What’s Behind US Sanctions Waivers for Kurdish-Controlled Syrian Areas?

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While the Syrian sociopolitical situation in recent years, particularly since the start of 2022, has begun a transition to calm, the United States continues to take steps to steer Damascus away from a definitive solution to the long-running crisis. more than a decade.

AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): While the Syrian sociopolitical situation in recent years, particularly since the start of 2022, has begun a transition to calm, the United States continues to take steps to steer Damascus away from a definitive solution to the long-running crisis. more than a decade.

In the latest anti-Syrian initiative from the White House, Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland on May 11 and at the meeting of the so-called international anti-ISIS coalition hosted by Morocco pledged to grant an investment permit in northeast Syria, namely areas controlled by US-allied Kurdish militias.

The decision comes at a time when since the outbreak of the crisis in Syria, Washington has imposed numerous sanctions on Damascus. The face of all the sanctions is the Caesar law, which in January 2019 banned any relationship with Syria.

Now, however, Washington seems inclined to lift some of that stifling sanction. But that raises a question: what is Washington’s objective behind issuing investment exemptions in the northeast regions?

Details of the plan and reactions: According to Nuland, the aim behind the investment waivers in the northeast is to help speed up the process of reconstruction in areas formerly held by IS terrorists. According to American sources, this permit only covers agriculture and reconstruction but not the oil industry. It should be noted that the plan covers both areas held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and areas held by Turkish-backed armed groups.

As expected, this decision provoked a strong reaction from the Damascus government. In a May 14 statement, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said that US and Western aid to terrorist groups in northeastern and northwestern Syria is what has destroyed Syria’s economic potential and helped to plunder sources and products such as cotton, oil, wheat and archaeological sites. sites. The statement affirmed that Syria was ready to foil this plot and all the forces behind it.

In addition to Syria, neighboring Turkey, which itself occupies parts of northern Syria under the pretext of the activities of its opponent the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in these regions, has expressed its opposition. On May 14, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara does not approve of exemptions to Kurdish-controlled regions.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu was another senior Turkish official to respond, saying in a press conference with his counterpart Christophe Lutundula Apala of the Democratic Republic of Congo that this is a step “legitimizing the terrorist group YPG”.

American goals

Using Syrian Kurds to advance plans to undermine Damascus: A look at American policy in Syria after 2011 and the place of the Kurds in this policy leads us to the conclusion that the Americans do not have a long term plan for the Syrian Kurds. Since 2014, when the United States began its intervention in Syria, Washington has used Syrian Kurds as infantry for its operations and even there has been speculation that the Americans were considering dividing Syria. But after eight years, it appears the split plan has failed and the only remaining goal is to undermine the central government.

Seizing economic opportunities in the final days of the Syrian crisis

Although Washington has explicitly mentioned the agricultural and urban sectors as its target in the plan to exempt the northeastern and northwestern regions of Syria from “Caesar” sanctions, the reality is that the US government, like all the past years, seeks, in any crisis, profits for American companies. In fact, in accordance with the principle of the shock doctrine, Washington seeks to maximize the economic exploitation of the oil revenues of the Syrian Kurdish forces in a periodic strategy. From another point of view, bearing in mind that Turkey has ruled out the possibility of exporting oil produced in the northeastern regions of Syria, it seems that the Americans are looking for an opportunity to take advantage of the existing economic opportunity under the guise of investing in the agriculture sector.

Playing with the Kurdish map in West Asia equations: The Americans have repeatedly taken advantage of the Kurdish map to advance their policy in West Asia. Meanwhile, the interesting reality is that Washington has never counted them as its strategic allies, rather, for the Americans, the Kurds are merely a pressure card securing certain regional goals. The Kurds would sooner or later see the American betrayal of them repeated in Syria, many agree. Under the new conditions as well, these sub-national players should come out the losers of the American game. The promise of investment facilitation is today more an instrument of pressure to soften Turkey to American demands than a real support for regions with a Kurdish majority.

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