The recent announcement by the Obama administration that it intends to provide arms and funds to the Syrian rebels, begs a number of key questions. One such question is why the administration has not been cultivating a democratic and secular alternative to the radical Islamist led rebel camp that hijacked the Syrian revolution. In fact, there is an alternative to the radical Islamist rebels on one hand, and the repressive Assad dictatorship on the other, according to Sherkoh Abbas, President of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria (KNAS).
In an interview this reporter had with Sherkoh Abbas on Thursday, June 20, 2013, Abbas stated that it is vital for the U.S. administration to support a federalized Syria, “by establishing a Kurdish Federal region in the North, a Druze region in the Southwest, an Alawite region in western Syria, in addition to a Sunni region in the rest of Syria. If Syria does not become a federal state, two outcomes would emerge from the current ethnic cleansing we are witnessing.
Should the Assad regime prevail, it would restore its dictatorial character with the help of Iran, Hezbollah, Shiite-led Iraq, Russia, and China. On the other hand, should the Muslim Brotherhood led rebels win, supported by Turkey, the U.S., EU, and the Gulf Arab monarchies, they would initiate a bloodbath, cleansing particularly minority groups that either worked or appeared to be working with the Assad regime.” Regardless of which side wins, according to Abbas, it will be to the disadvantage of the minority groups such as the Kurds, Christians, Druze and even the Alawites.
Abbas added that unless Syria becomes a federated state where ethnic and religious communities possess their own autonomous region, the stability, safety, and security in the entire Middle East region will be jeopardized. Moreover, the instability currently in Syria will spill over to the neighboring states such as Jordan. In addition, the Islamist organizations will get stronger and pose an even greater threat.
Asked about the impact the U.S. intervention would have on the ongoing conflict in Syria, Abbas replied, “Obama’s efforts to aid the Syrian rebels will not help the situation because it is supporting one extremist camp now associated with the rebels (Arab nationalists and radical Islamists) that has been issuing threats to the minority groups in Syria. This will increase the support of Alawis, Christians, Shia, and Druze for the Assad regime. The Kurds are on the sidelines and do not support either side, since neither one of the camps has shown goodwill toward the Kurds.” Abbas elaborated further that the U.S. supplied weapons will eventually end up in the hands of the radical Islamists who will use them against the neighboring states and U.S. allies (i.e. Israel, Jordan). According to Abbas, Obama needs to refrain from supporting political Islam and work with democratic groups to promote a federated Syria.