Rally to defend the Syrian Revolution against the Imperialist conspiracy called the "Astana Deal"!
By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 20.09.2017, www.thecommunists.net
The noose is tightening. The sixth round of the so-called Astana talks have ended with an agreement between Russia, Iran and Turkey on the extension of the so-called "de-escalation zones." The three have decided to widen these zones to include Idlib, the last remaining stronghold of the Syrian Revolution where two million Syrians are living.
According to reports, the powers agreed to divide Idlib into three zones each of which is occupied by one of them. While they have declared that the zones are temporary, their timeframe can be extended beyond the initial six-month period. There are rumors that each power would contribute at least 1,500 troops to policing their respective zone. (1) Furthermore, there are reports that the Turkish army is already assembling troops along its border with Syria in order to invade Idlib and liquidate the Syrian Revolution.
US imperialism, which regularly attends the Astana negotiations as an observer, seems to agree with these decisions. As we have pointed out many times in the past, contrary to the bizarre claims of the Stalinist and centrist friends of Assad and Putin, US imperialism has a strategic interest in the liquidation of the Syrian Revolution and accepts the continuity of Assad's regime (even though they would prefer their own lackey in power instead of Moscow's puppet.)
It is obvious that Assad, with the help of Russia, Iran and Turkey, wants to gain time. As his regime does not have sufficient troops of its own, given the widespread hatred against it, the army's resources are currently being stretched beyond capacity by its efforts to regain the eastern province of Deir-ez-Zor from ISIS/Daesh's control. During the current period, the Syrians are interested in pacifying the areas under rebel control. When they have succeeded in the east, they will go on to liquidate the remaining liberated areas and slaughter the last of the freedom fighters.
This picture is clear enough for anyone with two eyes in their head. (2) In fact, the regime has already openly announced its aggressive intentions. Bouthaina Shaaban, a senior aide to Assad, said on 15 September that the government will try to "take back the entire country,” including “Idlib and other areas.” Assad's news agency SANA cited a foreign ministry source on 16 September: “The deal for Idlib is temporary. Its main goal is reviving the old Damascus-Hama-Aleppo road...and for all kinds of traffic to flow to Aleppo.” (3)
This, however, does not stop the treacherous leaderships of various rebel factions (e.g., FSA units, Jaish al-Islam) to accept the Astana Deal. In fact, we are witnessing various factions attacking those who vow to continue the liberation struggle against the regime and against the imperialist aggressors.
It is to the credit of Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) that they have repeatedly and publicly denounced the Astana Deal. They have rightly stated that the Astana process amounts to the surrender of rebel-held pockets, and what had started with a ceasefire would “end with restoring Bashar’s rule to the areas.” They also justifiably criticized FSA rebels for attending the Astana meetings: “We fear the day will come when those factions will line up alongside Russian warplanes and fight those who reject Assad and his regime,” HTS said in its statement. (4)
Naturally, this statement is of importance as the HTS represents the largest and most dedicated force which is continuing the struggle against the genocidal Assad dictatorship and the imperialist aggressors, Russia and US as well as their local lackeys (SDF/YPG, Iran, Turkey). As a result, it controls the still free part of the province of Idlib.
As we have repeatedly said in past statements, we have no illusions about the nature of the HTS leadership, which follows a petty-bourgeois nationalist-Islamist agenda. Currently the pro-Astana powers, in particular the Erdoğan regime, are working round the clock to bribe rebel factions to break with the HTS. (As examples of this treachery, we can cite the split of Jaish al-Ahrar from HTS or the resignation of Abdullah al-Muhseni and Musleh Olayan, the most prominent former members of its Shura committee, from this body.) (5) Likewise, a number of assassination attempts against HTS commanders have taken place.
The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) repeats its call to double the efforts for international solidarity with the Syrian Revolution and to rally in support for the ongoing liberation struggle in Idlib. The moment of truth is approaching! The international workers’ movement and popular mass organizations should defend the anti-capitulationist liberation forces which are continuing the struggle against the Assad regime and the Great Powers and their allies. This includes, but is not limited to, the defense of Idlib and the liberation forces deployed there (including HTS) against any assault of the US, Russian or Turkish armies or their local allies.
Let's be clear: Without a defense of the limited achievements of the Syrian Revolution – like the liberation of Idlib – there can be no future for the liberation struggle! The RCIT calls upon Syrian revolutionaries to unite the defense of Idlib with a socialist perspective – the organization of the popular masses in independent councils and armed militias fighting for a consistent democratic and socialist program.
* Down with the Astana Deal! Support the Syrian Revolution!
* Defend Idlib against the Great Powers and their allies!
* For a multinational, independent workers’ and peasants republic in Syria – free of sectarianism, foreign occupation and dictatorship!
* For international mass mobilizations and strikes of workers, migrants and youth to stop the imperialist aggression of Russia and the US against the peoples of the Middle East!
(1) https://twitter.com/MorocanArab/status/908689977994866689; see also Al Jazeera: Assad forces advance against ISIL in central Syria, 2017-09-15, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/09/assad-forces-advance-isil-central-syria-170915153845236.html
(2) This point has also been alluded to by Bilal Abdul Kareem in his article "Astana 6: No Justice Today" (September 16, 2017, OGN, http://ogn.news/a6n/). Kareem, a black US Muslim currently living in Idlib, runs the news agency OGN which provides numerous informative reports. Obviously, as communists, we don’t share his ideology. However, in contrast to all those most shameful Stalinists, centrists and liberals, Islamists like Kareem have not betrayed the Syrian Revolution and this reflects on them in a positive light when compared to the pseudo-communist scum.
(3) Reuters: Ex-Nusra vows to fight on in Syria, denounces de-escalation deal, September 16, 2017, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-nusra/ex-nusra-vows-to-fight-on-in-syria-denounces-de-escalation-deal-idUSKCN1BR0GH
(5) The Separation of the third largest bloc of HTS Organization, 13 Sep, 2017, http://www.aldorars.com/en/news/1597; see also Mustafa Harrington: Shaykh Muhaysini Resigns from HTS Amid Controversy, OGN News, September 12, 2017, http://ogn.news/smr/
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For the RCIT’s analysis of the Arab Revolution in general and the Syrian Revolution in particular, we refer readers to our numerous articles and documents which can be accessed from the Africa and Middle East section of our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/. In particular we refer readers to the following documents:
RCIT: Syria: Defend Idlib against the Great Powers! Down with the reactionary Astana Deal! Defend the Revolution against the butcher Assad, against Russian and US Imperialism and the local Allies! Victory to the Struggle of the Workers and Oppressed! 04.08.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/defend-idlib-against-great-powers/
Michael Pröbsting: Syria: The Astana-Deal Struggle Intensifies. Some Notes on Recent Developments in the Syrian Civil War and the Dangers for the Liberation Struggle, 28 July 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/syrian-revolution-28-7-2017/
RCIT: Syria: Condemn the Reactionary Astana Deal! The so-called "De-Escalation Zones" are a First Step towards the Partition of Syria and a Conspiracy by the Great Powers to Defeat the Revolution, 7 May 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/astana-deal/
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/
Johannes Moraga: Syria: Was the Chemical Attack a “False Flag” Operation? Let’s make Syria the graveyard for Assad, Putin and Trump! Victory to the Revolution! 14 April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/syria-false-flag/
RCIT: Syria: No to Trump's Missiles Strike! Drive all Great Powers out of Syria! Victory to the Syrian Revolution! 7 April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/us-air-strike-in-syria/
RKO BEFREIUNG: Press Conference on Assad's Chemical Weapons Attack and the US Air Strike, Report (with video) on a press conference of the Syrian Community and the Austrian Section of the RCIT on 7 April 2017 in Vienna, https://www.thecommunists.net/rcit/press-conference-syria-7-4-2017/
Yossi Schwartz: Raqqa: Defeat the US Imperialist Offensive! An assessment of the US/SDF/YPG war against Daesh, April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/us-offensive-in-raqqa/
RCIT: Down with the Assad Tyranny! Victory to the Syrian Revolution! For a Workers and Peasants Republic! Draft Platform of Syrian Revolutionaries in Political Solidarity with the RCIT, April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/draft-syria-platform/
RCIT: Defeat the Imperialist Invasion in Syria – Victory to the Revolution! Down with the American and Russian interventions! No to the imperialist plan to divide Syria! Down with the butcher Assad and his imperialist allies! 13.03.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/imperialist-invasion-in-syria/
RCIT: World Perspectives 2017: The Struggle against the Reactionary Offensive in the Era of Trumpism, Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries, 18 December 2016, Chapter IV. The Middle East and the State of the Arab Revolution, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-perspectives-2017/part-4/
RCIT: Revolution and Counterrevolution in the Arab World: An Acid Test for Revolutionaries, 31 May 2015, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/theses-arab-revolution/