A seemingly scandalous article by Thomas von Osten-Sacken criticizing the PKK for not shouting „Down with Assad“ and for not fighting him at the beginnig at the Arab spring or at all. However, the detailed motivations are not discussed at all. Here’s the article, especially as it states that the PKK „didn’t fight Assad at the beginning of the Arab Spring“ and then „never“. Well, tactically, how you sort your truth and also on the part of the PKK or Israel or Erdogan:
„PKK official: We never fought Assad
By Thomas von der Osten-Sacken
An official of the Kurdish Workers‘ Party made it clear in an interview that the PKK had no interest in overthrowing Assad at the beginning of the Syrian civil war.
Murat Karayilan bei einer Videobotschaft, Bildquelle: ANF
In a lengthy interview, the high-ranking PKK functionary Murat Karayilan confirmed what Syrian opposition figures have been accusing the Kurdish Workers‘ Party and its Syrian branch, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), for years, namely that ten years ago they were de facto on the side of Bashar al Assad. At that time, in 2012 and 2013, there were also mass protests against the regime in Damascus in the Syrian-Kurdish regions and most of the Kurdish parties sided with the opposition. As Karayilan explained, Turkey, at that time a supporter primarily of Islamic opposition groups, also offered the PYD its help if it were to help overthrow Assad. The offer was rejected at the time – and that at a time when relations between the PYD and Ankara were still so good that their chairman, Salih Muslim, even visited Ankara several times.
Karayilan belongs to the old guard of the PKK, which maintains close ties to the regime in Tehran and always to the Assad regime. He warned of a possible Syrian-Turkish normalization and that „Assad is making a mistake if he agrees to normalize relations with Erdogan, since Erdogan’s only goal is to keep his seat in the upcoming elections in mid-May“. Therefore, he continued, “the government in Damascus should make no mistake, Bashar al-Assad should make no mistake. Check out the story. Why has Hafez al-Assad stayed in power for so long? Because of the formal and informal support of the Kurds,” he said, referring to the Syrian president’s father and predecessor.
So far, hardly any of these officials has said so clearly how the PKK continues to position itself and also to what extent the Syrian PYD is dependent on its directives, while at the same time fighting side by side with US soldiers in an alliance against the IS. At the same time, this interview also made it clear that the PKK has no interest in a Turkish-Syrian agreement and – should further rapprochement come about – it will try to torpedo it.
Do you need an interview for that? What is clear is that Assad supported the PKK against Turkey because he wanted to weaken the upstreams of the Gap dam project, which wanted to control the lower reaches in Syria, as well as NATO Turkey. Erdogan’s Foreign Minister Davatoglu first brought Assad and Erdogan together with his „no problem“ policy, and joint military maneuvers were even held by the Turkish and Syrian armies. With the Arab Spring, the deposition of Davatoglu and Erdogan’s 180-degree turn against Kurds and Assad, his open support for the Syrian and other Muslim Brotherhoods in the MENA region, it was clear that the PKK did not want Assad to be overthrown and the seizure of power by the Muslim brothers or other even more violent Islamists wanted, besides not only the PKK. Neither does Israel. The Netanyahu line was: Assad may be a devil, but a devil that we know – in contrast to the Islamists, whether they are the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic State or other militias lead from behind Saudi and Gulf States. Assad hasn’t made a fuss about the Golan Heights for decades either, and ever since Israel had nuclear weapons after the Yomkippur War, Assad has only intervened through Lebanon. Attempts to get to a nuclear reactor there were flattened by Israel with a military strike – without further reaction from Assad. In short: He was in the box. Like the PKK, Israel had no interest in the Arab Spring winning in Syria, since the Free Syrian Army, the FSA made their alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood and transformed from a secular force to an Islamist force in support of neo- Ottomanian Erdogan, who made a 180-degree turn to Davotoglu’s No-Problem strategy and the FSA could have taken Damascus – and with it the Muslim Brotherhood – but then it would have been a neo-Ottoman Syria and the IS would have stood at the gates, which would have overrun it next . And no change was to be expected from the Southern Front, the secular Syrian worm maintained from Jordania. The PKK and Israel were on the same side of history. Understandable!!!! So don’t always yell hysterically „Away and down with Assad“, but also look at the worse options that motivated Israel and the PKK and not spread stab-in-the-back legends and suspect betrayal, especially on the basis of a very abstract, idealistic liberal value moralism.