Assad, Putin, Trump, Erdoğan and the PYD/YPG leadership are all reactionary enemies of the Arab and Kurdish masses in Syria!
Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 15 October 2019, www.thecommunists.net
1. The leadership of the Kurdish PYD/YPG has concluded an alliance with the Assad tyranny. In a statement issued by its “Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria”, the PYD/YPG leadership announced that it “had to deal with the Syrian government that has the duty of protecting the country's borders and preserve Syrian sovereignty, so that the Syrian army can enter and deploy along the Syrian-Turkish border to support the SDF to repel this aggression and liberate the areas entered by the Turkish army and its hired mercenaries. This agreement offers an opportunity to liberate the rest of the Syrian territories and cities occupied by the Turkish army as Afrin and other Syrian cities and towns.” (ANF: Autonomous Administration announces agreement with the regime, 13.10.2019) According to the Russian-brokered deal, “the regime will take over border positions from Derik to Sere Kaniye, including the town of Qamishli, and from Tel Abyad to Qamishli, according to the Rojava Information Centre.” (The New Arab: Syria carved up, as regime forces enter Kurdish-held areas, 14.10.2019) The deal allegedly also includes the integration of YPG forces into the Russian-led 5th Corps of Assad’s army which will most likely play a crucial role in the upcoming assault on Idlib – the last bastion of the Syrian Revolution. (The New Arab: SDF to be 'abolished' under Kurdish-Syria deal: reports, 14.10.2019) And according to Syria analyst Danny Makki PYD officials shall also take up some roles within the Assad government within one month. As a result, Assad’s army entered a number of towns in North East Syria in the past 24 hours which have been under control of the U.S. and YPG forces until recently (e.g. Manbij, Ain Issa, Tal Tamr, Hasaka). In various other towns, YPG-controlled administrations have already raised the official flag of the Syrian state in order to express its alliance with the Assad regime.
2. This move comes as a reaction to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and the Turkish invasion in North-East Syria. Until now U.S. imperialism, with the aid of its YPG auxiliaries, controlled the Eastern part of Syria (about 1/3 of the whole country). However, the decay of U.S. imperialism (exacerbated by the profound domestic crisis of the Trump Administration) has resulted now in another “Saigon moment” as Washington realizes it is no longer strong enough to keep its hegemonial role in the Middle East. As a consequence, U.S. imperialism is withdrawing its military from Syria. (Other striking examples for Washington’s “Saigon moment” are the looming withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan and its flinching response to the Iranian attacks on Saudi Arabia, its most important Arab ally, in recent weeks.) These developments are another major confirmation of the RCIT’s analysis of the end of the absolute hegemony of U.S. imperialism, the rise of Russia and China as new Great Powers and the consequential acceleration of inter-imperialist rivalry.
3. Trying to contain the damage, Washington calls on Turkey to stop the invasion and declare a cease-fire. Furthermore, Trump is sending Vice President Mike Pence and national security adviser Robert O’Brien to Ankara as soon as possible in an attempt to begin negotiations. U.S. imperialism has also imposed massive sanctions against Turkey resp. its governmental officials and Congress leaders demand an even harsher reaction. Trump also encouraged in a tweet on 14 October the PYD/YPG leadership to strike a deal with Assad and Putin: “Anyone who wants to assist Syria in protecting the Kurds is good with me, whether it is Russia, China, or Napoleon Bonaparte (!). I hope they all do great, we are 7,000 miles away. (…) Let Syria and Assad protect the Kurds and fight Turkey for their own land.” Dumped by its former master and faced with the advance of the Turkish army, the PYD/YPG leadership desperately offers its service to a new master: the Assad regime and Russian imperialism.
4. This development does not come as surprise. The RCIT has warned repeatedly that the PYD/YPG leadership has already tried for more than a year to open negotiations with the Assad tyranny in order to strike a deal. PYD leader Salih Muslim himself has admitted “that they had talked with the Russian and Syrian officials many times and tried to reach an agreement before. (…) Russia and the regime did not accept an agreement before the withdrawal of US troops. But now they have accepted it.“ (ANF: Salih Muslim talks about the agreement with the Syrian state, 14.10.2019) They are, as we said in an article published last year “mercenaries of many masters”.
5. This is only the latest result of the bankrupt policy of the PYD/YPG leadership which hopes to achieve autonomy or independence for the Kurdish people by serving a powerful reactionary master. This is why they had a tacit alliance with the Assad regime during the first years of the popular uprising which began in March 2011. In 2015 they started to serve as auxiliaries for the U.S.-led coalition fighting against Daesh/ISIS. As a result, they helped the U.S. to control one third of the country and to oppress large areas with an Arab-majority population. Now, dumped by Washington, these mercenaries offer their service other enemies of the people – the murderous Assad regime and its Russian master. It is characteristic for the cynical and reactionary nature of the PYD/YPG leadership that it is willing to collaborate with the Assad regime which has slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people in the past years. However, it never collaborated with the Syrian people who rose up against the tyranny and who scarified so many martyrs for the cause of freedom!
6. The PYD/YPG leadership has led the cause of Kurdish national self-determination into a cul-de-sac. It has always hoped to achieve freedom via serving Great Powers and local dictators. But it never desired to link the liberation struggle of the Kurdish people with the liberation struggle of the Arab people. However, only such an alliance can secure freedom for the Kurdish people who have been severely oppressed by the Turkish, Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian state since many decades. We repeat that Kurdish revolutionaries should break with the reactionary PYD/YPG leadership, refuse all collaboration with the Assad regime, with American and Russian imperialism and support the liberation struggle of the Syrian people as well as other current popular struggles like those in Iraq, Egypt and Yemen.
7. At the moment, the military situation in North East Syria is chaotic and in flux. There is a possibility of military clashes between the Turkish army and the Assad forces. Clearly, Russia will try to avoid a war between the two sides as it entertains very close relations with Damascus as well as a precious alliance with Ankara. However, given the highly explosive situation, the conflict could become a process with its own dynamics.
8. In any case, the fundamental factors in North East Syria are pretty clear:
a) As the RCIT has already stated in a resolution published five days ago, the character of the Turkish invasion is reactionary as it serves Erdoğan’s goals to oppress the Kurds and to expel the Syrian refugees from Turkey. (See RCIT: No to the Turkish Invasion in North-East Syria! 10.10.2019)
b) Likewise, the character of the YPG struggle is reactionary as it has become subordinated to the offensive of the barbarous Assad dictatorship expanding its rule to the North and East of the country. In addition, the YPG does not only defend the Kurdish people in the region but also oppresses about one million Arabs living in the provinces of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor.
9. Hence, revolutionaries must neither support the Turkish army and its auxiliaries of the so-called “Syrian National Army” nor the Assad tyranny and its auxiliaries of the YPG. They must advocate a strategy for the national liberation struggle of the Kurdish people which is independent of Erdoğan, Assad, Trump and Putin. They must call for a joint struggle of the Syrian Arab and Kurdish people against the reactionary Great Powers and dictators. They must also continue supporting the millions of Syrian people in Idlib – the last bastion of the Syrian Revolution which is danger of death by the Assad tyranny and Russian imperialism.
10. The RCIT repeats its warning that the latest developments could result in an arch-reactionary deal between Ankara and Damascus facilitated by Russian imperialism. Such a deal could include Turkey’s support for Assad’s efforts to finally smash the Syrian Revolution by conquering Idlib (possibly with the help of the YPG mercenaries) in exchange for Damascus accepting some kind of Turkish zone of influence in the North East of the country. Such a deal would represent a “new Dayton”, i.e. a repetition of the treacherous treaty which ended the Bosnian liberation struggle in December 1995 and divided the country.
11. It is a highly regrettable fact that numerous so-called “left-wing” parties and groups have uncritically hailed the PYD/YPG leadership in the past years and wrongly called it as “progressive”, “internationalist” or even “socialist”. They did so despite the fact the YPG not only defended the Kurdish minority but also served as mercenaries for U.S. imperialism and oppressed about one million Arabs in the territory under its control. Unfortunately it is likely that these Stalinists, semi-Stalinists and pseudo-Trotskyists will continue their shameful cheerleading for the YPG after it replaced its masters and serves Assad and Putin from now on. It goes down in history as a badge of shame that these “left-wing” forces mobilize their forces when the YPG is under attack by the Turkish army while they didn’t lift a finger in the last eight and a half years in support for the Syrian people when they faced a genocidal war with hundreds of thousands killed and millions of people expelled from their homes!
12. This tragedy underlines once more that without a clear revolutionary program and method, any organization is doomed to become an opportunistic weather vane adapting to various reactionary forces. We repeat our call to revolutionaries all over the world to join forces in building a revolutionary party nationally and internationally 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!
* No to the advance of Assad’s forces in North East 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!
* U.S., Russia, Iran and Turkey – out of Syria!
* Long live the Arab revolution!
* Long live the socialist world revolution!
* For a revolutionary party as part of a revolutionary world party!
* * * * *
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:
RCIT: No to the Turkish Invasion in North-East Syria! Erdoğan’s so-called "safety corridor" is an attack both against the Kurdish people as well as against the Syrian Revolution!, 10 October 2019, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/no-to-the-turkish-invasion-in-north-east-syria/
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/
On the RCIT’s analysis of the accelerating rivalry between the imperialist powers see:
Michael Pröbsting: Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry. The Factors behind the Accelerating Rivalry between the U.S., China, Russia, EU and Japan. A Critique of the Left’s Analysis and an Outline of the Marxist Perspective, RCIT Books, Vienna 2019. The book can be read online or downloaded for free here: https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/anti-imperialism-in-the-age-of-great-power-rivalry/.
For many more documents see the special sub-section on our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/china-russia-as-imperialist-powers/.