[Marxism] US withdrawal from Syria and myths of "regime change"

Chris Slee chris_w_slee at hotmail.com
Fri Dec 21 19:29:35 MST 2018

John Reimann dismisses Patrick Cockburn as "saying very little".

I think Cockburn makes some good points.  He says the US troop withdrawal "makes it easier for the administration to revive the old US alliance with Turkey".

Erdogan wants to invade northeast Syria.  The US troop presence there has been an obstacle.  Trump will remove this obstacle.

After the fall of Mosul in 2014, the US became worried by the rise of ISIS, and began cooperating with the YPG and SDF to oppose it.

Trump is now shifting back to the pre-2014 US policy of fully supporting the Turkish state against the Kurdish left.

Other sections of the US ruling class want to keep troops in Syria, either because they still regard ISIS as a threat or for other reasons.  But Trump can plausibly claim that his policy is good for US imperialism, because it will restore good relations with Turkey, a very important ally.

Chris Slee
From: Marxism <marxism-bounces at lists.csbs.utah.edu> on behalf of John Reimann via Marxism <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>
Sent: Saturday, 22 December 2018 5:10:06 AM
To: Chris Slee
Subject: Re: [Marxism] US withdrawal from Syria and myths of "regime change"

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I think Michael Karadjis for his extremely well documented commentary on
the US involvement in Syria. A couple of additional points:

At times the "opponents" of US imperialism point to the comment of one or
another US official that Assad should go as proof of attempted regime
change. Often, these same people claim to be Marxists. But it is a
fundamental view of Marxism that a regime is no just one person. The head
of state rules through an apparatus, and it is exactly that apparatus that
US imperialism never ever even gave lip service to changing. Same with
Egypt. Even when Obama called for Mubarak to step down, he never even
implied that the apparatus that Mubarak had built up should be removed.

This is totally different from Iraq, where Bush & Co. removed the entire
Baath apparatus lock, stock and barrel. Now THAT was real regime change!
(Of course, nowadays the US regime doesn't even want to remove the head of
state in Syria, never mind his entire apparatus.)

On the SDF: My understanding of them is that they are an unstable alliance
of multiple different groups that has already had a tendency to fracture.
It also seems to me that what holds them together is the cover of the US
military. Once that is gone, it seems to me most likely that the SDF will
tend to completely fall apart. That would leave it to the YPG, which I
think is already the main component of the SDF, to do any fighting against
a Turkish invasion. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if some
forces in the SDF were to ally themselves with Turkey. And, as Michael
seems to be saying, I think the YPG will call on Assad to enter the region;
they will directly and openly align themselves with Assad. But, to repeat,
it seems to me that the SDF overall will fragment and more or less cease to
exist once the US leaves.

As far what the "anti-imperialists" have to say: I've noticed that most of
them maintain an embarrassed silence. I sent my article to a socialist
discussion list which I'm on that has a couple of outspoken Assadists on
it. Neither of them has raised his head above the parapet. Both Mintpress
and Globalresearch are saying this is a defeat for US imperialism, that it
shows the weakness of US imperialism. Beyond that, what Chossudovsky writes
on Global "Research"
sounds very deep, but it's really incomprehensible. Max Blumenthal, UNAC,
and Veterans for Peace are silent on the issue. Ben Norton does an
interview with Patrick Coburn on the "Real" (sic) News (
Both of them - especially Coburn - sound very learned and the latter talks
in a fair amount of detail about this and that, but when you put it all
together, he's basically saying very little except: (1) the withdrawal does
not benefit Russia (which is complete nonsense in my opinion; (2) turkey
will invade (duh!); (3) The YPG will turn to Assad (another duh).

John Reimann

*“In politics, abstract terms conceal treachery.” *from "The Black
Jacobins" by C. L. R. James
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