(IndefenceofMarxism): While NATO throws its weight behind the reactionary Erdogan government, he continues his onslaught against Kurdish and left forces. Erdogan however, is acting from a position of weakness and he could provoke a mass movement against himself.
“The Kurds were born to be betrayed. Almost every would-be Middle East statelet was promised freedom after the First World War, and the Kurds even sent a delegation to Versailles to ask for a nation and safe borders.” – Robert Fisk
Turkish auto workers on strike in 2015
Yet again, today, the major western imperialist powers gathered to under-sign yet another betrayal of this tested people, whose fate has been traded between every major power of the region for a hundred years, as if it were just another item on their shopping list. Following the emergency meeting of NATO – a very rare event – General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg expressed “strong solidarity” with Turkey in its war on “terrorism”. The joint declaration by the NATO members stated that, “The security of the alliance is indivisible,” and condemned the recent terror attacks in Turkey, describing terrorism as “a global threat that knows no border, nationality, or religion — a challenge that the international community must fight and tackle together.”
Rojava and Kurdish Political Parties in Syria
The Syrian uprising has presented Syrian Kurds with an opportunity to assert self-determination in a variety of ways, despite divisions within the community. Some Kurdish political parties have been able to exploit the evolving nature of the crisis and reap considerable gains. Despite many obstacles and much suffering, they have been able to achieve de facto autonomy in much of the territories where they comprise a majority of the population. Historically hostile to the Ba‘thist regime, yet lukewarm about the current Syrian opposition, attempts to decipher “which side” the Kurds are on in Syria are not productive, for the political realities do not lend themselves to blanket claims.
What exactly is happening in the Kurdish-majority areas of Syria—or what the Kurds refer to as “Rojava,” short for “Western Kurdistan”—and what role are Syria’s Kurds playing in the current civil war? In this essay I will begin to provide some provisional answers.
[Kurdish female members of the Popular Protection Units (YPG) stand guard at a check point near the northeastern city of Qamishli, Syria.]
Syrian Kurds are mostly concentrated in the province of al-Hasake, where the cities of Qamishli and al-Hasake constitute the major urban centers. They also form a majority of the population in other cities and villages in al-Raqqa province (the village of Tal Abyad) and Aleppo province (notably the district of Ayn al-Arab, or Kobanê in Kurdish, and the district of Afrin). Although these territories are not contiguous, together they make up what is referred to as “Rojava.”