Why would ISIS and the PKK collaborate?

Published 16.10.2015 02:18

Syria has become the center of chaos in the region since the beginning of the Syrian civil war. When large masses of people began protesting against the Syrian government as an extension of the Arab Spring, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei announced Iran's determination to prevent the fall of Syrian President Bashar Assad, even at the cost of causing World War III. Russia's direct intervention in the Syrian civil war seems to validate Khamenei's prophecy.

Meanwhile, the United States remains confused and baffled regarding the Syrian crisis, while American policymakers blame the clumsy foreign policies of U.S. President Barrack Obama for the deterioration of the present stalemate in Syria.

Philip Gordon, who was formerly Obama's principal consultant for Syria, mentioned in an article published in a congressional journal that the hesitant and incompetent policies of the White House in the Syrian civil war. In a nutshell, Gordon argued that the fallacious policies of the White House in Syria have weakened the position of the Western alliance, including Turkey, against Russia and Iran in the Syrian question.

The prolongation of the Syrian civil war has led the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) to run riot, which I believe is at best a relic of intelligence organizations of various states. At the same time, the eagerness of Syrian Kurds to establish their own state in the land given as a present by Syria and Iran blew up the ongoing reconciliation process in Turkey. For a piece of land in northern Syria, which would perhaps be retained temporarily, the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and the PKK are led into a conflict with Turkey that the people of the region by no means want.

The overlap of interest of ISIS and the PKK might seem interesting and somewhat awkward. As is well known, ISIS has never engaged Syrian regime forces, while Iran's presence in Syria as the principal ally of the Baathist regime never disturbed ISIS. Since its foundation, ISIS has fought against the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the main opposition to the Syrian regime. Indeed, it cannot be a coincidence that Hezbollah in the east and ISIS in the west have begun to fight against the FSA together at a time when the Syrian regime was in its most vulnerable position. In addition, it seems paradoxical that ISIS, which is a radical Islamic terrorist organization, has nothing to say against Israel.

The extreme violence that ISIS adopted as its principal method might be indoctrinated by the intelligence organizations of Israel and Iran, as Turkey as a democratic majority Muslim country constitutes a substantial threat for ISIS's political existence and for the revisionist policies of several aggressive states.

The PKK, on the other hand, launched terrorist activities against the state for 30 years, leading to the deaths of 30,000 people. In the dark years of the 1990s, the PKK was making a fixed fight with a militarist clique in the army, known as Ergenokon. Through secret cooperation, two illegal organizations were working together to dominate their regions of influence. While the former in the east of the country was forcing people of the region to follow their lead, the latter in the west was threatening people with a coup. Despite that the latter was eliminated from the state structure, the forceful presence of the former continues in the region. Yet the Kurdish people do not approve of the terrorist activities of the PKK, which spills blood in the region almost every day. In the absence of such popular support, the PKK has been looking for an external support base to strengthen and legitimize its terrorist activities.

Such meaningful support for the PKK came from ISIS, which seems to be its archenemy. The siege of Kobani, the bombing in Diyarbakır and the suicide bombings, first in Suruç and then in Ankara, served the PKK well to escalate violence in the country. Such an overlap of interests of ISIS and the PKK might rightfully be called a brotherhood of enemies.

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