Continuing to work through this piece from VZGLIAD, by military/intelligence reporter Evgeny Krutikov. Here I am doing just straight translation/summary. Where we left off, Krutikov was discussing the Kurdish situation, how the Syrian government is prepared to offer the Kurds more than they ever had before, in the way of autonomy; even changing the name of the country from Syrian Arab Republic to simply Syrian Republic. In order to accentuate its multi-ethnic characteristics. (Kurds are not Arabs.)
Meanwhile, the American army are using Kurdish militias as cannon fodder in their attempt to conquer the strategic city of Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State entity (such as it is). Krutikov had commented that the Kurds, as a people, have no interest in Raqqa and do not claim it as part of their homeland. But they are involved in this race to take Raqqa, and have possibly ulterior motives for submitting to their American overlords.
American General Stephen (“Steve”) Townsend who is in charge of this operation to capture Raqqa, admits that it is a long and hard slog. The Americans have promised the Kurds that if they take Raqqa, they will be granted administrative control over it. Since the Kurds are not interested in ruling Raqqa, any more than they were interested in ruling Manbij, speculation has it that the Kurds are playing their own game here: Namely, they figure that if they capture as much “alien” territory as possible, then they can trade it in later, during the inevitable peace talks, for the areas that they actually want. While winning themselves a seat at the big boys table with Bashar al-Assad and the other players. Under this theory, the Kurds keep their eyes on the prize and endure the ignorant rudeness and arrogant importunities of their American “advisors”.
Krutikov says that all Kurds, regardless of their religion or tribe, are purely nationalistic creatures. They don’t give a fig about “American values”, about “spreading democracy”, or any of that B.S. Their whole history leads them to use other tribes and other peoples just as tools to achieve their own (limited and local) ambitions. They might pretend to collaborate, but you can’t trust them: They use anyone around them. The one single tabu: They never cooperate with Turkey. Out of principle. And yet, even for this rule, there are exceptions. Namely, there is actually a Kurdish militia within Turkey which fights against its own people on behalf of Ankara!
It is unlikely that the Syrian armed forces will be able to reach Raqqa sooner than the Kurdish militias. Just the fact that the American commanders are forcing this storming of the city, shows that the Pentagon is dead serious about not letting Raqqa return to Syrian government control. However, previous experience in storming ISIS-held cities (for example, Mosul) indicate that the operation could take a long time. Those very same Americans, led by the same General Townsend, have been storming Mosul for almost a year already.
It is in this context that one must mention the American air strike against a column of pro-government Shiite militias in the Governate of As-Suwayda. This incident occurred a week ago, on Tuesday June 6. The Russian government strongly condemned the air strike, which totally violated Syrian sovereignty and killed two Syrian men. The incident took place in an area called Al-Tanf and seems to have been directed against Hezbollah and other Shiite forces. The Americans seem to have gotten it into their heads, that Al-Tanf is the key to controlling the Jordanian-Syrian border, and therefore belongs to them and their allies. The Syrian government begs to disagree.
[to be continued]