[Marxism] Syria: US Imperialism Deserts the Kurds … Once Again

mkaradjis . mkaradjis at gmail.com
Tue Oct 8 06:57:40 MDT 2019

Of course I agree with the main messages in this statement: that US
imperialism never cared less about the Kurds, that its support for the SDF
was just due to a convergence of interests at a particular point, that the
illusions expressed by the SDF leadership in the US and its dealings with
Assad should be heavily criticised (although I don't think it is possible
to condemn anyone for accepting protection, and that's a bigger issue),
that betrayal was always going to occur eventually, and of course that the
Kurds need to be defended against Turkish invasion.

However, I'm not sure that "US imperialism" is keen on betraying the SDF
just now. The timing and character of betrayal, of withdrawal, are
important to the credibility of US imperialism. Like the last "withdrawal"
announcement, this announcement was made by Trump after a phone call with
Erdogan. Meanwhile, virtually every other representative of US imperialism
that has spoken out, countless leading Republican party figures, including
close Trump allies, and the Pentagon, have condemned this move and assert
that it is against "US interests." That doesn't necessarily mean that
Trump's own view and decision doesn't represent one possible imperialist
policy, supported by some faction of the ruling class. The idea that
leftist Kurds have outlived their usefulness and that now the US can mend
things with a NATO ally by allowing it to have its way with the SDF might
well appeal to some sections of US imperialism; and the reality that the
more likely outcome is that most of Rojava won't go to Turkey, but to
Assad, in a position to force the SDF into subservience in order to
"protect" it, is also no long-term problem for US imperialism. And since
Russia, Turkey and Iran have been dealing over Syria the last 2 years in
the Astana process, somewhat sidelining the US, well, why not buy in via
patching things up with Erdogan.

But at the moment, that view, that Trump's whim agrees with, is the
minority view. Most are expressing views along the lines Pompeo expressed
last time, "we can't let the Turks slaughter the Kurds". Lindsay Graham has
stated he'll push for sanctions on Turkey "if they step one foot in
northeastern Syria" . Even Trump felt compelled to announce that if Turkey
does anything wrong he will "totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of
Turkey", not that this should be taken seriously, but then  is this Trump's
"progressive" voice? There are a number of reasons for this. The
credibility of US imperialism, the perception that ti does not defend its
allies, the use of Rojava as the US's bargaining chip in the Syrian
negotiated outcome, the use of a US-backed Rojava as a block to Iran in
Syria etc.

Most likely the immediate outcome will be some kind of compromise between
the two positions, as what occurred last time. So far the concrete
announcement is that 50 US special forces will be moved away from the
border region. Turkey will likely be allowed to enter some of the
relatively non-Kurdish parts of the border region at the outset to test the
waters. There have already been reports of the Turkish airforce bombing SDF
positions near the Syria-Iraq border, but invading major Kurdish population
centres would be a different matter. Erdogan may decide on a broader attack
on the Kurds, but would face large-scale resistance and it would explode
the entire region. It's not certain that the US would be able to just sit
back and allow that to happen.

On another matter, RCIT’s last paragraph is interesting:

“The new turn in Trump policy is also a message to Israel: “You are alone
in a war with Iran”. This message also comes with the new approach of the
USA and Saudi Arabia to Iran. Behind it is the expected role of Iran to
repress the new wave of the Arab revolution that seems as possible in the
near future.”

Quite perceptive, but then I’ve been arguing that the Gulf ‘crisis” has
been theatre for 6 months and have never been stirred up about “defend
Iran” for a moment for this very reason (obviously the economic blockade
should be condemned). The only problem I have with the paragraph is the
implication in the first line that Iran represents any kind of “threat” to
Israel; that’s just a 25-year theatre, on both sides, mediated by
geographic distance.

On Tue, Oct 8, 2019 at 7:20 PM RKOB via Marxism <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>

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