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Syria

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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