“The PYD shot to international prominence in January after it repelled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters from the besieged town of Kobane. It is now a force in its own right, with not only an organised and disciplined armed wing but also a viable autonomous region in a country embroiled in devastating conflict.
Turkey has no alternative but to accept that a Syrian Kurdistan has become more sovereign and more powerful.”
“In recent weeks, a Turkish backed umbrella group dubbed Jaysh al-Fateh has taken control of Idlib, prompting speculation that the group’s recent advance could mark a turning point in the war. These recent successes are widely attributed to a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Turkey – two critical regional players in Syria that had hitherto supported different factions in northern Syria.
The United States has quietly acquiesced to the resurgent Saudi-Turkish role in Syria, but the prevalence of al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al Nusra and ally Ahrar al-Sham in recent offensives will certainly complicate on-going discussions about whether to provide air cover for rebel battalions in the north. This key divergence could further complicate US-Turkish relations, despite the recent agreement to train-and-equip up to 15,000 Syrian rebels in Turkey, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.”
“But whether that changes the actual Western discourse around Iran is another matter. Every society or culture gets stereotyped in some way by others — but Iran, even before the rise of the Islamic Republic in 1979, has been a very conspicuous victim.
That’s in part a consequence of its history. As the inheritor of Persia’s ancient empires, Iran has been the Other — the enemy of the nominal “West” — since classical times and the famous wars with Greek city-states. In the 18th century, some European writers and thinkers popularized the image of a “decadent” and “despotic” Persia as an allegorical device to critique their own societies. A century later, as Europe’s empires gained in power, the Orientalist cliches hardened and served to bolster the West’s own sense of racial and moral superiority.”