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The Kurdish National Assembly of Syria fights for Federal Democracy
2012-02-29 14:37
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The Kurdish National Assembly sent me the following information about amendments it seeks to get accepted to the Syrian Accountability Act and other information about the role it hopes to play in bringing down the Assad regime and promoting a loose federal democracy to Syria. As they explained: "Kurds are the key to democratization of the Middle East," and "the glue that keeps Syria together."

Here is the note I received from the Kurdish National Assembly leadership in Michigan

Dear Mr. Landis,

I would like to thank you for showing an interest in Syria and Syrian people; however, I am disappointed with your information or reports about Syria and Syrian people because it is very weak regarding the Kurds or the Kurdish question in Syria. Moreover, your information is biased, may be because of your relationship to your Syrian family. In our views – Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria, the only real opposition to the Syrian doctorial regime is Kurds and we proved it on March 12, 2004 when for first time in Baath and / or Assad"s history people stood to them and destroyed anything resembled them.

Kurds are the key to democratization of the Middle East, they part of the solution not part of the problem, especially for Syria; they can be the glue that keeps Syria together as Iraqi Kurds did in Iraq.

For Kurds, the real issue is matter of survival. Therefore, Kurds have no choice but to bring democracy to Syria one way or another unlike other non-Kurds who suffered or suffering for some human and / or economic. Kurds are fighting against ethnic cleansing and have one choice and that is to survive because they do not want to be a buried-a-live nation, as Refugees International called them.

Amendment to Syria Accountability Act

Kurdistan National Assembly – Syria met Last week with Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R), Foreign Affairs Committee (D), Committee on Foreign Relations (D), and other US officials to amend the Syrian Accountability Act in the following manners:

Whereas the Syrian Baathist regime of Bashar Assad has denied regional, ethnic and religious rights to the majority of the Syria"s population; whereas the Kurds in Northeastern Syria have been ethnically cleansed and forcibly replaced by Arabs and deliberately undercounted in national census and thus become undocumented…

Be It Resolved that the USA supports a democratic change in Syria and the granting of equal rights to

ethnic and religious minorities in Syria, and supports moreover, the establishment of regional governments elected democratically and without interference from the Damascus regime.

The following are excerpts from a Jerusalem Post article by Caroline Glick sent to me by the KNA, explaining how the Kurds can help promote democracy by assisting America"s allies.

Friday, April 20: Fighting the Next War

Israel"s strategic aims should be to degrade Syria"s capacity to harm it and to change the Syrian regime"s assessment of the attractiveness of attacking Israel…

Syria"s economic weakness undermines the regime"s political stability. Another factor undermining that stability is the restive Kurdish minority in northeast Syria. The Kurds, who comprise twenty percent of Syria"s overall population, already staged an uprising against the regime in May 2004.

Today, Syria"s Kurds are inspired by their brethren in Iraq to work to achieve their rights. Like the Iraqi Kurds, the Syrian Kurds, who have good relations with their Arab compatriots, do not demand independence. Rather they seek to transform Syria from a centralized totalitarian state into a federated democracy.

Two weeks ago a conference of Iraqi, Syrian, Turkish and Iranian Kurds took place in Irbil, Iraq. Massoud Barzani, the President of Iraqi Kurdistan, spelled out the Kurdish view of Israel in an interview with Al Arabiya.

In his words, "If [Iraq] establish[es] relations [with Israel] we will do so publicly. There is no reason for these relations to be kept secret, because we are neither afraid nor ashamed of such relations."

Barzani attacked the Iranians, Hizbullah and Palestinians for supporting Israel"s destruction, explaining, "I am against driving Israel into the sea…. This policy is wrong, illogical, and unreasonable. Why annihilate a people?"

Sherkoh Abbas, who heads the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria from his home in the US, participated in the conference. In a recent conversation he explained, "Most Syrian Kurds…have views similar to President Barzani. As Kurds we can say that we have no issues with Israel; in fact we are against the desire of the Ba"ath party, the Muslim Brotherhood or terrorists to destroy Israel…

"The Kurds did not suffer by the hands of Israelis or Jews. All or most of their sufferings were caused by Arabs, Persians and Turks. In Syria, the Ba"ath regime Arabized the Kurdish region, stripped 300,000 Kurds of Syrian citizenship, and killed many Kurds….. We do not want to fight for the Syrian regime."

The Kurds" desire to replace the current regime with a democratic federal government is backed by the Syrian Reform Party, an exile group with strong ties to the population in Syria. Farid Ghadry, a Washington-based Syrian exile who heads the party, believes that the Kurdish federal plan is the best way to bring freedom to Syria.

The interests of the Kurds and the other regime opponents align with Israel"s interests in many ways. First, Israel will benefit greatly if they achieve their aim of democratizing Syria and protecting minority rights by decentralizing authority while maintaining the territorial integrity of the country.

Centralized governments throughout the Arab world are the primary fulminators of Arab hatred of Israel. These regimes require a constant drumbeat of incitement against Israel to deflect their people"s attention from their failure to provide basic services. Decentralized governments would have difficulty blaming the Jews for their failures.

There is widespread fear in Israel that if Assad"s regime is overthrown, it will be replaced by the Muslim Brotherhood. This makes sense given that for the past 30 years, the Ba"athists ensured that the Muslim Brotherhood is the only other force in the country with organizational and financial means. But even so, strengthening the Kurds – who oppose jihad – will counterbalance the Muslim Brotherhood, whether or not the regime falls.

Turkey, too, fears Kurdish separatism. But Israeli support for the advancement of legitimate Syrian Kurdish rights through the cultivation of democratic federalism rather than secession, should not concern Ankara.

One of the reasons the Olmert-Livni-Peretz government is taking the Arab "peace plan" seriously in spite of the fact that it is inherently hostile to Israel is because the government is desperate to find allies against the Iran-Syria-Hizbullah axis. The trouble with this gambit is that the Sunni countries involved in the initiative act as the Iranian-Syrian-Lebanese-Palestinian axis"s support network against Israel. The Saudis and their colleagues have no interest in helping Israel.

In contrast, the Kurds are natural allies for Israel with overlapping interests and values. They would be happy to receive Israeli media and financial support. And, if at the same time as Israel helped broadcast Kurdish language television and radio into Syria, it also provided the Kurds with arms to defend themselves against Syrian aggression, the move could potentially alter Syria"s cost-benefit analysis of war with Israel.

Even if the Syrians open hostilities, arming the Kurds would likely muddy the waters in a manner that would cause serious harm to Syria"s war-making capacity. How well would Syria contend with the IDF if it were simultaneously trying to put down a popular rebellion? And how long would the regime survive in the aftermath of such a war?

Studying past wars is always worthwhile. But today we must prepare for the next one.

There is an Israeli strategy for victory. If we conduct a military strike that degrades Syria"s ability to harm us while economically weakening the regime still further and politically supporting an oppressed, large, pro-Israel minority, perhaps we could avert war altogether.

At the very least, if war comes, we would win.

Friday, May 25th, 2007