We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Myth of the Kurdish YPG’s Moral Excellence

Click here to access article by Stephen Gowans from What's Left. (Some editing for clarity at 5:30 PM Seattle time on 7/26/2017)

The issue of the political idealism of the Syrian Kurds has been so confusing because a number of writers, who identify with the "left", have been inspired by the apparent political beliefs of this group. You only have to enter "Syrian Kurds" and/or "Rojava" in one of my search boxes to find many articles that extol the political virtues of this group as well as more recent articles that cast doubts on these Kurds. 

The Syrian conflict is a giant stew where many powers are involved and with very different objectives. I think that many left supporters are also confused. Even the Syrian Kurds appear to be divided on some issues. The General in command of US forces in Syria also seems confused, or at least worried, about their orientation: see this video from 54:15-55:54 in which Gen. Raymond Thomas is leery about their left-wing political orientation (the PKK are the Kurdish Workers Party mostly based in northern Iraq with which the Syrian Kurds are affiliated).  (By the way, in this presentation he also admits that the US involvement in Syria is in conflict with international law: 53:35-54:13.)

In this rather lengthy article Gowans impresses me as being very knowledgeable about the Syrian Kurds whereas others such as David Graeber and Marcel Cartier seemed to believe the people they talked to on their visits, and Pepe Escobar apparently believed what he read in left-wing media. I notice that Graeber is still promoting the Syrian Kurds on what appears to be based purely on ideology that impressed him while on a 10 day visit reportedly in April of 2015.

A number of other writers like Tony Cartalucci, Alison Banville, and Sarah Abed are at least critical of the Syrian Kurds mainly because they are serving the interests of the US to balkanize Syria. I personally place great emphasis on deeds not words, and the fact that they have allowed the US to establish eight military bases on territory under their control is very disturbing. As we have seen, the US will use any forces to support their objective to destabilize the government of Syria or, failing that, at least to dismember it. 

Today's post entitled "Vying with Kurds: Turkey Opens a New Front in Syria" confirms what others have argued that the Turks will not tolerate a separate Kurdish state adjacent to their country. The project to destabilize Syria was undertaken by US coalition of forces, Saudi Arabia and its satellites, originally Turkey (but they are changing), and Israel, and this project is now doomed. The Syrian Kurds need to realize that and act accordingly by seeking compatible relations with the Syrian government with a hope for some kind of confederation status. Hopefully it's not already too late.