April 10, 2018 / 10:23 PM
Russia uses Kurds to achieve own goals, expert tells Kurdpress

David Romano, a political science analyst at the University of Missouri, believes the U.S. is using the Kurds in Syria to defeat the Islamic State (IS) and Russia’s policy towards the Kurds in the county is completely instrumental and Machiavellian. He also expressed his views, in the interview, about the situation in Kurdistan Region and ties between Baghdad and Erbil. What follows is his answer to Kurdpress questions.

How do you see the end game in Syria? Can Kurds make a semi-state region for themselves with or without Afrin?

I think they can certainly proceed forward without Afrin, provided the American continue to prevent Turkey from attacking them in the other cantons. In Afrin, they depended upon a Russian protective umbrella that was, after a backroom deal with Ankara, withdrawn.

What U.S wants form Kurds and then from Syria? Is Rojava the place that U.S wants to make a restroom for itself regarding its affairs whit Iraq, Syria and Turkey? we know that relation with Turkey is not good, Iran has a huge influence on Iraq and Syria do not want U.S be there.

I think U.S. foreign policy is in disarray and unable to see beyond very short-term, consensus objectives. For the time being, these objectives are all about eliminating the so-called Islamic State.  After that, who knows?  Russia, in the meantime, is trying hard to wedge division between Turkey and the U.S., which is why it allowed Turkey to invade Afrin.

How do you see Russian relations with kurds (of Turkey, Iraq and Syria) ?

Strictly instrumental and Machiavellian. Just like the Soviet Union provided assistance to Iraqi Kurdish rebels in the 1960s in order to push Baghdad into signing a treaty of friendship and cooperation with it (abruptly ending the support to the Kurds once the treaty was signed), so they seek to use the Kurds today. We saw that in Afrin.

Do you believe that solving Kurdish problem in Turkey can solve the Turkish problems with Syrian Kurds? 

Yes, to an extent. There was a time when many of us hoped that Ankara would make peace with the PKK and take the Syrian Kurds under its benign wing after that, helping them against Assad should his regime seek to forcefully regain control of their cantons.  How foolish that all appears today.

Can KRG and Baghdad reach an agreement regarding recent talks between missions in Baghdad?

They can reach agreement on some issues, but unless Kurds in Iraq take participation in government in Baghdad seriously – contesting elections as hard as possible, sending their best people to take up positions there, making alliances with other parties there – they will have little influence over the federal government. With little influence, the federal government will not be under much pressure to compromise with Erbil.

Regarding recent coalition between Berhem Salih and Goran an Islamic group, do you believe that this changes the balance of power in Kurdistan or, better to say that PUK and KDP will not be in power no longer?

It is too early to say. Coalitions rise and fall almost every day in Iraqi Kurdistan. Not long ago, the PUK and Gorran announced such a coalition.

Do you believe that Baghdad can control KRI completely so that Kurdistan no longer be an autonomous Region?

When Baghdad controls the borders and the finances and Kurdish officials are expelled from their positions in the federal government and constitutional articles meant to give the regions and governorates a say in Baghdad are ignored, autonomy is greatly compromised.

Can Kurds one day use the outcome of referendum as a reliable document for their independence?

Yes. This was the great achievement of September 2017. Their time will come again one day, and they will have precedent to demonstrate the will of their people.

There are reports that tells about differences and divisions among Barzani’s, are these issues serious? How do you think about these issues? How about PUK?

The PUK is lamentably divided, which played a major role in the calamitous events of October 17 2017. With the KDP it is harder to say, as members of this party are usually careful not to air their dirty laundry in public.

Reporter’s code: 50101