Kurdish leaders say Raqqa will join a "decentralized system of government" in Syria. The stage is being set for the Balkanization of Syria
A leading Kurdish politician has confirmed that "the northern Syrian city of Raqqa is expected to join a decentralized system of government being set up by Syrian Kurdish groups and their allies once it is freed from Islamic State," according to Reuters.
Saleh Muslim, the co-chair of the Syrian Kurdish PYD party, made his comments on the same day that a U.S.-led operation near Raqqa blocked "any advance by Syrian government forces from the west". In other words, the U.S. has reserved Raqqa for its proxies.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded to the move by reminding Washington that fighting Islamic State should not be used as an excuse to jeopardize Syria's territorial integrity:
Let us hope that all of us will be driven by the well-understood priority to fight terror rather than gain geopolitical advantages in Syria.
The Russians have always been aware of U.S. plans to pull Raqqa into a "decentralized" government — which would be the first step towards balkanizing Syria. Back in October of last year, Sputnik reported:
The Pentagon’s reliance on Kurds to liberate Raqqa may indicate that the US is actually ready to support the federalization of Syria, said Alexander Babakov, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the upper house of the Russian parliament.
"It would be hard to imagine that American plans on Raqqa are aimed only to bring peace to Syria. It cannot be ruled out by using Kurds to liberate the city from Daesh the US wants to support the federalization of Syria, including establishing an autonomous Kurdish region," Babakov told the Russian newspaper Izvestia.
How will Russia respond, now that it's clear that Washington doesn't have altruistic plans for Raqqa?
As usual, Moscow is keeping its cards close to its chest. After all, the attack on Raqqa hasn't even begun yet — and it's unclear how things will stand once the dust settles.
Furthermore, it's still unclear whether the people of Raqqa would be interested in such a plan. As Jason Ditz reports:
But while the YPG had an alliance with some local Raqqa resistance forces aimed at expelling ISIS at the start of the military offensive, many of those opposition factions have cut ties with the Kurds, complaining that the YPG is trying to dictate terms to them. That might hurt their attempt at selling Raqqa on joining the autonomous region, though they may not be given a choice at any rate.
But the stakes are high. A federalized Syria would almost guarantee more bloodshed in the Middle East.
Maram Susli, also known as "Syrian Girl", has repeatedly warned about U.S. plans to "federalize" Syria and create sectarian and ethnic violence that we now see in "federalized" Iraq:
The United States and Israel have never denied their desire to see Syria cut up into small, defenseless and easily manipulated territories.
A foreign army and its proxies are blocking the Syrian Army from liberating its own country from terrorists. Next comes "federalization". Then partition.
You have to give Washington some credit. It has perfected the art of "managed chaos" — and it always begins with conscience-soothing fallacies like "democracy" or "federalization".
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