- Date published:
9:44 am, January 20th, 2018 - 12 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, International, Left, political alternatives, Politics, Revolution, socialism, Syria, vision, war - Tags: democracy, people, Rojava, states, syria, Turkey
Whatever anyone may think or have thought of the multi-faceted warring going on in Syria these past years, one beacon of hope seemed to have been burning in Syria’s north east.
Seemingly neither for nor against the Syrian Arab Army, but defiantly and purposefully against ISIS and other Jihadist forces within Syria, the peoples of three autonomous cantons from various cultural backgrounds, were and are involved in an attempt to live in a new way.
They didn’t and don’t call for internationally recognised independent territory as Iraqi Kurds have done. They are content to be seen as a part of the Syrian state, but want the right to govern themselves within a system of democratic federalism.
From the pre-amble to their constitution –
we, the people of the Autonomous Regions, unite in the spirit of reconciliation, pluralism and democratic participation so that all may express themselves freely in public life. In building a society free from authoritarianism, militarism, centralism and the intervention of religious authority in public affairs, the Charter recognizes Syria’s territorial integrity and aspires to maintain domestic and international peace
As in Spain the 1930s, people have traveled from around the world to defend and support the creation of what some see as a brave bid to develop substantive forms of democratic governance.
As I’ve commented elsewhere, neither the proto state of Iraqi Kurdistan, nor the Turkish state, nor the Syrian state are keen on seeing the development and spread of democratic federalism.
The US has armed the “People’s Protection Units” (YPG) within Rojava, ostensibly to help them resist and overcome ISIS et al, though some suggest it’s merely a cynical ploy by the US to get a toe-hold inside a “soon to be” partitioned Syria.
Given the US has claimed to be setting up a new 30 000 strong “border force” in the region, that cynicism might appear justified. I’ve searched for a direct source on what the Democratic Unionist Party (PYD) have to say about this “border force”, since it would seem to fly in the face of their constitution. I haven’t been able to find any direct quotes from them.
In reaction to the US’s statement about a “border force”, Turkey’s President (nice guy) Erdoğan accused the US of forming “terror army” and threatened to “strangle it at birth”.
Seems it wasn’t an idle threat.
The Turkish defence minister, Nurettin Canikli, on Friday said the assault had begun.
“The operation has actually started de facto with cross-border shelling,” Canikli told the broadcaster A Haber. “When I say ‘de facto’, I don’t want it to be misunderstood. It has begun. All terror networks and elements in northern Syria will be eliminated. There is no other way.” (link)
And so we have two NATO allies on opposite sides of a conflict that also involves Syria, Russia, possibly armed forces from Kurdistan Iraq in the shape of the Peshmerga, as well as, I assume, the remnants of various Jihadist groupings
And the Assyrians, Khirgizians, Armenians, Chechens, Arabs, Kurds and others whose home is Rojava who are merely seeking to develop more empowering and liberatory ways of governance, well, in some ways it looks like 1930s Spain all over again. People don’t matter when powerful, state based political actors are involved in geo-political shenanigans.
And when people don’t matter, democracy dies.
Footnote: Obviously this post is a personal take on one part of a complex situation. The links provided haven’t been provided for no reason. There will be zero tolerance for personal abuse in the comments section, and I’m going to respectfully ask that people make a concerted effort to stay focused on the actual topic of the post. Thankyou.