Members of a Kurdish fighting force trained in the Kurdistan Region march on the streets of Qamishli, August 2012. Photo: Welateme
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Kurdish Supreme Committee (KSC), formed a year ago to unite the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) with rival Syrian Kurdish groups inside the umbrella Kurdish National Council (KNC), has failed, a committee member said.
The KSC, which consists equally of 10 members from both sides, was formed in Erbil with backing from Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Region.
“The Erbil agreement must be amended, otherwise the committee dissolves,” said KSC member Faisal Yousif, suggesting that the committee had been hurriedly put together, without much thought.
“Prior to forming committees, we need to study the obstacles that hinder the Kurdish parties becoming united, then take practical steps to deal with them,” he said. “Those who signed the agreement didn’t consider everything.”
Syria’s vast Kurdish regions have fallen largely under the sway of the powerful PYD, which is affiliated with the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), and remains accused by rival Syrian Kurdish groups of secret ties to the Damascus regime and mistreatment of Kurdish war refugees.
Syria’s Kurds have so far largely stayed out of the fighting between rebel forces and the Damascus regime, insisting they will not join the armed opposition unless Kurds are given assurances of self-rule over their territories after the fall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Ahmad Qasim, a political analyst from Syrian Kurdistan, said that politicians had failed to address the reasons behind the disputes before forming the committee. “They must have been naive about the situation, or someone may have pressured the KNC to agree to the formation of the committee,” he added.
Qasim advised it is time to seek another solution. “A national convention to include all the political parties and civil organizations from western (Syrian) Kurdistan must be held in Qamishli,” he said.
Three KSC members withdrew from the committee after last month’s clashes in Amude betweeen the PYD’s militia forces and supporters of the KNC.
Political analyst Mahmood Abbas said that the committee is overwhelmed by disagreements. “The triangle of Erbil, referring to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), Sulaimani, referring to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Qandil, referring to the PKK leadership, has contributed to the mess overwhelming the committee,” Abbas claimed.
He added that the committee has failed to be the voice of the Syrian Kurds in the international community.
“The committee was formed to fulfill the agenda of those who stand against the Kurdish Youth revolutionaries,” he charged.
Abbas said that the Amude incident proved that the Syrian Kurdish parties were only pursuing their self interests, and would not hesitate to use the bloodshed of innocent people in order to strengthen their positions.
“The 50-50 division of power in the committee was a game played by all the political parties to weaken the PYD,” he charged. “However, PYD outsmarted them all,” he said.
The PYD has been the only side to openly recognize the committee as legitimate.
Abdul Salam Ahmad, co-chair of the people’s council, said, those who cause tension between the Kurds are the same ones who try to dissolve the committee.”