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Democracy, Faux Democracy and Terror.

Written By: - Date published: 11:27 am, March 19th, 2018 - 37 comments
Categories: class war, community democracy, democracy under attack, democratic participation, history, International, Left, liberalism, political alternatives, political education, Politics, Propaganda, Revolution, social democracy, Syria, vision, war - Tags: , , , ,

When the UN called for a ceasefire in Syria “without delay”, much was made of Russia and Syria continuing military operations against terrorists around Damascus in the area of Eastern Ghouta. Nothing much was said of Erdogan saying that Turkey would not recognise any ceasefire.

The Turkish Army has backed terrorists from various Jihadist groupings (“our” media calls them the FSA), and the Turkish air force has been bombing one of the Autonomous cantons in Syria containing the city of Afrin following the withdrawal of Russia from the area. Now, after two months, the Turkish army and the Jihadists (that “our” media call rebels) have forced the YPG from the city. The YPG are the ‘Peoples Protection Units‘ of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (Rojava), and they have fought and defeated ISIS and associated terrorists across the region these past years.

And now the terrorists are back. With Turkey’s backing.

I’m not going to pretend I can unravel all of what’s happening.

Apparently, the Syrian Army facilitated the safe passage of people from Afrin, but wouldn’t allow arms or weaponry along the only open corridor – from Aleppo to Afrin. (Cockburn in The Independent)

So Afrin, somewhat isolated from the rest of Rojava, has fallen to Jihadists, and we can no doubt expect similar atrocities to those that have occurred in other towns and cities temporarily captured by the various terrorist groupings. We can also expect “our” media to be fairly silent and continue to refer to Jihadists and terrorists as the Free Syrian Army and rebels, when it suits western anti-Syrian and anti Russian narratives. What we can’t expect is anything very much about how genuine grassroots democracy, that had organised against ISIS et al has just been crushed.

As for the rest of Rojava well, who knows? The US has a military presence that may deter fellow NATO state Turkey from razing the entire region in order to install its preferred governance structures. Or the US may up sticks and leave. (Neither the US nor Turkey’s presence within the borders of Syria has any legal standing in international law.)

The Syrian Arab Army may finish operations in Eastern Ghouta and head north to confront Turkey’s invasion. Russia may step up to the plate in the region again. Or the partition of Syria might occur off the back of a jagged stalemate in the north of the country.

But whatever happens (and I don’t expect it to be anything good) the development of genuine democracy that was being attempted by the people of the region –  who come from various ethnic and religious roots – is probably coming to an end. (Here’s a fairly comprehensive reading list on Rojava.)

And the silence of “our” media and of “our” elected representatives on the end of a nascent flourishing of substantive and empowering democratic forms of governance is no less sickening for being expected. The parallels with Spain are painfully obvious. Turkey has assumed the role of Hitler’s Germany and, like Hitler’s Germany, gets to enjoy the appeasement by all the western Liberal Democratic governments as it crushes democracy underfoot.

 

 

37 comments on “Democracy, Faux Democracy and Terror.”

  1. adam 1

    *sigh*

    The Turkish government are scum. And so is the NZ government to let this happen.

    Not the Turkish or New Zealand people, but the governments.

    • dukeofurl 1.1

      Wheres the NZ governments support for Cyprus ( a commonwealth member), who still have a occupying Turkish in part of their country.

      Turkey does what Turkey does yet the west stands idly by yet again. Apparently the UN security Council gives them a free pass.

  2. Philg 2

    ” … I’m not going to pretend I can unravel all of what’s happening…”
    Thanks Bill for your efforts. Increasingly difficult for interested citizens to understand what is happening in these conflicts. I wonder whether an abstract, or summary before the text, might assist folk in their attempts? Increasingly, I fear that people are switching off, and turning away from the unthinkable.

  3. tracey 3

    People are, apparently more incensed by a few questions…

  4. JohnSelway 4

    Having the word “faggot” prominently displayed on the front page of The Standard is pretty poor form – regardless of the reasoning

  5. weka 5

    Thanks for this, that’s a helpful explanation.

    When you say the democratic movement has been effectively squashed do you mean around Afrin, or across the whole Rojava territories?

    • esoteric pineapples 5.1

      Just Afrin city from what I can tell. The Kurds have pulled out and plan to carry out guerilla fighting in the surrounding Efrin province. The Turks and their Islamic jihadists have yet to attack the other Rojava territories.

      I find this facebook page to be the most comprehensive in following what is going on

      https://www.facebook.com/DownWithErdogan/

  6. esoteric pineapples 6

    Heart breaking

  7. Bastables 7

    Maybe the US supporting what could of become a Kurdish separatist state between Syria and Turkey was a really bad idea.

    In the same way that supporting the Mujahedin vs the Soviet’s and Afghan gov, or supporting South Africa vs Angola, were all bad calls.

    • Bill 7.1

      Rojava was/is never going to become a separatist state. Their constitution is behind one of the links in the post. Give it a read. Rojava was/is intended to remain a part of Syria.

      Those who would preside over an independent Kurdish entity in Iraq want Rojava to fail. As does the Turkish government and every other government I can think of. Hell, Australia banned travel to the region of the Cantons a few years back under pain of a lengthy prison sentences for anyone who did.

      It appears that democracy and fighting for democracy is anathema and not a little frightening to those who preside over so-called liberal democracies just as much as it is to those who prefer to dictate.

      • In Vino 7.1.1

        Sad to say, Syria is a little more complex than the Spanish Civil war was.
        Even sadder, thanks Bill for an insight which tends to confirm the pessimistic view I had about all this. I am old enough now to rely on people like you for informative perspective, rather than discovering it all for myself as I eventually did about the Tonkin Gulf, etc. The last people we can rely on for an informed view are our commercially-based media (and that includes the SOE state broadcasters.)

      • Bastables 7.1.2

        Yeah, it was bound to fail, it was supported by the US, which literally talked about having a several thousand strong armed defense force made up of Kurds in between the Syrian Government and Turkey.

        You know the US the country that practiced realpoltick in Iran, oversaw increased factionalism/sectarian violence in Iraq to maintain control, aided Iraq in the Iraq vs Iran war to destabilized Iran, was perfectly fine supporting FSA until Turk’s began to increase their control over them.

        I’m sure with a long history of successfully installing/supporting military dictatorships US interference would have worked out really swell for the Kurdish areas. Specifically in our “timeline” when Trump is the president.

  8. SPC 8

    If it is the FSA working with the Turks against the Kurds that is just sad.

    If the FSA – genuine democratic resistance to the Assad regime is involved, it would be because they had few other options – surrender to the government and be imprisoned, be alongside the Islamists and await bombing by the Russians or government or disarm and join civilians in a safe zone (but be at risk of being arrested).

    The logic in having Turkish protection on condition they become the gun over Kurdish areas in the north, is so they had some future status in peace talks.

    But then is the media account true, is it really the FSA or is the West allowing a NATO member to both ethnically cleanse areas of northern Syria and install the Islamist gun.

    Thus in effect the West exploited the Kurds to do the heavy lifting against Islamic State to then abandon them to the Turks, little wonder the Turks never really made an effort to confront Islamic State, despite being a NATO member.

    • Bill 8.1

      Nice point SPC.

      According to what we’re told, the Free Syrian Army is comprised of defectors from the Syrian Arab Army who are on the side of the Syrian people against the Syrian government.

      Except that now they’re killing Syrian people who are seeking autonomy from the Syrian government.

      The counter to that narrative has always been that the FSA was merely a convenient label applied to whatever mix of terrorist organisations our governments were willing to support.

      No-one needs to dance on a pin to explain why the people satisfying the second scenario would be killing Syrians unwilling to be part of a Caliphate.

      So I have two questions.

      What is meant to be the penalty for supporting terrorists and terrorism? And when can we expect our elected representatives to be taking the stand?

      • SPC 8.1.1

        When, ANZAC Day alongside Turkish government officials I suppose. No one here appears to be willing to say to Erdogan that his definition of a terrorist is dubious, because of our relationship ….

        The Americans appear to have been finessed by the use of the FSA by the Turks, or done a secret deal with them (behind the Kurds backs). The Americans may now be playing both sides, like they do in continuing to have bases in Qatar while allowing Saudi Arabia to bully them to be more anti-Iran. For the Americans the FSA being backed by Turkey into future talks in Syria is their last card and the Turks know it. While not officially abandoning the Kurds and their democracy in the north, it appears Turkey is allowed to decide matters in the northwest.

        • Bill 8.1.1.1

          The FSA was never turned because it never really existed. There was a fiction of a FSA being comprised of Syrian Arab Army defectors.

          The reality was an ever changing conglomerate of Jihadist/terrorist gangs and organisations, some of which our governments supported in order to bring about regime change in Syria. How to sell that support of terrorists to us, the general public?

          Create the idea of a Free Syrian Army.

          But with Turkey’s malarkey in northern Syria, that fiction simply doesn’t hold up any longer.

          The US has been anti-Iranian from the get go btw. They support Israel’s paranoid line that insists there can no land bridge through Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon. (And that’s why Eastern Ghouta and fairly regular Israeli air raids to the east of Damascus)

          When Russia came to the aid of the Syrian government in accord with international law, the US ambition of “regime change” went south. I’d pick they’ve been reduced to seeking influence through having a presence in a partitioned Syria. And that’s why we’re looking at a dog’s dinner of a situation today with various protagonists dancing around one another on egg shells.

          • SPC 8.1.1.1.1

            The FSA was real all right, but some officers of the Syrian army defecting to the “democratic” rebel side does not build an army so to speak and the Gulf States and Turkey were supporting Islamists (and these were backed by non Syrian volunteers) – and as it was always a major target of the Syrian government it was always struggling to survive (and for some time has not been a major force).

            It is entirely possible the Turks and Americans will have the NW and NE, with those under Turkish oversight being re-branded FSA and the NE Kurdish democratic self government under American oversight. This to give each a role in future talks.

            Before that time expect the Syrian government, Hizbollah, Iranian units and Russians to target Islamists to the south, especially the al Qaeda in Syria group (under its current name, it keeps changing).

            • Bill 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Some officers and units went AWOL and picked up arms against the government. As far as I can ascertain, they were all Sunni. Ans all the terrorist groupings are Sunni.

              And those same Sunni’s are killing people in northern Syria who, in their own way, rejected rule from Damascus.

              It’s on record that the UK, US and EU funneled support to various elements who had picked up arms against the Syrian government. Those elements they supported were Sunni and terrorist. Can you show anything from several years of reporting making mention of a Shia opposition or a Christian opposition or any other defined opposition?

              No.

              There were and are simply Sunni terrorists that our governments and their stenographers had to have us believe to be “rebels” or a part of some “Free Syrian Army”.

              When it came to aiding and abetting anyone looking to destroy Syria, no options were off the table – including supporting those who ascribe to the same religious fanaticism as those who flew planes into the Twin Towers. But we, the general public would have found that to be utterly unpalatable. And so we got a cover story about “rebels” and a “Free Syrian Army”.

              A cover story that’s unraveling with the actions of the supposed “Free Syrian Army” and “rebels” in northern Syria right now.

              • SPC

                That’s just a blatant propaganda line. The old FSA may have been reduced to an empty shell over the years, but there was an Arab spring rebellion against the Assad regime, as the original protests indicated. And it did really exist. That it became increasingly a civil war of “Islamists vs Syrian government” as this was “militarised” by outside influences (foreign Islamists presence due to Gulf ambition for a distinctly Sunni Islamist gun because of their Iran issues) was in part because the government saw the FSA as having the most credibility and targeted it and also because many Syrian “democrats” disengaged as they wanted no part in the tragedy that was unfolding.

                We can agree the actions of the current “FSA”, that has emerged alongside the Turks, are indicative of a major disconnect from the original group and diminish its credibility.

                • Bill

                  The original protests were violent. No doubt we disagree about that, and we can agree to disagree for now.

                  But, if as you say many Syrian “democrats” disengaged as they wanted no part in the tragedy that was unfolding (an argument that makes sense), then when did they perceive there to be a tragedy unfolding?

                  Might we agree it was when things were getting mired in violence?

                  So now that point we agree to disagree on becomes pertinent.

                  As for the FSA being targeted as though they existed as something apart from the general sectarian bullshit – if, as reported, they are very much a part and parcel of the violence in northern Syria, then they weren’t targeted very effectively. And again. If they are secular, why are they there and why they killing people who have nothing to do with the government in Damascus.

                  And if they weren’t targeted very effectively, then how is this transition from anti-government protest to sectarian tragedy explained?

                  Perhaps 2011 was rooted in sectarianism that tried to take advantage of more general discontent with government, and was driven from outside from the get go?

                  The historical antagonisms within Syria that have previously resulted in violence have revolved around Sunni radicalism and government secularism. That shouldn’t be forgotten.

                  • SPC

                    I would have thought democratic disengagement would have occurred at three stages

                    1. when the protests faced suppression those who wanted a peaceful change would have have had no will to resort to the gun.
                    2. those who were prepared to use the gun might have lost heart when they saw armed Islamists about but took comfort for a while from Syrian army defectors joining them
                    3. But being a main focus of government efforts and pissed off at being back-stabbed by Islamists (the main reason there were no longer Syrian army defectors joining them), they went into decline (and only survived because of hope the West would favour them upon rebel victory – a hope the Russians ended).

                    Which raises the question, how many of the remnant went to fight with the Kurds in various groups formed for this purpose, and of the “Turkish” group of the name, what is their background?

  9. I work on the assumption that our media are either unable to figure out the complexities involved, or they assume we are. Even if Sultan Erdoğan didn’t have it in for the Kurds for not being ethnic Turks and wanting self-autonomy, he’d have it in for these Kurds for their enthusiasm for democracy – they’re screwed either way. Ironic that the only current hope for maintaining this example of genuine democracy is the US government – presumably Trump has no idea…

  10. Lloyd 10

    The Kurds always end up being screwed.
    This is a great loss to Turkey as having a friendly relationship with an independent democratic Kurdish state partially formed out of presently Turkish territory would have real economic benefits to the Turkish people.
    Unfortunately the idiots who control the Turkish government have consistently been Ottoman imperialist in their attitude towards any border issues and cannot see the benefits of decolonisation. This is not just the present idiot in power.
    I can see lots of reasons in the Middle East for not becoming an ally of Israel, but I wonder why the Israelis are not openly aiding the Kurds – it would surely be in Israel’s interest to have a Kurdish democracy in the region.

    • Bill 10.1

      Rojava is not a bid to form a nation state. Rojava is wholly within Syrian territory and its constitution recognises that territory as Syrian.

  11. Michelle 11

    Unfortunately we cant solve everyone else problems we need to clean our own backyard up first.

    • Bill 11.1

      I can’t “solve” problems on the other side of the world. But it’s largely our ignorance that allows bastards on this side of the world to create problems on the other side of the world.

  12. Colonial Viper 12

    The YPG refused to accept a deal with the Syrian Government which would give full administrative control of the region back to Damascus in exchange for the protection of the Syrian Arab Army against the Turkish military and Turkish backed jihadists invading Syrian territory.

    The US had been supporting and arming the YPG up until recent times but then allowed the Turkish Air Force to fly unhindered attacking YPG positions and supporting jihadist operations.

    Of course, the US was never ever going to side with the YPG against their NATO ally Turkey.

    From the website of the The Saker:

    The Syrian Kurdish leadership, following an age old tradition, had just like Masoud Barzani’s KRG placed their hope on the “International Community’s” good will to protect them. Once again, the “international community” failed them, because they have failed to analyse the political realities of the region and once again, incompetence among Kurdish leaders has led to this situation where young Kurdish men and women have been used as tools and sacrificed for nothing. But unfortunately, blaming Russia seems to be a syndrome for anyone who is allied with Washington.

    http://thesaker.is/afrin-week-8-kurdish-stubbornness-spells-their-doom/

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  • PPE supplies secured as COVID-19 response focuses on border
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  • Scott Watson’s convictions to be referred to Court of Appeal
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