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In a recent article, Marcel Cartier denounces the Turkish invasion of Afrin and 
calls for solidarity with Rojava....

I fully agree with Cartier's call for solidarity with Rojava revolution, but I 
disagree with some other points in the article.

Cartier rightly condemns the Assad regime for oppressing the Kurds and other 
ethnic minorities   But he gives the regime undue credit in some other respects.

Cartier claims that Assad is popular with a large part of the population....

I believe this is overstating Assad's popularity.  It is true that many 
Syrians, particularly religious minorities such as the Christians, support 
Assad as the lesser evil compared to some of the Sunni-sectarian rebel groups.  
But that does not mean that they regard him as progressive.  The lesser evil is 
still evil....

Cartier also gives Assad credit for being anti-imperialist....

It is true that Assad has in some ways defied US imperialism, particularly by 
supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon.  But in other ways he has at times 
collaborated with US imperialism - e.g. by torturing prisoners sent to Syria by 
the CIA.

>From the point of view of the US ruling class, Assad is a less than ideal 
>ruler of Syria. He has long been allied with Russia and Iran....

No doubt the US would prefer to see a more consistently pro-Western government 
in power in Syria.  When the rebellion started, the US talked of replacing 
Assad, and supplied some aid to the rebels (though not enough for them to win).

Since then, however, talk of replacing Assad has largely disappeared....

When Cartier talks about "the machinations of imperialism towards a government 
that defied its diktat", he is referring to the actions of the US and its 
allies.  But in my view Russia is now an imperialist power too.

Hence when we talk of imperialist intervention in Syria we should include 
Russia as one of the intervening powers.  Because of inter-imperialist rivalry, 
Russia may intervene in a different way than the US.

Russia's military aid to Assad in suppressing the rebels is a form of 
imperialist intervention.

Russia has also intervened diplomatically, by hosting discussions between the 
Assad regime and Turkey.  This has resulted in Turkish troops entering Syrian 
territory without meeting any opposition from the Syrian armed forces or the 
Russian air force.  First Turkey invaded the Jarablus area in 2016.  Now they 
are invading Afrin.  In both cases there appear to be trade-offs.  Turkey has 
persuaded, pressured or ordered some of the rebel groups it supports to 
withdraw from the battle front against Assad in order to fight against Rojava.  
This has helped Assad regain control over much of the territory previously held 
by the rebels.

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