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NATO against the Kurds: The battle for A’zaz

category mashriq / arabia / iraq | imperialism / war | opinion / analysis author Wednesday February 24, 2016 03:57author by José Antonio Gutiérrez D. Report this post to the editors

http://www.tlaxcala-int.org/article.asp?reference=17333

NATO, represented by the Turkish State, for the last two days has been bombing the Kurdish militias of the YPG that had advanced to the north of Aleppo towards the cities of A'zaz and Such Rifaat. The bombings, which have killed at least 23 civilians, are concentrated around the military airbase of Menagh, conquered in 2013 by a coalition of “rebels”, including Al - Qaeda (Al- Nusra Front) and others that later would end up as the Islamic State. That is a key point to supply the “rebellion,” which serves the petro-theocracy and the interests of the USA and the EU. Ahmet Davutoğlu said that he has informed the vice-president of the USA Joe Biden about the bombings. Although Biden has not publicly approved Turkey’s military intervention, he has neither condemned it nor taken any action to restrain the Turkish State, which would never act without the absolute certainty that the U.S. would end up supporting them. [Castellano] [Català] [Italiano]

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NATO against the Kurds: The battle for A’zaz

As the siege tightens around the armed fundamentalist reactionaries in Syria, the Ankara regime that has generously sponsored them throughout five years of butchery is beginning to get nervous. The forceful eruption of the Kurdish guerrillas of the YPG against the Islamic State, the Russian intervention and the determined participation of Hizbullah militias is winning the battle against that motley alliance of opportunists and armed fundamentalists whose only goal is to overthrow Bashar Al- Assad and smash the Kurdish militias.

That is why the Turkish army has intensified the bombings against the Kurds, who operate in the northern area of the country, when at every moment they show every sign that they are seeking a direct intervention in the Syrian conflict, in order to extend the life of a military criminal adventure that has only succeeded in inflicting pain and death.

Here they finally drop their masks. NATO, represented by the Turkish State, for the last two days has been bombing the Kurdish militias of the YPG that had advanced to the north of Aleppo towards the cities of A'zaz and Tal Rifaat [1]. The bombings, which have killed at least 23 civilians [2], are concentrated around the military airbase of Menagh, conquered in 2013 by a coalition of “rebels”, including Al - Qaeda (Al- Nusra Front) and others that later would end up as the Islamic State. That is a key point to supply the “rebellion,” which serves the petro-theocracy and the interests of the USA and the EU. Ahmet Davutoğlu said that he has informed the vice-president of the USA Joe Biden about the bombings. Although Biden has not publicly approved Turkey’s military intervention, he has neither condemned it nor taken any action to restrain the Turkish State, which would never act without the absolute certainty that the U.S. would end up supporting them.

Let’s remember that NATO had said, in the midst of the crisis with Russia, that it would defend tooth and nail the “territorial integrity” of the Turkish state, an argument that the Ankara regime uses to justify its attack on the Kurds, saying that they are a threat to their monolithic concept of national unity. This can be only the beginning of a direct intervention on the ground for Erdoğan’s troops, something he already threatened last week. The facade of the supposed unity against the Islamic State is a joke: the Turkish State, and with them NATO, are gambling on destabilization of Syria and prolongation of the Syrian bloodbath, at the same time as they fight against the Kurdish liberation movement.

Betting on the anvil and hammer strategy, as they strike the Kurds in Syrian territory, and supply the armed reactionaries to wipe out the YPG militias, the Turkish State is also striking the Kurds in their own territory, looking to destroy their rebellious morale. For months they have imposed a state of siege in the Kurdish territory in the Turkish state, escalating repressive military operations, bombing. While the Western medias are scandalized by the Islamic State’s destruction of the cultural, historical and archaeological heritage in places like Palmyra (Syria) and denounce it up and down, they have remained silent about the Turkish State’s systematic destruction of the human heritage in the Kurdish region within Turkey’s borders: according to information from Diyarbakir municipality (10 /12/16), the District of Sur in Diyarbakir has been bombed and its historical walls, considered heritage from the UNESCO, have been severely destroyed. 70% of the buildings of the east section of the old city also have been affected, while 50.000 inhabitants from Sur had to move out of their homes due to state violence and terror.

The West believed, they could use the Kurds to fight against the fundamentalist factions they consider “uncontrollable,” but this failed. The Kurds are a mature political protagonist, with too much experience of fighting in the hills to be used as simple pawns by the Western powers. When the U.S. began to employ its strategy of restructuring the Middle East, expecting that puppet regimes would emerge in all areas, regimes similar to the Gulf theocracies that would willingly give their oil in exchange of nearly nothing, they didn’t take into account the Kurds nor their libertarian social projects and their radical democracy; nor did they count on the enormous popular forces that theses interventionist strategies unleashed. It is true that there has yet to flourish in the Middle East the kind of popular power that starting from Kurdistan then radiated out to the region, but it is also true that the U.S. has been incapable of imposing its rule and has ended up by eroding its hegemony in the region, and its cronies have exposed themselves naked: there has not been a moment in the last few decades that the sheiks have been more nervous than they are now. That’s where the violence of the Caliph of Ankara against the Kurds comes from.

The same way that the battle for Kobane was a key point to slow down the advance of the Islamic State, today, the battle for A‘zaz is also a key point to eradicate armed fundamentalism and to defend the expansion, consolidation, and the right to exist of an autonomous, free and confederated Kurdistan.

José Antonio Gutiérrez D.
15 February 2016

Translated by Felipe Asenjo (Tlaxcala)
Edited by John Catalinotto


[1] http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/02/turkey-shells-kur....html
[2] http://aranews.net/2016/02/dozens-of-civilian-casualtie...yria/

author by crhpublication date Wed Feb 24, 2016 09:15Report this post to the editors

Why would you assume Turkey would not act without US support? Of course the US will eventually throw the Kurdish groups it now supports under the bus, like so many imperialist powers have before, but this represents a split within NATO nations about what represents the best short term military objective.

As well, not that I would support Turkey shelling anyone really, but let's look at what the SDF (it's not just the YPG participating in the battles) are doing north of Aleppo. They've been opportunistically attacking other rebel groups, including many revolutionary formations, who have been suffering under Russian and Assadist bombs. Russia isn't striking them, likely because they're allied with the US and it would escalate the war. However, there is some reason to believe they are co-ordinating directly with Russia and maybe even with Assad, like the hand-off of power Assad negotiated in the north-east.

This article is still stuck in the tired binaries of the cold war. The actions of the YPG and other SDF groups north of Aleppo shows the nationalist character of their project and a lack of solidarity with other people in struggle, not some sort of anti-imperialist project against NATO.

author by José Antonio Gutiérrez D.publication date Wed Feb 24, 2016 15:47Report this post to the editors

Thanks for your comments, as a quick reply:

1. "Why would you assume Turkey would not act without US support?" Turkey's calculation in all of this, is that NATO will stand by them. Therefore the constant calls to call the YPG terrorist. Turkey knows, after the Russian airfighter incident, that NATO will stand by them, as Jens Stoltenberg aptly put it back in November when he expressed absolute and unqualified solidarity with Turkey. They are too precious an ally (geopolitically and militarily speaking) and they know it. That's why Erdogan gets away with everything. How much will he get away with? It is up to anyone's guess. But as long as NATO doesn't condemn their actions openly, Turkey is operating as a NATO member.

2. "this represents a split within NATO nations". Not quite. You need more than Turkey to talk about a split and the only NATO member bent o bombing the Kurdish is Turkey (others are standing idle by the side, or calling for dialogue without putting much teeth into the business). I've been to many protests where local authorities and national government calls to dialogue while repressive forces are bludgeoning the people. Do you call this a split in government? That would be, at best, naive. The same applies to the current situation. They may call for restraint, but the local cop's bludgeoning of the people will keep going -and they'll get away with it.

3. "As well, not that I would support Turkey shelling anyone really". I'm glad. You seemed to be going in that direction.

4. "They've been opportunistically attacking other rebel groups, including many revolutionary formations". Which? Please name them. Yeish Al Islam? Yeish al Fatah? Harakat Ahrar ash-Sham al-Islamiyya? Al Nusra? The Muhajirin? Yabat Ansar a-Din? Is this the same "rebels" that are saying that Al Nusra (that is Al Qaeda) should be part of the ceasefire too? There is a misconception (fed by mass media) among some as to the nature of these "rebels" handsomely funded by so radical, democratic and progressive regimes as Saudi Arabia. Syria was not Egypt or Tunisia. The protests that started in 2011 were localised and this all spiralled out of control, because quite soon any legitimate social movement and social protest was took over by armed fundamentalist groups funded by foreign powers (including NATO) that completely crushed any libertarian potential among the incipient, weak and localised rbellion. If your idea of a revolution is sharia law and the Mad Max scenario of Lybia then that's fine. But we understand completely different things for revolution then. The only properly revolutionary force today on the ground in Syria is the YPG, in spite of all of its human short-comings.

5. "The actions of the YPG and other SDF groups north of Aleppo shows the nationalist character of their project and a lack of solidarity with other people in struggle". For a start, I'd rather have nationalism than theocratic fundamentalism any time. Secondly, talk about lack of solidarity? When ISIS was bombing the Kurdish and slaughtering them in 2014, all these "rebels" stood idle by the side, and let them being maimed. All of them turned against the Kurdish when Turkey requested them to do so. And all of them were in favour of excluding the Kurdish in the frustrated Geneve talks earlier on this month. You can't abuse that much the word solidarity.

The most important thing is to call today for the hypocrisy of NATO that, on the one hands, arms fundamentalists, and then calls the Kurdish their friends, that call for dialogue and then do not take any steps to curb the Turkish bombings. We have to try to pressure for a real position against the Turkish butchery in Syria. Now that there's talk of a ceasefire, guess what? Turkey has just said that they will keep attacking the YPG! I doubt the "rebels" will come out to defend their Kurdish neighbours as they have failed to do so for years. That's why solidarity is imperative with the Kurdish revolutionary forces who, in the midst of all this chaos and tragedy, are the only forces trying to implement a more democratic, progressive and libertarian order from the bottom up, bot trying to topple Assad to replace him for a cabinet of theocrats and technocrats Lybia-style.

author by mazen kamalmazpublication date Fri Feb 26, 2016 19:51Report this post to the editors

Jose , you made some generalizations that might not be fully correct , like Kurds = PKK , NATO = Turkish state , etc .. . unfortunately , without NATO airstrikes , PKK couldn't keep Kobane or advance toward Azaz .. I don't think that we can advice Pentagon officials or Putin 's generals to keep the bombs and drones flying to pave the way for PKK fighters on the ground .. They won't listen to anarchists , and if they do that means we have to search for another thing but anarchism .. I thought that anarchists closed the old ill chapter of national liberation .. Once our parents were told that all their problems were there because they were enslaved by foreign masters , they revolted to substitute their foreign masters with local ones .. Now we are trying to get rid of those masters .. Do you really think that a Kurdish master will be better than a foreign one ? And I doubt that Ocalan needs Bokchin to prove himself as a national leader of Kurdish people ... Does he really need the image of an anarchist Mao , as some of our comrades present him , will that help him to recruit more young kurds in his ranks or to make everyone in Rojava bow in front of his huge pictures or even burst in tears , or force revolutionary discipline there ? Not that we are not the best people for the job , I honestly don't think he needs us , Jose , he has enough

author by José Antonio Gutiérrez D.publication date Sat Feb 27, 2016 13:35Report this post to the editors

Hi Mazen, long time no see. Good to hear from you.

1. NATO's role in Syria has been contradictory to say the least, but by an large, has been detrimental to the ordinary Syrian and Kurdish people. Some bombardments of the US helped Kobane, it is true. But that's it. At the same time, another member (Turkey) was repressing and bombing the Kurds (it is curious that you bring up the PKK to the debate -which is the argument of the Turkish State to bomb all Kurdish people- saying that I do a generalisation, when in fact, I do not even mention the PKK in the debate), and while they were arming the Emirates and Saudi Arabia in the knowledge that those weapons would eventually reach the Islamic State. Which is the real NATO? The real game-changer in Syria was Russian intervention. And as the Turkish State increases their aggression against the Kurdish -with all the resemblance of the situation previous to the Armenian genocide a century ago- NATO stands idle and fails to condemn it or take actions against one of its members. You may blame it on my Catholic upbringing if you want, but sins of ommission are in my opinion as bad as any other. NATO needs to be hold to account, they cannot get away with it and we need to remember it and shame them.

2. This article is not a call to support the US or Russia, at all. This article is to call for solidarity and active mobilisation in favour of the Kurdish and to denounce the Turkish State bloody intervention in order to supress the Kurdish and to give life support to their fundamentalist cronies.

3. National Liberation is a much broader debate. Do I think that many new flags in the world will really change the situation of the oppressed? No. But as an anarchist I do believe that people have a right to self-government and to be sovereign collectively of their own decisions, to master and to own everything they have. This is very easy to deny when you leave in an imperialistic country or when you belong to a dominant group. It is more difficult to reject when you belong to a suppressed group. I think that an individualistic conception of anarchism on the one hand, and the influence of dogmatic ultra-left Marxism on the other, have led some anarchists to belittle the importance of federalism, a distinctive and most important feature of early anarchism. And at that point is where we could have been the most relevant i the 20th century and big opportunities were lost. The Kurdish are relevant precisely because of that: they recover federalism without getting lost in the chimaera of State building, while they are carrying a social transformation which has many positive developments. Should anarchists support that? Unequivocally yes, in my opinion.

author by Cautiously Pessimisticpublication date Tue Mar 29, 2016 00:47Report this post to the editors

This is a really weak article. What do you think about Russian and Iranian imperialist intervention? What do you think about the Assad regime?

 
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