samedi 12 décembre 2015

L'ex-ambassadeur américain Robert S. Ford : "[le PYD] ne partage pas de vision commune avec les principales factions de l'opposition armée syrienne"

"On Syrian Talks and Ceasefires: An Open Letter to Secretary Kerry
By Robert S. Ford | Senior Fellow - The Middle East Institute | Dec 09, 2015

Mr. Secretary,

No one has worked harder than you to find a way to bring all sides together to stop the Syrian civil war and muster more international action against the Islamic State. But as a former colleague, let me caution that without some major adjustments in its approach to the Syrian peace talks in Vienna, the Obama administration is headed down another dead end. (...)

The Thorny Kurdish Question

The composition of the opposition delegation is made more difficult due to American support that has established an autonomous Kurdish region in northeastern Syria. The predominant Syrian Kurdish force, the PKK-aligned Democratic Union Party (PYD), has largely maintained an independent stance throughout the internal Syrian conflict; at times it has cooperated closely with the Syrian government. The Syrian Kurds are fighting for autonomy; their main target is not Assad.  By contrast, the rest of the moderate opposition's main goal is removing the Assad government but replacing it with a new, strong central government. How then will they all join in a single opposition delegation? Insisting on adding this PKK-affiliate will make an opposition delegation—already fraught with challenges—impossible to create. This is, after all, about vision and the PKK-affiliate doesn't share a vision with the major factions of the Syrian armed opposition.

The administration has already set up conditions for future Kurdish-Arab fighting in northern Syrian, and possible partition of Syria, as a result of its unconditional support to PYD-affiliated fighters in the name of fighting the Islamic State. This approach hasn’t just angered Turkey; many Syrian Arabs and Turkmen in the armed opposition are plenty mad.

The extent of Syrian Arab-Kurdish enmity was displayed vividly in the intense fighting between moderate Arab rebels and the Kurds north of Aleppo last week. The token Arab forces the Obama administration created to fight alongside the Kurds against the Islamic State enjoy no legitimacy since the mainstream Syrian opposition perceives that Syria’s PKK-affiliate is a medium- to-long-term threat to Syrian national unity. Those Syrian opposition Arabs worry about Syrian unity even if it is not really a priority for an American administration focused on the Islamic State. 

Thus, Syrians need to decide whether it is best for this Syrian Kurdish region,  to be represented in a large opposition delegation, or in a Syrian government delegation?  Or should it be allowed to send a separate delegation to the talks? Washington and Moscow can't issue a dictat and hope to see the talks succeed. It will take time for Syrians to work this out.

Beyond the opposition delegation in peace talks, if the administration wants to ensure a ceasefire is durable, much less mobilize more fighters against the Islamic State, then it must condition support to those Kurdish fighters strictly on the Kurds refraining from exacerbating ethnic tensions. Amnesty International's October report accusing PYD fighters of war crimes against Arab populations makes the extent of the challenge with the Syrian Kurds very plain."

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