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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL Décembre - international, Syria: The Kurdish left at the hour of truth (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]
Fri, 5 Jan 2018 08:23:43 +0200
As the armed opposition is on the wane and Daesh temporarily eliminated, diplomatic
dealings intensify to decide the country's future. Without waiting for their results, the
federation constituted de facto on the liberated territories must raise several economic
and democratic stakes. ---- Since the fall of Raqqa and Deir Ez-Zor, the Syrian civil war
has entered a new phase. The level of violence has dropped significantly in the country,
now divided between three rivals. ---- First, the Assad regime with its Russian and
Iranian godfathers, has regained confidence. ---- Secondly, the armed rebellion, without
unity, released by its Turkish, American, European and Saudi support, is circumscribed to
a few regions in the west. ---- Tertio, the Arab-Kurdish coalition of the Syrian
Democratic Forces (SDF), which has supported most of the fighting against Daesh with the
support of Moscow and Washington, is trying to play its card.
The SDF now holds all Syria east of the Euphrates and eliminates the last jihadist
pockets, with the support of US and French special forces. On the other side of the river:
the army of Bashar al-Assad, its Russian chaperones and the troops coordinated by Tehran:
Hezbollah, Iranian troops and Afghan mercenaries. Some armed skirmishes have already taken
place around Deir Ez-Zor but, as long as Russians and Americans are there, the " armed
peace " will certainly continue to prevail.
YPJ militiamen on the front line against ISIS, in the Serê Kaniyê (Ras Al-Aïn) region, in
2014. * Yann Renoult
Russia favors a federal state
How, now, to end the war ? After a year and seven rounds of talks in Astana and Sochi, the
trio Moscow-Ankara-Tehran, which now presides over the destinies of Syria, gradually
approximates its views on the political transition and maintenance (provisional ?) Of
Bashar Assad in power.
The main stumbling block is finally Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), whose fate divides the
partners. Damascus, Ankara and Tehran would willingly scratch the map, if there were the
dissuasive presence of Russian military units in Afrin, and the United States in Kobanê
Neosultan Erdogan has put Anatolia on fire since the summer of 2015 to crush the Kurdish
intifada. Turkish tanks now occupy northern Syria, have almost encircled the township of
Afrin and regularly threaten invasion.
Read the review of Olivier Grojean's book, The Kurdish Revolution. The PKK and the
fabrication of a utopia.
Damascus and his Iranian godfather are in the same mood. Since the summer of 2017, the
pro-Iranian media have come out of their reserve and spread slander against the YPG and
the SDS, accused of being handled by the CIA, by the Mossad - a classic rhetoric in the
Middle East - but also to do ethnic cleansing and be accomplices of Daesh, which does not
lack spice ! .
In reality, these three nationalist regimes can only withstand a historically subordinate
people, now intends to enforce their rights. As a result, Ankara and Tehran still blocking
the invitation of the PYD party talks in Astana and Sochi on the future of Syria .
Russia, on the other hand, considers that the inclusion of the Kurdish left is necessary
for the success of a possible peace process, and advocates a federalisation of Syria,
respecting the autonomy of Kurdistan, even regions east of the Euphrates . The United
States would also be in favor, because it would allow them to maintain military bases in
the region, for all purposes - the anti-jihadist struggle, of course, but also the
containment of Iran, which has become the obsession of the axis. Riyadh-Washington-Tel Aviv.
From the point of view of the Kurdish left, the options are therefore limited: there are
imperialists who want to destroy it, and imperialists who want to use it. It is a
non-choice, and it is fraught with danger.
While diplomats are working far from Syria, the Kurdish left is giving priority to
consolidating democratic confederalism in the liberated territories. It means getting
local people to participate, which is a huge issue.
The Democratic Federation of Northern Syria in December 2017 (click to enlarge)
Advance with and despite the feudal
Recall that the project of the PYD and its militia YPG-YPJ is not the independence of
Kurdistan, but a confederal system that would associate all the ethno-confessional
components of Syria on the basis of a " Social Contract " with accents progressive.
In December 2016, the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria was formed, which includes
the three historic Kurdish cantons - Afrîn, Kobanê, Cizîrê - and a fourth predominantly
Arab canton, Shahba, which elected its self-administration in March 2016. This fourth
canton, whose main city is Manbij, is currently cut in two by the Turkish occupation zone.
The liberated areas further south - Raqqa, Deir Ez-Zor, the Euphrates Valley - have not
yet been formed into cantons, have not held elections, and have not been integrated into
the federation. . They are under the provisional administration of the SDS and local
councils. The Raqqa Civil Council, for example, includes local activists who have just
returned from exile, but most of all ... sheikhs and other tribal leaders.
A paradoxical situation for the Kurdish left, forced to cope with people who formerly
collaborated with the El Assad regime, then made a deal with Daesh. Now, they are
complying with these Kurdish militia and militiamen who must seem to have fallen from
another planet with their " social contract ", their democratic communes and their
equality between men and women. Difficult to circumvent them considering their local
weight, but there is no doubt that these feudal chiefs will return their jacket at the
The challenge is therefore to support the local development of a left that adheres to the
project of democratic confederalism, as was done in northern Syria with the birth, in
September 2014, of the Syrian National Democratic Alliance. (TDWS) , several of whom
were elected to self-administration in Shahba Township.
The list of the TDWS in local council elections in Shahba Canton, in December 2017.
Democratic confederalism gains the support of the Arab population.
It is a sign, among others, of a growing adherence to democratic confederalism among the
non-Kurdish population of Rojava. As for the Kurdish opposition, it has clearly
diminished. In 2016, several small parties distanced themselves from the PDK - Massoud
Barzani's " liberal-feudal " party in Kurdistan, Iraq - and stopped boycotting the
Still, some events worry. Thus, on November 4, in Manbij, dozens of traders led a protest
strike against compulsory recruitment - each family must send a son into the armed forces.
The militia and militia of the PYD are accused of trying to break the strike force by
reopening shops, and have arrested several protesters who wore banners hostile to the SDS
. The Daesh threat now being ruled out, conscription goes badly. And it will not go
better with authoritarian methods.
In a school in Qamislo, in 2014. After decades of prohibition by the nationalist regime,
residents of Rojava know how to speak Kurdish language, but not to write it. * Yann Renoult
Still no energy autonomy
But the main problem remains the lack of economic autonomy of Rojava. The region still
lives under Turkish embargo ; trade with the regime in Damascus and with Iraq is
precarious. Damascus, which still pays the salaries of civil servants, has suppressed
those of most teachers, under the pretext that the schools of Rojava, now bilingual and
applying a different pedagogy, are " anti-national ".
The agricultural sector (wheat, cotton, market gardening) is doing well, but energy
production is struggling. The hydroelectric dams of Tichrine and especially Tabqa turn
into under-regime, because they were damaged by Daesh, but mainly because Turkey, which
controls the Euphrates upstream, deliberately divided by three the flow of the river.
Finally, the region, which has oil wells, but no refinery, suffers from a shortage of fuel
. More generally, the question of hydrocarbons engages the future. While the Kurdish
left says they want to build an ecological and autonomous economy, what to do with the oil
fields of Eastern Syria ? Their exploitation could quickly bring back the necessary
currencies for the reconstruction of the country. But, to obtain the logistics, it would
be necessary to accept the intrusion of the multinational oil companies ... and the
massive corruption that goes with it. In this regard, Iraq's Kurdistan, led by Massoud
Barzani's KDP, is a counter-model.
William Davranche (AL Montreuil)
Oil extraction in the region of Dêrik. * Yann Renoult
Rojava only has small-scale refineries (here, near Hassakê), which causes additional
pollution. * Yann Renoult
 The Voltairenet.org website is the main French-language channel of the Iranian state.
For those who doubt the fabulist talents of his boss, the charlatan Thierry Meyssan, do
not miss his articles where he explains that Saleh Moslim, the co-chairman of the PYD, is
in fact a " spy " Erdogan. Both want to create a Kurdish state in Syria so that Turkey
will deprive its Kurdish population. This diabolical plan would have been concluded during
a " secret meeting " at the Elysee, with the complicity of François Hollande, in full
battle of Kobanê !!
 " Syria: the postponement of Sochi, revealing the obstacles that Moscow must overcome
", East-Day, November 18, 2017.
 " The text of the draft Syrian constitution proposed by Russia revealed ", Sputnik,
January 26, 2017.
 His website: Twds.info .
 " Residents of Manbij protest against conscription in Kurdish militias " , on
Zamanalwsl.net, November 5, 2017.
 Mireille Court & Chris Den Hond, " A utopia in the heart of Syrian chaos ", Le Monde
diplomatique, September 2017.
 Some Russian, American and French emissaries (Total) are already on the alert in
Qamislo, according to the testimony of Raphaël Lebrujah (Initiative for a democratic
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