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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.
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.
September 24, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Open Democracy — Saladdin Ahmed, an assistant professor of Philosophy at Mardin Artuklu University in Turkey, interviewed by Robert Leonard Rope
Robert Leonard Rope(RLR): Please briefly describe your background. Were you named after Saladin the Great? And what was it like to teach at a university in Turkey?
Saladdin Ahmed (SA): I never know how to answer questions about my background mainly because my identity has always been shaped around negations rather than the promotion of a certain upbringing. I wouldn’t say I have an identity crisis, but I would say identity, at least in today’s world, is itself a crisis.
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.
For more on the struggle of the Kurdish people
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.
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.
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.
[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.
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.
[For more on the struggle of the Kurdish people, click HERE.]
By Dilar Dirik
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.
"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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
"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.
By Dilar Dirik
October 20, 2014 -- Kurdish Question, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- "Azadî", freedom. A notion that has captured the collective imagination of the Kurdish people for a long time. "Free Kurdistan", the seemingly unattainable ideal, has many shapes, depending on where one situates oneself in the broad spectrum of Kurdish politics. The increasing independence of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in South Kurdistan (Bashur) from the central Iraqi government, as well as the immense gains of the Kurdish people in West Kurdistan (Rojava) in spite of the Syrian civil war over the last year, have revived the dream of a free life as Kurds in Kurdistan.
By Malalai Joya, Afghanistan
October 12, 2014 -- Defense Committee for Malalai Joya, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- These days the bravery and resilience of the women of Kobane has amazed people around the world. To defend their soil from the criminal ISIS murderers, they are neither looking at the US and NATO’s support, nor appoint the West and the US to defend their homeland from terrorists and foreigners, like a handful of mercenary analysts in Afghanistan. The noble men and women of Kobane selflessly defend their honour, freedom, and homeland with their own hands and have accepted to make all kinds of sacrifices for this purpose.
Heroines of Kobane,
I deeply support your inspiring resistance against the criminals of ISIS and humbly learn from your patriotism and pride. You are the unconquerable pinnacle of honour and courage. You have turned to symbols of humanity and freedom-fighting by your unrelenting fight against these ignorant criminals.
Kurds rally to defend Kobane from IS killers.
By the foreign affairs commission of the People’s Democracy Party (HDP),Turkey
October 3, 2014 -- HDP, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Today the peoples of the Middle East face the threat of a large-scale massacre. Peoples of the region, particularly Syrian and Iraqi peoples, are putting up an historic resistance to ISIS terror. Heavy attacks by ISIS, especially on the Kobane Canton of Rojava, are being resisted by the people of Kobane and YPG forces. The defence of Kobane, under the siege from four sides, continues.
Israel blasts Gaza. The SWP’s response to the one-sided slaughter this summer illustrates the political and moral depths to which the group has descended.
By Art Young
September 18, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- At its peak in the 1960s and early 1970s the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in the United States was the largest group to the left of the Communist Party and a major pole of attraction for radicalising youth. It was also the most dynamic and creative Marxist organisation in the USA.
The SWP of today bears no resemblance to that organisation. It now consists of a few hundred members and supporters, many of them in their 50s and older, together with a few dozen followers with the same demographic in other countries. Deliberately cutting itself off from most arenas of struggle, the SWP has little influence and few prospects for renewal. Like most left sects, its prime imperative appears to be the perpetuation of the sect and the position of its maximum leader, Jack Barnes.
Socialist Alliance: 'No Australian military involvement in Iraq'; 'End Australian partnership with NATO'
September 4, 2014 -- Socialist Alliance, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following statements were adopted by the Socialist Alliance national executive on September 4, 2014, in response to the Australian government's decision to join the US and other imperialist states in a new military intervention in Iraq.
* * *
1. The US wars on Iraq (1991 and 2003) killed hundreds of thousands and completely wrecked the country. The US promoted sectarian divisions in order to retain control. It created the conditions for the rise of the "Islamic State" and is thus responsible for the current crisis.
2. Australia was an enthusiastic junior partner in both US wars on Iraq and thus shares responsibility for the terrible suffering inflicted on the Iraqi people as well as the current situation.
3. There is a humanitarian crisis in Iraq and Syria due to the Islamic State’s ethnic cleansing and general terror campaign. Approximately 1.5 million refugees are living in camps in Rojava (the Kurdish liberated zone in northern Syria), Turkey and the Federal Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
a. Australia should give large-scale assistance to these refugees. This should be delivered by non-military means.
b. Australia should massively increase its refugee intake from Iraq and Syria.
c. No asylum seekers already here should be forcibly returned to Iraq or Syria.
By Tony Iltis
September 7, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, a shorter version of this article first appeared at Green Left Weekly -- In a speech at the Council of Clermont on November 27, 1095, Pope Urban II used allegations of the persecution of Christians in the Holy Land to launch a series of military adventures by the warrior aristocracies of feudal Christian western Europe against the Muslim civilisations of the Middle East.
The ensuing two centuries of religious wars, or Crusades, were characterised by land-grabbing, plunder and the massacre of Muslims, Jews and non-Catholic Christians.
Listening to the Australian parliament on September 1 debating a motion on human rights in Iraq, it was difficult not to be reminded of Pope Urban’s speech. Starting with opposition Australian Labor Party shadow treasurer Chris Bowen, who moved the motion, six politicians got up and gave passionate accounts of the persecution Christians were suffering at the hands of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.
They called for "Australia" to join with the “international community” in taking action to rescue them.
Kurdish fighters after liberating Maxmur.
[See Dave Holme’s earlier report, “Kurds mobilise to fight ‘Islamic State’ over vast front”. For more on the struggle of the Kurdish people, click HERE.]
By Dave Holmes
September 2, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Across northern Syria and Iraq, Kurdish forces are locked in fierce battles with the murderous “Islamic State” (IS) armed force. Whether directly or indirectly, the whole Kurdish people is being drawn into this struggle.
In late August the Syrian Kurdish resistance forces announced they had defeated an IS push around the town of Jazaa in north-eastern Syria, close to the Iraq border. Hundreds of IS fighters were killed in the August 19-31 battles.
The IS attempted to cut off the YPG-YPJ (People’s Defence Units-Women’s Defence Units — the military arm of Rojava, the Kurdish liberated area in northern Syria) from their forces over the border in Shengal (Arabic name: Sinjar). The IS wants to establish a corridor linking Mosul and its possessions in Iraq with Al-Raqqa, its main stronghold in Syria.