The Syria Thread 2011 - Present

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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:14 am

Kissinger’s Prophecy Fulfilled in Syria

Kamal AlamJanuary 23, 2019

Syria has managed to bring both the Turks and Kurds to its door by skillfully outplaying the two enemies to make itself indispensable to both. Syrian government forces claim they have entered Manbij, and the Kurdish group People’s Protection Units — fresh from a U.S. betrayal — are reaching out to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Simultaneously, the Turkish government is making its biggest concession yet in announcing that it would consider working with Assad should he win a democratic election. One is reminded of former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s maxim: “The Arabs can’t make war without Egypt; and they can’t make peace without Syria.”

It was a backhanded tribute to Syria’s consistent hard line against Israel and the United States. Its critical geographical position and what David Lesch called ‘’Syria’s consistently punching above its weight’’ made it the key lynchpin for stability in the Middle East. Without any love lost between the Turks, Kurds, and Damascus, it is a testament to the staying power and resilience of the Baathist state that it is the one that has outlasted all its enemies one by one and, furthermore, is seen as the solution to preventing further chaos. As the Gulf Cooperation Council states open their embassies one by one, Ankara does a complete U-turn from its previous position of “no future for Assad,” and Washington finally openly accepts Assad staying in power, some important questions should be raised. First and foremost, why were the “experts” so wrong in assessing Syria? Damascus is well on its way to resuming its regional role, as even Israel’s hardline, recently resigned Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman stated that Israel would consider a diplomatic relationship with a newly powerful Assad.

Not All About Russia and Iran

Many analysts prepared briefing paper after briefing paper talking about a post-Assad Syria and state building in post-war Syria. These writers who discussed the imminent fall of Assad forgot to read the history of the Levant. While they made comparisons to state-building and reconciliation and conflicts in Libya, Afghanistan, and Bosnia, they missed the way Syria under the Assads ran the show from Damascus. This was the show that made Syria the deciding factor not just in Lebanon but also in peace talks with Israel, the Kurdish insurgency in Turkey, the fierce competition against President Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and the very military-dominated state relationships with the two most powerful armies in the Arab world — Algeria and Egypt. The Syrians were the main pivot point on which the region depended on for security; the Arab League called on Syria to send their forces into Lebanon, the Turks called upon them to rein in the Kurdish forces that were being allowed safe sanctuary, the Saudis relied on them to tip the balance against Hussein, and the Americans and Israelis kept close to them for final negotiations over the Golan Heights. Longtime observers of Syria who had spent real time with the country’s leadership and had meaningful access to the power corridors of Damascus, such as Lesch, Patrick Seale, Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Brent Scowcroft, all cautioned against predicting the demise of Assad. Furthermore, they spoke of a need to work with Assad, as he would be the last man standing. In an early January 2015 hearing at the Senate Armed Services Committee, Brzezinski and Scowcroft — two doyens of American national security —questioned the need to fight Assad and furthermore stated that “Assad had more support that any one of the groups fighting him put together.”

Whilst the E.U. foreign policy chief spoke of a new Afghanistan for Russia in 2015, it was clear to me that the Russians would succeed where the American interventions had failed since 2001. Assad had survived, albeit on the ropes, till the arrival of the Russians. The Syrian state still held on to the biggest cities, and even half of Aleppo was with the government forces. Assad survived the brutal bombing that took out his four security chiefs and main defense advisers in 2012. Assad also survived the so-called pivotal moments when senior defections from Manaf Tlass and Riad Hijab were supposed to usher in a collapse. Then there were the lies of the Syrian opposition claiming that Ali Habib, defense minister and one of Syria’s most celebrated generals, had defected. In fact, he had never left Damascus to go to Turkey, as had been claimed. Similarly the alleged defection of Vice President Farouk Sharaa turned out to be untrue.

In 2016, leading Syrian activist and academic Mohammed Alaa Ghanem penned an op-ed in The New York Times that sums up how the war against Assad was lost: The men and institutions that mattered remained loyal until the end. Ghanem argued for the need to help Assad’s top officers and intelligence personnel defect. Of course, that has never happened. Despite massive loss of territory and close advisers being killed in 2012, the Syrian military has remained loyal and no major defections ever took place. I wrote an article in response that explained that there were no major defections — specifically from the inner circle — despite financial compensation offered by the Gulf states and the West.

Two leading British generals espouse the view that Assad has considerable support where it mattered. Maj. Gen. Jonathan Shaw, the former head of British Special Forces and commander of forces in southern Iraq has spent a long time studying Syria and Iraq. In his first comments on the subject last year, he told me in an earlier piece that Assad has genuine cross sectarian support and there was no need to fight Assad – it would not be easy. Shaw recently told me, “It was always doubtful Assad would lose. He had support and a strategy to outdo his enemies, a loyal army, and security service which had Sunni, Christian, Alawi.’”

Maj. Gen. John Holmes, commander of the British Special Air Service who has spent time with me in Damascus, told me:

During my visits to Damascus I saw little evidence of a government in decline; in fact quite the reverse – it seemed to me that the government and the army were very much in control of a very challenging situation. I formed the impression that the government had its hands on all the levers of power and that security and stability were the order of the day in those parts of the country that they controlled. The army appears to have put difficult times behind them and are now successfully consolidating in the areas under government control.

Former Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Lord Richards, whom I have been advising on Syrian affairs since the beginning of the war, and former Chief of the General Staff Richard Dannatt both called for pragmatic cooperation with Assad and his military as the only way to end the war in Syria. Richards has been clear from the very beginning that Assad had more support than people were willing to accept and believe. Rather than fighting him, letting him win was the best prospect for peace in Syria. Richards, whom I interviewed for this article, told me:

It is very clear why countries such as UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain are talking to Assad again. He has proved his Arab and Sunni credentials despite an Iran connection and they know, give or take, that he has won his war. I always thought he would outlive his enemies.

What Will a Triumphant Assad Do Next?

A leading Lebanese politician recently argued that Syria is preparing to re-impose itself on Lebanon as a direct counterweight to Iran and Hizballah. This correlates with Barak Barfi and Justin Goodarzi, who have both insisted Iran has never been the absolute overlord in the so-called “Shia Crescent” that many claim it is. Indeed, Syria has been at odds with Iran innumerable times in Iraq and Lebanon. Similarly, Emma Sky, in her book The Unravelling, talks about how the Iraqis and Iranians were fuming at how Damascus was supporting Sunni and ex-Baathist groups opposed to Shia dominance in Baghdad. John Nixon, in Debriefing the President, talks about how Hussein got agitated every time Syria and Hafez al-Assad’s name came up. The very mention of Syria frustrated Saddam, as it was Iraq’s main rival for dominance in Arab affairs. Soner Cagaptay, in his book The New Sultan, also discusses how Syria stopped support to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, thereby leading to stability between Ankara and the Kurds and contributing to the friendship between Assad and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Now, as the Kurds and Erdogan again grudgingly look to Damascus, the Arabs — despite an Iranian presence — march back to Damascus, and Lebanon and Israel again revert back to dealing with Assad as the arbiter, the regional situation represents a complete reversal of previous expectations . Put another way, it is a continuance of Kissinger’s prophecies. It was those “real” warnings and the study of Syrian history that led numerous British generals to caution any fight against Assad and push instead for a continued security relationship with Damascus that has come full circle. It is no coincidence that Assad has won. There is a history behind it — and such repetition of events is eerily the norm in Levantine affairs.

This article has been updated to include an additional quote from Maj. Gen. Jonathan Shaw.

Kamal Alam is an adviser on Syrian affairs to former Chief of Defence Staff of the British Armed Forces Gen. The Lord David Richards of Herstmonceux. He is also a visiting fellow at the Royal United Services Institute and teaches Syrian military history at several army colleges. ... -in-syria/
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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby JackRiddler » Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:47 am


This is really good, long view from Afghanistan '79 and Brzezinski forward, but basically about background to the rise of "ISIS" and extinction of "Grayzone" (where differently-identified people can just live like humans with each other) desired by them to force Muslims into false dichotomies (either you're a jihadi or a satanic heretic and legitimate target for murder) -- something desired by the fascists on this side (obviously) but also the MIC that knew its weapons ultimately flowed to "ISIS," as it helped extinguish the Grayzone in which we have anything other than a dichotomous choice between bombing the "them" of the moment or capitulating to a designated new "Hitler."
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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby alloneword » Mon May 13, 2019 6:19 pm

Not that I'd imagine that this would be 'news' to anyone here...

Evidence that Douma ‘chemical attack’ was staged: OPCW’s unpublished engineers’ report

Posted on May 13, 2019 by timhayward

The alleged chemical attack on Douma in April 2018 was the pretext for airstrikes on Syria by France, UK and US. The final report on the alleged attack published by the OPCW left unexplained why its Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) had made no engineering assessments during its visit to Douma in April 2018, when experts could have inspected the sites with cylinders in position, rather than six months later when inspection was no longer possible and assessments had to rely on images and measurements obtained by others. A Briefing Note by the Working Group on Syria Propaganda & Media highlighted this as an obvious anomaly.

OPCW staff members have communicated with the Working Group.

We have learned that an investigation was undertaken by an engineering sub-team of the FFM, beginning with on-site inspections in April-May 2018, followed by a detailed engineering analysis including collaboration on computer modelling studies with two European universities. The report of this investigation was excluded from the published Final Report of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission, which referred only to assessments sought from unidentified “engineering experts” commissioned in October 2018 and obtained in December 2018.

A copy of a 15-page Executive Summary of the report entitled “Engineering Assessment of two cylinders observed at the Douma incident” is posted here. (Anyone who wishes to post their own link to the document is kindly requested to download the document and link from their own server, so as not to overload the Working Group’s.)

The Working Group has provided a commentary on the document: see ‘Assessment by the engineering sub-team of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission investigating the alleged chemical attack in Douma in April 2018‘, by Paul McKeigue, David Miller and Piers Robinson.

Some of the commentary’s key points:

As the Working Group has repeatedly emphasised, evidence can be evaluated only by comparison of competing hypotheses. A key weakness of the published FFM Final Report was that no competing hypotheses were considered. The FFM’s unpublished Engineering Assessment does not make this error: competing hypotheses are clearly set out in advance.
The conclusion of the Engineering Assessment is unequivocal: the “alternative hypothesis” that the cylinders were placed in position is “the only plausible explanation for observations at the scene”.
These findings establish beyond reasonable doubt that the alleged chemical attack in Douma on 7 April 2018 was staged.
This raises the question of where and how did the victims seen in the images recorded at location 2 die?
The conclusion appears inescapable that the staging of the Douma incident entailed mass murder of at least 35 civilians to provide the bodies at Location 2.

Furthermore, we note that the Douma incident was the first alleged chemical attack in Syria where OPCW investigators were able to carry out an unimpeded on-site inspection. Since previous OPCW Fact-Finding Missions did not include on-site inspections, the finding that the Douma incident was staged may cast doubt on the findings of those earlier FFMs.
(my emph.) ... rs-report/
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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby Elvis » Tue May 14, 2019 12:35 pm

alloneword wrote:Not that I'd imagine that this would be 'news' to anyone here...

Evidence that Douma ‘chemical attack’ was staged: OPCW’s unpublished engineers’ report

Thanks, I had not seen that! It's as I expected.
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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby Belligerent Savant » Fri May 17, 2019 11:00 pm

. ... -skripals/

The OPCW, Douma & The Skripals

In view of the latest revelations from the leaked report, which seem to prove that at least some elements of the Douma “chemical attack” were entirely staged, we want to take look back at the chaotic events of Spring 2018.

What was the agenda behind the Douma false flag?
Why was the US response seemingly token and ineffective?
Why was the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson fired?
What agenda tied the Skripal case to the Douma attack?

The following is an extract from an article by Catte originally published April 14th last year, which takes on a greater weight in light of certain evidence – not only that the Douma attack was faked, but that the OPCW is compromised.


The neocon faction in the US is usually (and reasonably) regarded as the motivator behind much of the western aggression in the Middle East.

Since at least 2001 and the launch of the “War on Terror” the US has led the way in finding or creating facile excuses to fight oil wars and hegemonic wars and proxy wars in the region. But this time the dynamics look a little different.

This time it really looks as if the UK has been setting the pace of the “response”.

The fact (as stated above) that Mattis was apparently telegraphing his own private doubts a)about the verifiability of the attacks, and b)about the dangers of a military response suggests he was a far from enthusiastic partaker in this adventure.

Trump’s attitude is harder to gauge. His tweets veered wildly between unhinged threats and apparent efforts at conciliation. But he must have known he would lose (and seemingly has lost) a great part of his natural voter base (who elected him on a no-more-war mandate) by an act of open aggression that threatened confrontation with Russia on the flimsiest of pretexts.

Granted the US has been looking for excuses to intervene ever more overtly in Syria since 2013, and in that sense this Douma “initiative” is a continuation of their longterm policy. It’s also true Russia was warning just such a false flag would be attempted in early March. But in the intervening month the situation on the ground has changed so radically that such an attempt no longer made any sense.

A false flag in early March, while pockets of the US proxy army were still holding ground in Ghouta would have enabled a possible offensive in their support which would prevent Ghouta falling entirely into government hands and thereby also maintain the pressure on Damascus. A false flag in early April is all but useless because the US proxy army in the region was completely vanquished and nothing would be gained by an offensive in that place at that time.

You can see why Mattis and others in the administration might be reluctant to take part in the false flag/punitive air strike narrative if they saw nothing currently to be gained to repay the risk. They may have preferred to wait for developments and plan for a more productive way of playing the R2P card in the future.

The US media has been similarly, and uncharacteristically divided and apparently unsure. Tucker Carlson railed against the stupidity of attacking Syria. Commentators on MSNBC were also expressing intense scepticism of the US intent and fear about possible escalation.

The UK govt and media on the other hand has been much more homogeneous in advocating for action. No doubts of the type expressed by Mattis have been heard from the lips of an UK government minister. Even May, a cowardly PM, has been (under how much pressure?) voicing sterling certitude in public that action HAD to be taken.

Couple this with the – as yet unverified – claims by Russia of direct UK involvement in arranging the Douma “attack”, and the claims by Syria that the perps are in their custody, and a tentative storyline emerges. It’s possible this time there were other considerations in the mix beside the usual need to “be seen to do something” and Trump’s perpetual requirement to appease the liberal Russiagaters and lunatic warmongers at home. Maybe this time it was also about helping the UK out of a sticky problem.


Probably the only thing we can all broadly agree on about the Skripal narrative is that it manifestly did not go according to plan. However it was intended to play out, it wasn’t this way. Since some time in mid to late March it’s been clear the entire thing has become little more than an exercise in damage-limitation, leak-plugging and general containment.

The official story is a hot mess of proven falsehoods, contradictions, implausible conspiracy theories, more falsehoods and inexplicable silences were cricket chirps tell us all we need to know.

The UK government has lied and evaded on every key aspect.

1) It lied again and again about the information Porton Down had given it

2) Its lawyers all but lied to Mr Justice Robinson about whether or not the Skripals had relatives in Russia in an unscrupulous attempt to maintain total control of them, or at least of the narrative.

3) It is not publishing the OPCW report on the chemical analyses, and the summary of that report reads like an exercise in allusion and weasel-wording. Even the name of the “toxic substance” found in the Skripals’ blood is omitted, and the only thing tying it to the UK government’s public claims of “novichok” is association by inference and proximity.

Indeed if current claims by Russian FM Lavrov turn out to be true, a “novichok” (whatever that precisely means in this case) may not have been the only substance found in those samples, and a compound called “BZ”, a non-lethal agent developed in Europe and America, has been discovered and suppressed in the OPCW report (more about that later).

None of the alleged victims of this alleged attack has been seen in public even in passing since the event. There is no film or photographs of DS Bailey leaving the hospital, no film or photographs of his wife or family members doing the same. No interviews with Bailey, no interviews with his wife, family, distant relatives, work colleagues.

The Skripals themselves were announced to be alive and out of danger mere days after claims they were all but certain to die. Yulia, soon thereafter, apparently called her cousin Viktoria only to subsequently announce, indirectly through the helpful agency of the Metropolitan Police, that she didn’t want to talk to her cousin – or anyone else – at all.

She is now allegedly discharged from hospital and has “specially trained officers…helping to take care of” her in an undisclosed location. A form or words so creepily sinister it’s hard to imagine how they were ever permitted the light of day.

Very little of this bizarre, self-defeating, embarrassing, hysterical story makes any sense other than as a random narrative, snaking wildly in response to events the narrative-makers can’t completely control.

Why? What went wrong? Why has the UK government got itself into this mess? And how much did the Douma “gas attack” and subsequent drive for a concerted western “response” have to do with trying to fix that?


If a false flag chemical attack had taken place in Syria at the time Russia predicted, just a week or two after the Skripal poisoning, a lot of the attention that’s been paid to the Skripals over the last month would likely have been diverted. Many of the questions being asked by Russia and in the alt media may never have been asked as the focus of the world turned to a possible superpower stand-off in the Middle East.

So, could it be the Skripal event was never intended to last so long in the public eye? Could it be that it was indeed a false flag, or a fake event, as many have alleged, planned as a sketchy prelude to, or warm up act for a bigger chemical attack in Syria, scheduled for a week or so later in mid-March – just around the time Russia was warning of such a possibility?

Could it be this planned event was unexpectedly canceled by the leading players in the drama (the US) when the Russians called them out and the rapid and unexpected fall of Ghouta meant any such intervention became pointless at least for the moment?

Did this cancelation leave the UK swinging in the wind, with a fantastical story that was never intended to withstand close scrutiny, and no second act for distraction?

So, did they push on with the now virtually useless “chemical attack”, botch it (again), leaving a clear evidence trail leading back to them? Did they then further insist on an allied “response” to their botched false flag in order to provide yet more distraction and hopefully destroy some of that evidence?

This would explain why the UK may have been pushing for the false flag to happen (as claimed by Russia) even after it could no longer serve much useful purpose on the ground, and why the Douma “attack” seems to have been so sketchily done by a gang on the run. The UK needed the second part to happen in order to distract from the first.

It would explain why the US has been less than enthused by the idea of reprisals. Because while killing Syrians to further geo-strategic interests is not a problem, killing Syrians (and risking escalation with Russia) in order to rescue an embarrassed UK government is less appealing.

And it would explain why the “reprisals” when they came were so half-hearted.

If this is true, Theresa May and her cabinet are currently way out on a limb even by cynical UK standards. Not only have they lied about the Skripal event, but in order to cover up that lie they have promoted a false flag in Syria, and “responded” to it by a flagrant breach of international and domestic law. Worst of all, if the Russians aren’t bluffing, they have some evidence to prove some of the most egregious parts of this.

This is very bad.

But even if some or all of our speculation proves false, and even if the Russian claims of UK collusion with terrorists in Syria prove unfounded, May is still guilty of multiple lies and has still waged war without parliamentary approval.

This is a major issue. She and her government should resign. But it’s unlikely that will happen.

So what next? There is a sense this is a watershed for many of the parties involved and for the citizens of the countries drawn into this.

Will the usual suspects try to avoid paying for their crimes and misadventures by more rhetoric, more false flags, more “reprisals”? Or will this signal some other change in direction?

We’ll all know soon enough.


Back to today…

…and while things have moved on, we’re still puzzling over all the same issues.

What was the purpose of the Skripal attack?
What was the original plan of the Douma attack?
Is there, as it appears, an internal power struggle in the Trump administration?
Has that resolved? Who is running the United States?
Seeing as the OPCW has been shown to cover-up evidence in Douma, can we trust them on Skripal? Or anything else?
Speaking of which, where on Earth IS Sergei Skripal?

All these questions stand, and are important, but more important than all of that is the lesson: They tried it before, and just because it didn’t work doesn’t mean they won’t try it again.

Last spring, the Western powers showed they will deploy a false flag if they need too, for domestic or international motives. And they have the motives right now.

The UK were the most vocal about Syria, and depserately tried to drum up support over Skripal, but it all came to nothing much in the end.

Theresa May’s political career still hangs by a thread, and her “Falklands moment”, at best, staved off the inevitable for a few months. A washout in the EU elections, a very real threat from Farage’s Brexit party, and rumblings inside her own party, make her position as unstable as ever.

Britain had the most to gain, of all NATO countries, and that is still true. We don’t know what they might do.

This time they might even receive greater support from France this time around – since Macron is facing a revolution at home and would kill (possibly literally) for a nice international distraction.

In the US, generally speaking, it seems that the Trump admin – or at least whichever interested parties currently have control of the wheels of government – have called time on war in Syria. Instead, they’ve moved on to projects in Venezuela and North Korea, and even war with Iran.

That’s not to say Syria is safe, far from it. They are always just one carefully place false-flag away from all-out war. Last year, Mattis (or whoever) decided war with Syria was not an option – that it was too risky or complicated. That might not happen next time.

Clearly, the US hasn’t totally seen sense in terms of stoking conflict with Russia – as seen by the decision to pull out of the INF Treaty late last year. And further demonstrated by their attempts to overthrow Russia’s ally Nicolas Maduro. Another ripe candidate for a false flag.

The failure of the Douma false flag to cause the war it was meant to cause, and the vast collection of evidence that suggests it was a false flag, should be spread far and wide. Not just because it’s a truth which vindicates the smeared minority in the alternate media.

But because recognising what they were trying to do last time, is the best defense when they try it again next time.

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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby JackRiddler » Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:15 pm


Let's go back nearly three years to this really interesting debate video.

At least two names will be familiar to all who've been following this 150+ page thread.

Discussion on “Syria and the Left,” cosponsored by Verso Books and Muftah, at Verso Books in Brooklyn, November 1, 2016.

Zein Al-Amine, University of Maryland
Max Blumenthal, Senior Editor, AlterNet Grayzone Project
Murtaza Hussein, Journalist, The Intercept
Loubna Mrie, Syrian activist and commentator

Moderator: Maryam Jamshidi, Editor in Chief, Muftah

The real shocker for me: Zero mentions of Kurds, YPG, Kobane, Kurdish forces and Islamic State (already then), the international left and YPG, etc.

Well moderated to avoid a shouting match, up to a point. Messy, but I think it's pretty clear what the result was.

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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby Elvis » Tue Sep 24, 2019 4:54 am

Elvis » Sat Nov 24, 2018 7:38 pm wrote:
. . . One such critic who has regularly targeted Phillips is Elliot Higgins, head of Bellingcat, a UK-based investigatory website linked to NATO. Higgins has tweeted his delight at the news.

Bellingcat, tool of NATO, the armchair killer of truth. What kind of "liberal" "journalists" rejoice in this? They're neither liberal nor journalists, they're willing accessories to war crimes.

Today I saw that a grotesque new propaganda film about Bellingcat has been working its way around the globe—a "documentary" with the hugely ironic title, Bellingcat: Truth in a Post-Truth World.

Bellingcat: Truth in a Post-Truth World explores the promise of open source investigation, taking viewers inside the exclusive world of the "citizen investigative journalist" collective known as Bellingcat.
Director: Hans Pool
Writer: Hans Pool ... ov_bio_lk1

It's coming to a doc fest in my city, thinking of ways to counter it. Perhaps a brief prose exposé of Higgens in leaflet form. I'm sick over it.


Who is Hans Pool?
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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby JackRiddler » Sun Oct 13, 2019 4:21 pm

Let's remember that this thread on Syria has been running since 2011. It should be retitled, "The Syria Thread, 2011-Latest."
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US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:49 pm

your wish is my command, lovely to see you can just change the title of my thread

kinda redundant because the date was there to begin with but why not if you can

if you don't mind if you ask to change anything in my posts I would like a heads up first
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Re: US troops surround Syria on the eve of invasion?

Postby JackRiddler » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:13 pm


Now the bizarre reality and faint glimmer of hope: SDF/YPG/PKK negotiating with Damascus, supposedly SAA deploying on the border. (Has definitely begun.) See article.

All your international and Syrian jihadis funded and armed directly or indirectly by CIA, Saudi, Gulf States and Turkey, and at times directly assisted by the Turkish military, went through their dozen iterations and fronts, al-Nusra, the various franchises of the "FSA," White Helmets, etc. They exterminated any genuine Syrian civil society activists in the areas they controlled. Enough splinters of them came together to form the Syrian wing of Iraqi-born ISIS. This conquered Kurdish and mixed Kurdish-Arab-Yazidi-Armenian homelands and created the most horrific situation of all. The SDF under leadership of PKK grew in response, defeated ISIS with US-Pentagon help, fighting the CIA-armed "FSA" at times, took control, and actually put through the social revolution that the "FSA" never intended. Turkey organized its own "FSA" out of the mercenaries left over from the various jihadi groups. And now, after Trump abandons the SDF (or carries out the operation that the U.S. empire would have been near certain to do under any president, just more quietly than Trump), the Turkish-led jihadi forces, posing as "Syrian opposition," invade the SDF regions, with full support of the Turkish air force and artillery. The intent is to ethnically cleanse territories of Kurds and move in the Syrian refugees from their camps in Turkey. They will be resettled in a Turkish satellite statelet run by whatever ISIS 2.0 will be called. And in the darkest moment, Russia joined the U.S. in vetoing the UN condemnation, since they are competing for alliance with Erdogan, but indicating that Syria may have a deal with Turkey. But now, if Russia's allowing it, and if Damascus really means it, the alliance with Assad (who will want to subjugate the SDF sooner or later) is the last hope for the Kurdish people and the others lucky enough to have been liberated from ISIS by the SDF. On FB, by the way, I follow the activities of U.S.-based Syrians who worship at the altar of John McCain, trash-talk the Kurds for defending themselves rather than fighting Assad, and have hailed the Turkish invasion as the last hope of the "Syrian Revolution."

Kurds announce deal with Damascus on Syria troop deployment to confront Turkish offensive
By MEE and agencies

The Kurdish administration in northern Syria on Sunday announced a deal with the Damascus government on a Syrian troop deployment near the border with Turkey to confront Ankara's offensive.

"In order to prevent and confront this aggression, an agreement has been reached with the Syrian government... so that the Syrian army can deploy along the Syrian-Turkish border to assist the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)," the Kurdish administration said in a statement on its Facebook page, according to AFP.

Earlier, state news agency SANA said that the Syrian army had sent troops to "confront the Turkish aggression" in the north of the country where Ankara is battling Kurdish-led forces. "Syrian... army units moved north to confront Turkish aggression on Syrian territory," SANA said, without giving further details.

The report came as a Kurdish official said "negotiations" were underway between the Kurds and the Damascus government. "All the options are being examined in the face of the Turkish offensive," the Kurdish official said. "The government must assume its responsibilities to confront the aggression."

Syria and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been holding negotiations at a Russian airbase in Syria, a Syrian Kurdish politician told Reuters on Sunday, expressing hope for a deal that would halt a Turkish attack.

Turkish offensive in Syria plows forward as 800 IS detainees escape detention camp

Read More »

Russia is President Bashar al-Assad's most powerful ally.

Ahmed Suleiman, a senior member of the Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party in Syria, said the talks were being held at Russia's Hmeimim airbase in Latakia.

He did not say if he or his party - which is independent from the SDF - had a role in the negotiations.

Asked about Suleiman's comments, the head of the SDF media office, Mustafa Bali, said "no comment", then added: "We have confirmed from the start of the invasion that we will study all options that could spare our people ethnic cleansing."

Suleiman said he hoped for an agreement between the sides that would "halt the ongoing war and especially its catastrophic and dangerous consequences".

He said the talks may be moved to Damascus, from where he was speaking with Reuters via Whatsapp messenger.

"We are now in Damascus, this is what I can say at present. We hope an agreement is reached that halts the war and its dangerous and catastrophic consequences on the citizens east of the Euphrates".

His party, one of Syria's oldest Kurdish groups, is not involved in the autonomous administration set up by the SDF and other Kurdish groups such as the PYD party in northern Syria.

Earlier on Sunday, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the United States was poised to evacuate about 1,000 US troops from northern Syria after learning that Turkey planned to extend its incursion farther south and west than originally planned.

Another consideration in the decision, Esper indicated, was that the SDF was looking to make a deal with Russia to counter the Turkish offensive.


PS - Good thing that SLAD started this thread 9 years ago, but of course this has not been a one-person thread (like many have been) but now runs 155 pages posted by a great many people who have chronicled and debated the many events and turns since then. And it hasn't only been about the prospect of a U.S. invasion, which by now has been pretty obviously banished (though many U.S. elements will still desire regime change). So now that my proposal to clarify it was taken up by a mod, I hope others appreciate it.

Last edited by JackRiddler on Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Syria Thread 2011 - Present

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:18 pm

I appreciate your new found authority, at least in the past the author of a thread was consulted or maybe asked but you go ahead do your thing of course you are the one to change the title of an 11 years old thread who does not have that authority or exercises it. We've had this discussion before many times in the past and the author choice always won out. You keep complaining about my thread titles it's what you do and no one else does. If you can't limit the number of my OPs at least you get to name them

I understand it is difficult to read that date under the title

What a 2015 name change would have been too soon? How long have you been thinking about changing the thread title 2...3....years? I guess now it was an emergency

oh and btw I have only four OP's on the front page that were started this year.....I don't understand your hissy fit OP that I start too many threads and I am in need of limitation. I would appreciate it if you would quit posting inaccuracies to suit your whims

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Re: The Syria Thread 2011 - Present

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:22 am

Chet Mitchell
· 28m
Replying to @gtconway3d
Trump's pulls US troops out of Syria. 1) supports Putin's autocrats in Turkey & Syria. 2) increases Putin's status in Middle East. 3) decreases US influence in Middle East Putin goal 4) distract from impeachment 5) Turkey support for Trump towers in Istanbul.

Kurds afterthought ... 2003129344

Kremlin relishes US pullback from Syria, turmoil in Ukraine

MOSCOW (AP) — From Syria to Ukraine, new fault lines and tensions are offering the Kremlin fresh opportunities to expand its clout and advance its interests.

The U.S. military withdrawal from northern Syria before a Turkish offensive leaves Russia as the ultimate power broker, allowing it to help negotiate a potential agreement between Syrian President Bashar Assad and the Kurds who were abandoned by Washington.

And in Ukraine, where the new president saw his image dented by a U.S. impeachment inquiry, Russia may use the volatility to push for a deal that would secure its leverage over its western neighbor.

The Turkish offensive in northern Syria followed President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from the area, cold shouldering the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, the key U.S. ally in the fight against the Islamic State group.

Washington’s abrupt decision to ditch the Kurds contrasted sharply with Moscow’s unwavering support for its ally Assad, which helped his government reclaim the bulk of the country’s territory in a devastating civil war.

Along with military power, Russian President Vladimir Putin has relied on diplomacy to achieve his goals in Syria, reaching out to regional powers — from Iran to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Turkey.

NATO member Turkey has become a particularly important partner for Russia. Even though the two countries have backed opposite sides in the Syrian conflict, they have pooled efforts to negotiate a de-escalation zone in the Syrian province of Idlib and co-sponsor talks on forming a committee that would draft a new Syrian constitution.

The Russia-Turkey rapprochement came as Ankara’s relations with Washington grew increasingly chilly and were further strained over Turkey’s recent purchase of Russian air defense missiles.

Turkey’s offensive in Syria, which has drawn harsh criticism from the U.S. and European Union, may now push Moscow and Ankara even closer.

“Russia wants to benefit from that operation, and one of the gains could be the strengthening of ties with Turkey,” said Kirill Semenov of the Russian International Affairs Council. “The harsh response from Washington, the EU reaction, the threat of sanctions against Turkey all play into Moscow’s hands by making Moscow and Ankara even closer.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Putin just before unleashing air strikes and an artillery barrage on Kurdish-controlled areas in Syria. Ankara charges that the Kurdish fighters in Syria are allied with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has led an insurgency against Turkey for 35 years.

While Russia has noted the need to respect Syria’s territorial integrity, it also has emphasized Turkey’s right to ensure its security — a benevolent stance contrasting with the harsh Western criticism of the Turkish offensive.

Russia has long urged the U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters in Syria to come back to Damascus’ fold, an offer they may need to take more seriously now.

“We heard that both Syrian officials and representatives of Kurdish organizations expressed interest in Russia using its good relations with all parties to the process in arranging such talks,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Thursday. “We will see what we can do.”

Lavrov also pointed at another Moscow goal — brokering a dialogue between Turkey and Assad’s government, something Ankara has strongly rejected in the past.

“It would be good for Russia to bring Ankara and Damascus to the table and have Ankara acknowledge the legitimacy of the regime in Damascus, if not Assad himself,” Semenov said.

In another power game, Russia hopes to see major gains in its long-running effort to retain leverage over its neighbor Ukraine, a former Soviet republic looking to align itself with the West. In 2014, Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and threw its support behind a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine following the ouster of Ukraine’s Moscow-friendly leader, moves that triggered bruising Western sanctions.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who was elected by a landslide in April, has vowed to end the fighting, which has killed more than 13,000. Early this month, Ukraine, Russia and the rebels signed a tentative agreement to hold local elections in the east, a deal Zelenskiy insists conforms to a 2015 peace accord that was brokered by France and Germany.

The agreement, however, has been criticized by some in Ukraine as “capitulation” to Moscow. On Monday, far-right and nationalist groups are staging a major rally in Kyiv to protest Zelenskiy’s peace plan.

The Ukrainian president has been drawn into the political furor in the United States, where Democrats in Congress are conducting an impeachment inquiry triggered by his telephone conversation with Trump. In the July 25 call, Trump pushed him to open a corruption investigation into Democratic rival Joe Biden and his son. In the days before the call, Trump ordered a freeze on hundreds of millions of dollars in badly needed U.S. military aid. After a congressional uproar, the aid was released in September.

Zelenskiy has denied being pressured by Trump, but this past week he encouraged U.S. and Ukrainian prosecutors to discuss investigating a gas company linked to Biden’s son, although no one has produced evidence of criminal wrongdoing by either Biden.

The White House’s publication of a rough transcript of the call was embarrassing for the 41-year-old Ukrainian president because it showed him eager to please Trump and dismissive of European partners whose support he needs to end the conflict in the east. While Zelenskiy sought to play it down, it could help Russia by eroding support for Ukraine in Germany and France.

“France and Germany have grown tired of Ukraine and are too busy with their own problems, and their only goal is to close the issue of the war in the east by any means,” said Vadim Karasev, head of the Institute of Global Strategies, an independent Kyiv-based think tank. “If Russia offers a compromise, Berlin and Paris will heave a sigh of relief. By publicly kicking (German Chancellor Angela) Merkel and (French President Emmanuel) Macron, Zelenskiy untied their hands and there is no more talk about their ‘friendly support.’”

In June, France helped Russia’s delegation restore its credentials at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, five years after it was stripped of voting rights following the annexation of Crimea. Macron has also spoken about the prospect of Russia’s eventual return to the Group of Seven, from which it was purged after annexing Crimea.

“Russia is the main beneficiary of that situation,” Karasev said. “Putin no longer has to prove that Ukraine is dangerous and toxic — Ukrainian and U.S. politicians have done the job for him. The Kremlin now just needs to wait until the Ukrainian apple falls into its lap, as the U.S., Germany and France all have got their share of toxic Ukrainian gifts and got poisoned.”


Yuras Karmanau in Kyiv, Ukraine, and Konstantin Manenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.
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Re: The Syria Thread 2011 - Present

Postby JackRiddler » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:23 am

Well this is a turn also: pretty sure it's the first time Democracy Now! had a guest who equates the "FSA" (now presented as the "Syrian National Army" or SNA) with ISIS and jihadis, who correctly blames the U.S. for arming ISIS, and who (of course, of necessity) defends a deal with Assad. ... rkey_assad
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Re: The Syria Thread 2011 - Present

Postby American Dream » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:34 am

Check it out:

On All Fronts- عكل الجبهات ALMUعَARRI

On All Fronts is a rap song by Amir "ALMUARRI" fearlessly taking aim at all warring factions in Syria.
The music video was filmed entirely in Idlib in August and September 2019 while the Syrian regime and its Russian allies were shelling the province. The video features 62 brave civilians, each defying the risk of reprisals from local and external groups to show solidarity with the message of the song. Watch it!
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Re: The Syria Thread 2011 - Present

Postby liminalOyster » Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:15 pm

Rojava Is Under Existential Threat

Rojava, the site of a remarkable peoples’ revolution, is on the brink of colonization and extermination. The
international left must stand against it.

With local elections and another contest against his electoral nemesis,the leftist Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), just around
the corner, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is wasting no time rallying the country around a common cause:
destroying Rojava. “A strategic alliance with the US can only be possible if we wipe outterrorists from the north of Syria,”
Erdoğan declared in December. “We have done so in Afrin and in Shengal. We have buried them in the trenches they had dug
and we will continue to do so. Ifthey don’tleave, we will make them disappear because their existence disturbs us.”
Erdoğan is itching to wage war across the border, againstthe Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria,the enclave
commonly known as Rojava. The revolutionary region’s political program shares many similarities with the HDP’s electoral
platform in Turkey, which promotes egalitarianism, peace, and radical democracy.

As for the messages that Erdoğan is telegraphing to the public,they are threefold. Domestically,to the Turkish nationalists and
his coalition partner,the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Erdogan sells the old war againstthe PKK (Kurdistan
Workers’ Party, a militant Kurdish group). He does so by flattening all distinctions between the PKK and its civic sister in Syria,
the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which leads a pluralist coalition in Rojava. To the ISIS-crazed global media, Erdoğan is
selling the security discourse ofthe “war on terror” by promising to create an ISIS-free “safe zone” rightthrough Rojava, which
also buys him favor with the European Union’s anti-refugee membership.

And to the Middle Eastern and Western left, Erdoğan sells his agenda as an anti-imperialist one, portraying the Syrian
Democratic Forces (SDF), Rojava’s self-defense forces—made up of Kurdish, Syriac, Arab, and Christian units, among others
—as a US lackey. This he accomplishes by smuggling in the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF),the second-largest NATO army, as
an alternative to the US presence in Syria, justifying the war against Rojava as, somehow, a war againstimperialism.
But rhetoric aside,the facts are this: Erdoğan is clamoring to continue Turkey’s ongoing ethnic cleansing project, extending his
tentacles from Afrin into the rest of Rojava. Donald Trump’s announced withdrawal from Syria does not amountto an end to
US imperialism in Syria—it simply transfers the maintenance of long-term US interests to its proxies in the region. And the
region’s Kurds, long colonized by multiple powers, have once again been caughtin the middle—trying to fightfor their
liberation while grappling with the cruel realities of geopolitics.

A Colonial Handover

How would the US relate to the Syrian Kurds and Turkey under Trump’s withdrawal?

In a 2017 report,James F.Jerey,the Trump-appointed special representative for Syria engagement, prescribed a change of

“Turkey, a NATO member, sits on prime real estate . . . of central importance for U.S. policy in southern Europe and the Middle
East,” Jerey observed. However, Washington’s “mishandling ofthe Syrian civil war, along with its tilttoward the PYD in the
fight against IS in eastern Syria, risks forcing Turkey ever more into the Russian camp.” To remedy this risk,Jerey promoted a
“transactional reordering” of relations with Turkey and the wider Middle East, hoping to appease Erdoğan’s drive for
“Ataturk-like power.” For example, “the United States can quietly guarantee Turkey thatthe Armenian Genocide resolution in
Congress will not pass,” or adopt a bilateral “model like the US-Israel arms sales relationship to ensure” smooth sales ofthe
costly “F-35” program. If Washington reaches “an agreement with Turkey on its northern Syrian safe zone that would support
the Turks and their Syrian opposition allies with advisory teams and airpower . . . and refuse to recognize PYD autonomy, much
ofthe rancor in the current relationship would dissipate.”

That’s one plan. Then there is National Security Advisor John Bolton’s alternative five-point plan, which proposes what
amounts to another “safe zone,” this one manned by the Kurdish National Council’s (ENKS) Rôj Peshmerga militia,the Syrian
wing ofthe Kurdistan Regional Governmentin Iraq (which has strong ties to Erdoğan’s party). Bolton’s plan is favored by the
establishmentin Washington because it would shift political decision-making in Rojava to the safe neoliberal center. Air
supportfrom a potential KSA-UAE-Egypt alliance would then mollify the worries of some Arab states, as well as the Israeli
military, aboutfurther extension of Iran, Qatar, and the Muslim Brotherhood’s reach in Syria. Here,the United States would
save face by not “abandoning the Kurds” and slow down ongoing talks between the PYD and Assad, while retaining de facto
control over North and North Eastern Syria.

Either way,the US withdrawal hides a grand strategy to further entrench US imperialism in the region. Americans are not
leaving Syria. They’re simply transferring their interests to NATO members and allies. And since the TAF is not even prepared
to replace the US Army for such a mission—given the purges the TAF’s personnel has experienced since the attempted coup in
Turkey in 2016—the United States would have to oer “substantial military support, including airstrikes,transport and
logistics.” In other words, deeper US military involvement.

Unfortunately,this basic fact has escaped some on the Left, who have taken the purported US pullout atface value and, at
times, been willing to believe alternative truths aboutthe revolution in Rojava or dismiss its participants as pawn on the
imperialist chessboard. Take, for instance,the infamous 2015 Amnesty International report about alleged human rights abuses
by the SDF, which the UN has since debunked. Amid the cacophony raised by this charade, Erdoğan’s expansionist project
disguises itself as “anti-imperialist” to silence the real leftist program—the one in Rojava.

More fundamentally,the ready celebration of whatis in fact a colonial handover suers from a lack of awareness aboutthe
histories and specificities of oppressed peoples’ struggles in the Middle East againstthe region’s neoliberal and imperialist

Kurdistan, a Colony

Adopting Frantz Fanon’s words, we can say thatfor the Kurd there is only one destiny:to become a non–Kurd. Assimilation or
disappearance has been the colonial reality ofthe so-called “Kurdish Question” in the Middle East since the beginnings ofthe
modern nation-state, particularly in Turkey and Syria.

The plans for a “safe zone” controlled by Turkey would involve resettling millions of Arab Syrian refugees, currently in Turkey,
in Rojava’s Kurdish areas near the Turkish border. The Erdoğan regime, known for pushing neoliberal policies driven by the
twin profit motors of construction and energy, have put housing projects for the settlers on the colonial agenda to boostthe
Turkish economy. The scale of it would be staggering.

In fact, such a colonial-settler project surpasses, in both size and scope, Syrian president Hafez al-Assad’s 1973 completion of
the original “Arab Belt” project, which deported 140,000 Kurds from 332 villages in Rojava over ten years to Syria’s southern
desert regions, replacing them with twenty-five thousand Arab families in forty-one “model villages.” Demographic
engineering lies atthe heart of colonial Turkification and Arabization policies that have dominated the region’s political and
social realities, from Syria to Turkey and then to Iraq and Iran, against Kurds and Armenians among others.

In the case of Turkey,the state has always attempted to integrate and homogenize the dissident Kurdish regions in its territory
into a common cultural stream, first by invading their traditional home places and then by razing them to create spaces of
control and discipline. For example, after the 1938 Dersim massacre, which saw tens ofthousands killed following a Kurdish
uprising against state repression,the Turkish state redistributed the remaining Kurdish population ofthe area to various
majority-Turkish cities. The Turkish state employed the same approach again in the 1990s, when the military burned down
more than four thousand Kurdish villages, displacing the entire rural population ofthe majority-Kurdish Southeast. In both
cases,the Turkish state’s primary aim was to domesticate those resisting its aggressive Turkification policies.

Scholars like Ismail Beşikçi, a sociologist of Turkish origin, have shown thatthe Turkish state’s institutionalized policies against
its Kurdish population exhibit a “genocidal character.” Beşikçi also argues that despite the political appearances and dierences
between Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran,the four nation-states share the cooperative goal of denying their Kurds the rightto
dignified existence, forging the Kurdish Question in the process—or in his words,the “international colony of Kurdistan.”
The colonial reality ofthe Kurdish Question, however, is notlimited by its territorial determinations and histories either; itis
not reducible to the division and allocation of predominantly Kurdish lands in the early twentieth century to the newly born
states of Turkey, Syria, and Iraq by imperialist powers. The international colonization of Kurdistan must be understood as a
continuum that appears in how citizenship is defined and distributed by state powers across the Middle East.

In Turkey,the state traditionally considered Kurds “pseudo-citizens” who stood outside the boundaries ofthe Turkish nation,
only granted citizenship rights (and an assimilated Kurd identity card) ifthey relinquished their mother tongue, history, and
identity. Beşikçi recalls an ironic scene from the martial law court of Diyarbakır, Turkey, in 1971, where “persons who spoke
Kurdish and not even one word of Turkish were said to be Turks, despite the factthatthe courts were forced to hire interpreters
to communicate with the accused.”

Historically, Kurdistan has therefore been a sort of hybrid colony—assaulted by the various colonial practices of four nationstates, intertwined with the geopolitics of imperialist powers.

“Playing One’s Own Game”

The Kurdish liberation movementis marked by the contradiction that, as Gramsci putit, “whatever one does one is always
playing somebody’s game.” He added: “The importantthing is to seek in every way to play one’s own game with success.”
Statelessness is one such hurdle. In Syria, a special census, decree No. 93, ordered in 1963 by President Nazim al-Qudsi,
stripped 120,000 Kurds of citizenship. By the onset ofthe Syrian revolution,the descendants ofthis group numbered more
than three hundred thousand, divided into the two extra-legal categories of ajanib, or foreigners, and maktumin, literally
undocumented migrants in their own country.

Kurds have tried to make the best ofthis situation, orienting their strategy and theory toward overcoming it. Abdullah Öcalan,
the Kurdish liberation theorist, developed his theory of Democratic Confederalism as one rooted in statelessness, which Syrian
Kurds took up as a framework for grassroots organization in the decade preceding the Syrian revolution.

Öcalan’s writings on women’s liberation in the Middle East are no less Machiavellian in both strategic foresight and liberatory
aptitude. He regards women’s emancipation “as a toolto destroy the structures of feudal Kurdish society,” where “women were
atthe bottom of a tribal hierarchy.” He recognizes that “feudal family and tribal structures presented an obstacle to [political]
recruitment” and so “breaking down the established patriarchal social order would allow for the emergence of a new society in
which women would take part equally.” (The destruction ofthe patriarchal family structure is doubly important, since the TAF
arms and co-opts conservative Kurdish tribes in its war againstthe PKK.)

The implicit and explicit contradictions ofthis agenda only underscore the agency and remarkable accomplishments ofthe
Kurdish women’s revolutions in Turkey and Syria. A gender distribution ratio in government, local feminist courts, a social
contractthat women have played a central role in writing and executing, indigenous and autonomous communalism—all are
part ofthe feminist program in Rojava.

The danger in this Gramscian game, however, is that one might become too prone to playing another’s game. For example,the
Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has maintained military bases and airports in Rojava throughoutthe civil war, since it handed control
of Rojava over to the PYD atthe outset ofthe Syrian revolution. (So sure was Bashar al-Assad of continued Kurdish
subservience that he even left some guns behind, so the Kurds may fend for themselves.)

One might callthis developmentinevitable, given the PYD’s mistrust ofthe Turkish-backed opposition umbrella organization,
the Syrian National Council (SNC). Butit was a position that only alienated the Syrian opposition, who then refused all PYD
overtures to join opposition talks on Syria’s future—and who, save for the too-late and even-then-ambiguous Kurdish Issue
Charter, had refused to recognize Kurdish demands for federalism. In fact, itis another one ofthe flaws of some parts ofthe
international leftthatit continues to condemn the Kurds for refusing to embrace the Sunni and Arab vision ofthe Spring in

The PYD’s brief spring of autonomy came to a near end in 2014, when a well-armed ISIS found its way well into the gates ofthe
city of Kobane. Here,the United States entered the Kurdish picture, seeing thatits supportfor a failing Free Syrian Army (FSA)
only amounted to a handover to ISIS ofthe military equipmentit supplied to the FSA via Saudi intermediation – weaponry lost
to ISIS in battle after battle. US airstrikes against ISIS positions in Kobane then enabled Rojava’s People’s and Women’s
Protection Units (YPG and YPJ)to mount a resistance that has since become known as the Stalingrad monument ofthe war
against ISIS.

Of course,the US deployed the narrative of a “war on terror” only as a pretextto attach itselfto the PYD/YPG, and as a means
to preserve its many interests in the Middle East, one of which is to obstructthe Iranian Shiite Corridor—a path laden with
missile depots and stretching from Iraq to Western Syria to the Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon, ending right at Israel’s
doorstep. In return,the YPG soughtto wipe out ISIS by taking over oil fields in central Syria thatfunded the group’s reign of
terror. In the process,the logistical necessities of driving ISIS out of Rojava also rendered the YPG/J dependent on the US’s
might and tact. Add to such military exigencies the severe psychological impact ofthe atrocities committed by ISIS in Kurdishmajority areas, and it becomes evidentthatin the formation ofthe SDF in 2015, under US supervision, we are dealing with a
situation in which Rojava’s revolution—built on confederalism and radical democracy—has been pushed toward an anti-ISIS
and pro-security and territorial insurrectionary discourse.

Now, with the end ofthe war against ISIS and with US positions firmly anchored in Syria,the restoration ofthe status quo in
Syria returns the Gramscian Rojava to the status ofthe odd one out, once again. And having put aspects of its internationalist
project on hold, in favor of an understandable drive for security, Rojava finds itself dispensable and replaceable by any bully
with a bigger gun—such as Turkey, who can lay claim to securing the remaining pockets of ISIS in Syria. Perhaps,then,the
political lesson here is thatif a revolutionary force engages in a “war of maneuver” with the aid of a hegemon, it should notlose
sight of how that hegemon might be engaged in a careful, atrocious “war of position.”

The SDF’s alternatives to the US’s plans are less clear cut. Damascus’s Russian-dictated reaction to the list often reconciliation
demands putforward by the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC),the SDF’s political wing, has been lukewarm. Assad is likely
weighing the perils of making peace with an armed and organized Rojava in a postwar scene where he will already have his
hands full with the reconstruction capital pouring in from Arab states. But after the bloodbath and the chemical bombs, he must
also be wary of another resurgence from Syria’s repressed Sunni majority, who kickstarted the revolution and who live between
the Damascus strongholds and Rojava. Maintaining Turkey’s Kurdish problem might deter Turkey from sponsoring future
revolts, while keeping a leash on Rojava.

As for Trump, his administration will likely seek a deal between the PYD and Turkey that aims to pacify Turkish fears by
driving a wedge between the YPG/J and their PKK forbears in Turkey.

What the International Left Should Do

The people of Rojava have foughtfor their revolution, and their victories have been significant given the challenges. Without an
amenable leftist state or party to aid them,their options were simple: die, or die. They have refused that result, fighting instead
for a new state of life and politics.

What can the international left do to aid them now, atthis crucial juncture? We should support shutting down arms sales to the
Turkish state, including from Germany, England, and, of course,the United States. We should staunchly oppose the economic
blockade Turkey has imposed on Rojava: items entering from Rojava’s border with Iraq are restricted to no more than the bare
necessities of sustenance. Here,the international left could raise the costs ofthe Turkish embargo on Rojava by highlighting its
counter-revolutionary character—an old imperialist measure also imposed on other revolutionary enclaves, such as Cuba—
or circumvent state actors altogether by organizing directinternational aid to Rojava’s people via leftist parties and

Unfortunately,the news from Rojava rarely makes itto the mainstream media, buried instead in a swamp of propaganda and
fake news produced by Erdoğan’s cyber army. The news ofthe ethnic cleansing in Afrin has not been given center stage in the
media, anywhere, for more than a year. So the international left must become a louder voice againstthe perpetuation of
humanitarian disasters.

Both the United States and Russia should get out of Syria, and the international left should pressure the Assad regime to settle
for a democratic program ofthe country’s transition to confederalism. Itis crucialthat a neutral and international peacekeeping
force guarantees the peacefulness of such a transition for all inhabitants of Syria by barring the expansion of interventionist
states already presentin Syria, such as Turkey and Iran. Returning control ofthe province of Idlib, occupied atthe moment by
al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham,to a local civilian administration, is integralto such a transition plan. Finally,the
international left should supportthe HDP’s peace process in Turkey, so that Erdoğan’s war machine is deprived of preemptive
pretexts once and for all.

Rojava,the site of a remarkable peoples’ revolution, is on the brink of colonization and extermination. The international left
must stand against it.

Rosa Burç is a PhD researcher of the Center on Social Movement Studies (COSMOS) at Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence, Italy. Her research is on radical democracy and grassroots movements, currently focusing on the Kurdish movement in the Middle East. She has conducted several research visits to various parts of the Kurdish region.

Fouad Oveisy is a PhD student of critical theory and comparative literature at the University of California, Irvine. He researches the intersections between realpolitik,
political theory, and post-revolutionary strategy and literature, with a particular focus on the Kurdish Question.

"It's not rocket surgery." - Elvis
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