[Marxism] UN Syria Commission clears YPG/J and SDF of ethnic cleansing charges

Nick Fredman nick.j.fredman at gmail.com
Thu Mar 16 02:41:12 MDT 2017

Mike is quite wrong in claiming that the not guilty verdict from the UN
commission only covers last 8 months. The narrative throughout the report
ranges over the past several years, and it explicitly states,

"Though allegations of 'ethnic cleansing' continued to be received during
the period under review, the Commission found no evidence to substantiate
claims that YPG or SDF forces *ever* targeted Arab communities on the basis
of ethnicity, nor that YPG cantonal authorities systematically sought to
change the demographic composition of territories under their control
through the commission of violations directed against any particular ethnic
group" (p. 21, emphasis added).

Regarding abuses by the YPG/J and SDF, the report details allegations
property damage and forced movement of people. The latter is impossible to
avoid in irregular war and report is clear that much if not all of it is
necessitated by landmine clearing and other military contingencies. The
context of a militia in a poor, blockaded statelet should be taken into
account when all displaced people and their property aren't looked after
properly or allowed to return when they'd prefer. Mike seems keen to imply
this is of a piece with the abuses by other forces. But the report presents
one single allegation of torture, c.f. the numerous instances of torture,
summary execution, bombing of civilians including with chlorine and cluster
bombs etc, by both the regime and some rebels. Proportionality and context
isn't the same thing as Mike's unnamed caricatures who allegedly think the
PYD-led movement is perfect and all rebels are head-choppers.

Mike isn't sure many people made the ethnic cleansing claim. After the
poorly substantiated claims in the 2015 Amnesty report, the charges were
uncritically all over the mainstream media, and on the left that I recall
were uncritically cited by Mick Armstrong at
https://redflag.org.au/node/5116, an article priased by Mike, and more
explicitly made by Socialist Alternative members on Facebook. And of course
luridly made if completely unsubstantiated by the Roy Gutman articles in
the apparently leftist Nation which Mike has approvingly cited.

Gutman's previous form as a cruise missile leftist (regarding Serbia) may
not be relevant to his current hackery for the Turkish state. But
completely irrelevant is Mike aspersions about the PYD-led movement's
tactical alliance with the US. What's relevant to the topic at hand is that
Gutman's has demonstrably lied about his sources and presented fantastical
and demonstrably false accounts of the innocence of the Turkish state and
its crony capitalist clients in Iraqi Kurdistan, of the 2012 insurrection
in Rojava and of the battle of Kobane and the 2014 battle for Sinjar. His
second article is particularly disgusting in presenting the heroic rescue
of 50,000 Yazidis in Sinjar in the most perfunctory way possible, and the
really about some sort of unjustified imperialistic incursion by the PKK.

"Turkey is not the only US ally at odds with the YPG. Iraq’s Kurdistan
Regional Government in late December threatened to use force if the PKK
didn’t withdraw from Sinjar in northern Iraq, which the KRG insists is in
its security sphere. (The PKK had moved into Sinjar in 2014 to fight off an
ISIS attack against the Yazidi population there.)"


If Mike this creep is a credible source, he's welcome to him.

On Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 3:38 PM, Michael Karadjis <mkaradjis at gmail.com>

> The report says there is no evidence of a systematic policy of ethnic
> cleansing. I'm not too sure many people made that claim. The various
> reports, from a variety of sources (eg the anti-ISIS group 'Raqqa is Being
> Slaughtered Silently'), that show the YPG uprooted people, destroyed
> property, prevented return etc, are too many to be false, and in any case
> this report gives plenty of dirt on YPG actions (as it does on all
> players). Nick wants to show that it doesn't show the worst, which is true,
> but it does show that the YPG is not perfect, which should be considered by
> those who have romanticised this current to the point that they are the
> only "true revolutionaries", any allegation against them is just Turkish or
> ISUS slander, whereas every allegation against other rebels are undoubtedly
> true and proof that they are little more than a jihadist jungle.
> In addition, let's not forget that the report is only for the second half
> of 2016 and early 2017, whereas most of the worst allegations against YPG
> crimes were from 2014 through early 2016.
> Nick writes, in relation to Roy Gutman, that "he seems to be a cruise
> missile liberal who's a shill for Erdogan." Not sure that the first and
> second parts of that sentence necessarily connect; I suppose it depends on
> concrete circumstances.  Does he advocate US send its air-force to bomb the
> Kurds on behalf of Erdogan? Not that I am aware of. But, for example, do
> "cruise missile leftists" not advocate things like US intervention, use of
> the US air-force to bomb countries, even killing significant numbers of
> civilians, the sending of hundreds of US special forces into countries to
> back forces they support, the setting up of US bases in foreign countries
> etc etc? Not sure that Gutman advocates all that. But is your definition
> affected by the fact that the US does all these things in Syria in support,
> almost solely, of the YPG/SDF? (and when not in support of the YPG/SDF, in
> support of Assad).

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