[Marxism] Syria: Slaughter in Idlib (re: How Much Does the Pentagon Pay for the YPG?)

mkaradjis . mkaradjis at gmail.com
Wed Feb 26 06:56:19 MST 2020

I don't agree that the YPG/SDF are mercenaries, Chris is right that they
fight their own fight which just happens, for years and years, to be in
full agreement with US aims in Syria, though at times it also corresponds
to Russian aims. It's no use arguing about how many hundreds of millions of
dollars: the US has lent its airforce to the YPG/SDF for years, as entire
cities were obliterated. It's simply hilarious that some western YPG
cheerleaders still play "anti-imperialism" and call the Syrian rebels
"US-backed" etc, while of course the US never flew a single plane for any
rebel group, and actively blocked them from getting manpads to shoot down
Assad planes. While Assad has bombed everywhere in Syria probably 100s of
1000s of times over 8 years, the one and only time the US ever shot down an
Assadist warplanes in all these years was when Assad tried to attack the
US's SDF allies.

Of course, all this alliance of interests with US and/or Russia could
conceivably be a long coincidence, but I don't think it can be analysed
outside of the arch-opportunist politics of the PYD leadership. As Louis
said, its fundamental problem was that it refused, from day 1, to join the
revolution against Assad, to even attempt to seek out alliances.

This is now a bigger problem: can Chris find us any statement in which the
PYD/YPG/SDF declares some kind of human solidarity with the people of Idlib
and northwest Syria as they are facing this genocidal slaughter by Assad
and Russia? Of course the answer is no. And even worse are their western
cheerleaders. For example, several weeks ago Chris sent a GLW article to
the list, written, sadly, by himself (I expected better of Chris), which
said, in the context of this horrific slaughter going on, that the only
resistance to evil in Syria is of course "Rojava", while the "conflict" in
Idlib is between two bad sides. That was an appalling article. Mind you, it
was written before Assad's recent reconquest of all the great revolutionary
cities and towns: Maraat al-Nuuman, Saraqeb, Kafranbel, Atareb etc - ie,
centres of the democratic revolution that always resisted HTS even as they
fought off Assad, yet for GLW even then they were all already swept under
the rug of being all jihadists or Turkey mercenaries. Even if you can't get
yourself to do a little study and know these things, and even now after
these towns have fallen, there is still no equivalence between the fascist
regime with all the horrific means of mass killing, including its airforce,
supplemented by the invading Russian imperial power, and the resistance in
Idlib, no matter how vile some of the forces involved in leading military
resistance are. This kind of simplistic nonsense analysis has been far and
wide on Syria, but in the past SA/GLW may have been able to do more complex
analysis; now all you have to do is check out what Rojavist sites are

Chris says when some rebel (or ex-rebel) groups jo0ihned Turkey's invasions
of Afrin and northwest Syria and attacked the SDF and Kurdish populations,
they had become mercenaries. I agree. Note by the way, that Euphrates
Shield, when Turkey invaded alongside Syrian rebels to evict ISIS from
mid-northern Syria, returning these rebel groups to regions they used to
run before the ISIS conquest, majority Arab and Turkmen regions, this was
entirely different; you can disagree 9there was much to criticise) but the
rebels were not acting as mercenaries but in their own interests.

In the case of Idlib let me go one better, and it doesn't really matter
whether one decides to call Turkey whatever name (imperialist,
sub-imperialist, non-imperialist, whatever you like): humanity requires we
give TOTAL support to any military action by Turkey, in support of the
independent rebel groups there, to resist Assad's genocidal attacks and his
regime's complete reconquest of the region. Right now a frightful massacre
is taking place. A million more people have fled their homes to escape
Assad and Putin, and even as they flee they are bombed in the back, their
IDP camps are bombed, countless hospitals and schools are bombed, children
are freezing to death, graves are meticulously desecrated, and in this
situation we want to argue about "neutrality" and everyone being bad and
such bullshit.

Of course when I say TOTAL support to Turkey's actions against Assad
obviously I am not saying rebels should trust Turkey or subordinate
themselves or put much faith in Turkish actions; the reality is that Turkey
will do little, caught up as it is in deals with Assad's owners, Russia and
Iran. Turkey did nothing to prevent the cities of the revolution falling;
we all know why. However, Turkey also has 3.7 million Syrian refugees, the
highest number of refugees in the world by far, and it cannot handle
another million or two crossing the border; right now it is blocking them,
so the displaced are trapped between Assad and Putin's genocidal bombing
and Turkey's wall. To the extent that this forces Turkey to draw a line
somewhere, in the northern half of Idlib, to keep it, not as a centre of
revolution obviously, but as a giant refugee camp, we must say: GOOD. Not
anywhere good enough of course, but that is now done. No-one ever expected
the US or Turkey or Gulf countries to support a revolution and they didn't,
but if Turkey's own needs now correspond to protecting civilians from
slaughter, then that must be supported.

A couple of weeks ago, two Assadist helicopters were shot down, and
reportedly the day after, the skies were relatively quiet. This shows how
easy it would have been to stem the Assadist mass murder machine if the
rebels had had access to the necessary **defensive** weaponry. Of course
the US blocked this and Turkey did not defy the US. IF this meant that
Turkey has allowed the rebels a few manpads at this late moment, it is way
too little too late, but still GOOD; these two shoot-downs were a victory
for all humanity.

Years ago the SA (then DSP) made an exception to its opposition to
imperialist intervention "ever" by supporting the Australian imperialist
intervention in East Timor; not just supporting it, but marching in the
streets demanding it. Well, of course the east Timorese were kind of like
us; we even knew their leaders. What did we say? That there was no
alternative; the only alternative was a huge massacre by the Indonesian
army. The last five years the SA makes a similar exception with the
YPG/SDF; perhaps not explicitly, but of course, like all the
"anti-intervention" left, no-one has ever protested the US war in Syria on
behalf of the SDF, even the total destruction of Raqqa. Have to avoid a
massacre of the Kurds. Yeh, we know them too. And they're secular feminists.

But Idlib? Anywhere else in Syria? No alternative to a huge massacre? Who
cares? Those kids in Idlib blown up in their primary school today were
probably just going to grow up into jihadis.

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