Kurdistan

Uneasy lull in Idlib

Since Friday morning 6 March, a tentative ceasefire has been in place in Idlib. Russian president Putin and Turkey’s president Erdoğan came to this agreement at their meeting in Moscow on Thursday 5th. The deal makes provisions for a security corridor covering the area around the M4 motorway which goes through Idlib from Aleppo to Latakia, and Russia-Turkey patrols starting in mid-March. It did not secure any withdrawals by Assad from any of his recent gains in Idlib province, or a safe zone for the million people who have been displaced by the latest round of fighting. Despite being a member...

Noori Bashir's speech at the 11 January 2020 meeting

On Saturday 11 January 2020 Workers' Liberty hosted a meeting in London on the conflicts in the Middle East following the USA's 3 January assassination of Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian state's "Quds Force". The chair was Maisie Sanders, and the speakers were Morad Shirin (Iranian Revolutionary Marxists' Tendency), Noori Bashir (Worker-communist Party of Kurdistan), Azar Majedi (Worker-communist Party of Iran Hekmatist), and Muayad Ahmed (Organisation of the Communist Alternative in Iraq). See here for statements from IRMT, WCPIH, and OCAI , and see here for our Solidarity editorial...

No “safety” for Kurds in Syria

As far as the foreign powers involved are concerned, the ceasefire in northern Syria has shakily held up for the most part. For people on the ground, it is a very different story. In the talks between Russia and Turkey last week, Putin agreed to preside over the withdrawal of the Syrian Democratic Forces from northern Syria, allowing Erdoğan to establish a Turkish “safe zone” between Ras al-Ain and Tal Abyad. This was agreed in Sochi without any representatives of the Kurdish forces present, demonstrating clearly how Russia sees its role in the region, and the nature of the “protection” they...

Why we don’t look to “the international community” to defend the Kurds

“The policy that attempts to place upon the proletariat the insoluble task of warding off all dangers engendered by the bourgeoisie and its policy of war is vain, false, mortally dangerous. “’But fascism might be victorious!’ ‘But the USSR is menaced!’ ‘But Hitler’s invasion would signify the slaughter of workers!’ And so on, without end. “Of course, the dangers are many, very many. It is impossible not only to ward them all off, but even to foresee all of them. Should the proletariat attempt at the expense of the clarity and irreconcilability of its fundamental policy to chase after each...

Self-determination for the Kurds!

A temporary ceasefire for five days in Turkey’s invasion of majority-Kurdish areas of Syria was negotiated by the USA on 17 October. The American delegation to Ankara, headed by Vice President Mike Pence, agreed a 120-hour period for the Syrian Democratic Forces (the Kurdish-led forces in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria) to withdraw from a 20-mile deep area which Turkish president Erdoğan has decreed as a “safe zone”. In reality, this is a zone which has been designated for occupation and ethnic cleansing. Even the temporary halt to the violence is good. According to the...

Turkey: the poverty of “anti-imperialism”

In a letter to prime minister Boris Johnson leading figures from 13 UK unions have urged the UK government to condemn outright the Turkish aggression against the Kurds, triggered by Trump’s precipitate decision to withdraw all US troops from Syria. They describe Trump’s move as “a green-light to a Turkish military invasion of North and East Syria, which, as we have already seen in Afrin, will undoubtedly lead to ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Kurds as well as a resurgence of ISIS. “We therefore call on the UK government to immediately condemn Turkey’s threats of invasion and to work with...

Turkish troops out of Syria!

Since the Turkish invasion of Kurdish-controlled northern Syria started on 9 October, over 160,000 civilians have been displaced, with at least fifty civilian deaths already. The invasion immediately followed the announcement by Donald Trump that US troops would be withdrawn from northern Syria. Trump’s “America First” policy is confused and totally inconsistent. Attempts by the White House to portray Trump’s move as a step in disengaging the US from overseas conflicts were shown to be a scam when Trump also announced sending 2,000 soldiers to Saudi Arabia in a move against Iran. The decision...

Trump’s shift puts Rojava at risk

Donald Trump has announced the withdrawal of American troops from Northern Syria, and given effective consent to President Erdoğan’s plan to invade. This marks a slight shift from Trump’s previous stated position. Back in December he announced that American troops would leave Northern Syria within the medium-term future, but that it was conditional on guarantees from Turkey regarding the safety of the Kurds. Those guarantees have now ceased to be a consideration, and the United States is perfectly content to leave Rojava to the mercy, or lack thereof, of the Turkish army. This new announcement...

Dissident voices of the international left

In Dissidents of the International Left, Andy Heintz’s first book, he interviews 77 figures from across the international left - many of them, especially those from the global South, notable “dissidents” from what is taken in the USA and Europe to be left “orthodoxy”. Many of them have not had much hearing in English language publications, though several have been interviewed by or spoken to Solidarity and Workers’ Liberty: Yanar Mohammed, Maryam Namazie, Houzan Mahmoud, Pragna Patel, Marieme Helie Lucas... Andy Heintz talked with Stephen Wood from Solidarity about his book. Heintz is a...

Israelophobia is Stalinist regression

Barry Finger reviews Paul Kelemen’s book The British Left and Zionism: History of a Divorce (Manchester University Press, 2012) This volume, which joins the herd of independent minds in churning the same old depleted groupthink, purports to challenge the claim that changes over the decades in the left’s appraisal of Zionism and the Palestinian cause stem from antisemitism. Whose claim? Even the people Kelemen whom has a go at would most probably argue the opposite: pro-Palestinian sympathies do not stem from antisemitism. However, antisemitism often finds a greenhouse atmosphere in pro...

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