Saturday, December 21, 2013

Syrian Kurds and Arab Civilians

Much like Iraq's, Syria's Ba'athist governments has pursued Arabization policies in heavily Kurdish areas to potentially foster broader geographical support for an ideology of Arab nationalism.  This means that with the advance of Kurdish militias in Syria's civil war, Arab populations are falling under Kurdish administration.  Wladimir van Wilgenburg looks at the policies of Kurdish authorities toward these Arabs:
It seems that the most powerful Kurdish party, the PKK-affiliated PYD, has decided to expand their control over mixed areas in Northern Syria instead of cooperating with the FSA. Their aim is to create a transitional administration. In mixed areas under their control, the PYD also wants to create councils of the local population based on the ideology of imprisoned PKK leader Öcalan and has a ‘soft policy’ that gives local Arabs their own local power. The PYD aims to include local Arabs and Christians in their administration project and their militias, or to cooperate with independent Arab or Christian militias. In the end, the success of their project will depend on whether the civil war continues, or one of the opposing factions wins. If either faction wins, they would be unlikely to accept any form of Kurdish autonomy. The PYD hopes to get international support in the upcoming Geneva II conference scheduled for January in order to legitimize their project. The PYD emphasizes that their project is temporary, although in reality they want to create a form of Kurdish self-rule in Syria.
The PYD is particularly at pains to differentiate the al-Qaeda-associated Islamic State of Iraq and Syria from the general Arab population, both for the pragmatic reason that the latter is a potential pool of allies in the PYD's struggle with the ISIS and on the basis of the ideology of Turkish PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, and ideology which calls for significant autonomy for local populations rather than a strong central authority.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home