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  1. #1
    🥁 kylesa's Avatar
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    Analysis of North Syria situation from a real on-the-ground anti-imperialist

    The Threat to Rojava
    An Anarchist in Syria Speaks on the Real Meaning of Trump?s Withdrawal



    Following Donald Trump?s surprise announcement that he is withdrawing US troops from Syria, we?ve received the following message from an anarchist in Rojava, spelling out what this means for the region and what the stakes are on a global scale. For background, consult our earlier articles, ?Understanding the Kurdish Resistance? and ?The Struggle Is not for Martyrdom but for Life.?

    I?m writing from Rojava. Full disclosure: I didn?t grow up here and I don?t have access to all the information I would need to tell you what is going to happen next in this part of the world with any certainty. I?m writing because it is urgent that you hear from people in northern Syria about what Trump?s ?troop withdrawal? really means for us?and it?s not clear how much time we have left to discuss it. I approach this task with all the humility at my disposal.

    I?m not formally integrated into any of the groups here. That makes it possible for me to speak freely, but I should emphasize that my perspective doesn?t represent any institutional position. If nothing else, this should be useful as a historical document indicating how some people here understood the situation at this point in time, in case it becomes impossible to ask us later on.

    Trump?s decision to withdraw troops from Syria is not an ?anti-war? or ?anti-imperialist? measure. It will not bring the conflict in Syria to an end. On the contrary, Trump is effectively giving Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan the go-ahead to invade Rojava and carry out ethnic cleansing against the people who have done much of the fighting and dying to halt the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS). This is a deal between strongmen to exterminate the social experiment in Rojava and consolidate authoritarian nationalist politics from Washington, DC to Istanbul and Kobane. Trump aims to leave Israel the most ostensibly liberal and democratic project in the entire Middle East, foreclosing the possibilities that the revolution in Rojava opened up for this part of the world.

    All this will come at a tremendous cost. As bloody and tragic as the Syrian civil war has already been, this could open up not just a new chapter of it, but a sequel.

    This is not about where US troops are stationed. The two thousand US soldiers at issue are a drop in the bucket in terms of the number of armed fighters in Syria today. They have not been on the frontlines of the fighting the way that the US military was in Iraq.
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    The withdrawal of these soldiers is not the important thing here. What matters is that Trump?s announcement is a message to Erdoğan indicating that there will be no consequences if the Turkish state invades Rojava.

    There?s a lot of confusion about this, with supposed anti-war and ?anti-imperialist? activists like Medea Benjamin endorsing Donald Trump?s decision, blithely putting the stamp of ?peace? on an impending bloodbath and telling the victims that they should have known better. It makes no sense to blame people here in Rojava for depending on the United States when neither Medea Benjamin nor anyone like her has done anything to offer them any sort of alternative.

    While authoritarians of various stripes seek to cloud the issue, giving a NATO member a green light to invade Syria is what is ?pro-war? and ?imperialist.? Speaking as an anarchist, my goal is not to talk about what the US military should do. It is to discuss how US military policy impacts people and how we ought to respond. Anarchists aim to bring about the abolition of every state government and the disbanding of every state military in favor of horizontal forms of voluntary organization; but when we organize in solidarity with targeted populations such as those who are on the receiving end of the violence of ISIS and various state actors in this region, we often run into thorny questions like the ones I?ll discuss below.

    The worst case scenario now is that the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (TFSA), backed by the Turkish military itself, will overrun Rojava and carry out ethnic cleansing on a level you likely cannot imagine. They?ve already done this on a small scale in Afrin. In Rojava, this would take place on a historic scale. It could be something like the Palestinian Nakba or the Armenian genocide.

    I will try to explain why this is happening, why you should care about it, and what we can do about it together.



    First of All: About the Experiment in Rojava

    The system in Rojava is not perfect. This is not the right place to air dirty laundry, but there are lots of problems. I?m not having the kind of experience here that Paul Z. Simons had some years ago, when his visit to Rojava made him feel that everything is possible. Years and years of war and militarization have taken their toll on the most exciting aspects of the revolution here. Still, these people are in incredible danger right now and the society they have built is worth defending.

    What is happening in Rojava is not anarchy. All the same, women play a major role in society; there is basic freedom of religion and language; an ethnically, religiously, and linguistically diverse population lives side by side without any major acts of ethnic cleansing or conflict; it?s heavily militarized, but it?s not a police state; the communities are relatively safe and stable; there?s not famine or mass food insecurity; the armed forces are not committing mass atrocities. Every faction in this war has blood on its hands, but the People?s Protection Units (YPG/YPJ) have conducted themselves far more responsibly than any other side. They?ve saved countless lives?not just Kurds?in Sinjar and many other places. Considering the impossible conditions and the tremendous amount of violence that people here have been subjected to from all sides, that is an incredible feat. All this stands in stark contrast to what will happen if the Turkish state invades, considering that Trump has given Erdoğan the go-ahead in return for closing a massive missile sale.

    It should go without saying that I don?t want to perpetuate an open-ended Bush-style ?war on terror,? much less to participate in the sort of ?clash of civilizations? between Islam and the West that bigots and fundamentalists of both stripes have been fantasizing about. On the contrary, that is precisely what we?re trying to prevent here. Most of the people Daesh [ISIS] have killed have been Muslim; most of the people who have died fighting Daesh have been Muslim. In Hajin, where I was stationed and where the last ISIS stronghold is, one of the internationals who has been fighting Daesh longest is an observant Muslim?not to speak of all the predominantly Arab fighters from Deir Ezzor there, most of whom are almost certainly Muslim as well.



    The Factions

    For the sake of brevity, I?ll oversimplify and say that today, there are roughly five sides in the Syrian civil war: loyalist, Turkish, jihadi, Kurdish,
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    and rebel.
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    At the conclusion of this text, an appendix explores the narratives that characterize each of these sides.

    Each of these sides stands in different relation to the others. I?ll list the relations of each group to the others, starting with the other group that they are most closely affiliated with and ending with the groups they are most opposed to:

    Loyalist: Kurdish, Turkish, jihadi, rebel

    Rebel: Turkish, jihadi, Kurdish, loyalist

    Turkish: rebel, jihadi, loyalist, Kurdish

    Kurdish: loyalist, rebel, Turkish, jihadi

    Jihadi: rebel, Turkish, Kurdish and loyalist

    This may be helpful in visualizing which groups could be capable of compromising and which are irreversibly at odds. Again, remember, I am generalizing a lot.

    I want to be clear that each of these groups is motivated by a narrative that contains at least some kernel of truth. For example, in regards to the question of who is to blame for the rise of ISIS, it is true that the US ?ploughed the field? for ISIS with the invasion and occupation of Iraq and its disastrous fallout (loyalist narrative); but it is also true that the Turkish state has tacitly and sometimes blatantly colluded with ISIS because ISIS was fighting against the primary adversary of the Turkish state (Kurdish narrative) and that Assad?s brutal reaction to the Arab Spring contributed to a spiral of escalating violence that culminated in the rise of Daesh (rebel narrative). And although I?m least sympathetic to the jihadi and Turkish state perspectives, it is certain that unless the well-being of Sunni Arabs in Iraq and Syria is factored into a political settlement, the jihadis will go on fighting, and that unless there is some kind of political settlement between the Turkish state and the PKK, Turkey will go on seeking to wipe out Kurdish political formations, without hesitating to commit genocide.

    It?s said that ?Kurds are second-class citizens in Syria, third-class citizens in Iran, fourth-class citizens in Iraq, and fifth-class citizens in Turkey.? It?s no accident that when Turkish officials like Foreign Minister Mevl?t ?avuşoğlu list the ?terror groups? they are most concerned about in the region, they name the YPG before ISIS. Perhaps this can help explain the cautious response of many Kurds to the Syrian revolution: from the Kurdish perspective, regime change in Syria carried out by Turkish-backed jihadis coupled with no regime change in Turkey could be worse than no regime change in Syria at all.

    I won?t rehash the whole timeline from the ancient Sumerians to the beginning of the PKK war in Turkey to the 2003 invasion of Iraq to the Arab Spring and the rise of ISIS. Let?s skip forward to Trump?s announcement on December 19: ?We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency.?

    When you're attacking FBI agents because you're under criminal investigation, you're losing - Sarah Huckabee Sanders

  2. #2
    Platinum Member ZUZZBRAH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stud93 View Post
    stop calling mindless gay...hes a great dude

  3. #3
    Senior Member housemang's Avatar
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    Administrator Ω Omega's Avatar
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    I'm literally never going to read this lmfao wtf @microwavedbeef
    Middle☪Eastern Crew Islam refutation list
    JonnyM is my hero

    I'm not going to delete your account or posts. Think before you post.

  5. #5
    שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם microwavedbeef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omega View Post
    I'm literally never going to read this lmfao wtf @microwavedbeef
    kylesa needs a little break

    @MindlessWork

  6. #6
    Administrator Ω Omega's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by microwavedbeef View Post
    kylesa needs a little break

    @MindlessWork
    Literally a bunch of white boy leftists became OBSESSED with all things related to the YPG because of their marxist secular ideology and the fact women fought on the frontlines (a cowardly thing in almost all cultures but seen us muhhh progressivism).

    It disgusts me.
    Middle☪Eastern Crew Islam refutation list
    JonnyM is my hero

    I'm not going to delete your account or posts. Think before you post.

  7. #7
    שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם microwavedbeef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omega View Post
    Literally a bunch of white boy leftists became OBSESSED with all things related to the YPG because of their marxist secular ideology and the fact women fought on the frontlines (a cowardly thing in almost all cultures but seen us muhhh progressivism).

    It disgusts me.
    most leftist ideals should disgust any real man

  8. #8
    Armageddon Rambo's Avatar
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    Blah blah blah

    Yeah cause erdogan is stupid & wants another stain on his country for the west to use against him in the future to weaken him

    Ypg are a bunch of rats, need to sit their ass down

  9. #9
    pharma bro martin shkreli's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LynetteImmut View Post
    I just ordered the Makita power wrench/drill and got it today before I went down to Lake Havasu so know I have to get the 11/32 hex tip tmro.
    @MindlessWork another of OMEGU spam bots smh
    the brock lesnar of pharmaceuticals
    *OG explosion crew*
    *phone poster crew*
    *so alpha that i quote myself in my signature crew*

    Quote Originally Posted by martin shkreli View Post
    Finally figured out how to buy bitcoin's (this has taken me THREE FUCKING YEARS)....

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    Certified "MONSTER" Cuckzilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martin shkreli View Post
    @MindlessWork another of OMEGU spam bots smh
    Account looks legit to me.

  11. #11
    pharma bro martin shkreli's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuckzilla View Post
    Account looks legit to me.
    the brock lesnar of pharmaceuticals
    *OG explosion crew*
    *phone poster crew*
    *so alpha that i quote myself in my signature crew*

    Quote Originally Posted by martin shkreli View Post
    Finally figured out how to buy bitcoin's (this has taken me THREE FUCKING YEARS)....

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