fray with a series of air strikes targeting American vehicles now driven by extremists. The action allowed for the citizens of Kobani to take the upper hand against their deranged enemy. After this success the YPG and PKK, the Kurdish ground troops who bravely fought against ISIS, continued to build momentum and began to retake more and more ISIS controlled land.
Unfortunately for Syria, specifically the Kurds, NATO does not recall or care what had occurred less than one year ago. NATO does not recall or care about the Kurds being the only successful ground troop against ISIS. NATO does not care about the existence of ISIS. Most egregiously, NATO does not care when its members murder the very same Kurdish troops who were and still are fighting so bravely against ISIS.
With the elections in Turkey over – similar in its shrouded nature to other regional elections – the NATO ally, fueled by nationalism and dreams of the Ottoman Empire, has unleashed its wrath upon the Kurds. Despite the international community praising the Kurds of Syria within this year, finding a single voice of opposition to Turkey’s actions is a fool’s mission.
Often the question of “why” is the most difficult to answer. In the case of Turkey, with its high population of Kurds in the South Eastern portion of the county, the “why” is easy: An autonomous Kurdish state bordering Turkey would provide Turkish Kurds motivation to achieve a similar goal.
More difficult to answer is the motivation of NATO to allow the most effective ground troop against ISIS to be destroyed by an ally. The Rojavan Kurds are not capitalists. As a communal autonomous state, void of despots, void of a siphon to suck the money from the majority into the pockets of an elite oligarchy, there is no motivation for the Western world to protect them.
There is a reason despots run the Middle East: they were installed post World War 1 by the Western powers. If a country has the majority live in poverty, an elite class can still prosper by selling state resources to the West at a reduced price. If the country’s wealth was distributed to all the people, the Western countries would have to pay more. Essentially low prices are achieved by foreign poverty. If the Kurds of Syria want Western help, all they have to do is find a Saddam Hussein type character to rule over them.