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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL Décembre - international, Syria-Kurdistan: a curiously selective anti-imperialism (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Sun, 24 Dec 2017 09:32:41 +0200

Popular revolts overthrow pro-Western dictators ? They rejoice. The same revolts threaten pro-Russian or pro-Iranian dictators ? They are indignant and cry to the plot fomented by the CIA ... Welcome to the world of geopoliticians of selective anti-imperialism. The cause of peoples ? May it matter to them. It is only worth as a pawn on the geostrategic chessboard, and according to the imperialist camp that they support. It is a radically different perspective that Libertarian Alternative has chosen with the support - critical - of anticolonialist and anti-imperialist struggles. ---- The Tropiques bookstore, in Paris 14 th , is located at the confluence of the national-republican (Asselineau, UPR) and archaeo-Stalinist (PRCF) movements, followers of this selective and counter-revolutionary anti-imperialism. In October, this bookshop published on its blog an article in this vein, accusing the " revolutionary left " (including AL), to have applauded Arab Spring and supported the Kurdish left, and therefore ... to play the game of Islamism and the CIA. The article then aired on various far-right and conspiracy sites.

An AL comrade wrote a reasoned answer ; Tropics has censored it. We publish it here.

It is no longer enough for US imperialism to have the mass media at its heels to serve its purposes; it now needs the " useful idiots of the radical gogoche ." This is in short the thesis developed in the text " Left revolutionary: the great manipulation " [1]put online at the beginning of October by the website of the Parisian bookstore Tropiques, close to the national-republican movement of François Asselineau. A thesis that is essentially based on criticism of the positions of Alternative Libertaire and the NPA.

The author draws the alarm signal: " For ten years, the libertarian, Trotskyist," antifas "currents that form the revolutionary left have been returned to serve war aims. "

His proofs ? In 2003, the French far-left opposed George Bush's invasion of Iraq, a position he deems to be correct, while in 2011 she became enthusiastic about the revolt wind that rocked. number of Arab countries, " a disaster for the Arab-Muslim world, " he professes. Even worse, she commits the sacrilege of campaigning for the fall of Bashar al-Assad, whom he presents as a courageous anti-imperialist head of state and to support the fight of the Kurdish left which he accuses of being a puppet of the states. -United.

How was the revolutionary left returned ? Reading does not bring the answers that one is entitled to expect when the accusations are so serious. Rather than providing solid argumentation, he gives an explanation that leaves one speechless: " Do not believe conspiracy theories. It's about conditioning and controlling thought.[...]It goes without saying that the people who govern us and the military leaders are very interested in the manipulation of consciences and opinions, and that they fund scientific research in this direction. The ongoing World War in the Middle East is an opportunity for them to make life-size tests. Some things worked, especially the self-censorship they managed to install within the revolutionary left. "

This is not the first time this website accuses the revolutionary movement of playing the game of US imperialism in the Middle East. In March 2016 for example, in the text " The useful idiots of the imperial reconquest. Anarchists, libertarians, alternative, autonomous, antifas and the Middle East " [2]the monthly of social critic Marseille CQFD was attacked for having published a record on Syria [3], condemned as " a perfect example of pro-war drifting pro -occidentale where have engaged, without apparently realizing it, number of militants "anarcho-autonomous" ".

It seemed useful to us to take the opportunity to focus on Libertarian Alternative's analysis of revolution, counter-revolution and imperialism in the Arab world since 2011. And to highlight what separates our political positions from those of our detractors.

From right to left: Tunisian Ben Ali, Egyptian Mubarak, Libyan Kadhafi, Yemeni Saleh, Syrian Bachar el Assad ... At the time of the Arab Spring (2011-2012), it is the domino of dictators.
No, the Arab Spring has not been telegraphed by occult powers
The Arab Spring is a spontaneous revolt for social justice, freedom and dignity. It was triggered in December 2010 by the immolation of young Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi, not a " trader " as the author writes, but a salesman on the run of fruit and vegetables pushed to the limit by police harassment.

The popular revolt kills the regime of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, a loyal servant of Western imperialism and a good student of the IMF [4]. The Egypt of Hosni Mubarak is affected in turn ; it is an essential country in the Middle East's control apparatus, the only Arab country to have signed a peace treaty with Israel. As in Tunisia, the street overthrows the tyrant.

In a few months, the fire is spreading in the Arab world. Everywhere the same causes: dictatorships to the young population experiencing a high unemployment rate, a youth without perspective while the ruling classes display their luxury, protected by the repressive forces.

If tens of millions of people take to the streets at the risk of their lives, it is not to " reshape the Greater Middle East ", but to claim less inequality and more freedom. Popular anger has nothing to do with the geopolitical positioning of the elites who oppress them. Among the dictators of the region, it is panic, whether they are in the camp of the Wahhabi Petroleum States of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) or that of the Shiite mullahs of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Tunisia and Egypt: the Islamist counter-revolution
From an imperialist point of view, it is the United States and the European Union (EU) that have the most to lose, most of the affected countries being vassals of the West: Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Yemen. The military in power in Algeria keep good relations with Westerners, as with the Russians. Even Colonel Gaddafi's Libya, a long-time beast of Western imperialism, moved closer to Washington and Brussels in the 2000s.

Russia is also caught in turmoil, its last points of support in the Maghreb and Machreck are in danger: Algeria, Libya and especially Syria. During the spring of 2011, a great fear hits the dominants of all edges. They will quickly do everything to extinguish the fire. The counter-revolution starts.

It will take different forms depending on the country, there is no question of making an inventory here. We will content ourselves with examining the countries that the author has chosen to attack Libertarian Alternative. In Tunisia and Egypt, Western imperialists have managed to channel the demands of the street into the sidelines of elections. They supported political forces that did not question neoliberal economic policy, who agreed to stay in their sphere of influence and play the game of parliamentary democracy.

In both countries, the " moderate Islamists " responded to these characteristics. Ennahdha in Tunisia and the Muslim Brotherhood (FM) in Egypt [5]were taken by the popular revolt ; indifferent at first, even hostile, they took the train in motion.

As the most established opposition forces, they were well placed to come to power, with the blessing of the United States and the EU, concerned above all to prevent the radicalization of the revolution. It is therefore normal that Libertarian Alternative is interested in the phenomenon in a March 2011 article [6]. The author uses it to accuse us of trivializing the FM and to relativize the sectarian threat. While it is a question of analyzing the possible evolutions of religious movements torn between " democrats and partisans of a stricter movement ".

With a historical decline of six years, we can see that certain hypotheses have not been realized. Thus, the Turkish AKP, taken as a model of the possible democratic evolution of the FM, has itself taken an authoritarian turn and is radicalized from a religious point of view. But this does not justify the indictment of our prosecutor: " Alternative libertarian accepts and accepts the idea that the Brothers can be part of a democratic, social and libertarian revolution. "

You have to be of a rare incompetence, or of a certain bad time to build your indictment file on a single piece, whereas it is enough to make a short search on our web site to find others even more significant. Thus Libertarian Alternative of March 2012 publishes a special file " Arab Spring: a year after ", whose titles are unambiguous: " Tunisia: no state of grace for Ennahdha " [7], " Egypt: The population is angry to see the revolution betrayed " [8]. In May 2013 again: " Tunisia: the counter-revolution in power " [9].

Reading these articles and others published on the subject clearly shows that Libertarian Alternative was and remains on the side of social struggles: rebellious youth, working class, feminist movement, etc. against the institutional logic, wanted by Washington and Brussels, and followed by moderate Islamists.

In Syria: the people between bloody repression and Islamist counter-revolution
In Syria too, the thirst for freedom and social justice is behind the revolution. It is not an imperialist plot, but a spontaneous popular movement, encouraged by the success of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions. In this country, the counter-revolution took the form of a civil war that killed the hope for democratic change.

On the one hand the regime reacted with brutal and deadly repression and played on community fears to divide the movement.

On the other hand, NATO and the GCC supported exiled politicians who did not represent the protest in the field ; they quickly provided military assistance to groups who wanted to move from political struggle to armed struggle. The Wahhabi Sunni Petomonarchies have also fueled communal dislikes by supporting factions sharing their sectarian view of Islam. For all these actors, civil war was preferable to a victorious revolution.

For a time, Libertarian Alternative, like almost everyone, believed in the rapid overthrow of Assad [10]. We were wrong. Unlike Ben Ali and Mubarak, he was not sacrificed by the ruling classes and the state apparatus. For example, the support of the Sunni big bourgeoisie has been instrumental in keeping it in power. In general, its social base was wider than we thought and we underestimated the number of Syrians who refused to take sides. We had incorrectly assessed the balance of power, but that does not invalidate the positions taken by Alternative libertarian during the Syrian revolt, and then the civil war that followed.

Bachar seen by his friends geostrategists of high flight: Joan of Arc against the world conspiracy !
What are these positions ? Since the beginning, Alternative has denounced imperialist interference in Syria [11], and has consistently opposed Western military interventions against the Ba'athist regime, as in this statement of 12 February 2012: " The Syrian people have nothing to to expect from the great powers, and a military intervention, hypothetical in the present state of things, would be worse than evil anyway, falling, as always, on the people rather than the tyrants. " [12]

We regretted the militarization of the revolution that made the armed groups dependent on the financial and military support of the imperialist powers. We have always been very critical of the Free Syrian Army (ASL) [13], which we have never supported.

Throughout these years, we have tried to decipher the maneuvers of various imperialisms - Turkey, Iran, Russia, United States, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates ... - who have made Syria the battlefield of their hegemonic ambitions. We also gave the words to the Syrian and Syrian revolutionaries, without sharing all their analyzes and political positions. For example by publishing excerpts from an open letter of the Courant of the Syrian Revolutionary Left in November 2012 [14], and by participating in the collective With the Syrian Revolution , object of the imprecations of the author. In the case of " Third Camp "Fighting in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), our commitment went further. And as we will see, this is not surprising for a libertarian organization.

AL's critical support for the " third camp ": the Kurdish left
In northern Syria, a mass movement "has been experimenting since January 2014 with a system of secular, social and even feminist self-government, and even feminist context " [15]. This experience is far from perfect, but in a region where political space is dominated by religious, conservative or totalitarian forces, it is normal that it arouses the interest and even the enthusiasm of revolutionaries of all kinds.

The critical support of Libertarian Alternative to the Kurdish left is not the result of the manipulations of the CIA and Mossad, it is the application of our basic principles: we are on the side of the oppressed who are fighting for a a freer and more egalitarian society, in Rojava and Chiapas.

Our detractors see only plan B of the United States to maintain their dominance over the Middle East. Admittedly, they militarily help the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), linked to the Kurdish left. Does this make it a puppet of the imperialists ? All the protagonists of the Syrian civil war - Hezbollah, troops of Bashar al-Assad, " ASL ", jihadists, FDS - are interacting with foreign powers who seek to exploit them, which does not prevent them from having their own agenda .

For its part, Alternative Libertaire has clearly condemned the imperialist ulterior motives among some supporters of the Kurdish cause, in an " open letter " which has circulated widely [16].

It is on its own agenda that the Kurdish left has won support from Russia, the United States and France. Pragmatism of each party. How did we get here ?

When the civil war spread, the Syrian army was overwhelmed. Due to lack of staff, she had become unable to maintain control of the entire country. It decided to abandon areas deemed secondary to the rebels, keeping only a military presence in provincial capitals. The Kurds of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) seized the opportunity to take control of part of Rojava, Cizîrê and Kobanê to the northeast, Afrîn to the northwest. Since then, a situation of " armed peace " between the Kurdish left and the Assad regime has prevented Rojava from knowing the destruction of the rest of the country. There are some clashes from time to time, but no prolonged fighting and especially no aerial bombardment.

This status quo allowed the regime to concentrate its forces on larger fronts and the Kurdish left to develop the revolutionary experience of Rojava, which earned it to be accused by the other rebels of collaborating with the regime and of to betray the revolution. The YPG-YPJ had to defend their weapons by hand many times, both against the jihadists and the ASL supported by NATO and the GCC.

Kurdish left and inter-imperialist rivalries
In 2014, the outbreak of Daesh in Iraq and Syria changed the situation. The United States seized this pretext to form an international coalition allowing it to intervene militarily in these two countries. In September the city of Kobanê was encircled by Daesh, only defended by the YPG-YPJ and some revolutionary volunteers from Turkey. In numerical inferiority, equipped only with small arms they and they risked the annihilation. Their fierce resistance, for weeks, eventually forced the Arab-Western coalition to rescue them by bombing the jihadists.

The punctual military intervention during the Battle of Kobanê became a durable tactical alliance against Daesh. This is the result of the failure of previous US policy, with the various armed jihadist groups and the ASL demonstrating their ineffectiveness in overthrowing the Assad regime and their unwillingness to fight Daesh.

Despite the anger of Ankara, who supported and favored Daesh, Washington has turned pragmatically towards the YPG-YPJ, which in Kobanê and other battlefields have shown their military value. The United States has increased its support after the training, by the YPG-YPJ and some secular brigades of the ASL, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). It is also an episode of the bureaucratic struggles that permanently tear apart the various actors of American imperialism. Support for the Sunni rebellion was a CIA policy, while the alliance with the SDS is implemented by the Pentagon.

On the side of the Kurdish left, it is a tactical necessity, it needs weapons, ammunition and air support of the American coalition. But this is in no way a submission to the objectives of the United States. Indeed, there is still no question of ending the non-aggression policy with Damascus. Similarly, the Kurds have forged political ties with Moscow, their relationship sometimes translates into limited military collaboration.

In a highly dangerous environment in which it plays its survival, the Kurdish left pursues a pragmatic policy, which leads it to take advantage of inter-imperialist rivalries and contradictions within each imperialist camp to preserve its margin of maneuver. An attitude that one is of course entitled to criticize, but which has shown its effectiveness, especially to deter until now Turkey to occupy the Rojava militarily [17].

Now that the reign of Daesh's terror has ended, it is the race between the SDFs supported by the Westerners and the allied regime's army in Russia, with the aim of seizing the remaining territories still in its possession. The United States' new goal is to establish a lasting presence in Syria, east of the Euphrates, a much larger area than Rojava alone, where they build military bases. It is no longer a question of overthrowing Assad, since the Russian intervention gave him the military advantage ; it is only a matter of weighing on the political solution of the conflict, which is far from over.

This is not Plan B, a long-term strategic vision, it is a tactical maneuver to minimize the losses in Syria. Far from being the sign of the strength of American imperialism, it is the demonstration of its weakness.

The positioning of the revolutionaries
The pseudo-anti-imperialist criticism of the revolutionary left by the Tropiques library is based on an unambiguous and dogmatic reading of reality. Their first mistake is to consider imperialism as a monolithic block, a disciplined army blindly following its generals: " the complicity and total alliance between NATO, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and Israel (the Saud and Israel are no longer even pretending not to get along), under the command of the United States " [18].

In reality, the ruling classes of each country of the alliance follow their own interests, which may cause them to leave one alliance for another, depending on the circumstances. A quick glance at the current context shows how much this " total alliance " is a fairy tale.

The irruption of the Arab Spring upset the geopolitical situation and undermined traditional alliances. Turkey, NATO's advanced post in the Middle East, is in total opposition to the support given by the Pentagon to the Kurdish left. This is not the only reason for friction in the Atlantic Alliance, but it helps Erdogan away from Westerners and closer to Iran and Russia. Last May, Ankara, Moscow and Tehran signed the agreements of Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, with the aim of finding a political solution to the Syrian civil war by bypassing Westerners. If it is still a divorce, it is an assumed infidelity.

In the case of GCC, the break is consumed. In June, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) cease all diplomatic relations with Qatar, then blockade it and threaten it with military invasion. One of the reasons for this tumultuous separation is the support given by the Qatari monarchy to the FM, a religious movement that has long hindered the Saudi monarchy. The little Qatar, instead of submitting to the ultimatum of " its allies ", resists with the vital support of Iran, Russia and Turkey. The country, which is home to a major US air base, signed a defense agreement with the Kremlin in October.

Another mistake to avoid is to consider that there is only US imperialism, as if China, France, the United Kingdom or Russia were not imperialist. Yes, the Chinese and Russian imperialisms are dangerous, even if their military budgets are very far from equaling that of the United States, even if their foreign policies are less aggressive and less destructive.

That does not change anything in the bottom, a small or big imperialism is to fight, because it oppresses the people, plunders the planet for the benefit of a small oligarchy. Today all the leaders of the Middle East go to Moscow to discuss with the master of the Kremlin. Putin's decision to intervene in Syria in the autumn paid off. It placed Russia at the center of the Middle East political game, and put American domination in jeopardy.

Since the grandiose projects of the Great Middle East of the American neoconservatives of the beginning of the millennium, it is the geopolitical situation that has changed, not the anti-imperialist positions of Alternative Libertaire. The dreams of the neoconservatives turned into a nightmare. Bush's military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq has been catastrophic for US imperialism, and Russian imperialism is taking advantage of it to try and steal its place. The work of the revolutionaries is to analyze the real, not to build smoky theories ; their role is to be on the side of the oppressed, not to be accomplices of the powers that be.

Hervé (AL Marseille)

[1] " Revolutionary left: the great manipulation " , on Librairie-tropiques.fr, October 4, 2017.

[2] " The useful idiots of the imperial reconquest and the Middle East " on Librairie-tropiques.fr, March 9, 2016.

[3] " Syrian Tragedies Stolen Revolution and Exile " , CQFD No. 136 October 2015.

[4] " Tunisia: The Ben Ali System " , Libertarian Alternative, February 2011.

[5] " Tunisia, Egypt: Keeping up the pressure for social justice " , March 2011.

[6] " What is the role of religious movements ? " , Libertarian Alternative, March 2011.

[7] « Dossier Arab Spring: Tunisia: No state of grace for Ennahdha » , Libertarian Alternative, March 2012.

[8] " Egypt: Yasser Abdelkawi (Libertarian Socialist Movement)," The population is angry to see the revolution betrayed. " , Libertarian Alternative, March 2012.

[9] " Tunisia: The counter-revolution in power " , Libertarian Alternative, May 2013.

[10] " Syria: For the revolution, against the break-up " , Libertarian Alternative, January 2012

[11] " Syria: For the revolution, against the break-up " , Libertarian Alternative, January 2012

[12] " Solidarity with the Syrian people against the crimes of the dictatorship " , AL release of 11 February 2012.

[13] " Syria: The imperialist stakes bombing " , press AL 1 st September 2013.

[14] " Syria: Elected People's Councils " , Alternative Libertaire, November 2012.

[15] " Kurdistan: A new Chiapas ? " , Libertarian Alternative, November 2014.

[16] " Kurdistan, imperialism and far right: open letter to Patrice Franceschi " , AL press release of 22 September 2016.

[17] " Middle East: The future remains of the caliphate stirs up the lusts " , Alternative libertarian, June 2017.

[18] " Revolutionary left: the great manipulation " , on Librairie-tropiques.fr, October 4, 2017.

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