The issue here (“BREAKING: US Occupation of Syria now official,” August 21, 2016 – Fort Russ News – FR Editorial Team) is whether the US is formally recognizing the Rojava state or only the Kurdistan of Northern Iraq. I say that so far, it’s the latter only. Frankly, I don’t foresee the US under Trump or Clinton recognizing Rojava because it would be a democratic-socialist state, the only one in the world, which neither Trump nor Clinton wants ideologically because each is a capitalist, albeit of the mixed-economy variety.
My view is that Obama doesn’t want a direct military confrontation with Russia and will do what it takes to avoid one up to the point where Russia hits US troops first. Obama is focused on defeating IS right now, not in taking down Assad. That won’t change. It will be the next President who will set the course concerning Assad’s future as far as the then US administration will be concerned. It’s not really Obama whom Putin need worry about that much but Hillary Clinton, who lacks any intellectual acuity when it comes to geopolitics, with her closest advisors being no better.
As for the illegality of US actions in Syria, so long as the US is focused on IS, they aren’t technically illegal under international law. Overthrowing Assad isn’t really legal, as Assad was framed by the “Arab Spring.” He was concerned with al Qaeda waiting in the wings, which it was. That gives him legal justifiable cover. Had there been no al Qaeda and had Assad truly done all the things alleged of him, then the R2P principle (UN Security Council’s Responsibility to Protect citizens from very bad governments over them) would have had some meaning in that context. To clarify, R2P has to be employed only where clear cut (no al Qaeda or other internationally lawless groups lurking as clear and present dangers) and only if employed consistently, meaning regardless of any empire’s alliances.
The article calls the Kurds puppets of the US. Those behind the movement to establish Rojava are far from US puppets. They do not take their marching orders from the US, and they do not agree with the US administration ideologically in any way acceptable to Washington at the moment or the reasonably foreseeable future. To call them puppets is to spread utterly transparent and false propaganda.
Also, calling Syria a “liberal and open society” before the Arab Spring is more than a stretch. It may have been more liberal and open than a number of other nation-states in the region, but it was far from liberal and open in the common usage in the US and Europe generally. Had it been, there would have been no Arab Spring attempt in Syria in the first place. The naïve Arab Spring starters in Syria did have legitimate grievances against the Assad government, and Assad did not move properly to address those grievances. That was his biggest mistake even while he was right about al Qaeda lurking and waiting, which al Qaeda in Iraq morphed into IS in Iraq and Syria due to Bush-43’s visionless de-Ba’athification. Let’s not forget that Assad is actually a Ba’athist, though he was moving somewhat neoliberally before the Arab Spring to appease the US.
To clarify here, the Ba’athists are semi-socialistic but have a Stalinist bent versus the Rojava Kurds’ more-democratic bent. This difference is typically absent in pro-Assad articles and anti-Rojava-Kurd articles. This Wikipedia section is not far off, if off at all. However, it remains to be seen where Bashar al-Assad will finally come down on these matters. If he’s to retain his leadership position, he’ll have no choice not only to allow but to champion the full democratization of Syria, thereby co-opting the arguments against him by the Rojava Kurds, who would then be in the awkward position of being more dictatorial than Assad once was, as Assad would leave the mixture of capitalism and socialism to the democratic process while the Rojava Kurds would forbid capitalism at least in the “commanding heights” of the economy regardless of popular, majority democratic desire.
The real question, of course, comes down to governmental transparency, as a non-transparent government can easily dupe the People into falsely desiring that which is actually bad for the People, such as neoliberal economics and/or technocracy by capitalistic, anti-pure-democratic so-called economists.