Syrian Kurds should strive for autonomous region: Kurdnas
Dr. Sherkoh Abbas is the president of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria (Kurdnas) the organisation created after the major uprising in 2004 (al-Qamishli protests in Syria). Abbas was born in Qamishli in north-eastern Syria and migrated to United States in 1980’s. He currently lives in Washington but frequently visits the Kurdish areas in Middle East. In an exclusive interview with Manish Rai, Editor, ViewsAround (VA) he speaks about Kurdish role in current situation.
Question: In your opinion what should be the ultimate goal of the Syrian Kurds creation of a new country (Kurdistan) or the autonomous region like Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq?
Dr. Abbas: The ultimate goal of the Syrian Kurds should be to create an autonomous federal region (like the KRG in Iraq). Creating an autonomous zone for the Syrian Kurds would be an experimentation like that of Iraq. It would allow the Future Syrian government a chance to prove that they can respect individual, ethnic, and regional rights. Moreover, could become a beacon of democracy that could influence the rest if Syria.
If the international community is willing to support the creation of an independent Kurdistan, most Kurds would prefer and support creating an independent Kurdistan comprised of Iraqi and Syrian Kurdistan.
The KRG of Iraq provides a great example of a regional government, which protects the individuals within its borders and still maintains enough autonomy to use as leverage against the central government. In Iraq, the central government tries to abuse its relationship with the KRG, and then there is talk of secession which brings the central government back to the bargaining table. The KRG maintains enough autonomy so that the threat of secession is plausible and real, but they would like to remain as part of the overall structure of Iraq because it benefits the KRG and the central Iraqi government. A similar model for Syria could produce the same effects.
Q: In Post War Syria what role can be played by different Kurdish political parties for strengthening Kurdish cause?
Abbas: The political parties in the Kurdish region of Syria play a large role in the peace and security of the Kurdistan region there. For instance, PYD/YPG policies and governance has caused tensions with Turkey, but they could work to cool these tensions through a peaceful political process. All of the Kurdish political parties need to work towards lasting peace in the Kurdish region of Syria, both internally and externally. The KRG of Iraq is a great example of how Kurds can gain acceptance by, and work with, their neighbours in the region. True democracy is peaceful to its citizens and neighbours, and much more can be done through economic prosperity and negotiations than can be accomplished at the end of a gun. After all, Syrian Kurds do understand that PYD/YPG have been compromised by the regimes of Iraq, Iran and Syria and other entities such as PKK. Most Syrian Kurdish political groups beside PYD/YPG are moderate pro-west, acceptable to neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Israel and KRG.
Q: In current situation what role The Democratic Union Party (PYD) is playing in Syrian arena?
Abbas: The PYD/YPG is playing a negative role in Syria at the moment. They are working with the Assad Regime and the Iraqis and Iranians to re-establish Assad’s control over the Kurdish region of Syria. The PYD/YPG is dealing with the devil they know, so that they do not have to take responsibility for the Kurdistan region of Syria. They have been preaching democracy, autonomy, and federalism, but now they are reverting back to supporting Assad. To all of the Kurds (and others) fighting for the PYD/YPG, they have been the victim of a tremendous bait-and-switch. Everyone fighting for the PYD/YPG thought they were fighting for the Kurds, when in reality they were fighting for Assad and Iran.
Q: What do you think about the Turkey’s current military campaign inside Syria which aims to stop Kurds from gaining more territory?
Abbas: I think Turkey has concerns about their territorial security, and the PKK using the Kurdish region of Syria as a safe-haven for the PKK. They are not necessarily against Kurds, but they are against the PKK and anyone who submits to the influence of the PKK. Turkey should reach-out to Syrian Kurds and support their rights of self-governing within Syria and influence the international community and Syrian Arab oppositions to accept a model for Syria similar to KRG of Iraq.
Q: Dr Abbas do you think in coming time all the Syrian Kurdish political parties will be able to unite for the larger benefit of Kurdish people?
Abbas: I do think that it would be possible, if the Kurdish people throw off the shackles of negative foreign influence (such as Iran and Syria). Right now some of the truly democratic political parties are sitting in jail under the PYD/YPG regime.
The Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria works with all of the major political, tribal, and civic organizations in the Kurdistan Region of Syria. We work with Kurds, Arabs, Christians, and more. True democracy is good for everyone, and all ethnic/religious groups (not only the Kurds). The PYD/YPG needs to moderate itself, and cut its ties with the PKK, Assad, and Iran. Until they accept democracy and work with truly local parties/peoples, then they will only be operating to the detriment of the Kurdish people. When Assad tries to eliminate them after their tasks are complete, no Kurds will support them due to their negative behaviors toward other Kurds, Kurdish Peshmerga, and KRG of Iraq.
Q: Do you think that non-syrian Kurds (Iraqi, Iranian and Turkic) should directly support their Syrian brothers by fighting on their side?
Abbas: Kurds from Iraq and Iran have not really been supporting the PYD/YPG because they are not truly Kurdish. I would not want anyone to think they are fighting for Kurdish democracy and autonomy, when they would be (in reality) fighting for Assad and Iran under the PYD/YPG. In-fact, they have hijacked the Kurdish cause within Syria.
Source – ViewsAround (VA)