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Syria

Syria: Our starting point must be solidarity

 

 

 

Mark Boothoryd (left) alongside Syrian activists 
protesting against British military intervention in Syria, December 2015

 

By Mark Boothroyd

 

January 17, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – While I welcome David Bush’s attempt to debate Syria productively, his article reproduces many common mistakes made by socialist activists who have not consistently engaged with the Syrian revolution, and offers little to those on the ground struggling against both the Assad regime, and the various imperialist powers intervening in the country.

 

Women's Defense Units (YPJ) spokeswoman: 'We also fight for a mental and intellectual liberation'

 

 

January 18, 2017 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from ANF English –– YPJ (Women's Defense Units) Spokeswoman Nesrin Abdullah described Raqqa operation that was launched at the end of 2016 and led by the YPJ as the operation to avenge all women, and said “Raqqa’s liberation is also the liberation of mentalities. Because as the women of the YPJ, we aim not only liberation from ISIS but also a liberation of mentality and thoughts. Democratic culture and fraternal life must be deepened because war is not only the liberation of land. We are also fighting for the liberation of women and men. If not, the patriarchal system will prevail once again.

 

The defeat of Aleppo – Some harsh lessons for the international left

 

 

Introduction and translation by Richard Fidler

 

January 7, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left with permission – Aided by the bombs of the Russian air force and the bullets of foreign militias organized by Iran, Syria’s president Bashar Al-Assad has finally managed to destroy the eastern sector of the country’s largest city Aleppo, the major remaining pocket of popular resistance to his regime.

 

In the following article Santiago Alba Rico, a Spanish-born philosopher and writer based in Tunisia, analyzes what the defeat in Syria means for democratic and progressive opinion everywhere, and in particular the far-reaching implications of the failure of much of the international left to identify with and mobilize in support of the people of Syria in their powerful rebellion against oppression and repression. This failure, he argues, was a critical factor that facilitated the efforts of Assad and his reactionary international allies to drown the revolt in a river of blood.

 

Against imperialist regime-change intervention in Syria and the Middle East

 

 

By Roger Annis and Felipe Stuart Courneyeur

 

January 7, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – David Bush has published an appeal for reasoned and informed discussion in Canada of the war and humanitarian disaster in Syria. He calls for building (or rebuilding) movements in imperialist countries such as Canada to oppose war and foreign intervention in the Middle East. We welcome his appeal and write this essay as a contribution to the discussion David suggests be opened.

 

We do not agree entirely with David's presentation of the war in Syria. This contribution aims to fill in the gaps we believe he leaves. Hopefully, we can arrive at a better understanding in Canada of events in Syria and from there arrive at a clear path for action by an antiwar left wing.

 

Debating Syria productively

 

 

By David Bush

 

January 7, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project – The debate over Syria on the Left is toxic. I pulled together 13 points about the situation in Syria I hope can be useful in framing the discussion in a more productive way. The ultimate goal of these discussions in Western countries should be to have a clearer idea about how to strengthen antiwar movements to stop the madness of imperialism.

 

Les socialistes et la guerre au vingt-et-unième siècle – Le cas de la Syrie

 

 

[Original in English here.]

 

Par Richard Fidler

 

23 novembre 2016 — Traduction française par Pierre Beaudet, Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières — En Syrie, les villes rebelles qui se sont soulevées à partir de 2011 contre la brutale dictature de Bashar El-Assad, subissent maintenant un siège génocidaire. Chaque jour, elles sont visées par l’aviation syrienne et les bombardiers russes. Leur combat, s’il échoue, brisera pour une longue période les espoirs du Printemps arabe pour une alternative démocratique et anti-impérialiste dans cette région du monde. Dans ce contexte, les socialistes et les militant-es pour la paix partout dans le monde doivent appuyer le peuple syrien et s’opposer à la guerre.

 

Socialists and wars in the 21st century – The case of Syria

 

 

by Richard Fidler

 

November 14, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In Syria the rebel cities that rose up four years ago in revolt against the brutal Assad dictatorship are now under a genocidal siege, bombed and assaulted from the air by Assad’s military aided and abetted by Russian fighter jets and bombers. Their desperate fight for survival, if unsuccessful, will put paid to the Arab Spring and with it the potential for building a democratic, anti-imperialist governmental alternative in the Middle East for an extended period to come. Socialists and antiwar activists everywhere have every interest in supporting the Syrian people and opposing that war.

 

But where is the antiwar movement?

Turkey’s incursion in Syria is aimed at defeating the Kurds and overthrowing Rojava

 

 

By Phil Hearse

 

August 29, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Crisis and Revolt — Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria on 24 August was flagged up as a move to drive the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) out of the border town of Jarabulus. But that is just a cover: Turkey’s not very secret major objective is to crush the 50,000-strong Kurdish YPG (people’s Protection Unit) militia, and overrun the three autonomous Kurdish dominated areas, collectively called ‘Rojava’ by the Kurds.

 

Erdogan, the coup in Turkey and the global counter-revolution

 

 

By Santiago Alba Rico, translated from Cuarto Poder by Sean Seymour-Jones

 

August 4, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — What many of us feared on the night of July 15 has occurred in the most sombre way possible. If a victorious coup in Turkey would have been terrible, its failure looks set to be no less so. In barely a week, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has detained or purged more than 40,000 public officials: army officers, police, judges, teachers, and journalists. He has declared a state of emergency for three months - which can be extended indefinitely - and has suspended the European Convention of Human Rights, which could open the way – as the government has already insinuated - to the reestablishment of the death penalty and, in any case, normalise repression against all forms of opposition, particularly against the Gulenist forces and the Kurds, who have once again, following the reinitiating of the military conflict a year ago, been converted into the “internal enemy”. In short, to stop or avenge a coup - real and manipulated - Erdogan and his party have at the same time carried out a coup.

Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War

 

 

Reviewed by Chris Slee

 

Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War
by Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila al-Shami
Pluto Press 2016 London

 

May 4, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Despite some flaws, this book is a good introduction to the Syrian revolution. It explains why people protested against the Assad regime, and why many of them took up arms. It also shows how the initially non-sectarian popular uprising was increasingly converted into a sectarian conflict.

 

The main flaws of the book relate to the role of Turkey, and of the PYD (Democratic Union Party) in the struggle in Rojava (the predominantly Kurdish area in northern Syria).

Kurdish women struggle for a new society in Rojava

 

Kurdish women volunteers at the Girke Lege women’s center

 

By Ruken Isik

 

April 5, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The Next System Project -- The struggles of Kurdish women in Rojava Kurdistan (Northern Syria) became known to many people in the world during the brutal attacks of ISIS against the city of Kobane in northern Syria on September 15th, 2014. While Kurdish men and women were trying to defend the city from ISIS militia men with limited  ammunition and inadequate weapons, compared to sophisticated weapons in the hands of ISIS, Kurds worldwide took to the streets to be voice for Kurds in Rojava and Kobane. From the battle to defend Kobane onward, Western media and politicians have started to talk about the brave Kurdish women who are fighting against ISIS and its brutal treatment—including enslavement—of women.

 

But a question still resonates in many ears: how do Kurdish women join the fight against ISIS in such numbers, and why are women on the forefront of the struggle? What is the history behind this remarkable departure from the norm, and what can advocates for systemic change and feminism learn from Rojava?

 

The Revolution Behind the Headlines: Autonomy in Northern Syria

Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters participate in an intensive security deployment against Islamic State (IS) militants on the front line in Makhmur

By Joris Leverink

February 22, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from TeleSUR English -- During the four months Kobane was under siege from ISIS, few media paid attention to the real struggle of the people of northern Syria in which they're fighting for real democracy, women's rights and ecological sustainability. 

On January 26, after 134 days of resistance the Kurdish defense forces announced they had successfully pushed the forces of the Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS) out of the Kobane. Over the course of the four and a half months the town in northern Syrian was under attack from ISIS it became a symbol of resistance against the seemingly 'unbeatable' jihadist forces and a bulwark of freedom in the midst of the chaos and destruction of the Syrian civil war.

Rebuilding Kobanê

 


Tom Anderson and Eliza Egret report from the war-torn city of Kobanê and meet those trying to rebuild what Daesh and US bombs have destroyed

 

January 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Red Pepper — ‘We have cleared 1.5 million tonnes of rubble,’ Abdo Rrahman Hemo (known as Heval Dostar), head of the Kobanê Reconstruction Board, tells us humbly as we sit in his office in Kobanê city in November 2015. But as we walk through the bombed streets, with collapsed buildings all around us and dust filling our lungs, it's hard to believe that Kobanê could have been any worse. ‘We have estimated that 3.5 billion dollars of damage has been caused,’ he continues.

 

It's been one year since the US bombing of Kobanê — then partly occupied by Daesh — and most of the buildings are still in tatters. Kobanê is in Rojava (meaning 'West' in Kurdish), a Kurdish majority region in the north of Syria that declared autonomy from the Assad regime in 2012.

 

YPG statement in reaction to Amnesty report

 Read more about the Kurdish struggle

 

18th Oct 2015

 

Amnesty International Report, published on 12 October 2015 and titled, "We Had Nowhere Else to Go – Forced Displacement and Demolitions in Northern Syria" is contradictory and puts the credibility of the organisation at stake.

 

Preface

1. The Basic Argument to Respond

1.1. The content of the report contradicts its title, and this is enough to prove its invalidity and to call for the prosecution of its authors.

1.2. The accusations in the report contradict Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

2. Supporting Arguments

2.1. Hurling unsubstantiated accusations without sufficient evidence.

Turkey wages war on Kurds under 'cover' of fighting ISIS

July 29, 2015 -- Democracy Now!, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Turkish jets have reportedly launched their heaviest assault on Kurdish militants in northern Iraq since airstrikes began last week, effectively ending a two-year truce. Over the past week, the Turkish military has launched combat operations on two fronts: one against the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Syria (also called Daesh and ISIS or ISIL), another against Kurds inside Turkey and in northern Iraq, where Kurdish groups have been fighting against the Islamic State. This means Turkey is now essentially bombing both sides of the same war.

Turkey: Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) condemns Suruç massacre; calls for international solidarity

By Nazmi Gur

July 20, 2015 -- Peoples Democratic Party, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal and Green Left Weekly -- At least 30 people were killed and more than 100 injured on July 20, when a suicide bomber from the self-styled Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) group attacked a cultural centre in the Kurdish town of Suruç, on the Turkish side of the border from Kobane.

The victims were members of the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations (SGDF) who were travelling to help with the reconstruction of Kobane that has been in the front line against ISIS. The following call for international solidarity was released on July 20 by Nazmi Gur, vice co-chair of the Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) in charge of foreign affairs. 

* * *

I’m writing this urgent letter to inform you regarding to the ISIL’s bombing attack that caused death of 28 young people and nearly 100 injures in Suruç in Turkey, the closest town to Kobane. All the victims were members of the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations, which known as the youth organisation of ESP (Ezilenlerin Sosyalist Partisi or Socialist Party of the Oppressed).

The revolutionaries of Bethnahrin: cooperation between Christians and Kurds

 

Dawronoye's television team visits the guerrillas. Beside Jacob Mirza (front row, third from left) sits Sargon Adam, holding a machine gun. (Photo courtesy Sargon Adam, August 1999).

By Carl Drott

May 25, 2015 -- Warscapes, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- This article is primarily based on interviews conducted in Syria and Sweden between August 2013 and January 2015. For the sake of simplicity, the term "Syriac" is here employed to denote also those individuals or communities identifying as Assyrians, Chaldeans, Arameans, Christian Kurds or Christian Arabs.

* * *

In northeastern Syria, “Christian militias” (as they are often termed) are now battling the Islamic State [also known as ISIS] alongside Kurdish forces. However, these groups did not simply emerge spontaneously as a response to a security threat: they are the latest incarnations of the Dawronoye movement, which first appeared on the European and Middle Eastern political scenes 20 years ago.

Syria: Arabs and Kurds fighting to rebuild a democratic and inclusive revolution

July 8, 2015 -- Rojava Report, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following interview with Burkan al-Firat Command Center spokesperson Şervan Dervîş was conducted by Ersin Çaksu for Özgür Gündem.

In the interview Dervîş speaks about the recent victories won against ISIS [also known as Islamic State] in Rojava, the current fighting in Aleppo and the larger trajectory of the Syrian civil war, as well as the role of Burkan al-Firat in rebuilding a democratic and inclusive revolution. It has been translated into English below.

* * *

What is the Burkan al-Firat? Why was such an organisation created?

Burkan al-Firat is the creation of some groups within the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the YPG/YPJ [Peoples Protection Units/Women's Protection Units]. Its formation was announced on September 10, 2014, five days before the beginning of the ISIS assault on Kobanê.

Turkey: As Erdogan manoeuvres to retain power, country faces uncertain future

Supporters of the left-wing People’s Democratic Party.

By Dave Holmes

July 7, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- One month after Turkey’s June 7 parliamentary elections, the country still does not have a government. Ahmet Davutoglu of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) remains caretaker prime minister. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan remains the dominant figure in the AKP and is actively manoeuvring to retain his party’s leading position. The president is supposed to be an impartial figure above party politics but Erdogan pays scant regard to such constitutional niceties.

The elections were marked by two significant and related developments.

'US fuelled the rise of ISIS' conspiracy theories a back-handed attack on Syrian uprising

The graphic from Seamus Milne's article.

By Michael Karadjis

June 8, 2015 -- Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- In early June, journalist Seamus Milne penned a piece for the Guardian entitled, "Now the truth emerges how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq" (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/03/us-isis-syria-iraq).

Of course, we all wait for “the truth”. The nickname “truth” has been used by every kind of religious organisation for centuries – indeed they all had opposing “truths”. Generations of Americans saw the reflection of their own imperialist leaders in Superman fighting for “truth, justice and the American way”. For decades Soviet citizens were told their leaders spoke only “the truth” in a newspaper by that name.

Milne, in other words, is in good company.

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