Faculty & Research -The Geopolitical Minute : Analysis of The Resumption of Hostilities Against Kurds

The Geopolitical Minute : Analysis of The Resumption of Hostilities Against Kurds

Discover the column of Thomas Flichy de La Neuville, Holder of the new Chair of Geopolitics of Rennes School of Business, about the conflict on the Turkish-Syrian border in October 2019 in Kurdistan.

“First, contrary to his contradictory statements which have the sole aim of taking the initiative upon hostile media, Trump’s geopolitical goal is to withdraw from the Middle East. He justifies the American withdrawal from Syria by the fact that his special forces ended up arming jihadists against the Syrian government. This isolationist policy had been dormant in the United States since the end of the 19th century. The whole US state apparatus is naturally opposed to it. The interventionist line is represented by Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. The decision of Mr. Trump to withdraw his special forces from the Levant therefore faces the joint opposition of his close advisers and the army.

Dr Thomas FLICHY de La NEUVILLE, Rennes School of BusinessFrom a geopolitical point of view, Turkey was until recently, the NATO ally of the United States. But after the failed coup of 2016, Turkey made a dramatic turnaround as it moved closer to Russia and Iran. Russians, Turks and Iranians split the task in Syria: Putin let the Turks militarily reduce the Kurds, the Turks leaving the hands of the Russians in the rest of Syria, the Iranians arming Hezbollah in the south to the detriment of Israel.

Until now, the Kurds were financed and armed by states like the United States, and Germany. The Kurds could indeed destabilize Syria and Iran, historical enemies of the United States. Today the United States is drying up its funding. Moreover, Turkey has strong means of pressure on the Germans: the opening of the valve of Syrian migrations. This blackmail is efficient and the Federal Republic pays, so that the Turkish migratory tap remains only half open.

To conclude, the resumption of Turkish hostilities against the Kurds can be explained by the following reasons: the American withdrawal leaves Russian, Iranian, Turkish and Syrian masters of the game. But the alliance between Turkey on the one hand, and the Russia-Iran-Syrian camp, on the other hand, has deteriorated. This is why the Turkish offensive has been condemned by Iran and Syria. This is also the reason why the Kurds – to whom Bashar-al-Assad had granted a certain autonomy – came to throw themselves into his arms.”