Israeli support for YPG/PKK reeks of ‘Great Game’


Israeli opposition to Turkey’s counter-terrorism operation in northern Syria, which aims to secure the area for the safe return of Syrian refugees and prevent the formation of a terror corridor, has let the cat out of the bag.

Israeli condemnation of the operation and open support to the YPG/PKK terror groups — who were using their entrenched positions in the region to launch terror attacks inside Turkey — seem to have exposed the larger plan which some powers had scripted, not only to change demography, but also to destabilize the region forever, for Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

On Oct. 9, Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists.

Soon after the U.S. withdrawal from the region, American journal Newsweek quoted a senior National Security Council official saying that if this pull out had not happened, they were out to create another Israel on the borders of Turkey.

“To be honest with you, it would be better for the U.S. to support a Kurdish nation across Turkey, Syria, and Iraq… It would be another Israel in the region,” the official added, implying that they would have gone ahead to carve out a territory and hand it over to YPG/PKK, in return of their support to the U.S. military operations.

To put it simply, the territory was meant to become a ground for a “Great Game” — a replay of what happened in 1948 when Israel was created, which became a permanent destabilizing factor for all the neighboring Arab states.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led his country to denounce the military operation. He offered support to terror groups, saying they were facing an onslaught from Ankara. In the same breath, Netanyahu also accused Iran of “striving to tighten its grip” on countries throughout the region, referring to the downing of a U.S. drone and the targeting of Saudi Arabian oil refineries. His son, Yair Netanyahu ran a hashtag campaign on Twitter, opposing Turkey.

The support came in the face of when even U.S. President Donald Trump admitted that YPG/PKK was posing more of a terror threat than Daesh. “Now the PKK, which is part of the Kurds, as you know, is probably worse at terror, and more of a terrorist threat in many ways than ISIS,” Trump said during a joint press conference on Wednesday with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, referring to Daesh by another abbreviation.

Mute spectator becomes active supporter of terrorists

What is intriguing is that ever since the outbreak of protests against Bashar al Assad regime in 2011 and the subsequent complexities in the region, Israel had chosen to remain neutral and a mute spectator. Some unconfirmed reports do suggest that its medical missions were treating the wounded terrorists belonging to Daesh.

Prominent lawmakers across the political spectrum in Israel also issued statements against Turkey. Former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked issued a call for “Kurdish statehood”, urging the West to support the groups fighting Turkey in northern Syria.

“Our national memory requires us to revolt against violence directed against another nation. Such is the Turkish violence directed against northern Syria,” she wrote on Facebook.

“As a nation-state of an ethnic minority in the Middle East, Israel cannot close its eyes to the suffering of the Kurds in the region,” tweeted Blue and White party parliamentarian Zvi Hauser.

The irony of the situation is that Israel which is ruthlessly suppressing the Palestinian movement is demanding a so-called right to self-determination for a terrorist group that falsely claims to be representing Kurds. At a conference on counter-terrorism last month, Shaked added: “A free Kurdistan should be established, at least in Iraq. It is in the U.S. and Israel’s interest for this to happen. It is time for the U.S. to support the process.”

Seth Frantzman, a research associate at the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs in Herzliya, described these terrorist groups as the only one in the Middle East who have good relations with Israel. “If they got independence, it would be another country with good relations with Israel,” he said, speaking to the Jerusalem Post.

According to Israeli news website Mako, several protests took place in Tel Aviv over the past few days with rabbis and former military officials coming out on the streets to denounce Turkey’s anti-terrorism operations.

“In an ocean of the political and cynical interests of foreign powers, human beings are needed. If human life is still worth anything in this world, the madness that is happening next to us must stop,” said an organizer, Tal Hartham.

Paradoxically, these protesters choose to keep their eyes shut at the atrocities and the human rights abuses committed by Israeli forces on Palestinians living nearby.

The Jerusalem Post reported that a group of over 100 Israeli military officers sent a letter to Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Force Chief Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi urging them to act to prevent the anti-terror operation launched by Turkey. “As Israelis and as Jews, we must not stand idly by,” the letter said.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who was in office from 2013–2015, was quoted as saying that Tel Aviv might support the YPG/PKK against Turkey. Though he denied this statement later, saying that media had misquoted him, but that laid a fertile ground to believe that a conspiracy was being laid somewhere to destabilize the region.

YPG/PKK’s Israeli links

Writing in the Middle East Quarterly, Ofra Bengio, a senior research fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University, said that a May 2010 YPG/PKK attack inside Turkey coincided with the Israeli operation against the ship Mavi Marmara, en route to Gaza. She said that it raised suspicions in Ankara that the attack had been masterminded by Israel. Similarly, she says that Turkish intelligence officials had accused Tel Aviv of aiding the PKK by collecting intelligence in the Hatay and Adana regions via unmanned aerial vehicles.

On May 31, 2010, Israeli military forces attacked Mavi Marmara, a passenger vessel with 600 civilians on board killing nine civilians, eight of whom were Turkish citizens and one U.S. citizen of Turkish descent. More than 40 civilians were also injured. The ship was part of an aid flotilla, a multi-faith convoy of six ships organized by a coalition of NGOs from 37 countries transporting certified humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

In 2004, noted American journalist Seymour M. Hersh quoted German intelligence officials saying that they had evidence that Tel Aviv was using its new leverage within terrorist groups in Syria and Iran for intelligence and operational purposes.

Hersh further quoted Lebanese Minister of Information Michel Samaha as saying that his government had evidence Israel was preparing the terrorist groups to fight all around Iraq, in Syria, Turkey, and Iran. “They’re being programmed to do commando operations.”

Bengio believes that there have been claims that Israel has been developing ties with the Free Life Party of Kurdistan (PJAK), a Kurdish-Iranian group linked to the PKK. “There are reports that Tel Aviv has provided them training and basis,” she said.
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