[Marxism] Once again on GLW, Syria, HTS and YPG

Chris Slee chris_w_slee at hotmail.com
Wed Mar 14 02:53:19 MDT 2018


Michael Probsting says:  "In opposite to the YPG, the HTS and other forces are are confronting Assad and the imperialist forces - not inviting and serving them like the YPG."

Currently the YPG is resisting the Turkish invasion of Afrin.  Turkey is increasingly acting like an imperialist power, so we can say that the YPG is resisting Turkish imperialism.

By contrast, the HTS is offering no resistance whatsoever to Turkish imperialism.  When Turkish troops first entered Idlib province, they were escorted by HTS members.  HTS allowed Turkey to build bases in the territory it controls on the border with Afrin, in preparation for the invasion of Afrin.

So we can say that HTS has collaborated with Turkish imperialism.

In a previous message RKOB claimed that "Turkey is hostile to the HTS".  But I have not seen any reports of armed conflict between Turkish troops and HTS fighters.

Chris Slee



________________________________________
From: RKOB <aktiv at rkob.net>
Sent: Wednesday, 14 March 2018 2:42:21 AM
To: Chris Slee
Subject: Once again on GLW, Syria, HTS and YPG

In reply to comrade Chris Slee, I want to make two brief comments:
First, the discussion started when he distributed the nonsensical statement of the YPG that HTS would participate in the Turkish assault against Afrin. Until now no serious person has confirmed this. The argument that may be some ex-members of HTS are participating is nonsense. Shall we start to discuss the past of the various SDF units?
Secondly, and more interesting, is comrade Slee’s statement: “The RCIT places a lot of importance on the fact that HTS rejects the Astana agreement.  But groups should be judged on what they are for, not just what they are against. HTS stands for theocratic dictatorship. They are enemies of the Syrian revolution - if by "Syrian revolution" we mean the struggle for democracy that began in 2011.”
Right, let us judge force by what they are for, not only what they are against. Naturally, we shouldn’t start with some rhetorical ideological commitments. Hence we don’t judge the PKK/YPG in the first place by their crude mixture of Kurdish nationalism and Anarcho-Stalinism. Neither do we judge the imperialists by their claims that they would intervene for the sake of “democracy”, “human rights”, “fight against terrorism”, etc.
We judge them all by their deeds, not their phrase-mongering.
The deeds of the imperialist Great Powers are undisputed in this forum so I will not dwell in this.
The deeds of the YPG are that they have played for years a crucial role in helping US imperialism to build a strong basis in North and East Syria (including many military bases), that they have collaborated with the Assad regime and that at no moment did they join the Syrian Revolution. This is what these people are for in deeds (not in ideological phrases reprinted naively in “Green Left Weekly”!) This is the difference in deeds. For us Marxists this difference in practice is not irrelevant!
In opposite to the YPG, the HTS and other forces are confronting Assad and the imperialist forces – not inviting and serving them like the YPG. True, they combine this with a reactionary Islamist utopian program. We have seen such combinations various times in history. To give just two examples: the liberations struggle in Morocco against the Spanish and French imperialists led by the Islamist Abdel Karim in the 1920s (and strongly supported by the communists) or the resistance of the Palestinians led by Hamas.
All those Islamophobic “leftists” who refuse support for such movement because of the latters Islamist agenda, are lost for the anti-imperialist struggle.
Michael Pröbsting

Am 13.03.2018 um 06:31 schrieb Chris Slee:

RKOB says that "Turkey is hostile to the HTS", and claims this is the background to "the current attack of Zenki and Ahrar against the HTS in the north of Syria".

But HTS has previously attacked Ahrar al-Sham and other groups, so the latter probably don't need Turkey's encouragement to hit back.

It is not uncommon for rebel groups to fight each other.  In 2014, for example, Jabhat al-Nusra attacked the Syrian Revolutionaries Front, a Free Syrian Army coalition with a strong presence in Idlib province.  Some of the survivors of the SRF fled to Afrin and later became part of the Syrian Democratic Forces.  Others fled to Turkey.

I agree that HTS is not fully under Turkey's control.  But they have in the past worked together to attack Rojava.

Kurdish sources have claimed that "Jabhat al-Nusra" members have joined the Turkish invasion of Afrin.  I am not sure if they are referring to current members of HTS, or people who have in the past been members of Nusra and retain a similar reactionary ideology.

HTS has had various splits, and reportedly still has internal divisions.  See Charles Lister:

https://warontherocks.com/2017/10/turkeys-idlib-incursion-and-the-hts-question-understanding-the-long-game-in-syria/

Hence it is conceivable that one part of HTS is collaborating with Turkey to attack Afrin while another part of HTS is busy fighting Ahrar al-Sham.

The RCIT places a lot of importance on the fact that HTS rejects the Astana agreement.  But groups should be judged on what they are for, not just what they are against.  HTS stands for theocratic dictatorship.  They are enemies of the Syrian revolution - if by "Syrian revolution" we mean the struggle for democracy that began in 2011.

Their reactionary politics repel the majority of Syrians, causing some (particularly the religious minorities) to see Assad as the lesser evil.

Meanwhile Turkey is invading Afrin with the goal of crushing those fighting for democracy and women's liberation.  Solidarity with the revolution in northern Syria should be our main task.

Chris Slee



________________________________________
From: Marxism <marxism-bounces at lists.csbs.utah.edu><mailto:marxism-bounces at lists.csbs.utah.edu> on behalf of RKOB via Marxism <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu><mailto:marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, 6 March 2018 6:39:57 PM
To: Chris Slee
Subject: Re: [Marxism]  Turkey’s unexpected empire in Syria

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I also read this article yesterday. Hence I saw that it also contains
the following:

"/In Idlib, the establishment of a network of Turkish military bases in
January 2018 has led to a concerted attempt by militias backed by Ankara
to expel Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and other jihadist groups from major
towns. As this attempt to reduce HTS’s power unfolds, Diyanet has also
ramped up efforts to take control of welfare and governance across the
province./"

This is another evidence which totally contradicts what you (and other
YPG supporters) argued just 3 weeks ago: that HTS would participate in
Turkey's invasion in Afrin or, more general, that the HTS would be an
agent of Ankara.

It rather confirms what I, and others, have argued since a long time:
that Turkey is hostile to the HTS and is determined to pressurize,
minimize and defeat them.

This is the background of the current attack of Zenki and Ahrar against
the HTS in the north of Syria.

More on this in our latest articles on Syria:

https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/syria-idlib-the-attack-of-the-astana-conspirators-could-be-repelled-thus-far/

https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/turkey-s-hidden-war-against-hts-in-idlib/


Am 06.03.2018 um 06:01 schrieb Chris Slee via Marxism:


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https://ahvalnews6.com/turkey-syria/no-exit-turkeys-unexpected-empire-syria


"By August 2016, Turkey’s government felt impelled to order military operations that have led to Turkish control over large parts of northern Syria. Culminating with the recent assault on the Afrin region, the primary focus of these operations has been to prevent the YPG from seizing more territory along the Turkish border....

"In the first weeks of this intervention many analysts tried to establish whether the Turkish military had an exit strategy that would enable it to leave Idlib, Afrin and north Aleppo province once it fulfilled its goals. Yet 18 months after the first Turkish tanks entered the Syrian city of Jarabulus as part of Operation Euphrates Shield it is increasingly clear that a swift exit from Syria is impossible....

"In northern Syria a partnership is therefore emerging between Diyanet officials and Turkish army officers who have become accustomed to governing large populations as part of a semi-colonial venture. With Turkey’s strategic dilemmas making a withdrawal unlikely any time soon, this network of Syria hands within Diyanet and the military is developing a vested interest in maintaining long-term control over Turkey’s unexpected empire in Syria."

***

I don't agree with the word "unexpected" in the title of this article.  Turkey has been determined to suppress the Rojava revolution from its inception.  Initially it used various reactionary Syrian rebel groups to attack Rojava.  When this failed Turkish troops were sent into Syria - first into the Jarablus/al-Bab area, then into Idlib, then into Afrin.

A full scale invasion of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria was deterred for a time by fear of the response of the US and Russia.

The US needed the Syrian Democratic Forces to fight ISIS, and therefore warned Turkey against attacking SDF controlled areas in north-eastern Syria.

Russia controls the airspace over north-western Syria.  This deterred a Turkish invasion of Afrin - until Russia and Turkey made a deal.

The Assad regime may not be entirely happy with the deal, since there is no guarantee that Turkey will ever leave the area it has occupied.  This may explain why a small contingent of pro-Assad militia has gone to Afrin to oppose the Turkish invasion.

Chris Slee







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