Syria

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.

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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.

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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.

Syria: Nusra’s massacre of Druze villagers condemned

Members of the Druze minority wave the Druze flag.

By Michael Karadjis

June 15, 2015 -- Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The second week of June witnessed two major events concerning the relationship between the Druze religious minority and the Syrian revolution.

In northern Idlib province, where Druze have taken an active part in the recent liberation of the capital and from the Assad regime and the other string of stunning rebel victories, a provocation against a Druze house by a unit of the Sunni-jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra – aligned to the main rebel groups in the province – led to a massacre of over 20 Druze villagers.

Syria: Rojava offers a way forward

Kurdish fighters in Rojava.

By Tony Iltis

May 9, 2015 -- Green Left Weekly, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- War planes from the US and its allies bombed the village of Birmehli in northern Syria on the night of April‭ ‬30.‭ ‬US Central Command spokesperson Major Curtis Kellogg claimed that at least‭ ‬50‭ ‬fighters from the self-styled Islamic State‭ (‬IS‭) ‬group were killed and there was‭ “‬no indication that any civilians were killed‭”‬.

Kurdish liberation movement committed to ‘democratic socialism for the 21st century’

Meral Cicek interviewed by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation’s Florian Wilde during the World Social Forum in Tunis, translated by Leandros Fischer

April 9, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Meral Cicek (above) is from Cologne and is the chair of Kürt Kadın İlişkiler Merkezi, the Kurdish Centre for Women´s Affairs in Erbil.

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Kurdistan: Political and cultural revolution unfolds in Rojava

Front line in Kobane, December 2014. Demotix/Jonathan Raa. All rights reserved.

By Evangelos Aretaios

March 15, 2015, 2015 -- Open Democracy, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- News of the fight of the Syrian Kurds has reached many in Europe and the US over the last year as TV channels around the world have covered the resistance of the Kurds against Daesh (self-proclaimed “Islamic State”) in Kobane. The fighting was indeed a great human endeavour, often portrayed in heroic, almost mythological terms. Behind the men and women fighters of this heroic resistance lies a large but still unknown political and cultural revolution that is in full effervescence in Rojava, Syrian Kurdistan.

Adam Hanieh: Power, wealth and inequality in the Arab world

[For more articles by or about Adam Hanieh, click HERE.]

By Adam Hanieh

March 1, 2015 -- Middle East Monitor, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Over four years since mass uprisings ousted sclerotic regimes in Tunisia and Egypt it can seem that the initial hopes represented by these movements lie in tatters. Libya, Syria, Yemen and Iraq remain mired in bloody armed conflicts that have led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands and displaced millions more within and across borders.

In the pivotal case of Egypt, military rule has returned through the violent crushing of protests, the arrests of an estimated 40,000 people and the rebuilding of the repressive structures of the Hosni Mubarak era. Elsewhere, autocratic governments look more secure in their rule today than they have for many years.

The Syrian war, Israel, Hezbollah and the US-Iran romance: is Israel changing its view on the war?

Assad government forces enter a section of Homs after the government destroyed it with artillery and air attacks.

By Michael Karadjis

February 24, 2015 -- Syrian Revolution Analysis and Commentary, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- In recent months, Israeli occupation forces in Syria’s Golan Heights have launched a number of attacks on either Syrian regime or allied Hezbollah military forces in the region, adding to a more sporadic stream of attacks since mid-2013.

Given that countless Israeli politicians, military leaders, intelligence officials and other strategists and spokespeople have continually stressed, since the onset of the Syrian conflict, that they saw the maintenance of the regime of Bashar Assad as preferable to any of the alternatives on offer – as I have documented in great detail at https://mkaradjis.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/israel-and-the-syrian-war/ – the recent spate of Israeli attacks raises the question of whether Israel has changed its position and now favours the defeat of Assad.

Join the campaign to remove PKK from list of ‘terrorist’ groups



By Dave Holmes

March 24, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Melbourne-based Australians for Kurdistan committee has launched a campaign calling for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to be removed from the Australian government’s list of terrorist organisations.

Kurdistan: Why Kobanî did not fall

[For more on the struggle of the Kurdish people, click HERE.]

By Dilar Dirik

January 27, 2015 -- Kurdish Question, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- One year ago, today, Kobanî declared itself as an autonomous canton.

Today, after 135 days of fearless resistance, the people of Kobanî have liberated the city from the so-called Islamic State (ISIS). Since September 2014, the YPG and YPJ (People's and Women's Defence Units) have been leading – there are no other words to describe it -- an epic and unbelievable resistance against the latest wave of attacks by ISIS.

The women and men, who lead the most glorious resistance of our time, hoisted their flags on the last hills that were occupied by ISIS and immediately began their line dances, accompanied by old Kurdish revolutionary songs and slogans. Ever since, people around the world rushed to the streets to celebrate. After the countless tragedies, massacres and traumas that this region has had to suffer recently, the pains that have preceded this moment make victory even sweeter. One eye sheds tears for the dead, while the other cries out of much deserved joy.

Unfolding revolution in Rojava: Interview with Özgür Amed, journalist and researcher

"We can say that Kurdish women led the Rojava revolution. Women have a part in every decision taken in Rojava. The colour of the Rojava revolution is the colour of women."

[For more on the struggle of the Kurdish people, click HERE.]

Özgür Amed interviewed by Dylan Murphy

January 17, 2015 – Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following interview was conducted in partnership between the Rojava Report. Özgür Amed is a journalist, columnist, teacher and activist from Diyarbakir, where he gives courses on cinema and works with local civil society organisations as a project coordinator.

He writes regular editorials for the newspapers Ozgur Gundem and Ozgur Politika, contributes to various journals, assists foreign journalists working in Kurdistan and provides analysis of the region to foreign media outlets. He also conducts research on the Kurdish movement and its author of a book of humour, Works of Kurdology (Kürdocul İşler). He can be reached at ozguramed@live.com

Rojava: Syria's secret revolution (BBC Our World)

[For more on the struggle of the Kurdish people, click HERE.]

November 14, 2014 -- BBC -- Is the Middle East’s newest country a territory called “Rojava”? Out of the chaos of Syria’s civil war, mainly Kurdish leftists have forged an egalitarian, multi-ethnic mini-state run on communal lines.

But with ISIS jihadists attacking them at every opportunity — especially around the beleaguered city of Kobane, how long can this idealistic social experiment last? From the frontlines to the refugee camps, Mehran Bozorgnia filmed in Rojava for the BBC's Our World and has gained exclusive access and a revealing snapshot of Syria’s secret revolution.

COPYRIGHT: Mehran Bozorgnia / Bozorgnia Films / 2014

The Rojava revolution's radical democracy

November 10, 2014 -- Tenk, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Saleh Muslim Mohamed (pictured), co-president of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) representing the independent communities of Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) and its armed wings, the People’s Defence Units (YPG) and Women’s Defence Units (YPJ), visited the Netherlands. Muslim spoke about the fight of Rojava against the Islamic State (ISIS) and the development of democratic autonomy during the Rojava revolution. Jonas Staal interviewed him afterwards.

Germany: Lift the ban on the PKK!

Kurds protest in Dusseldorf.

By Florian Wilde, Die Linke member

November 3, 2014 -- International Viewpoint, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The West has suddenly begun supporting various Kurdish organisations in its fight against the Islamic State.

So why is the largest Kurdish organisation of all, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), still outlawed? This article discusses current developments in Kurdistan and gives a brief overview of the history of the Kurdish liberation movement and the PKK’s illegal status in Germany. It argues for a radical left strategy focused on defeating the ban on the PKK.

Critique of Patrick Cockburn’s ‘Whose side is Turkey on?’

Fighters of the Free Syrian Army

For more on Syria, click HERE.

By Michael Karadjis

October 31, 2014 -- Syrian Revolution Commentary and Analysis, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- The November 6 London Review of Books has published Patrick Cockburn’s latest article (http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n21/patrick-cockburn/whose-side-is-turkey-on), ‘Whose side is Turkey On?’. Now, as I support the struggle of the Syrian Kurds, led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed militia, the YPG, against ISIS’ genocidal siege, I have no interest in defending Turkey’s shabby role in this, even if I think both the US and Turkey, in their current difference on this issue are both being totally cynical in their different ways. So this critique will not deal with these issues.

Rojava’s autonomous cantons: What a revolution looks like

"A YPJ fighter (right) next to a very similar picture of a female fighter in the Spanish revolution in the 1930s. The comparison is apt. The presence of such a high proportion of female front line fighters is evidence of a profound social transformation that has been happening in liberated Rojava and  within the Kurdish revolutionary movement."

By Tony Iltis

November 1, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On November 1, protests were held worldwide in solidarity with Kobanê. Protests took place in most countries on every continent. Even in Afghanistan, protests were organised in six cities by left-wing anti-occupation groups.

After withstanding more than six weeks of intense siege by the terrorist group that calls itself “Islamic State” (IS), Kobanê (also called Kobani), a small majority-Kurdish town on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey, has become one of the most well-known places on the planet.

The defenders of Kobanê mostly belong to the Syrian-Kurdish militias, the Peoples Defence Units (YPG) and Womens Defence Units (YPJ). The YPG has both male and female fighters. The YPJ is, as its name suggests, all female. Despite having held three cantons in Rojava as liberated zones since July 2012, until recently these militias were as obscure as Kobanê itself.

Emerging Kurdistan: socialist or capitalist?

"The latest developments in the Middle East have had Western specialists-strategists-analysts playing with their pencils, rulers and compasses, doodling all over their maps of the Middle East."

By Giran Ozcan

October 2014 -- Kurdish Question, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The last decade has seen many maps published by "think tanks" and/or "intelligence organisations" in which the Middle East gives birth to "new nations/states". The latest developments in the Middle East have had Western specialists-strategists-analysts playing with their pencils, rulers and compasses, doodling all over their maps of the Middle East; once again hoping to carve up the region to best fit the interests of their imperial masters.

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