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In-Depth Interview: From Irbil, Iraq, Journalist Joe Lauria Comments on Putin’s Pullback in Syria and Kurdish Aspirations

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Joe Lauria, the independent journalist who covers the UN, is on assignment in Iraq and reports from Kurdish-controlled Irbil about major developments in the 5-year Syrian war.Lauria posted this dispatch at Consortium News right after Putin announced Russia’s pullback–it’s not really a withdrawal so far–from Syria.

We begin with Lauria’s description of the scene in Irbil, where Kurds are in control more than Bagdhad, and US personnel are discretely out of view.  We talk about today’s announcement from Syria Kurdish leaders that they are seeking to establish a state inside Syria.

Lauria has lots to say about the Russian move, its motivations and impacts.  His immediate concern is that Turkey and Saudi Arabia may deploy troops in Syria to take down Assad and advance plans for a pipeline through Syria that’s opposed by Russia.

We note that the White House responded to questions raised by Lauria and others about an Obama-Putin “grand bargain” on Syria and Ukraine, denying that there was any such understanding.

Near the end, PBC encourages listeners to follow Lauria on Facebook, as he is a frequent contributor of interesting items.