The conflict currently present in the middle east is growing ever more violent. Contrary to the relatively sparse and holistically myopic media coverage, we are witnessing more than just your simple “good guys, bad guys” dialogue, but instead the butting-of-heads between major players in the middle east’s ideological war, as well as key insight into the hidden agenda of the U.S. Government actions.
It is important to note that this topic is expanding in vastness with every passing day. The informality of guerrilla forces in the middle east has led to “thousands of groups” both small and large guided by a plethora of goals and beliefs. The major instigators are, however, the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, the ambiguous, mystified, and seemingly endless pool of Syrian rebels, and of course, ISIS. Understanding these three opposing forces is difficult enough. For starters, ISIS opposes the rule of Assad, yet the two have struck what seems to be an unceremonious agreement in a sense, staying out of each others way for the sake of mutual benefit, all the while ISIS absorbs the more radical of Syrian rebels as differences among the rebels have spurred violent internal conflict. Assad, being able to focus a majority of his military might on the rebel groups, can divide, conquer and mitigate their forces, allowing ISIS to grow in stature through drafting rebel outcasts, and easily resisting Assad’s partitioned attention. This all makes it more difficult for the U.S. to intervene, because the rebels we perceive as “good” now, could later be ISIS militants bearing the arms we supplied them. And this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Other rarely noted groups play major roles in the violent campaigns spanning the Middle East however, namely the Peshmerga and the “terrorist” branded PKK. Both hailing from the Kurdistan region, a roughly defined region stretching from Turkey to Iran, they maintain incredibly different ideologies. The Peshmerga have been vocally and militarily backed by the west as well as Turkey, but The PKK, the Kurdistan workers party, remain, in the west’s eyes, terrorists. Since the early 1980’s the PKK, an anarchist group striving to assemble an autonomous Kurdistan, has instigated armed resistance against the Turkish government in the name of independence. Their large scale war efforts against the state of Turkey have earned them the notorious label among world powers, but recent events have had the west questioning its stance. Over recent months, the PKK has proved formidable a ground opponent against ISIS, gaining crucial territory in the fight against the Islamic state. On top of this, The PKK’s politics fail to compare with other terrorist groups in the area, namely former Al-queida and ISIS. The Kurd’s, formally operating under a Marxist-Leninist structure, now progress forward in a libertarian-socialist, communalist fashion, similar to the anarchist autonomy of the former Free territory (Ukraine) and unfortunately short lived Paris Commune. An economy built on mutual aid, free from market forces as well as the Turkish state, remain one of there goals, and the PKK remain the foremost progressive cultural group in the middle east in terms of gender equality and female liberation- by far. In fact, the PKK’s all women ground force (a notion virtually unimaginable among most middle eastern spheres), The YPJ, has gained widespread mainstream attention for it’s victory and success in the battle against ISIS. The PKK’s statutes and beliefs reflect a direct and sincere appreciation for human rights, economic liberation, and horizontal equality that many western countries can only dream of. The social experiment of the Kurdistan workers party, one they have deemed democratic con-federalism, is being recognized today by many political scientists as a radiating hub of progressive political thought.
The U.S., as well as many other global powers, are in a tight situation. The situation can climax at any point, and every move will prove critical when- and if- this conflict ceases. The PKK represent a stable, safe solution the United states can invest in, and with its current success and prosperity militarily, there is no better time but now. Now, on to why the U.S. may feel hesitant to move forward. Initially, the U.S. Is obviously not very keen on supporting a “terrorist organization.” However, on top if this, we must understand that each and every foreign policy decision out of Washington is driven by economic self interest. The autonomous Kurds represent a form of government and society the U.S. has not only refused to endorse over the past century, but moved to oppose and repress, time and time again. From the Vietnam war to secret coups in Chile and Guatemala, the red scare is a deciding factor in how the U.S. conducts it’s policy abroad. And with amount of oil present in the region, the stakes are even higher. If the PKK gains influence and control over the area and it’s resources, the oil market and its participants could feel the brute force of Kurdish nationalism, and this is not something the neo-liberal forces of the world would be fond of experiencing. While many believe the U.S.’s best bet is to invest in the Kurds, economic interests may unfortunately prove otherwise.