In These Times: “Socialist Foreign Policy Must Center Climate Change”

Meredith Tax, a member of our Steering Committee, is the recent author of A Road Unforeseen: Women Fight the Islamic State. She is an active feminist, organizer and writer. In this piece she discusses why a socialist foreign policy must be shaped by current conditions like climate change and support for the new Rojava paradigm.

“I believe that a socialist foreign policy must be based on international solidarity. We cannot abandon progressive enclaves surrounded by jihadis and fascist states that want to destroy them. Not only do people in Rojava and those still active in the Syrian civil opposition share our values and work for the same goals we do, but they have been trying out grassroots democratic ways of organizing society that will provide us all with precious experimental data. From any foreign policy point of view, their idea that Syria should become a secular federalist state with a weak central government and considerable local autonomy is the best blueprint yet for many ethnically and religious mixed societies in the Middle East. For all these reasons, I believe the United States should continue to arm the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, give them air support against Turkey, Assad and jihadis, and insist that representatives of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria—the official name for Rojava—be at the table in peace negotiations.”

Please, read the full article here.

The New York Times: “These Are Not Disposable Allies”

“If the United States really wants stability in Syria, it needs to back the Kurds politically and practically, not just with weapons.”

September 26th, 2018

Aliza Marcus is the author of “Blood and Belief: The P.K.K and the Kurdish Fight for Independence.” In this opinion piece, Marcus is calling for the U.S. to provide continued military support to the Kurds but emphasizing a need for political and economic support as well.

“The Kurds now control more than a quarter of Syrian territory where an estimated 1.5 million to two million people live. They have created their own administration to govern and provide services. As part of their vision for a decentralized and inclusive Syria, their institutions operate according to rules that promote equal participation for women and equal representation for ethnic and religious groups.”


“The United States announced last month that it intends to keep troops in Syria to support Kurdish-led fighters there until the Islamic State has been completely routed and the area stabilized. Although this long-term commitment is critical, real stability and security can be ensured only by providing political recognition and practical support to the Kurdish administration governing northeastern Syria.”

Read the full article here.

The Herald: “The Women of the Revolution: inside the Kurdish Rojava Revolution”

“The Women of the Revolution: inside the Kurdish Rojava Revolution”

The Herald, Sept. 9, 2018

David Pratt, the Herald’s Foreign Affairs Editor, travels to Rojava in this piece to explore the women’s “revolution in the revolution” and the new democratic structures they’re fostering:

Kongreya Star is a confederation of Rojava women’s organisations whose guiding principle is that “without the liberation of women, a truly free society is impossible”. It has been pivotal in the significant advances made in gender relations in the region.

….

I put it to her that the Middle East was a challenging place to say the least for anyone seeking to enhance women’s rights and asked where might the Rojava women’s revolution be in say five years time?

“We are not daunted by such challenges, women have been suffering for thousands of year, but if we organise to get there then nothing can stop us,” came her reply adding again too the importance of global solidarity.

Read the full piece here

Washington Examiner: “Preserve US interests in Syria by backing the Kurds”

“Preserve US interests in Syria by backing the Kurds”

Washington Examiner, Sept. 7, 2018 –

Opinion piece by Alan Makovsky and Michael Makovsky articulating the idea that U.S. interests are best served by continuing to support Rojava and the Syrian Democratic Forces:

“Indeed, Kurdish forces have been the tip of the global coalition’s spear against ISIS. And now, the energy-rich Kurdish-held territory in Syria’s northeast is one of the few areas in the country not dominated by Assad’s Iranian- and Russian-backed forces. Yet, the U.S. may abandon our Kurdish partners. No formal decision has been made, but in April, President Trump instructed the Pentagon to prepare to withdraw the 2,000 U.S. forces that support the Kurds in Syria.”

Read the entire piece here

Reuters: “Kurdish-led Council Deepens Power in Syria”

“Kurdish-led Council Deepens Power in Syria”

Appearing in the Daily Star, Lebanon (Sept. 7, 2018):

BEIRUT: The political wing of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces is to form a unified administration for its territory, a move that would consolidate its authority in northern and eastern Syria. The SDF controls around a quarter of the country, much of it captured from Daesh (ISIS) with U.S. military help. It is the largest chunk of Syria outside the hands of President Bashar Assad’s state.

[…]

The meeting agreed a mechanism to build the new administration and elected a board in charge of it, the SDC said. Siham Karyo, co-president of the board, said the change would help “the people overcome difficulties and provide services until we reach a democratic, decentralized Syria,” according to local Kurdish news agency ANHA.

Full article is available here

Refinery29: “Amid Death & Despair, A Feminist Revolution Is Happening In Syria”

Rahila Gupta discusses the state of the feminist revolution in Rojava (Democratic Federation of Northern Syria) in this piece on Refinery29:

“What is life like for young women living in a revolutionary society? I particularly wanted to speak to women from different religious and ethnic backgrounds because the revolution is Kurdish-led but actively inclusive of all minorities, to the extent that the Kurds have voluntarily surrendered their majority in this area by sharing power with Arabs and Syriac Christians in parliament.”

Read the full article here

Agence France Press: ‘Syrian Kurds Face Tough Talks To Preserve Autonomy’

Agence France Press reports on “tough talks” to preserve Democratic Autonomy in Rojava:

Assad’s government now controls nearly two-thirds of Syria and is determined to reassert its authority over Kurdish-held territory which forms the lion’s share of the rest.

Recognising their weakened position, Kurdish leaders and their supporters last month opened talks with Damascus, desperate to salvage what they can of the institutions they painstakingly built over the years.

“We are trying to preserve everything we built in terms of the autonomous system, the institutions, the democracy,” said leading Kurdish figure Saleh Muslim.

Read the full article here

MERIP Interview with Kurdish Women’s Movement Activist Dilar Dirik

Dilar Dirik, an activist in the Kurdish women’s movement, discusses the Turkish attack on Afrin, the failure of the West to support the SDF despite their alliance against ISIS, and the continuing struggle. She calls for citizen action and a boycott of Turkey to halt Erdogan’s war on the Kurds.

Read the full article in the Middle Eastern Research and Information Project here: https://www.merip.org/mero/mero072418

OHCHR (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) Releases Report on Turkey’s Human Rights Abuses in Afrin

The UN’s pre-eminent working body on Human Rights, the OHCHR, has released a report detailing the virtual annexation of the Afrin canton of Rojava (DFNS) by Turkey and systematic abuses under Turkey’s occupation.  Turkey has put in place a proxy government which is committing rampant human rights abuses against the local Kurdish population and is trying to change the ethnic composition of the area, actions which amount to major war crimes. The report also predicts further Turkish actions against Rojava if the US pulls out, unless some comprehensive peace agreement is reached first.

Read the full report, entitled “Between a Rock and Hard Place: Civilians in North-Western Syria” at the link below.

PDF Link: https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/ohchr_-_syria_monthly_human_rights_digest_-_june_2018.pdf

Interview with Sinam Mohamad – Representative of Syrian Democratic Council in the U.S.

Sinam Mohamad (Representative of Syrian Democratic Council in U.S.) and Bassam Ishak (President of the Syriac National Council of Syria) gave an interview to the Washington Kurdish Institute Weekly Digest.

Democratic principles and equitable treatment of civilians are the principles on which the SDF was founded and are the values which give its fighters an advantage over their opponents. These principles are aligned with the societal values of most of the Western democracies which comprise the US-led coalition, and the failure to support them in Syria might be the greatest misstep the United States could take in its war against the Islamic State. In the words of SNC Chairman Ishak, “Our vision is for a pluralistic Syria, a decentralized Syria, sharing power, separating religion from state, with gender equality and religious freedom. If this had happened in Turkey or any other Muslim country, it would be illegal. This is a model that is the antithesis of every oppressive regime… This is the real revolution”.

Follow the link to read the entire interview: https://dckurd.org/2018/06/27/the-syrian-democratic-forces-multiethnic-military-alliance/

Sinem Mohamed is a long time Kurdish activist defending the Kurdish rights in Syria, and Bassam Ishak is a Syriac Christian who does not share a similar language, religion, or culture with Sinem. However, both figures seem to be in total agreement envisioning the future of Syria. That vision is a decentralized Syria where communities govern themselves and have the SDF as a guarantor of human rights.