News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
The following article “Rojava Anlaşması” was written by M. Ali Çelebi for Özgür Gündem. It has been translated into English below.
Following the meeting in Hewlêr (Erbil) on September 15th 2015 between KRG president Barzani and PYD co-president Muslim attended by a delegation led by Brett McGurk, Obama’s Deputy Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, questions have emerged around the debates over whether or not Peshmerga forces will cross into Rojava as well as to whether the Duhok agreement is finally being implemented or new agreement has replaced it.
KDP-ENKS has already made three agreements with the Rojava initiative. Moreover all three were brokered in the KRG. Despite these three agreements no consistent balance or stability has been able to be established. Both the KDP (which is working for the Syrian National Council, the Syrian National Coalition, and Turkey) and ENKS (which is used as the KDP’s whip) were the reasons for the collapse of the 1st Hewlêr Agreement (July 2012), the 2nd Hewlêr Agreement (December 2013), and the Duhok Agreement (October 2014). And now a new Duhok? The conditions and balance has changed dramatically. For example the support given by the KDP to Turkey’s air operations against Kandil (July-September 2015) has opened a deep wound. Duhok can no longer be revived. And recent developments now point to the fact that Rojava will be the center of any new agreement.
They wanted to meet with the United States
I asked PYD Hewlêr Representative Xerib Hiso about the meetings: “Like all of the earlier meetings it came out of meetings which took place with the United States both domestically and abroad. The American delegation wanted to meet with Mr. Salih Muslim. Barzani also took part in this meeting…Such meetings open the way for diplomatic efforts with both America and other states. In the meeting the biggest agenda item was how to wage the struggle against Daesh (ISIS) terror. There were discussions over how to form and to train a big enough force that would be capable of fighting against Daesh terror in Syria and Iraq. The subjects of both the role of the peshmerga in the Kurdistan region as well as how to strengthen and aid the YPG/YPJ forces fighting against Daish in Rojava Kurdistan were taken up. Because Daesh threatens the security of all peoples. It threatens not only the Middle East but all states. It was necessary that during this sensitive time when the the United States, which is leading the international coalition in the struggle against this terror, is in the Middle East that all of the sides fighting against Daesh terror come together and discuss these issues.”
I asked Hiso about reports that there were American soldiers on the ground in Rojava providing training: “There are no foreign soldiers in Rojava. There are foreign fighters who have already joined the YPG. There are youth from around the world. There are those from the US, from France, from Germany. They are crossing the border and joining the YPG as individuals. But this does not mean that these states have a presence here.”
‘Any new Duhoks will happen in Rojava’
Is there a search for a new Duhok agreement? Hiso responds: “The truth is that the Duhok agreement was strategically made from our own end. This agreement carried the significance of bringing the will of the Kurdish people together in one place. The Duhok agreement met that the will of the Kurdish people in the Middle East was being put into practice. However unfortunately ENKS, the other party to this agreement, became an obstacle to the will of the Kurdish people coming together in one place. ENKS did not want that the agreement become successful. Thus they were the reason for this agreement being weakened and its failure to be put into practice like Hewlêr-1 and Hewlêr-2. Does this most recent summit open the way for a new agreement or not? If there is a new agreement I believe that it will happen in Rojava. I don’t think it will happen in Başur (South) Kurdistan. If there is a new agreement in Rojava and all the parties come together there will be a Rojava agreement. There is a small chance than an agreement could be reached outside Rojava, in a place like in Duhok or Xaho.”
Zuhad Kobanê: No Peshmerga In Rojava
I put this to PYD European Organizing Representative Zuhad Kobanê: He said that new agreement such as the Duhok agreement was not on the horizon. When I asked him about the possibility that peshmerga forces would cross into Rojava he responded by saying that “there is nothing like that now. The meetings went well. However there was nothing about the peshmerga going into Rojava.” On the subject of the course of relations with the USA: “Our relations with the United States are coordinated. McGurk met with our PYD delegation as well as with Mr. Barzani. We spoke about how best to conduct the struggle against Daesh. Everyone responded by emphasizing the need for a more forceful struggle against Daesh.”
In conclusion the foundation for any new agreement depends on a change in KDP policy. The PYD has made major progress since its founding on September 20th, 2003 and the party’s 6th general congress held in Rimelan this month was an important demonstration of how its diplomacy is moving to the streets of Rojava.