The agree­ment reached between Erdoğan and Trump, via the Amer­i­can Vice-Pres­i­dent is one more trea­son achieved in total inter­na­tion­al illegality.

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An Amer­i­can emis­sary reach­es an agree­ment with the Turk­ish regime allow­ing the occu­pa­tion of a ter­ri­to­ry 450 km long by 30 km wide in Syr­ia, under the guise of a cease-fire bind­ing for the Syr­i­an Demo­c­ra­t­ic Forces. Vis­i­bly, this does­n’t seem to both­er too many people.

Thus, with his uni­lat­er­al inter­ven­tions, Trump demon­strates his abil­i­ty to so-call ‘solve’ inter­na­tion­al prob­lems while being able to repa­tri­ate his “Boys”. His elec­toral base, which does­n’t give a hoot about the inter­na­tion­al scene, will find rea­son in this to cel­e­brate its cham­pi­on’s effi­cien­cy. Indeed, the polit­i­cal maneu­ver is more effi­cient that the cir­con­vo­lu­tions with North­ern Syr­ia and the arm-wrestling with Iran.

This inter­na­tion­al pol­i­cy based on tweets and dec­la­ra­tions more pop­ulist and dem­a­gog­i­cal the one than the oth­er would be laugh­able, if it did not cre­ate con­straints that will go on pro­duc­ing puru­lent wounds for decades.

Let’s move over quick­ly those dec­la­ra­tions where Trump calls the “SDF worse than ISIS”, his let­ter where he tells Erdoğan not to “play the tough guy”, and final­ly, the pho­ny sanc­tions that are lift­ed in exchange for the cease-fire.

Accept­ing that the sec­ond world eco­nom­ic pow­er open­ly del­e­gate to a region­al pow­er the task of occu­py­ing a ter­riroty by force, sup­pos­ed­ly in order to pro­tect its fron­tier, would con­sti­tute a major degen­er­a­tion of an inter­na­tion­al insti­tu­tion such as the UN, jus­ti­fy­ing by the same token the same pow­er­less­ness in stop­ping the Israeli occu­pa­tion, also val­i­dat­ed by the Unit­ed States author­i­ties. “Might makes right”, val­i­dat­ed by Mas­ter Trump?

The cease-fire for a few days, decid­ed against Roja­va, will allow the han­dling of urgent human­i­tar­i­an needs. It will also allow the SDF fight­ers to reor­ga­nize. It will add more refugees on the roads. It opens the door wide to any num­ber of arrange­ments between Turkey and the Syr­i­an regime. These arrange­ments will prob­a­bly be deter­mined dur­ing the sched­uled meet­ing between Putin and Erdoğan.

Those who might pos­si­bly see in this an hon­or­able exit out of the ‘Syr­i­an con­flict’ would be seri­ous­ly under­play­ing three things:

  • The pop­u­la­tions who were liv­ing in peace in North­ern Syr­ia despite being sur­round­ed by war, were in their homeland…They were also tak­ing in those dis­placed by the fight­ing with the Islam­ic State. These pop­u­la­tions had tak­en advan­tage of this peace under threat to attempt build­ing a shared liv­ing space, one that could pro­vide a polit­i­cal solu­tion for the whole of Syr­ia. Eras­ing Roja­va means endors­ing the embers of war that will remain kin­dled under the yoke of the one and of the other.
  • Instru­men­tal­ized by all sides, the begin­ning of the Syr­i­an rev­o­lu­tion degen­er­at­ed into a civ­il war in which Jihadism pros­pered, cre­at­ing con­di­tions for the fur­ther­ing of a real­i­ty: that of oppo­nents to the regime, turned into self-serv­ing gangs or mer­ce­nar­ies at the ser­vice of Turkey. These ele­ments are also on a land they claim as theirs. Installing, as Erdoğan wish­es to do, sev­er­al mil­lion Syr­i­an refugees in the “buffer zone”, with these Jihadists back-ups as “guards”, amounts to the cre­ation of a human shield, also a source of war.
  • The mil­i­tary defeat of ISIS, obtained at the cost of thou­sands of Kur­dish lives, leaves as pris­on­ers refugees who have not answered for their past crimes and who will be turned over to the regime or to Turkey, when they will not have already escaped. The demon­strat­ed capac­i­ty of ISIS for recu­per­at­ing its mem­bers is well known, as is Turkey’s in recy­cling its back-ups.

We would thus be head­ing for a nego­ti­at­ed agree­ment on zones of influ­ence and mil­i­tary occu­pa­tion, in which Kobanê, for instance, would fall under the Syr­i­an or Turk­ish regime.

The demand addressed to the SDF to “move back” and leave the ter­ri­to­ry in order to send in the refugees eat sand and peb­bles under strict sur­veil­lance, is includ­ed in the Turko-Amer­ian agree­ment, and would deprive the pop­u­la­tions in the towns of the eco­nom­ic zones required for survival.

And yet, this cease-fire is the result of transna­tion­al sup­port and mobi­liza­tion, and of the fight­ing resis­tance of the SDF. A Trump has man­aged to turn these to his advan­tage in order to real­ize a project for shared occu­pa­tion of North­ern Syr­ia, and to sat­is­fy his domes­tic elec­toral base. Rea­son for which he insists on “bring­ing home the troops”.

You would have to be clever indeed to know exact­ly what will come out of the meet­ing between Erdoğan and Putin.

In all log­ic, the Russ­ian mas­ter is the major win­ner in terms of strate­gic influ­ence over the region.

One can­not real­ly imag­ine the Syr­i­an army mov­ing out of the so-called buffer zone where it is at the moment, like in Kobanê, just as it is incon­ceiv­able that a Putin would be con­tent with giv­ing Turkey’s Dijahidst allies a role with Idlib as a rear base.

As in all pre­vi­ous agree­ments, the Syr­i­an regime will prob­a­bly not be a par­ty to it.

Of course, in all log­ic, the SDF have lim­it­ed this cease-fire to the com­bat zones and demand nego­ci­a­tions while refus­ing the fait accompli.Who will lis­ten to them?

A cease-fire can only be favor­ably received for our friends in Rojava.

But to stay with the applause and begin to accept this emerg­ing war plan would once again, resem­ble a cer­tain Munich. Only blood and tears will flow from the “Source of Peace”.

One last point: In a press release the Autonomous Admin­is­tra­tion men­tions that the agree­ment “guar­an­tees the return of all those who were dis­placed by the attack” which direct­ly con­tra­dicts Turk­ish aspi­ra­tions to an eth­nic cleans­ing in the region. This deci­sion would also stop any fur­ther inva­sion of Syr­i­an ter­ri­to­ries by the Turk­ish State.

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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Let­tres mod­ernes à l’Université de Tours. Gros mots poli­tiques… Coups d’oeil politiques…