Joe Biden's government refused to exempt Delta Crescent Energy from US sanctions against Syria and permit the company to operate in the Kurdish-controlled areas of Syria two months ago. The company signed contracts with the Kurdish Autonomous Administration in Northeastern Syria under former US President Donald Trump.
The head of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma told Kurdpress in an interview that the US administration's decision is a major blow to the Kurds in Syria as they need financial sources to keep their control on their region.
"By not renewing Delta Crescent's OFAC exemption, the Biden administration has undermined Delta Crescent's contracts that were supposed to bring over 2 billion dollars a year to the AANES. Delta Crescent also hoped to purchase a 40,000 barrel a day refinery that would be built in Rimêlan, Syria," Dr. Landis said in this regard.
A Sandra Mackey Chair in Middle East Studies, Dr. Landis added: "This must be a major blow to the AANES. It doesn't mean that the US has abandoned the Kurds but it is a setback. Delta Crescent was seeking a 20 contract with the AANES. James Jeffrey of the Trump Administration had given Delta Crescent the go ahead to get such a contract signed. Jeffrey also insisted that the US was in Syria for the long term."
About Biden's policy for Syria, the professor stated: "President Biden's Syria policy remains unclear. He is engaged in negotiations with Iran to revive the Nuclear Deal. It is unclear whether his administration is convinced that the US has a long-term interest in remaining in Northeast Syria. So far, the administration insists that UN Resolution 2254 must be fulfilled. But will the US remain in Syria until Assad holds free and fair elections? This is hard to believe."
"Assad is unlikely to grant the Kurds any of the major concessions for autonomy or retaining its military arm. This means that so long as the US remains to protect the Kurds and the autonomy of NES, the Kurds are likely to cling to the United States in the hope that it will remain or that Assad will be driven from power," he said about a possible deal between the Kurds and the Syrian central government over their differences.
However, he noted that "if the US does pull out, the Kurds will need to turn to Damascus to guarantee that the Turkish military is not sent in to root out leadership of the SDF and YPG."
"Do the Kurds have leverage? Much will depend on the US's future negotiations with the Russians, Erdogan, and Iran. If the US does not come to agreement with Turkey or Russia, it may want to retain its position in Northeast Syria. This will provide the Kurds with leverage," the University of Oklahoma professor said about the leverage of the Kurds in Syria developments.
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