How the Pro-War ‘Left’ Fell for the Kurds in Syria


The title is an essay by Max Parry, Dec 2, 2019, at his home website at medium.com;  he’s kindly given me to permission to repost it.  He draws in many more elements and celebrity figures than I’d ever known factored in to make his case; it’s says it’s a 12 minute read but it took me longer in my dotage. 

“The October decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to withdraw American troops from northeastern Syria did not only precipitate the Turkish offensive, codenamed ‘Operation Peace Spring’, into Kurdish-held territory which followed. It also sparked an outcry of hysteria from much of the so-called “left” that has been deeply divided during the 8-year long conflict over its Kurdish question. Despite the fact that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were objectively a U.S. proxy army before they were “abandoned” by Washington to face an assault by its NATO ally, the ostensibly “progressive” politics of the mostly-Kurdish militants duped many self-identified people on the left into supporting them as the best option between terrorists and a “regime.” Apparently, everyone on earth except for the Kurds and their ‘humanitarian interventionist’ supporters saw this “betrayal” coming, which speaks to the essential naiveté of such amateurish politics. However, there is an historical basis to this political tendency that should be interrogated if a lesson is to be learned by those misguided by it.

Turkey initially went all-in with the West, Israel, and Gulf states in a joint effort to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by stoking the flames of the country’s Arab Spring in 2011 into a full blown uprising. With Istanbul serving as the base for the opposition, Kurdish nationalists hoping to participate were not at all pleased that the alliance had based its government-in-exile in Turkey and naturally considered Ankara’s role to be detrimental to their own interests in establishing an autonomous ethnonationalist state. Likewise, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not bargain on the conflict facilitating such a scenario, with the forty year war with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in southeastern Turkey still ongoing. When the PKK-linked People’s Protection Units (YPG) militias took control of northern Syrian towns and established a self-governing territory after boycotting the opposition, it was done only after negotiations between Damascus and Kurdish leaders. The Syrian government willingly and peacefully ceded the territory to them, just as we were told that the Baathists were among their oppressors.

The Rojava front opened up when the Kurds came under attack from the most radical jihadist militants in the opposition, some of which would later merge with the Islamist insurgency in western Iraq to form ISIS. Yet we now know for a fact that the rise of Islamic State was something actually desired by the U.S.-led coalition in the hopes of bringing down Assad, as revealed in a declassified 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report. Shortly after clarifying that the opposition is “backed by the West, Gulf countries and Turkey”, the memo states:

“If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”

Meanwhile, it was the Kurds themselves who divulged Ankara’s support for Daesh, frequently retrieving Turkish-issued passports from captured ISIS fighters. Even Emmanuel Macron said as much at the recent NATO summit in London, prompting a row between France and Turkey that took a backseat to the more ‘newsworthy’ Trump tantrum over a hot mic exchange between the French President and his Canadian and British counterparts. Then there was the disclosure that the late Senator John McCain had crossed the border from Turkey into Syria in mid-2013 to meet with leaders of the short-lived Free Syrian Army (FSA), dubbed as “moderate rebels”, which just a short time later would decline after its members joined better armed, more radical groups and the ISIS caliphate was proclaimed. One of the rebel leaders pictured with McCain in his visit is widely suspected to be the eventual chosen leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was allegedly killed in a U.S. raid in Idlib this October. Ironically, many of the Turkish-backed FSA militias are now assisting Ankara in its assault on the Kurds while those who supported arming them feign outrage over the US troop removal.

Henry Kissinger reportedly once remarked, “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.” Given that the U.S. was at the very least still using Daesh as a strategic asset, it seems inexplicable that the Kurdish leadership could trust Washington. The SDF had only a few skirmishes with the Syrian army during the entire war— if they wanted to defeat ISIS, why not partner with Damascus and Moscow? To say nothing of the U.S.’s long history of backing their oppression, from its support of Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s to the arming of Turkey’s brutal crackdown against the PKK which ended with the capture of its cultish leader, Abdullah Öcalan, in 1999. Did they really think after enlisting them for its cosmetic ‘fight’ against ISIS that the U.S. would continue to side with them against Ankara? Even so, Kurdish gains against Daesh would pale in comparison to those by the Syrian army with Russian air support. More perplexing is why anyone on the left would choose to back a group being used as a cat’s paw for imperialism, regardless of whatever ideals they claim to hold.

Perhaps the U.S. would not have reneged on its implicit pledge to help with the foundation of a Kurdish state had their “Assad must go” policy been successful, but the U.S. pullout appears to be the final nail in the coffin for both Washington’s regime change plans in Syria and an independent Kurdistan. The YPG’s makeover as the SDF was done at the behest of the U.S. but this did nothing to to diminish the objections of Ankara (or many ‘leftists’ from supporting them), who insisted the YPG was already an extension and rebranding of the PKK, a group Washington itself designates as a terrorist organization. Any effort to create a buffer state in the enclave was never going to be tolerated by Turkey but it nonetheless enabled the U.S. to illegally occupy northern Syria and facilitate the ongoing looting of its oil. Unfortunately for Washington, the consequence was that it eventually pushed Ankara closer toward the Kremlin, as Turkey went from shooting down Russian jets one year to purchasing the S-400 weapon system from Moscow the next. After backing a botched coup d’etat attempt against Erdoğan in 2016, any hope of Washington bringing Turkey back into its fold would be to discard the Kurds as soon as their usefulness ran out, if it wasn’t too late to repair the damage already.

Why would the U.S. risk losing its geo-strategic alliance with Turkey? To put it simply, it’s ‘special relationship’ with Israel took greater precedent. Any way you slice it, Washington’s foray into the region has been as much about Zionism as imperialism and its backing of the Kurds is no exception. Despite the blowback, the invasion of Iraq and destruction of Libya took two enormous sources of support for the Palestinian resistance off the chessboard. It may have strengthened Iran in the process, but that is all the more reason for the U.S. to sell a regime change attempt in Tehran in the future. Regrettably for Washington, when it tried to do the same in Syria, Russia intervened and emerged as the new peace broker in the Middle East. It comes as no surprise that following the Turkish invasion of northern Syria amid the U.S. withdrawal, the Kurds have finally struck a deal with Damascus and Moscow, a welcome and inevitable development that should have occurred years ago.

One of the main reasons for the Kurds joining the SDF so willingly has the same explanation as to why Washington was prepared to put its relationship with Ankara in jeopardy by supporting them: Israel. The cozy relationship between the Zionist state and the various Kurdish groups centered at the intersection of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria goes back as far as the 1960s, as Jerusalem has consistently used them to undermine its enemies. It is not by chance that their respective interests overlap to a near tee, between the founding of a Kurdish protectorate and the Zionist plan for a ‘Greater Israel’ in the Middle East which includes a balkanization of Syria. Mossad has openly provided the Kurds with training and they have learned much in the ways of the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from the Jewish state in order to carve out a Syrian Kurdistan. One can certainly have sympathy for the Kurds as the largest ethnic group in the world at 40 million people without a state, but the Israel connection runs much deeper than geopolitical interests to the very ideological basis of their militancy which calls all of their stated ideals into question.

The ties between the YPG and the PKK are undeniable, as both groups follow jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan’s teachings which merge Kurdish nationalism with the theories of ‘democratic confederalism’ from the influential Jewish-American anarchist philosopher, Murray Bookchin. While the PKK may have been initially founded as a ‘Marxist-Leninist’ organization in the early 70s, a widespread misconception is that it still follows that aim when its ideology long-ago shifted to that of a self-professed and contradictory ‘libertarian socialism’ theorized by Bookchin who was actually a zealous anti-communist. Not coincidentally, the Western anarchist icon was also an avowed Zionist who often defended Israel’s war crimes and genocide of Palestinians while demonizing its Arab state opponents as the aggressors, including Syria. Scratch an anarchist and a neo-conservative will bleed, every time.”

Many on the pseudo-left who have pledged solidarity with the Kurds have attempted to base their reasoning on a historically inaccurate analogy comparing the Syrian conflict with the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s. You would think ISIS would be the obvious first choice for the fascists in the Syrian war, but journalist Robert Mackey of popular “progressive” news site The Intercept even tried to cast the Syrian government as Francisco Franco’s Nationalists in an article comparing the 1937 bombing of Guernica by the Condor Legion to the 2018 chemical attack in Douma which remains in dispute regarding its perpetrator. One wonders if Mackey will retract his absurd comparison now that dozens of inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have dissented in emails published by WikiLeaks showing that the OPCW engaged in a cover-up with the Trump administration to pin blame for the attacks on the Syrian government instead of the opposition, but don’t hold your breath.

In this retelling of the Spanish Civil War, the Kurds are generally seen in the role of the Trotskyite Workers’ Party of Marxist Unification (POUM) and the anarchist trade union National Confederation of Labour (CNT). In the midst of the conflict between the Nazi-supported Nationalists and Soviet-backed Republicans that was a prelude to World War II, the mobilization effort of all anti-fascist forces into a unified Popular Front was obstructed by the ultra-left and intransigent POUM and CNT who were then expelled from the coalition for their sectarianism. While the government was still fighting the Francoists, the POUM and CNT then attacked the Republicans but were put down in a failed insurrection. Although this revolt did not directly cause the loyalist defeat, it nevertheless sapped the strength from the Popular Front and smoothed the path for the generalissimo’s victory.

In the years since, Trotskyists have attempted to rewrite history by alleging that a primary historical text documenting the POUM’s sabotage of the Republicans — a 1938 pamphlet by journalist Georges Soria, the Spanish correspondent for the French Communist Party newspaper L’Humanite — is a forgery. On the Marxists Internet Archive website, an ‘editor’s note’ is provided as a preface to the text citing a single quote from Soria with the claim he admitted the work in its entirety was “no more than a fabrication”, but his words are selectively cropped to give that impression. While the author did admit accusations that the POUM‘s leadership were literal agents of Franco were a sensationalized exaggeration, the source of the full quote states the following:

“On the one hand, the charge that the leaders of POUM, among them Andrés Nin, ‘were agents of the Gestapo and Franco’, was no more than a fabrication because it was impossible to adduce the slightest evidence. On the other hand, although the leaders of POUM were neither agents of Franco or agents of the Gestapo, it is true that their relentless struggle against the Popular Front played the game nolens volens (like it or not/willingly or unwillingly) of the Caudillo (General Franco).”

In other words, Soria did not say the whole work was counterfeit like the editor’s note misleadingly suggests and reiterated that the POUM’s subversion helped Franco. (The Marxists Internet Archive does not hide its pro-Trotsky bias in its FAQ section.)

Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm summarized the inherent contradictions of the Spanish Civil War and the role ultra-leftism played in the demise of the Republic in one of his later essays:

“Of course, the posthumous polemics about the Spanish war are legitimate, and indeed essential — but only if we separate out debate on real issues from the parti pris of political sectarianism, cold-war propaganda and pure ignorance of a forgotten past. The major question at issue in the Spanish civil war was, and remains, how social revolution and war were related on the republican side. The Spanish civil war was, or began as, both. It was a war born of the resistance of a legitimate government, with the help of a popular mobilisation, against a partially successful military coup; and, in important parts of Spain, the spontaneous transformation of the mobilisation into a social revolution. A serious war conducted by a government requires structure, discipline and a degree of centralisation. What characterises social revolutions like that of 1936 is local initiative, spontaneity, independence of, or even resistance to, higher authority — this was especially so given the unique strength of anarchism in Spain.”

Murray Bookchin also wrote at length about the Spanish Civil War but celebrated the decentralized anarchist tactics which incapacitated the Popular Front. The anarcho-syndicalist theorist championed the ‘civil war within the civil war’ as a successful example of his antithetical vision of ‘libertarian socialism’, while his emphasis on the individualist aspects of the former half of his oxymoronic and anti-statist theory often bears a striking resemblance to neoliberal talking points about self-regulating free markets. This would explain why he actually regarded right-wing libertarians to be his natural allies over the the socialist left, whom he considered ‘totalitarian’ as he told the libertarian publication Reason magazine in an interview in 1979. His reactionary demonization of the Soviet Union and dismissal of the accomplishments of all other socialist revolutions was recalled by Michael Parenti in Blackshirts and Reds:

“Left anticommunists remained studiously unimpressed by the dramatic gains won by masses of previously impoverished people under communism. Some were even scornful of such accomplishments. I recall how in Burlington Vermont, in 1971, the noted anticommunist anarchist, Murray Bookchin, derisively referred to my concern for “the poor little children who got fed under communism” (his words).”


British volunteers in the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War

Like the International Brigades consisting of foreign volunteers to assist the Spanish Republic in the 1930s, there is an ‘International Freedom Battalion’ currently fighting with the Kurds in Syria. Unfortunately, its live-action role playing ‘leftist’ mercenaries missed the part about the original International Brigades having been backed by the Comintern, not the U.S. military. Meanwhile, Western media usually hostile to any semblance of radical politics have heavily promoted the Rojava federation as a feminist ‘direct democracy’ utopia, particularly giving excessive attention to the all-female Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) militia while ignoring the female regiments fighting for the secular Syrian government. As a result of the media’s exoticized portrayal of the Kurds and their endorsement by prominent misleaders on the left, from Slavoj Žižek to Noam Chomsky, many have been fooled into supporting them.

If the Spanish Civil War was a dress rehearsal for WWII, it remains to be seen if Syria proves to be a run-through for another global conflict. Then again, what has emerged from its climax is an increasingly multipolar world with the resurgence of Moscow as a deterrent to the mutually assured destruction between the U.S. and China. Leftists today wishing to continue the legacy of those who fought for the Spanish Republic should have thrown their support behind the Syrian patriots bravely defending their country from terrorism and imperialism, not left opportunism. Thankfully, this time the good guys have prevailed while the Kurds have paid the price for betraying their fellow countrymen.


Liberals shedding crocodile tears about Rojava should take comfort in the fact that they can always play the latest Call of Duty: Modern Warfare video game featuring the YPG fighting alongside the U.S. military if they need to fulfill their imperial fantasies. Yes, that’s right, the latest installment of the popular first-person shooter franchise features a storyline inspired by the SDF. It’s too bad for them that in real life all of Syria will be returned to where it rightfully belongs under the Syrian Arab Republic.”

………………………………………………………………………………………….

In our email exchange, I’d told him when writing about Syria recently, I’d read that   either the YPJ or YPG had let their ISIS prisoners out of prison, and asked if had been so, and if true, why?

He’d responded: “The Kurds were trying to extort Trump into staying in Syria by releasing Daesh prisoners. Thankfully, it did not work and the Syrian Army and Russia will not tolerate any resurgence of ISIS anyway.”

Along the way, I’d told him that if I were remembering correctly, Mackey was one of the five or six ‘fearless investigative reporters’ at the Intercept who’d penned screeds against Julian Assange.  Yeppers:  ‘What Julian Assange’s War on Hillary Clinton Says About WikiLeaks, Robert Mackey, Aug. 6, 2016  As with so many other of JA’s critics, he also falls into the Rubicon by conflating WikiLeaks on Twitter with Julian Assange.  But that news organization was wild for the White Helmets, stars of stage, screen, false flags, and organ sales.

(You can read  the recent Syrian War Reports at South Front.)

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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Cassiodorus's picture

The Turkish Army pushed them out of Afrin some time ago, and so they went wherever it is that people in Syria go when they have no nation-state.

It's worthy of note that an article claiming to "debunk" the Kurds makes no mention of Thomas Schmidinger, who did a lot of fieldwork on the Kurds and who put out a book this year on how they were being forced out of Afrin. Maybe Schmidinger is wrong about the Kurds. Here, this is from Grubacic's preface:

One could argue that democratic confederalism in Rojava is actually a more developed form of democracy than systems of representative governance that are mistakenly referred to as democracy.

Does Max Parry even want to touch this? This isn't "western media," as Parry claims, this is an individual researcher with a particular name, whose two books, translated conveniently into English, are easily available on the open market.

As for Murray Bookchin (1921-2006), yeah he was a crusty old Zionist fart who engaged in a lot of sectarian bickering back in the day. Here's a pertinent yes-or-no question: is Bookchinism better for the Kurds than the sexism of traditional Kurdish society?

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"The West doesn't spend any time, or, our policymakers in Washington spend no time thinking about, like, what are the achievable goals here?" -- Tucker Carlson, on Project Ukraine

Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@Cassiodorus by Turkish jihadis after the Kurds and the Syrian Army could not make a deal to defend Afrin.

The sticking point was that the Kurds didn't want to give up their guns.

The proposed deal between Syrian authorities and Kurdish militias, who asked Damascus for military support against the Turkish invasion, derailed after Kurdish forces refused to comply with a precondition set by Damascus, an RT Arabic correspondent in Syria reported, citing a military source.

After the People’s Protection Units (YPG) refused a request to hand over arms to the Syrian state, the negotiations were cut short before any deal could be reached, the source said.

So instead of accepting integration with significant local autonomy under a Syrian flag, the Kurds suffered violent expulsion from Afrin and de facto annexation under a Turkish flag.

Not always the sharpest knives in the drawer those Kurds.

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The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

Cassiodorus's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger If you were a Kurd, what would you do?

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"The West doesn't spend any time, or, our policymakers in Washington spend no time thinking about, like, what are the achievable goals here?" -- Tucker Carlson, on Project Ukraine

@Cassiodorus
The fact that they are leftists like me, and that they've committed the fewest war crimes of any warring party, means that I will back them.

That being said, the only way that they will survive is by cutting a deal with Assad.
They should abandon the U.S. right now.

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wendy davis's picture

@gjohnsit
are not monolithic, even though there may be overlaps here and there with the blending/rebranding of the PKK and ypg, if it's so (as directed by washington). i've even heard some of the acronyms in different nations called 'anarcho-syndicalists', but yes, i've heard the ypg and ypj in syria claim to be murray bookchin utopiaists, although i hadn't known what max parry brought in re: bookchin.

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Not Henry Kissinger's picture

@Cassiodorus

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The current working assumption appears to be that our Shroedinger's Cat system is still alive. But what if we all suspect it's not, and the real problem is we just can't bring ourselves to open the box?

wendy davis's picture

@Not Henry Kissinger

RT link? this i what i'd remembered, not jut 'they refused to give up their guns.'

"So instead of accepting integration with significant local autonomy under a Syrian flag, the Kurds suffered violent expulsion from Afrin and de facto annexation under a Turkish flag."

now some say that syria doesn't have any right to claim (post-colonial) 'territorial integrity', but with all the elements and players max parry's brought in...i'm not so sure about that.

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wendy davis's picture

@Cassiodorus

so i reckon you'd need to ask him if he wants to touch it, cass.

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wendy davis's picture

@Cassiodorus

to be a logical fallacy, Cass. 'readily available', not western (corporate) news' with this quote from whozzit's book blurb?

One could argue that democratic confederalism in Rojava is actually a more developed form of democracy than systems of representative governance that are mistakenly referred to as democracy.

and yet you believe parry should have already read the book or known of its existence, and had gone hunting for 'oppositional research'? how silly.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@wendy davis Schmidinger is an ethnographic researcher, not a journalist, and definitely not a stenographer of power. Has Parry actually gone to Rojava to live with the Kurds, as Schmidinger did?

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"The West doesn't spend any time, or, our policymakers in Washington spend no time thinking about, like, what are the achievable goals here?" -- Tucker Carlson, on Project Ukraine

wendy davis's picture

@Cassiodorus

i suppose that in my haste i should have done it in academic logic, beginning with:

i) Does Max Parry even want to touch this? (Thomas Schmidinger’s book)

and then added the rest in ii, iii, and iv parts.

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snoopydawg's picture

Eva Bartlett and many other Russian bots went after Hassan Hassan for promoting the leader of AQ.

Guardian, Atlantic contributor acts as a Syrian terrorist mouthpiece on Twitter, and if you don’t like it you’re a Russian stooge

Giving a sympathetic platform to a terrorist is reprehensible at best, downright criminal at worst, and definitely a bad look for a ‘respected’ media contributor. Oh, it’s for bashing Assad and the Russians? Go ahead, then.

A funny thing happened recently on Twitter. A journalist who contributes to the Guardian, Foreign Policy and the Atlantic tweeted—in a long thread peppered with photos of Abu Mohammed al-Jolani, the leader of an Al-Qaeda branch in Syria—about “the force that dominates” Idlib. Hassan Hassan's initial tweet coyly avoided mentioning that this force is Al-Qaeda in Syria.

And no, its not just us Russian bots who say that Idlib is infested with Al-Qaeda: former US special envoy, Brett McGurk, deemed Idlib “the largest Al-Qaeda safe haven since 9/11.”

The thread smacked of giving a platform to terrorist propaganda. After extensively quoting Jolani, Hassan weighed in with his own thoughts on the situation in Syria and his Al-Qaeda “rebels”.

Aside from whitewashing designated terrorists, the point of his thread was clearly a continuation of the anti-Russia hysteria corporate journalists are so rabidly devoted to.

Seriously unbelievable huh? And this was just after they issued a retraction for Luke Harding's puke filled article on Assange.

I think our laws say something about giving aid and comfort to our enemies, but....

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Which AIPAC/MIC/pharma/bank bought politician are you going to vote for? Don’t be surprised when nothing changes.

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg @snoopydawg

an recent to boot, snoop. i'll have do do more than scan it a bit later, but bartlett is The Real Deal, isn't she?

ha; i'd saved this RT 'apology' piece from the guardian for you, but had neglected to check the bylines in the russian embassy tweet until now! 'Guardian corrects article about Julian Assange embassy ‘escape plot’ to Russia...a year later’, 24 Dec, 2019

on edit: one key fact bartlett knows, but forgot to mention is: Damascus invited the russians to help them, not the US and israel.

bibi heard a siren, reckoned it was an assassination attempt on him, sent rockets into syria. and once again:

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snoopydawg's picture

Go against the propaganda and you're a Russian bot or worse:

Actually, Mark is a US Forces Vet.

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Which AIPAC/MIC/pharma/bank bought politician are you going to vote for? Don’t be surprised when nothing changes.

wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg

on mark. i'd just seen more on 'the death of james mersurier' on twitter, but i've forgotten what...or where by now. on wikileaks twitter account?

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snoopydawg's picture

RT article on this

Still no main stream media has reported on this scandal. Not surprising, but still it just shows how much they are in the bucket for the war industry doesn't it?

I'm not trying to derail you essay, Wendy. THese are all Syria related so I hope you don't mind?

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wendy davis's picture

@snoopydawg @snoopydawg

crikey, it's hard to keep up. this is from dec. 18, old news by now, i guess:

after WikiLeaks published a third batch of OPCW leaked documents...the reports, crickets, disappearances, and of course...cover-ups (by Tweet).

and even more tweets in the comments, including one inking to vanessa beeley at mintpressnews.org.

but i did love it that 'philip cross' had erased every mention of the newest wikileaks on the US puppet OPCW on wkipedia. guess the new leaks wil also go 'douen the memory hole' as craig murray would say.

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Alligator Ed's picture

Too many. Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, I think not.

The discourses, plural, here are well-written but the results are to me confusing. wd may find this unsurprising because my mentation is severely limited by a paucity of functioning neurons.

My critique here is not of any of the ideas but that there are too many ideas and too many themes. In a quest for universality of application for "Neocon Leftists Bad" (which is true), we slog through Kurdistan, Turkey, Syria, Russia, Spain, Israel, Amerika, Iraq and perhaps other ethnologic entities.

The ideology mentioned here is bedazzling as well: new Leftism (rage Lefties), old style liberalism, fascism, dictatorship (e.g. Erdogan), anarchism, communism, libertarian-socialism (whatever the hell that means), "democracy, neofederalism, etc. My head hurts.

Like the International Brigades consisting of foreign volunteers to assist the Spanish Republic in the 1930s, there is an ‘International Freedom Battalion’ currently fighting with the Kurds in Syria. Unfortunately, its live-action role playing ‘leftist’ mercenaries missed the part about the original International Brigades having been backed by the Comintern, not the U.S. military. Meanwhile, Western media usually hostile to any semblance of radical politics have heavily promoted the Rojava federation as a feminist ‘direct democracy’ utopia, particularly giving excessive attention to the all-female Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) militia while ignoring the female regiments fighting for the secular Syrian government. As a result of the media’s exoticized portrayal of the Kurds and their endorsement by prominent misleaders on the left, from Slavoj Žižek to Noam Chomsky, many have been fooled into supporting them.

Is the above quotation cynical, sarcastic, satirical or what? Is Noam Chomsky a misleader, having been early schooled on Rules for Radicals (Saul Alinsky's masterpiece)?

Taken in its parts this is an excellent set of essays. I am an admirer of the author's many essays which are both insightful and thorough, but this particular one becomes too confusing from which to take a measure.

Is the point that anyone believing in U.S. promises is a dupe (true). Is the point that the Kurds hitched their wagon to the wrong horse? Is the point that Erdogan is a ruthless dictator who will be quite happy when all Kurds are obliterated? And the Zionists, including a recently defunct theoretician, being arch-meddlers in the ME?

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wendy davis's picture

@Alligator Ed

and possible surmises have given Me a hegg-ache! but yes, the US has been selling out the kurds forever, including fomenting two uprisings against saddam hussein, then leaving them stranded to get mown down wholesale. i'd been trying to find any history that didn't blame the shah of iran, but you know how hard it is to find any bias-free news on iran.

but i will say that i'm not a fan of either chomsky or (double blech) Žižek, so perhaps that was my underlying confirmation bias. chomsky never met a failed revolution he hadn't admired, let's say.

but yes,, so many elements like israel's desire to balkanize syria in search of a greater israel, and the 2012 DIA passages (i hadn't clicked into his link due to a surfeit of information already), the evolution of the kurds from marxists to...? and so on. i can't claim to have grasped it all.

and when mr. wd noted that i might need to give him a primer on the kurds, i said whoa nellie, not that! too long a history from dividing up the ottoman empire post WWI to imagine one can know or understand the history. and according to some, woodrow wilson ha pushed to give them a homeland of their own. plus there are far more kurdish acronyms in all the six nations in which they reside, whether by choice or in diaspora.

but i do admire your last paragraph as the cliffs notes, i suppose.

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wendy davis's picture

the first from partisan girl as in the 8 minute video in the OP:

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wendy davis's picture

on an apparently dead thread.

for all those in diaspora due to US-aided foreign policy:

[video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaBE_Yw5tlo]

good night, dream of a better world if you can; a multi-polar one not to be trying to be ruled by amerika...land of exceptionalism and exported democracy™ for some.

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Alligator Ed's picture

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wendy davis's picture

@Alligator Ed

i'll listen later. i'd just stopped by to put up two Tweets of hideous news on julian assange on a separate post. before i'd read the news, i'd thought to add to my response to cass, and also tell you that i might have/should have noted at the top of the OP that i hadn't understood all of it, and as sometimes happens, just let it all wash over me to see what sticks in further readings.

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