Anti-Iran sanctions and PKK: Washington playing two cards

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Baku, 12 November 2018 –

Two decisions announced by the United States in November have grabbed the global spotlight. Experts admit that although these two events cover different areas, they are interconnected. It is Washington`s decision to re-impose anti-Iranian sanctions and pledge a total of 15 million US dollars for information which could lead to the arrest of three PKK leaders. If we look at the ongoing developments in the Middle East and nearby geopolitical regions from one perspective, we can conclude that very dangerous scenarios may lie behind these two events. If anti-Iranian sanctions encourage tragedy, poverty and disorder in a broader geography, the creation of a new terrorist organization to replace PKK may bring about new tragedies. The United States` efforts to officially rehabilitate another terrorist organization serve this goal. In this article, we will try to analyze possible consequences of these developments.

Secret scenario: Washington`s offensive from two directions

The U.S. administration announced two decisions earlier in November, which drew experts` attention. Washington re-imposed anti-Iranian sanctions and put a bounty (a total of 15 million US dollars) on three key PKK figures. There is no connection between these two events at first sight. But ongoing geopolitical developments give a completely different picture. Politics affects all areas of activity and life both directly and indirectly.

A thorough look at the U.S. administration`s two decisions reveals that Washington has made a very crafty move. Let`s look at anti-Iranian sanctions first. Politicians believe that re-imposition of sanctions runs contrary to international law. NumanKurtulmus, deputy chair of Turkey`s ruling party, said: "We know that this embargo decision runs contrary to international law. Unfortunately, apart from political impact, these embargoes have negative implications for ordinary people." (see: Kurtulmuş'tan ABD'nin PKK elebaşları kararı yorumu: Anlaşılır bir şey değil / "Habertürk", 8 Novemer, 2018).

The International Atomic Energy Agency recently released a report, saying it has no credible proof of activities in Iran relevant to the development of a nuclear weapons program. This once again proved groundlessness of sanctions since Washington`s main goal was to prevent Iran from developing its nuclear program. Interestingly, some media outlets spread reports alleging that Iran is secretly developing its nuclear program. These reports were based on the Israeli intelligence data. A question arises here: Does the U.S. take decisions that may produce serious international consequences based solely on information provided by another country`s intelligence. It is therefore not a coincidence that House Democrats want to investigate Donald Trump`s foreign policy.

The reality is that new sanctions against Iran became effective on November 5, and experts are now studying their possible consequences. One of the most important issues is Iran`s relations with neighbouring states. Turkey has said it will not break off ties with Iran. The U.S. waived Iran sanctions for Turkey. Kurtulmus` statement proves that Ankara is dedicated to defending Turkey`s interests, rather than Washington`s.

Azerbaijan, as a regional country pursuing an independent foreign policy, is committed to its objective stance. And experts previously predicted this. They firmly believe that official Baku will continue defending its national interests despite provocations. These forecasts have completely justified themselves. Azerbaijan maintains relations with Iran despite any external pressure.

Russia`s position is clear. Moscow defends Iran, and does not join the sanctions. The Kremlin even openly criticizes Washington for its attitude towards Tehran. This proves that Russia remains committed to its policy of developing relations with Iran and giving it support internationally.

Georgia, which has close ties with the West, does not seek closeness with Iran. Given Georgia`s regional position and its weakness as a state, the U.S. does not want to put it at risk.

As far as Armenia is concerned, the country has come to a dead end. NikolPashinyan recently stated that Armenia`s isolation can deepen. It does not have relations with Azerbaijan and Turkey, and may lose ties with Iran and Georgia. Washington`s growing tension may lead to the closure of Armenia`s border with Iran. Georgia may take the same step too. This possibility was confirmed by behind-the-scenes points of John Bolton`s remarks made during his visit to Yerevan.

Commanding PKK to disappear and PYD to revitalize

Anti-Iranian sanctions are not confined to Iran. They can have serious implications for a wide geopolitical area. The sanctions may encourage more geopolitical, economic and military tension in a certain area, including the South Caucasus. Geopolitical tensions, which have been tearing the Middle East apart for many years, may spread to the East. Washington is pursuing a deliberate policy towards this. It is a very thought-provoking situation because we have here open violation of international law. Imposition of sanctions also runs contrary to international norms. (see: previous source).

Against this backdrop, Washington`s pledging millions of dollars in a bounty for three PKK leaders raises questions. At first sight the U.S. seems to have taken a sincere approach to the fight against terrorism and want to eliminate the terror organizations that have been a headache for Turkey. But a look at the issue from another perspective reveals a very dangerous tendency. And at this point anti-Iran sanctions interconnect with the PKK issue.

The issue is more noticeable in the context of America`s relations with terrorist organizations. The U.S. had been using Taliban against the Soviet Union and then other countries for many years. After Taliban completed its mission, the U.S. tried to get rid of Taliban. Al Qaida faced the same fate. After several years of service Osama bin Laden was assassinated and the organization melt into the background. Then ISIS emerged. This organization boosted wrong global belief that Islam encourages terrorism, paving the way for tragedy of millions of people. But now it is also being rejected – the U.S. confidently claims to be eliminating ISIS and even refuses to take Turkey into account. Washington has prioritized the fight against ISIS and Iran over other terrorist groups.

''Other groups'' mean PYD/YPG, which is PKK`s Syria branch. Turkey always said that PYD is a terrorist organization and an integral part of PKK. Washington openly expressed its position on this issue only this November. It officially stated that it does not regard PYD/YPG as a terrorist organization. But in realityby putting a $15 million bounty on three PKK leaders who are already about to complete their activities, the U.S. intends to revitalize this terrorist organization in another form, rather than to eliminate it. Washington is helping the real terrorist organization to cause serious problems for regional countries, while on the other hand, it is trying to get rid of PKK. What should be emphasized is that the U.S. does not care about Turks or Kurds, it only pursues its own interests. America will then cold-bloodedly get rid of PYD in a while.

Unfortunately, all regional countries suffer from this. Arab states, Turkey, Iran and then the South Caucasus countries, then Central Asian and Far East states may face the same fate. Sanctions and the policy of terrorism are interconnected in terms of politics and geopolitics. The U.S. is encouraging the emergence of a new terrorist organization in the Middle East on the one hand, while on the other, it is contributing to the spread of terrorism to other regions by expanding sanctions against Iran. Radicalism and terror emerge mainly in places where there is a poor living standard. People are persuaded of illegitimacy of the government and then encouraged to take to streets. Call it a color revolution, Arab or any other spring, but the result is always the same: Muslim states are being weakened, Muslim society is being destroyed. This must be stopped!

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