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Assad has ceased cooperating with Turkey against the PKK, apparently in retaliation for Turkish threats against Syria. It would be only logical for a dictator as smart as Assad to start aiding PKK separatists.

Such aid might reinvigorate nationalist fervor among Syria’s own Kurds, though Assad could condition any aid to the PKK on non-involvement in Syria. That policy mirrors Iran’s relations with the Kurds: the ayatollahs help Kurdish separatists in Iraq, but suppress Iranian Kurds across the border.

Kurdish separatism may prove the most potent force in the Middle East: Kurdish areas span several states, Kurds are by far more advanced than Arabs, they possess oil and align with the West, they are numerous and militant, and they remain at odds with the Arabs.

Kurds protesting

The US has joined the Iranian-Turkish offensive against the Kurdish PKK rebels. According to the Debka, Washington supplies them intelligence about PKK targets.

The PKK, however, is an important ally of Israel. Unlike the mainstream Kurdish government, which is content with semi-autonomy in Iraq, PKK wants chunks of Turkey, Iran, and Syria for the Kurdish state—and rightly so, since Kurds indeed live in those regions. The PKK, therefore, gives Israel leverage against Turkey and the enemy states of Syria and Iran. When Lieberman merely hinted that Israel might support the PKK in retaliation for Turkey’s hostile actions, his Turkish counterpart went hysterical. In Iran, the PKK serves our interests against nuclear-related targets.

Just as with Mubarak and other examples of threatened Israeli national interests, our government did nothing to protect the PKK.

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