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Syria's Pipelineistan war

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This means, essentially, more autonomy. And that's exactly what they got from that July 11 deal signed in Irbil, under the auspices of Iraqi Kurdistan president Masoud Barzani; the co-administration of Syrian Kurdistan by the PYD and the KNC. That was the direct consequence of a wily strategic retreat by the Assad regime.

No wonder Ankara is freaking out -- it sees not only the PKK finding a safe haven in Syria, hosted by their cousins of the PYD, but also two Kurdish de facto statelets, sending a powerful signal to Kurds in Anatolia.

What Ankara could do to minimise its nightmare is to discreetly help the Syrian Kurds economically -- ranging from aid to investments in infrastructure -- via its good relations with Iraqi Kurdistan.  

In Ankara's worldview, nothing can stand in the way of its dream of becoming the ultimate energy bridge between East and West. That implies an extremely complex relationship with no fewer than nine countries; Russia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt.

As for the wider Arab world, even before the Arab Spring, an Arab Pipelineistan that could link Cairo, Amman, Damascus, Beirut and Baghdad was being seriously discussed. That would do more to unify and develop a new Middle East than any "peace process," "regime change" or peaceful or militarized uprising.

Into this delicate equation, the dream of a Greater Kurdistan is now back in play. And the Kurds may have a reason to smile; Washington appears to be silently backing them -- a very quiet strategic alliance. 

Of course Washington's motives are not exactly altruistic. Iraqi Kurdistan under Barzani is a very valuable tool for the US to keep a military footprint in Iraq. The Pentagon will never admit it on the record -- but advanced plans already exist for a new US base in Iraqi Kurdistan, or for the transfer to Iraqi Kurdistan of NATO's base in Incirlik. 

This has got to be one of the most fascinating subplots of the Arab Spring; the Kurds fitting perfectly into Washington's game in the whole arc from the Caucasus to the Gulf.

Many an executive from Chevron and BP may be now salivating over the open possibilities of Iraq-Syria-Turkey Pipelineistan triangulations. Meanwhile, many a Kurd may be now salivating over Pipelineistan opening the doors to a Greater Kurdistan.

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Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times. His regular column, "The Roving Eye," is widely read. He is an analyst for the online news channel Real News, the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and (more...)

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I have been watching conflict in Syria for a long ... by Sid Harth on Monday, Aug 6, 2012 at 6:13:36 PM