December 27, 2018 at 11:53 pm #174630
But he said it in Iraq where thousands of US troops are based and where he does not bother with any diplomatic niceties, he simply arrives as if it were his right as US president to go wherever he wants. There is no pledge to end air/drone strikes in Syria
Africom is being strengthened. He is supporting the resurgence of Eastern Europe nationalism. He is resisting the expansion of the Chinese in the Far East (as is UK with token naval incursions into Chinese-claimed waters.)
Temporary realignments in alliances and redeployment of forces are par for the course. Who can forget the no east of Suez shift in British forces.
Credit for American isolationism …i’m not sure he deserves it but any withdrawal of armed forces is welcomed…Maybe even the bases in the UK and Europe will end… but i doubt it.December 28, 2018 at 11:10 pm #174702
A change in alliances
So now that the US has abandoned the Kurdish cause, the YPG seeks help from the Syrian government and appeals to Assad.December 29, 2018 at 3:03 am #174750
The Americans, however, have a different version of events.
December 29, 2018 at 7:44 am #174755
- This reply was modified 10 months, 3 weeks ago by Matthew Culbert.
Both those who control the Syrian government and those who control North East Syria claim to be “socialists” (but aren’t of course): the Baath party and the PKK, They are both secularist nationalists, the one Arab nationalists and the other Kurdish nationalists. Although this brings them into conflict over longer term goals, as secular nationalists they both have a common interest in opposing the Muslim fundamentalists supported by Turkey and/or inspired by Saudi Arabia whose aim is to turn the whole of Syria into an “islamic state”. There’s a certain logic in them getting together, especially with the US out of the way.December 29, 2018 at 2:11 pm #174826
I think to untangle the middle east and the Iranian/Saudi thing you have to shed some dogma’s , think the unthinkable, do a bit of history repeating itself with the same characters reappearing in similar costumes, think like an autocratic monarch and the big capitalists and go back to the Iranian revolution of 1979.
And let cynicism look after itself sort of thing.
The Iranian revolution of 1979 was like the Bolshevik revolution of 1917/8 with a similar underlying ideological rhetoric.
Overthrow the Tsar or Shah on behalf of and with the support of the poor masses, nationalisation of industries with a dose of NEP for the petty bourgeoisie.
The fact that it was rooted in anti oppression aspects of the Shia religion rather than Karl’s communist manifesto is neither here nor there.
Thus for example?
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, depicted Iranian society as formed by two antagonistic classes: ‘kookh’neshinan’ (those who live in very poor accommodations) against ‘kakh’neshinan’ (those who live in palaces). He also used Quranic terms: ‘mostazafin’, or the oppressed who had been fighting against ‘mostakbarin’, the oppressors, throughout history.
Khomeini mobilised the masses by defending the barefooted (pa berahne ha) against the rich, the exploiters, the capitalists, the palace dwellers, the corrupt, the high and mighty, and morafahin bi’dard (the wealthy who never care about the pain of the poor).
Khomeini argued that the palace-dwellers always favoured unjust and satanic governments.
As an example, he asserted that they opposed Prophet Mohammad [PBUH] and subverted his message, while the poor rallied behind the Prophet [PBUH] and were ready to give up their lives for the Islamic Revolution.
He also contended that Islam had always found its true strength among the dispossessed masses and the lower class. During the Revolution, Khomeini not only portrayed society as a fight between two antagonistic camps, but also promised to redistribute among the deprived masses the ill-gotten wealth of the rich accumulated during the Shah’s tenure.
[That kind of ideological rhetoric didn’t completely die out 20 years later anymore than it did in Russia eg
Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s address to th UN in 2010?]
The stuff about ‘palace dwellers’ was obviously taken a lot more seriously by the palace dwellers in the gulf states and their friends.
As the general ideology threatened to take on an international or at least Arabian perspective.
The first response was to bring on the fascists.
Not that the fascists were the ideal friends of autocratic monarchs or big capitalism.
Just as in Germany in the 1930’s?
There was a convenient one to hand next door in Iraq with a traditional Persian-phobe ideology to spice things up a bit.
As that had its own problems they began to cultivate Wahhabism.
And address the ‘political’ problem with a religious solution by following the idea that the Shia were non believers who needed to be killed or whatever.
|As a spokesperson for the US deep state described it.
Al-Qaeda and Isis etc grew, bacillus like, on the ‘petri dish’ of Wahhabism.
And wasn’t something that was easy to control.
Erosion” of Wahhabism
Islamic Revolution in Iran
The February 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran challenged Saudi Wahhabism in a number of ways on a number of fronts. It was a revolution of Shia, not Sunni, Islam and Wahhabism held that Shia were not truly Muslims. Nonetheless, its massive popularity in Iran and its overthrow of a pro-American secular monarchy generated enormous enthusiasm among pious Sunni, not just Shia Muslims around the world. Its leader (Ruhollah Khomeini) preached that monarchy was against Islam and America was Islam’s enemy, and called for the overthrow of al-Saud family. (In 1987 public address Khomeini declared that “these vile and ungodly Wahhabis are like daggers which have always pierced the heart of the Muslims from the back”, and announced that Mecca was in the hands of “a band of heretics“. ) All this spurred Saudi Arabia – a kingdom allied with America – to “redouble their efforts to counter Iran and spread Wahhabism around the world”, and reversed any moves by Saudi leaders to distance itself from Wahhabism or “soften” its ideology.
Grand Mosque seizure
Main article: Grand Mosque Seizure
In 1979, 400–500 Islamist insurgents, using smuggled weapons and supplies, took over the Grand mosque in Mecca, called for an overthrow of the monarchy, denounced the Wahhabi ulama as royal puppets, and announced the arrival of the Mahdi of “end time“. The insurgents deviated from Wahhabi doctrine in significant details, but were also associated with leading Wahhabi ulama (Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz knew the insurgent’s leader, Juhayman al-Otaybi).
Their seizure of Islam‘s holiest site, the taking hostage of hundreds of hajj pilgrims, and the deaths of hundreds of militants, security forces and hostages caught in crossfire during the two-week-long retaking of the mosque, all shocked the Islamic world and did not enhance the prestige of Al Saud as “custodians” of the mosque.
The incident also damaged the prestige of the Wahhabi establishment. Saudi leadership sought and received Wahhabi fatawa to approve the military removal of the insurgents and after that to execute them, but Wahhabi clerics also fell under suspicion for involvement with the insurgents. In part as a consequence, Sahwa clerics influenced by Brethren’s ideas were given freer rein.
The situation for the US and the petrodollar military industrial complex is now perilous and now hangs on the political stability of Saudi Arabia.
If the Saudi regime collapses into chaos the US will be in big trouble.
As rather than cutting their loses and Obama style [one fraction of the US ruling class] bringing Iran into the club, they have gone all in against Iran and for the Saudi regime.January 4, 2019 at 12:25 pm #175810
Still clinging to the illusion that the Kurds were building socialism, decrying the withdrawal of the American “protective shield”
“….The basis of Rojava’s economy are cooperatives. The long-term goal is to establish an economy based on human need, environmentalism and equality, distinctly different from capitalism. Such an economy can hardly be established overnight, so although assistance is provided to cooperatives, which are rapidly increasing in number, private capital and markets still exist. Nor has any attempt to expropriate large private landholdings been attempted or contemplated…The practitioners of democratic confederalism say they reject both capitalism and the Soviet model of state ownership. They say they represent a third way, embodied in the idea that self-management in the workplace goes with self-management in politics and administration…what is being created in northern Syria is a remarkable experiment in economic and political democracy — not only Kurds but other minority groups and Arabs consciously working toward socialism. Why shouldn’t this be supported?….”January 6, 2019 at 12:41 am #175947
Hat-tip to Darren for drawing attention to the fact that the Kurds featured in our columns long before others were concernedJanuary 6, 2019 at 1:05 pm #176067
It looks like the PKK and the Syrian government will be doing a deal. That would make sense, from their points of view, as both are secular Nationalists and have an interest in presenting a united front against the jihadists of Al Qaeda and the bandit gangs hired by the Turkish government who want to impose some sort of Muslim state.
I imagine the deal would be some cultural and administrative autonomy plus a share of oil revenues in return for re-integrating into the Syrian State. We’ll see.January 6, 2019 at 2:21 pm #176078
Now the USA rulers are changing gears, they would leave if certain conditions with Turkey has been met, and if all Islamic radicals have been eradicated, that change the public announcement made by the president of the USA indicating that all the ISIS fighter had been defeated and that they had made an agreement with Turkey, and that they were leaving immediately, and then it was changed to within 120 days, but now it might take longer, it looks like the Pentagon is putting pressures on Trump. It is known that wherever the USA places its boots it never leave unless they are thrown out by opposite forces like in Vietnam, and that is what is going to happen in SyriaJanuary 6, 2019 at 11:33 pm #176104
The American back-pedal, MarcosJanuary 7, 2019 at 1:52 am #176114
US air-strikes continue, including hitting a hospitalJanuary 7, 2019 at 9:48 am #176122
Here is the composition of the main group backed by Turkey:
The legions that dissolved into the current “al-Sham Legion” are the following: Hamza Division, Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah Division, al-Tamkeen (Empowerment), Hanano, Ibad al-Rahman (Worshipers of the Merciful), al-Furqan (the Criterion), Soqur al-Islam (Falcons of Islam), Army of Mujahideen, Amjad al-Islam (Glories of Islam), and Nusrat al-Islam, in addition to Ashbal al-‘Aqida (Lion Cubs of Doctrine), Maghawir al-Islam (Commandos of Islam), Osoud al-Islam (Lions of Islam), Siham Al Haq (Darts of Righteousness), al-Fatihin (The Conquerors), Maghawir al-Jabal (Commandos of the Mountain), al-Iman (Faith) and Ansar Idlib (Advocates of Idlib).
These are the fanatical gangsters that are to be sent in to the crush the Kurds. No wonder the Kurds, and no doubt most Syrians, don’t want to be ruled by that lot.
President Erdogan of Turkey is said to be close to if not a member of the Brotherhood:January 9, 2019 at 4:21 pm #176427
Interesting piece in today’s Times:
Of all the odd friendships thrown up by the Middle East’s civil wars, America’s military alliance with Syria’s Kurdish YPG militia is the oddest (Richard Spencer writes). On the one side is the world’s foremost capitalist power, the leader of NATO and the western alliance. On the other is a guerrilla group whose ideology veers between old-school Marxism and the cult of an obscure anarchist philosopher called Murray Bookchin.
(He means old-school Leninism of course).
The PKK/YPG may allow and encourage popular participation, including of women, at local level but at its semi-state level it is not all that democratic, banning other political parties and imposing conscription. Still, it’s not the worst actor on the scene. If they can solve the language question they shouldn’t get on too badly with the Syrian government.
They, or at least their supporters, are also into ecology (Bookchin’s influence no doubt):
And they are certainly right that women would be a lot worse off if fanatical jihadists overrun more of their territory. But their appeal for help from the US and other capitalist powers is not going to be heard.January 9, 2019 at 11:15 pm #176456
Trump described the Kurds as a “great, great people,” and insisted that “we have to help them.” because “Tens of thousands of Kurds died fighting ISIS. They died for us and with us.”
Mike Pompeo called the Syrian Kurds “great partners” and pledged to include them in future negotiations to end the war in Syria.
“If we leave now, the Kurds are going to get slaughtered,” Right-wing Republican Senator Lindsey Graham
Real PolitikJanuary 9, 2019 at 11:52 pm #176457
The Kurdish YPG have all female battalions.
There is nothing funny about they would put the fear of god into anyone; I watched a documentary on them.
The ISIS people are absolutely terrified by them as they believe if they get killed by a woman in combat they won’t go to heaven.
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