[Marxism] Rojava revolution - seven years on

mkaradjis . mkaradjis at gmail.com
Fri Aug 2 23:46:02 MDT 2019

When we write about important events, such as a revolution and war that has
been in world headlines for 8 years, knowing what we're talking about is
important, especially if you want to be taken seriously.

Chris rightly corrects Dave's false claim that Idlib is dominated by
"al-Qaida". Probably not Dave's fault, as I understand, the SA membership
mostly relies on the wooden, Stalinoid-style Apoist media for, er,
information on Syria, and the PYD and its fronts routinely call all
Islamists "al-Qaida", kind of neocon style.

Chris says that something he calls Jabhat al-Nusra/HTS has "seemingly"
broken from al-Qaida. Chris, as someone who seems to follow events in Syria
from a somewhat broader perspective, surely you know that in August 2016 -
3 years ago - Nusra broke with al-Qaida, changed its name to JTS, then
several months later, JTS joined 5 other groups - some jihsdist like them
and some not - to form the miltary coalition known as HTS. The formation is
Islamist, but not jihadist, by definition, though the jihadist JTS is the
dominant group.

Incidentally, there remains a tiny pro al-Qaida group that spli with JTS at
the time. Some of its leaders are in HTS prisons. The US recently bombed
tghem in Idlib.

Ironically for the SDF, the distinguishing feature of HTS was rejection of
the growing Turkish hegemony over many of the Islamist and non-Islamist/FSA
rebels in the region. As Turkey was seen as bargaining over the Kurds with
Assad via Erdogan's new mate Putin, including selling out Aleppo, many
rebels joined HTS in order to continue fighting Assad at all times, rather
than accept their fight being turned off and on according to Turkey's

Meanwhile, other FSA groups rejected Turkish hegemony, wanted to maintain
the fight against Assad, but would not join HTS. The most prominent is
Jaysh al-Izza, which plays a leading role in holding back Assad, especially
in Hama.

For most fighters in any case, all our Kremlinology is largely irrelevant.
They fight a genocidal regime because it is in their interests to. They
join whichever brigade - FSA, Islamist, jihadist, Turkish-controlled or
not, based on who has the strength, the money, the weapons in their area.
Western leftists joining the war on terror by calling them "al-Qaida" would
be of supreme indifference to them,  but like, don't expect them to
identify as "leftists" in the circumstances. They fight, previously, to
overthrow the regime as they rightly saw it as the worst impediment to
democracy,  and knew they could deal with secondary, weaker impediments
later. Now they fight merely to defend their region from the genocide
regime reconquering them. They deserve our support.

In any case, the Assadi-Russian massacre over the last few months is a
massacre of civilians. Hundreds have been killed, literally dozens of
hospitals and schools bombed, markets, bakeries, you name it. It is a world
class crime going on as a global imperialist power massacres brown people
in an oppressed country.

I struggled to find any evidence of solidarity with the civilians being
massacred (not with the fighters) in these last two GLW articles Chris sent
to the list. I found none. Appalling, but sadly not surprising. Instead we
read about "al-Qaida" and utopia in Rojava in the northeast, in an
apparently disconnected reality. A utopia, of course, fully protected by a
massive US intervention force, while "anti-imperialists" pay no attention
to this fact and instead still fantasise that the US is behind the Syrian
rebels, always a fantasy but today a grotesque lie.

Five years ago when SA/GLW discovered the Rojava revolution I thought it
was a good thing. Sad how rapidly we turned it into a sectarian shibboleth.
Old habits die hard I guess.

On Sat, 3 Aug. 2019, 1:32 pm Chris Slee via Marxism, <
marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:

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> There are some points in the article by Dave Holmes that we could quibble
> about.  He refers to "al Qaeda", whereas Jabhat al-Nusra/HTS has seemingly
> broken with al-Qaeda.
> But this does not change the fact that, ever since Jabhat al-Nusra crushed
> the Syrian Revolutionaries Front in 2014, Idlib province has been dominated
> by reactionary Islamist groups such as HTS, Ahrar al-Sham etc.
> Chris Slee
> ________________________________
> From: John Edmundson <johnedmundson4 at gmail.com>
> Sent: Saturday, 3 August 2019 12:19 PM
> To: Chris Slee <chris_w_slee at hotmail.com>; Activists and scholars in
> Marxist tradition <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>
> Subject: Re: [Marxism] Rojava revolution - seven years on
> I think statements like "However, [the Syrian Army's] failure to retake
> the north-western city of Idlib from al Qaeda and its Islamist allies"
> conforms to the simplification of the Syrian revolution that characterises
> it as completely dominated by and representative of Islamist
> fundamentalism. Ironically, if Rojava had never existed, a lot of leftists
> would have been more willing to support (at least from the comfort  their
> own homes) the Syrian revolution. Green Left Weekly should know better.
> Cheers,
> John
> On Sat, Aug 3, 2019 at 10:17 AM Chris Slee via Marxism <
> marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu<mailto:marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>> wrote:
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