When French President Emmanuel Macron invited a member of the YPG’s political arm PYD to the Élysée Palace, it was not only a dangerous move but a diplomatically unwise move. In the 21st century, mature states should not be dealing with non-state entities that are hostile to the legitimate authorities of their country, while mature states should also avoid courting non-state entities that pose a direct terrorist threat to their neighbours. In inviting PYD “politician” Khaled Eissa to the presidential palace of France, President Macron did both of these things. Taken in totality, Macron did nothing more than shake hands with a terrorist.
But if Macron’s move in inviting a terrorist to a palace normally reserved for fellow heads of state and legitimate politicians was not bad enough in terms of posing an overt security risk by attempting to legitimise a terrorist organisation, it was a diplomatically foolish move. The YPG/PKK’s primary enemy is Turkey and as a fellow NATO member, France has a responsibility not to show support for terrorist groups whose stated goal is making war upon Turkey. President Erdogan made his feelings about the incident known when he delivered the following statement about Macron’s antics,
“France is abetting terrorists by hosting them at the presidential palace… as long as you nurture these terrorists, the West will drown”.
Since Eissa’s visit with Macron, Turkish media has revealed that French special forces are now present in north eastern Syria as part of a plan that many believe to be related to Donald Trump’s statement saying “let the other people take care of it (Syria) now”.
While it is clear that the US is not going to withdraw from Syria in the immediate future, it is looking increasingly likely that in order for the US to maintain its strong relationship with its YPG terrorist proxies while somehow attempting to keep its relationship with Turkey from deteriorating further, French troops may be put on the front lines of the forthcoming Turkish/YPG conflict in Manbij and surrounding areas.
French military cooperating with YPG/PKK terrorists
— ANADOLU AGENCY (ENG) (@anadoluagency) March 31, 2018
This rather devious plan would make sense for a United States that continues to use its troops and proxies to guard Syria’s eastern oil fields. It also makes sense from the perspective of a United States which seeks to avoid direct confrontation with Turkey. In order to limit the numbers of US troops in Syria, the US is reliant on the YPG to act as useful idiots in guarding America’s stolen Syrian assets. At the same time, the YPG is boasting about US promises to defend its terrorist proxies against Turkey and Turkey’s allies. In this sense, while the US is using the YPG in order to avoid putting its own men on the front lines of conflict zones in the region, the YPG is simultaneously using the cover of American power in Syria in a crass attempt to intimidate Turkey.
Interestingly, a YPG spokesman recently implied that France might indeed usurp some of the roles which the US is currently playing in northern Syria. A YPG spokesman has been quoted as saying,
“Yes, the international coalition is building new bases in Manbij, and it is connected with military plans. … Be it US bases or French ones, we are interacting with it [the coalition] rather than the countries. In general, the construction of bases is underway in northern Syria, especially in the east of the Euphrates”.
Here, the spokesman let slip that France might indeed be replacing the US as the de-facto master of Kurdish proxy terrorists in northern Syria. In this sense the United States might be able to at least temporarily avoid direct confrontation with Turkish troops while still maintaining a presence far from the lines of conflict, surrounding the much coveted Syrian oil that based on Trump’s own previous statements regarding Iraq, America should “take”.
In apparently transferring front-line responsibilities to the French, the US may manage to ‘have its cake and eat it too’ when it comes to a pseudo-withdrawal that is in reality just a withdrawal from any possible responsibility towards Turkey, while still giving the US access to Syria’s natural commodities.
According to such a scenario, Donald Trump is essentially outsourcing his own failures to a gullible French President whose eagerness to alienate Turkey seems to cloud the more surreal reality that as a former colonial master of Syria, a French presence will be all the more resented by all sides to the conflict. What’s more is that with the indigenous population of Arabs in northern Syria in the midst of a growing rebellion against the YPG and the US, France may soon find itself on the receiving end of the same kind of rebellion it faced in colonial Indochina and Algeria.
Thus, it is becoming even more clear that for the US and France, it is not a matter of recognising Turkey and the world’s legitimate security concerns, it is merely a matter of the US pulling the French strings in order to hide its own deeply anti-Turkish agenda, while President Macron happily plays the role of America’s stooge in the region.