US support for the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) fighting Daesh in Syria could lead Turkey to block the Syrian peace process, former CIA officer Philip Giraldi told Sputnik.
“I see the Turkish angle on the Kurds as the most serious stumbling block that can only be resolved if the Kurds are subsumed into the Syrian delegation, which they will resist,” Giraldi said on Friday.
On Thursday, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan De Mistura suggested that all parties to the intra-Syrian talks should agree that Syria will be a democratic, non-sectarian state.
In his final declaration, De Mistura defined 12 points on which the parties to the talks in Geneva could agree and submitted the document to them for approval.
However, Giraldi warned that Turkey, which has an ethnic minority of 20 million Kurds — about 25 percent of its total population — would seek to prevent the YPG from establishing its own self-governed region, or be recognized as a separate negotiating partner in the Syrian peace process.
“If they [YPG] are successful at carving out their own political identity, which is their goal, Turkey will do its best to scuttle the entire arrangement by citing a truce violation and intervening militarily,” Giraldi warned.
De Mistura’s program, including a proposal to lift international sanctions imposed on the Syrian government, would probably not be agreed to and imposed fully, but would be implemented on a gradual basis as the parties successfully agreed to and implemented different points, Giraldi said.
“I think it is perceived as a framework. Sanctions relief would likely depend on a timetable for elections, easing out of Assad and reparations would be very dicey to arrange. Who would be willing to pay them?” he asked.
Philip Giraldi is a former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. At present, he serves as Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.