Saturday, 22 December 2018

Rojava: an experiment in democracy in Syria at risk

An inspiring political experiment happened in the middle of the Spanish civil war:
Futures Forum: Experimentation in Catalonia
Futures Forum: Barcelona’s Experiment in Radical Democracy

The same has been happening in the middle of the Syrian civil war:
Futures Forum: Rojava: an experiment in democracy - in Syria
Futures Forum: Life without government >>> Carne Ross, the 'Accidental Anarchist' @ BBC Four

It has certainly captured the imagination:
Rojava conflict - Wikipedia

With very different views about the project:
Learn About Rojava | The Kurdish Project
Rojava: A libertarian myth under scrutiny | Kurds | Al Jazeera
Rojava an oasis of progress in Syria - Law Society

Here's a solid, 'unbiased' introduction:

How Syria’s Kurds are trying to create a democracy - YouTube

They have been working actively with the US:
Rojava Peshmerga – the group may be the US’s ticket out of Syria crisis - Middle East - Jerusalem Post

Although there have been the usual mixed messages coming out of the Administration:

A Revolution at Risk

The revolution in Rojava — founded on principles of anticapitalism, Kurdish self-determination, and women's liberation — is at risk of being wiped out. And the Trump administration may just turn its back.

In northeastern Syria, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are spearheading a final military campaign against the Islamic State — attempting to defeat the organization once and for all. Their effort is part of Operation Roundup, a military mission backed by the United States.

According to US officials, the Syrian Democratic Forces have cleared the Baghuz and Dashisha areas in eastern Syria and are now conducting a final push into the Middle Euphrates River Valley. “Victory by the Syrian Democratic Forces there,” US colonel Sean Ryan announced in a September 18 press briefing, “will mean that ISIS no longer holds territory.”

The Syrian Kurdish fighters that form the core of the Syrian Democratic Forces are well-known on the international left. Over the last several years, they’ve led a remarkable social revolution in Rojava, the northern part of Syria, where they are seeking to establish an autonomous, anticapitalist territory that secures Kurdish self-determination while overturning gender-based hierarchies.

The revolutionary goals of the Syrian Kurds make them unlikely partnersfor the United States. Although US officials have repeatedly praised the SDF as the most effective anti-ISIS fighters in Syria, Washington has made no secret of its opposition to the revolution in Rojava.

Earlier this year, US officials gave Turkey the green light to invade and conquer Afrin, one of Rojava’s three cantons. More recently, the US has been pressuring Kurdish military leaders to leave Manbij, an area that the SDF liberated from the Islamic State in 2016.

It’s unclear what President Trump thinks about all of this. He recently praised the Kurds as “great fighters” and “great, great people,” but he previously expressed little concern about their fate. The values that Trump personifies — American capitalism, plutocratic governance, anti-feminist reaction — are sharply at odds with those of the Rojava revolution.

Still, a number of high-level administration officials have insisted that the United States will continue to support the SDF. “We will not simply cast that organization aside,” Secretary of Defense James Mattis promised in June. “It is critical . . . to defeating the ISIS caliphate now” and “preventing the rise of ISIS 2.0.”

A Revolution at Risk - Jacobin

The US president has just decided to abandon them:
Trump abandons Syria's Kurds: Will Turkey now crush their dream of a 'secular utopia?' - U.S. News - Haaretz.com
'Scared to death': Syria's Kurds feel trapped between threats from Assad and Erdogan - Syria - Haaretz.com
Game Over in Rojava? – LobeLog

Patrick Cockburn reports in the Independent:
US withdrawal from Syria might provide exactly the anarchic conditions in which Isis has always flourished | The Independent

With further insight here:
And so the US president has just lost his Defence Secretary:
Donald Trump: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis leaving Pentagon - USA Today

Mattis resigns after clash with Trump over troop withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan

President Trump announced Defense Secretary Jim Mattis would step down in February. Mattis joined the administration early in Trump's presidency. (Video: Sarah Parnass /Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

By Paul SonneJosh Dawsey and Missy RyanDecember 20 at 10:31 PM

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned Thursday after clashing with President Trump over the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan, saying in a parting letter that the president deserves someone atop the Pentagon “better aligned” with his views.

The retired Marine general’s surprise resignation came a day after Trump shocked American allies and overruled his advisers, including Mattis, upon announcing a withdrawal from Syria. In the process, Trump declared victory over the Islamic State, even though the Pentagon and State Department for months have been saying the fight against the group in Syria isn’t over.

Mattis resigns after clash with Trump over troop withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan - The Washington Post

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