[Marxism] Northern Syria: Massive ethnic cleansing, humanitarian catastrophe, foreign intervention and betrayal

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jan 22 16:17:40 MST 2018

On 1/22/18 2:38 PM, Nick Fredman via Marxism wrote:
> And apparently by you. The most progressive force in the Middle East is
> under existential threat and the solidarity you got is “whatever, they had
> it coming”. That’s peace and out from me.

Maybe it was a mistake for Green Left to publish an article that accused 
the FSA of being led by warlords and bandits at a time when Assad was 
trying to annihilate it. That does not encourage the kind of solidarity 
you are expecting now.

13 years ago I wrote an article about the Kurds that alluded to some 
deeply engrained weaknesses of a movement whose overall goal is laudable:

The most striking example of Kurdish fecklessness, however, occurred in 
the 1960s and '70s when they aligned themselves with Zionism, the Shah 
of Iran, and US imperialism against Arab nationalism in general and Iraq 

Jonathan C. Randal, a veteran Washington Post reporter strongly 
committed to the Kurdish struggle, quotes a Mossad veteran: "Put a Kurd 
atop a mountain with a rifle, pita bread, and onions and he'll stop a 
whole column of troops for you." (6) The support that Kurdish fighters 
received from Israel paled in comparison from that originating from 
Tehran. Using bases in Iran, Barzani's fighters launched bloody attacks 
on northern Iraqi cities.

But ultimately it was the United States that played the Kurdish card. 
During the course of Pike Committee investigations into covert spying, 
it was revealed that the Kurds received funding and logistical support 
from the CIA between 1972 and 1975. Notwithstanding Barzani's foolish 
illusions in the United States, a 1974 CIA memo revealed his 
benefactor's true intentions: "Iran, like ourselves, has seen benefit in 
a stalemate situation, in which Iraq is intrinsically weakened by the 
Kurds' refusal to relinquish semi-autonomy. Neither Iran nor ourselves 
wish to see the matter resolved one way or the other." (7)

Unfortunately, the Kurds failed to anticipate the Shah's openness to 
diplomatic maneuvers that would leave them out in the cold. In 1976 the 
Shah and Saddam Hussein cut a deal in Algiers that would throw the Kurds 
to the wolves. The March 15, 1975 Economist reported:

	Within 24 hours of the Algiers ceremonies, Iraqi tanks and infantry 
launched an offensive from the west that soon had the Kurds in retreat 
from the strategic mountain barriers beyond Rawandiz that they have held 
since the early autumn in the face of successive Iraqi attacks. By the 
time the ceasefire came into effect on Thursday the Iraqis commanded the 
Kurds' main supply route, and Choman itself, the official Kurdish 
headquarters, was exposed to direct artillery fire by the fall of Mount 
Zuzak. Iraqi troops had also made substantial gains in thrusts into 
Kurdistan from the south and the north. The explanation of their sudden 
success is that, on the morning when the Iraqis began their offensive, 
the Iranians pulled out their heavy artillery and anti-tank weapons. 
They also closed the border to all fresh supplies of ammunition to the 
Kurds, who were running badly short by midweek.

full: http://www.swans.com/library/art10/iraq/proyect.html

More information about the Marxism mailing list