Erdoğan’s so-called "safety corridor" is an attack both against the Kurdish people as well as against the Syrian Revolution!
Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 10 October 2019, www.thecommunists.net
1. The long-announced Turkish invasion in North-East Syria has begun. After pushing for this for a long time, the Trump Administration finally agreed to Erdoğan’s demand that the U.S. troops retreat from the conflict zone. Currently this area, with some parts having a Kurdish-majority and others an Arab-majority population, is controlled by the Kurdish PYD/YPG – the key ally of U.S. imperialism in Syria since 2015.
2. Erdogan’s goal is to create a 30 kilometres deep "safety corridor" in Northern Syria. Such a corridor, controlled by the Turkish army, should serve as a barrier for the PYD/YPG so that it cannot link up with the PKK, its sister organization in Turkey. Furthermore, Ankara wants to relocate two million Syrians in areas. Currently, Turkey has the largest refugee population in the world with officially 3.6 million people.
3. While various details of the Pentagon’s plan are not clear at the moment, both the fundamental cause for the U.S. retreat as well as the short-term trigger are pretty evident. The underlying cause of Trump’s decision is the decay of U.S. imperialism as the hegemonic imperialist power. This decline has become evident recently, once more, by Washington’s plans to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan and its impotent response to various strikes by Iranian (or pro-Iranian) forces against the U.S. and its key allies (attacks on tank vessels, severe strike against Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure, shooting down of a U.S. military drone, etc). At the same time, China and Russia have emerged as new imperialist Great Powers. The shift in the relation of forces and the resulting acceleration of inner-imperialist rivalry is a key feature of the present historic period as the RCIT has emphasized repeatedly. A more short-term cause for decision of the White House is the deepening domestic crisis of the reactionary and corrupted Trump Presidency. Threatened by an impeachment process launched by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, Trump hopes to increase his domestic popularity among his core electorate by ending US involvement in "stupid endless wars" in the Middle East.
4. However, the decision of the Trump Administration has provoked strong opposition from various factions of the imperialist bourgeoisie. It was denounced not only by the Democrats but also by reactionary Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (“a stab in the back”) and the highly influential Senator Lindsey Graham (“the biggest mistake of his presidency"). European imperialist powers also denounced the Turkish invasion as did the reactionary monarchies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and the Egypt military dictatorship of General Sisi – three key allies of the U.S. as well as the PYD/YPG. Trump himself has warned Erdoğan of any actions against the Kurds by threatening: "to totally destroy and obliterate the economy of Turkey” if “Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits.” In any case, Trump’s decision to allow Turkey expelling the PYD/YPG from the border region is another major blow for the global prestige and credibility of U.S. imperialism.
5. The whole development is a powerful demonstration of the bankruptcy of the petty-bourgeois nationalist PYD/YPG leadership. In the first years of the popular uprising it failed to unite the Kurdish masses with the Arab people rising up against the reactionary Assad tyranny. Instead, they had a tacit agreement with Damascus. Since 2015 it has closely worked with US imperialism and, effectively, became the infantry of the Western Great Powers in the areas of Syria where they had a presence. (Hence, “YPG” should be read as the abbreviation for “Yankee Presidential Guard”!) True, initially the YPG legitimately defended the Kurdish people against the attacks of the reactionary terrorists of Daesh/ISIS. But this struggle became more and more subordinated to their service as foot soldiers for U.S. imperialism. As such, the YPG helped the imperialists to conquer large parts of Eastern Syria. In effect, it has become an occupying force over the Arab populations of Raqqa and other non-Kurdish regions. Unsurprisingly, this has resulted in an increasing number of local protests. More recently, the PYD/YPG leadership has again begun negotiations with the dictatorial Assad regime and Russian imperialism. Just two days ago, Mazlum Kobane, the Kurdish commander-in-chief, announced: "We are considering a partnership with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with the aim of fighting Turkish forces." (Adi Smajić & Paul McLoughlin: Revealed: Turkey's three-stage plan to capture northern Syria from Kurdish militias, lasting into 2020, The New Arab, 09.10.2019) The betrayal by the U.S. demonstrates once more how stupid and self-defeating the PYD/YPG strategy has been to refuse supporting the Syrian people rising up against Assad and instead focusing on offering itself as servant to imperialist Great Powers and local dictators. The RCIT calls Kurdish revolutionaries to break with the reactionary PYD/YPG leadership, to refuse all collaboration with the Assad regime, with American and Russian imperialism and to support the liberation struggle of the Syrian people as well as other current popular struggles like those in Iraq, Egypt and Yemen.
6. Shamefully, a number of Syrian fighters (the so-called “Syrian National Army”) have agreed to support Turkey’s invasion and to act as their infantry. Such a service as mercenaries for Ankara is a betrayal to the cause of the Syrian Revolution. It will not only discredit the ideas of the liberation struggle and deepen the alienation of the Kurdish people. It also means a dangerous weakening of the forces available for the defense of Idlib, the last bastion of the Syrian Revolution! In other words, the support for Turkey’s invasion is both a political as well as a military blow to the Syrian Revolution! The RCIT calls those Syrian fighters who are part of pro-Turkish factions to break with their leadership, to focus on defending Idlib and to support the right of national self-determination of the Kurdish minority.
7. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) strongly opposes the Turkish invasion in North-East Syria. It is reactionary for several reasons: first it will result in the oppression or even expulsion of the Kurdish population within this 30 kilometres corridor. It will also strengthen the oppression of the Kurdish minority in Turkey. This invasion can only reinforce hostility and chauvinism between Turkish, Kurdish and Arab people. Secondly, it will result in the expulsion of the Syrian refugees from Turkey and their relocation in a high-risk buffer zone which will be in the middle of the conflict between the Turkish army and the PYD/YPG/PKK. Thirdly, it strongly increases the chances of Assad’s army and its Russian and Iranian allies to renew their attack on Idlib and to finally defeat the Syrian Revolution. (Such a scenario happened already in late 2016 and early 2017 when Turkey withdrew many Syrian fighters to support its Operation “Euphrates Shield” which opened the way for the Assad regime to launch its offensive to capture the then rebel-held eastern part of Aleppo.)
8. In the current situation, revolutionaries should side with the Kurdish fighters against the Turkish army in those areas where they defend the Kurdish people. They should not side with the PYD/YPG where they occupy and oppress areas with an Arab-majority population (by and large from the region to the east of Kobane up to Ras al-Ayn; for a view of the ethnic composition of Syria see e.g. http://www.heritageforpeace.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Levant_Ethnicity_lg-smaller1-zoom.jpg). In the areas with an Arab-majority population revolutionaries have to fight against the rule both of the PYD/YPG as well as of the Turkish army.
9. The RCIT strongly warns that the Turkish invasion massively increases the danger of a “new Dayton”, i.e. a repetition of the treacherous treaty which divided Bosnia in 1995 and which robbed the Bosnian people of the opportunity to liberate their country. Erdoğan has closely collaborated with Russian imperialism and the Iranian Mullah regime since nearly three years and pressurized the Syrian liberation forces to retreat in their struggle against the Assad tyranny (Astana and Sochi deals). Once Ankara has achieved its main goal of creating a buffer zone in North East Syria, it will eagerly strike a deal with Assad and Putin and get rid of the “ballast” of Idlib.
10. The sad story of betrayal of leaderships serving the interests of imperialist and regional powers demonstrates once more the urgent necessity to build a revolutionary party which combines the struggle for democracy and the rights of oppressed nations with a socialist and internationalist program. We urge activists who agree with our perspective to join the RCIT in building a Revolutionary World Party!
* No to the Turkish invasion in Syria!
* U.S., Russia, Iran and Turkey – out of Syria!
* Defend the right of national self-determination of the Kurdish people!
* Support the ongoing liberation struggle of the Syrian people against the Assad tyranny!
* Long live the Arab revolution!
* Long live the socialist world revolution!
* For a revolutionary party as part of a revolutionary world party!
International Secretariat of the RCIT
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The RCIT has published a number of booklets, statements, and articles on the Syrian Revolution that can be accessed on a special sub-section of this website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/collection-of-articles-on-the-syrian-revolution/. In particular we refer to:
Yossi Schwartz: Syria: US Imperialism Deserts the Kurds … Once Again. The fruits of the collaboration of the Kurdish YPG/SDF leadership in Syria with Washington, 08.10.2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/syria-us-imperialism-deserts-the-kurds-once-again/
RCIT: Save the Syrian Revolution! A call for international solidarity with the Syrian people in Idlib suffering from the barbarous onslaught by Assad and Putin! 04 June 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/call-save-the-syrian-revolution/
Syria: The Fall of the Martyr City Khan Sheikhoun. Despite this setback, the struggle against the tyranny of the Assad regime continues! 22 August 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/syria-the-fall-of-the-martyr-city-khan-sheikhoun/
Michael Pröbsting: Is the Syrian Revolution at its End? Is Third Camp Abstentionism Justified? An essay on the organs of popular power in the liberated area of Syria, on the character of the different sectors of the Syrian rebels, and on the failure of those leftists who deserted the Syrian Revolution, 5 April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/syrian-revolution-not-dead/
Michael Pröbsting: Syria and Great Power Rivalry: The Failure of the „Left“. The bleeding Syrian Revolution and the recent Escalation of Inter-Imperialist Rivalry between the US and Russia – A Marxist Critique of Social Democracy, Stalinism and Centrism, 21 April 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/syria-great-power-rivalry-and-the-failure-of-the-left/
Other recent articles by the RCIT on the role of the PYD/YPG:
Syria: The Shameful Alliance of the Saudi Monarchy and the “Left-Wing” YPG, 4 July 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/shameful-alliance-of-saudi-monarchy-and-ypg-in-syria/
The Revelations of a U.S. General on Washington’s Allies in Syria. Another Blow to the Stalinist Myths about the Character of Syrian Liberation Fighters and the Role of the Kurdish SDF/YPG, 27.10.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/revelations-of-u-s-general-on-washington-s-allies-in-syria/;
Kissing the Feet of the Saudi Chainsaw-Crown Prince. On the Shameful Response of the Kurdish YPG on the Killing of the Saudi Journalist Kashoggi, 20.10.2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/the-shameful-response-of-the-kurdish-ypg-on-the-killing-of-the-saudi-journalist-kashoggi/