web analytics

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/

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Immediate humanitarian support to Türkiye and Syria following earthquakes
    New Zealand will immediately provide humanitarian support to those affected by the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. “Aotearoa New Zealand is deeply saddened by the loss of life and devastation caused by these earthquakes. Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones affected,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Pākinga Pā site to be gifted back to local hapū
    An historic Northland pā site with links to Ngāpuhi chief Hongi Hika is to be handed back to iwi, after collaboration by government, private landowners and local hapū. “It is fitting that the ceremony for the return of the Pākinga Pā site is during Waitangi weekend,” said Regional Development Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • New initiatives to unlock Māori science and research resources
    The Government is investing in a suite of initiatives to unlock Māori and Pacific resources, talent and knowledge across the science and research sector, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. Two new funds – He tipu ka hua and He aka ka toro – set to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Advancing our relationship in India
    Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta departs for India tomorrow as she continues to reconnect Aotearoa New Zealand to the world.  The visit will begin in New Delhi where the Foreign Minister will meet with the Vice President Hon Jagdeep Dhankar and her Indian Government counterparts, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government Northland housing investment to spark transformational change
    Over $10 million infrastructure funding to unlock housing in Whangārei The purchase of a 3.279 hectare site in Kerikeri to enable 56 new homes Northland becomes eligible for $100 million scheme for affordable rentals Multiple Northland communities will benefit from multiple Government housing investments, delivering thousands of new homes for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government investment safeguards Waitangi Treaty Grounds
    The Government is supporting one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most significant historic sites, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, as it continues to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. “The Waitangi Treaty Grounds are a taonga that we should protect and look after. This additional support will mean people can continue to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Battle of Ohaeawai remembered
    A memorial event at a key battle site in the New Zealand land wars is an important event to mark the progress in relations between Māori and the Crown as we head towards Waitangi Day, Minister for Te Arawhiti Kelvin Davis said. The Battle of Ohaeawai in June 1845 saw ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More Police deployed to the frontline
    More Police officers are being deployed to the frontline with the graduation of 54 new constables from the Royal New Zealand Police College today. The graduation ceremony for Recruit Wing 362 at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua was the first official event for Stuart Nash since his reappointment as Police ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Further support for upper North Island regions hit by significant weather
    The Government is unlocking an additional $700,000 in support for regions that have been badly hit by the recent flooding and storm damage in the upper North Island. “We’re supporting the response and recovery of Auckland, Waikato, Coromandel, Northland, and Bay of Plenty regions, through activating Enhanced Taskforce Green to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • The Princess Royal to visit New Zealand
    Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has welcomed the announcement that Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, will visit New Zealand this month. “Princess Anne is travelling to Aotearoa at the request of the NZ Army’s Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals, of which she is Colonel in Chief, to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government and horticulture sector target $12b in exports by 2035
    A new Government and industry strategy launched today has its sights on growing the value of New Zealand’s horticultural production to $12 billion by 2035, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said. “Our food and fibre exports are vital to New Zealand’s economic security. We’re focussed on long-term strategies that build on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Cost of living support extended for families and businesses
    25 cents per litre petrol excise duty cut extended to 30 June 2023 – reducing an average 60 litre tank of petrol by $17.25 Road User Charge discount will be re-introduced and continue through until 30 June Half price public transport fares extended to the end of June 2023 saving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More Kiwis in work as rising wages match inflation
    The strong economy has attracted more people into the workforce, with a record number of New Zealanders in paid work and wages rising to help with cost of living pressures. “The Government’s economic plan is delivering on more better-paid jobs, growing wages and creating more opportunities for more New Zealanders,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government boosts fund for Auckland flooding
    The Government is providing a further $1 million to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Auckland following flooding, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced today. “Cabinet today agreed that, given the severity of the event, a further $1 million contribution be made. Cabinet wishes to be proactive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Cabinet focused on bread and butter issues
    The new Cabinet will be focused on core bread and butter issues like the cost of living, education, health, housing and keeping communities and businesses safe, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. “We need a greater focus on what’s in front of New Zealanders right now. The new Cabinet line ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister to meet with PM Albanese
    Prime Minister Chris Hipkins will travel to Canberra next week for an in person meeting with Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. “The trans-Tasman relationship is New Zealand’s closest and most important, and it was crucial to me that my first overseas trip as Prime Minister was to Australia,” Chris Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government makes first payment to Auckland Flooding fund
    The Government is providing establishment funding of $100,000 to the Mayoral Relief Fund to help communities in Auckland following flooding, Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty announced. “We moved quickly to make available this funding to support Aucklanders while the full extent of the damage is being assessed,” Kieran McAnulty ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government steps up to assist Auckland during flooding
    As the Mayor of Auckland has announced a state of emergency, the Government, through NEMA, is able to step up support for those affected by flooding in Auckland. “I’d urge people to follow the advice of authorities and check Auckland Emergency Management for the latest information. As always, the Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Poroporoaki: Titewhai Te Huia Hinewhare Harawira
    Ka papā te whatitiri, Hikohiko ana te uira, wāhi rua mai ana rā runga mai o Huruiki maunga Kua hinga te māreikura o te Nota, a Titewhai Harawira Nā reira, e te kahurangi, takoto, e moe Ka mōwai koa a Whakapara, kua uhia te Tai Tokerau e te kapua pōuri ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Enhanced Task Force Green Approved following Cyclone Hale
    Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Social Development and Employment, has activated Enhanced Taskforce Green (ETFG) in response to flooding and damaged caused by Cyclone Hale in the Tairāwhiti region. Up to $500,000 will be made available to employ job seekers to support the clean-up. We are still investigating whether other parts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • General Election to be held on 14 October 2023
    The 2023 General Election will be held on Saturday 14 October 2023, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “Announcing the election date early in the year provides New Zealanders with certainty and has become the practice of this Government and the previous one, and I believe is best practice,” Jacinda ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces resignation
    Jacinda Ardern has announced she will step down as Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party. Her resignation will take effect on the appointment of a new Prime Minister. A caucus vote to elect a new Party Leader will occur in 3 days’ time on Sunday the 22nd of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago