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Syria after the uprisings: the political economy of state resilience

 

 

Syria After the Uprisings: the political economy of state resilience
By Joseph Daher
Pluto Press, London, 2019

Reviewed by Chris Slee

January 13, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — This book is a comprehensive account of the rebellion against Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. In it, Joseph Daher explains the reasons for the rebellion, which began in 2011 as a response to political repression, corruption, economic inequality and poverty, and why it has failed to overthrow Assad.

Syria: Turkey launches genocidal invasion to crush Rojava Revolution

 

 

By Tony Iltis

 

October 14, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The horrific violence that has been devastating Syria for the past eight years is intensifying.

 

On October 9, NATO’s second largest army, that of Turkey, launched a full-scale invasion of the territory under the control of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AA), three days after US President Donald Trump gave the green light in a phone conversation with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The invasion began with shelling and aerial bombardment of civilian populations.

 

The aim of the invasion is to annihilate the AA’s revolutionary, democratic and feminist experiment. Solidarity between different ethnic and religious communities has been at the forefront of this experiment.

 

Rojava: Millions of civilians in northern Syria threatened as US green-lights Turkey’s invasion

 

  

By Bulent Gokay and Lily Hamourtziadou

 

October 11, 2019 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On October 6, the White House declared US troops would be withdrawn from northern Syria and no longer be in the immediate area ahead of a Turkish military operation. It also added the US would not support or be involved in the operations, and that Turkey would now be responsible for the fate of all Islamic State (IS) fighters captured during the last two years (totalling 12,000 men and 70,000 women and children) and currently held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Defence Forces (SDF), a group of Kurdish and Arab militias. 

 

Create two,three, many Rojava revolutions!

 

 

By Peter Boyle

 

December 10, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Hawzhin Azeez: Reflections of a Kurdish Feminist — Solidarity is a core value of the Socialist Alliance. Wherever we see people fighting tyranny or oppression our response is one of solidarity. Many of our founding members, including myself, had come to our socialist convictions when we were part of the powerful solidarity movement for the Vietnamese struggle against US imperialism.”

 

So when people started rising in the Middle East in the so-called “Arab Spring” revolts we jumped into solidarity action once again. Knee-jerk  solidarity with the oppressed, you could say. We were in the streets with the Egyptian community when it took to the streets around Australia and when the people in Syria rose up we helped organise one of the first solidarity actions in Sydney.

 

Revolutionary Rojava: An polyethnic, feminist and anti-capitalist experiment

 

 

By Rachel Evans

 

October 26, 2018
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal As Syria enters its eighth year of civil war, the Bashar al-Assad regime, backed by Russia and Iran, must be held to account for its role in the killing of 500,000 people. In a bloodbath that has reaped unspeakable horrors, more than 5 million Syrians have been forced to flee the country, with a further 6 million internally displaced. The barbaric Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), grew out of this chaos and at one point controlled a third of Syria. Amid this savagery, however, a beacon of hope emerged in north-eastern Syria in 2012 – the polyethnic liberated zone of Rojava (Western Kurdistan).

 

Manbij Democratic Civil Administration Legislative Assembly councillor: 'We have organized our own life with great hope'

 

 

By Bêrîtan Sarya & Axin Tolhildan

 

July 12, 2018
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from ANF NewsEmel Dede is a representative of the Turkmen people in the Manbij Democratic Civil Administration Legislative Assembly Council.

 

She said that the whole society has the right to work for, take part and to be represented in the autonomous administration. 

 

The Kurdish movement for radical change in Syria and the broader Middle East

 

 

By Chris Slee

 

A Road Unforeseen: Women Fight the Islamic State
By Meredith Tax
Bellevue Literary Press
New York 2016

 

April 3, 2018
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal When Meredith Tax saw pictures of gun-toting Kurdish women defending the northern Syrian town of Kobane against Daesh (so-called "Islamic State") in 2014, she was inspired to find out more. This book is the eventual outcome of her research.

 

The female fighters of the YPJ (Women's Protection Units) are part of a movement aimed at radical change in Syria and the broader Middle East. Tax explores the history of this movement in the context of the history of the Kurdish people.

 

Syria: The Assad regime - a response to Marcel Cartier

 

 

By Chris Slee

 

February 10, 2018 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – In a recent article republished on Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, Marcel Cartier denounces the Turkish invasion of Afrin and calls for solidarity with Rojava:

 

It is Afrin that has been a beacon of stability in Syria over the course of the war, not only taking in tens of thousands of refugees from elsewhere in the country, but establishing the principles of direct democracy, women’s liberation and ecology in the midst of an otherwise catastrophic and tumultuous period. It is precisely this model of a socialistic, multi-ethnic, feminist canton advocated by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) that Erdogan’s AKP government sees as ‘terrorism’

 

I fully agree with Cartier's call for solidarity with the Rojava Revolution, but I disagree with some other points in his article.

 

Afrin between the claws of the major powers

 

 

By Cihad Hammy

 

February 2, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The Region In an article I wrote a day before the Turkish state's invasion of Afrin, I intended to scrutinize the underlying ideological structures of the Turkish ruling party (AKP) and the driving force behind the invasion of Afrin. This article will focus more on the role of major powers, mainly US and Russia, in the recent invasion of Afrin and the stances held by the Assad regime and Iran.

 

Vanguards of Humanity: Why I support Afrin & the Rojava Revolution

 

 

By Marcel Cartier

 

January 26, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The Region — The dark clouds of 21st-century fascism are once again hanging over the heads of the people of northern Syria. As if the inhabitants of the region often referred to as Rojava haven’t suffered enough over the course of the past 7 years of war, the Turkish state has come to the conclusion that the time is ripe to pick up the fallen, bloodied sword from the corpse that is Islamic State. Together with Salafist mercenaries carrying flags of the Syrian ‘rebels’ – one of the many components of what at one historical juncture seemingly all so long ago was a cohesive ‘Free Syrian Army’ – Erdogan’s regime vows a ‘swift operation’ to destroy ‘terrorism’ in Afrin.

 

It is Afrin that has been a beacon of stability in Syria over the course of the war, not only taking in tens of thousands of refugees from elsewhere in the country, but establishing the principles of direct democracy, women’s liberation and ecology in the midst of an otherwise catastrophic and tumultuous period. It is precisely this model of a socialistic, multi-ethnic, feminist canton advocated by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) that Erdogan’s AKP government sees as ‘terrorism’. The irony could not be more obvious.

 

Syria: Solidarity with Afrin, al-Ghouta, Idlib against all military attacks

 

 

By Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists

 

January 23, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists Since January 20, 2018, Turkish military assisted by pro-Turkish Syrian opposition militia groups have launched a large scale air and ground offensive, dubbed "Operation Olive Branch" on Afrin province located in northwest Syria with a Kurdish majority population and controlled by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its People’s Protection Units (YPG). At least 30 civilians have been killed since the beginning of the operation.

 

Anti-imperialists must understand the relationship between the Syrian Democratic Forces and US

 

 

By Marcel Cartier

 

December 2, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The Region — On October 17, the Syrian Democratic Forces announced the liberation of Raqqa from the reactionary forces of the Islamic State after the so-called ‘Great Battle’ in which over 600 of their comrades lost their lives. The freeing of the city from the region’s most brutal fascistic group was a great moment of jubilation for the forces of the SDF, both in its Arab militias and the predominately Kurdish-forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ).

 

July 19 Revolution: a start towards a federal, democratic Syria

 

 

By Noursham Ibrahim

 

September 7, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Cooperative Economy The July 19th Revolution, whose spark started in Kobanî [Kobanê / Ayn al-Arab] in 2012, soon echoing in the region and the world, has achieved considerable victories on the military, political, and social levels during the last five years ─ achieving unique progress in leading the community towards democracy and federalism, perceived by observers as the best solution not only for Syria, but also for the stalemate in the communities of the Middle East.

 

The threat of wider wars in the Middle East and the responsibilities of socialists

 

 

By Frieda Afary

 

June 24, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Alliance of Middle East Socialists — On June fifth, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt suddenly cut off diplomatic and trade ties  with Qatar and closed their borders to it. The reason stated for this decision was Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood  movement as well as Qatar’s friendly relations with the Iranian government. Donald Trump subsequently sent out a tweet in which he took credit for this move: “So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the king and 50 countries already paying off.”

 

Turkey immediately announced its support for Qatar and accelerated legislation to send more troops  to its military base in that country. It also called on Saudi Arabia to end this crisis. The Iranian government announced that its air space and land borders were open to Qatar in order to prevent a blockade against it.  Subsequently, on June 11, the Iranian navy sent two battleships to the coast of Oman.

 

Global capitalist crisis and Trump’s war drive

 

 

By William I. Robinson

 

May 14, 2017 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The recent U.S. attack on Syria and mega-bombing of Afghanistan come at a time when the Donald Trump regime is facing a mounting scandal over alleged Russian involvement in its 2016 electoral campaign, historically low approval ratings for an incoming presidency, and a growing mass grassroots resistance movement. U.S. rulers have often launched military adventures abroad to deflect attention from political crises and problems of legitimacy at home.

 

Fake news about the Rojava revolution

 
 

By Nick Fredman

 

March 28, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Sharply different opinions have developed among the radical left in recent years towards the Syrian radical democratic movement led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) — an initially Kurdish-based force which through a series of political and military struggles and alliances has recently formed the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, as a model for a multi-ethnic, non-sectarian, federal and socially just alternative for the nation and the region. Some on the international left have accused this movement of human rights abuses, political repression and collaboration with the Syrian dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad.

 

I was prompted to write the present notes in response to two articles by Roy Gutman in the US Nation magazine (here and here). But as these articles both sum up and are fairly extreme examples of the left criticisms of the PYD-led movement, it makes sense to discuss some background and previous articles before taking up Gutman.

 

The Kurdish struggle – An interview with Dilar Dirik

 
 

Dilar Dirik interviewed by George Souvlis, first published at Salvage

 

George Souvlis: By way of introduction, could you explain what personal experiences strongly influenced you, politically and academically?

 

Dilar Dirik: As a Kurd, you can never run from your identity, because your identity is essentially political and the level of your political consciousness acts as a self-defense as the only way to secure your survival and existence. That is why insistence on the free expression of your self-determined identity is portrayed as political controversy, nationalism, or terrorism by the capitalist-statist system.

 

Syria: A confederal or theocratic revolution?

 
 

By Davide Grasso

 

March 15, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from InfoAUTWhen Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire on December 17, 2010 – few of us knew the dimensions of what was about to happen. North Africa and Southwest Asia were ticking time-bombs waiting to explode, waiting to manifest, sometimes rapidly, sometimes slowly, deep contradictions and new paths towards the future. Few among us were aware of how unprepared we were for these events and, initially, for developing a solid analysis of what was happening beyond the Mediterranean.

 

At the time, a friend told me: "These 'springs' have swept away the Salafis from the history of those countries denying that tendency to be the dominant one among the youth." The following events, up to the present ones, demonstrate how incomplete and one-sided this impression was. We were projecting our expectations on the events. We did not analyze the facts in all their complexity, for what they were, albeit in their ambivalence; we looked at them for what we wanted them to be.

 

US policy in Syria: Confused or just confusing?

 
 

By Tony Iltis

 

February 27, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, the US has been involved, at first, through arming and supporting groups opposing the dictatorship of Bashar Assad, and supporting allies in the region doing likewise; and since 2014, through its direct involvement in leading an international coalition in an air war against ISIS.

 

Small numbers of US Special Forces and CIA operatives are also in Syria, supporting different, mutually antagonistic groups in the multi-sided conflict.

 

The US role in Syria often appears confused and contradictory. This seems set to increase under the new US administration.

 

Women’s cooperatives: A glimpse into Rojava’s economic model

 

 

By Hawzhin Azeez

 

February 2, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Kurdish Question — Zahra Shexo bends over her sewing machine and meticulously, but expertly allows the course material to run through her fingers and under the pointed needle of the machine. The sound of over a dozen women’s laughter and conversation intermixes with the repetitive mechanical sounds of the sewing machines in the large room. The sewing room is a Kaleidoscope of different coloured materials, samples, threads and other necessary sewing items. Zahra is the current administrator of the textile cooperative Amargi in Kobane city.

 

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