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The NYT piece is absurd, the bulk is the "analysis" of representatives of a
London-based neocoervative think tank. Further spin is provided by a quote
from a Turkish journalist accusing thePKK of being enforces for Assad,which
is pure slander. I am not sure what the article is meant to prove, pother
than the NYT will print rubbish.

On Thu, 13 Sep 2018 at 10:38, Louis Proyect via Marxism <
marxism@lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:

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> On 9/12/18 8:17 PM, Chris Slee via Marxism wrote:
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> https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/syria-assad-threatens-idlib-while-afrin-resists-turkish-occupation
> >
>  From the article above:
> "In July 2012, an uprising occurred in three predominantly Kurdish
> cantons known collectively as Rojava in the Kurdish language. People
> surrounded the Assad regime’s military bases and called on the soldiers
> to surrender. In most cases, they did so. With regime forces stretched
> by fighting rebels on multiple fronts, those who resisted were quickly
> defeated."
> So what were the military bases that the Kurds surrounded and called
> upon soldiers to surrender? I seem to have trouble finding a reference
> to anything like that in Lexis-Nexis. Mostly, I find tons of references
> to Assad abandoning territory to Kurds in order to focus on killing the
> rebels that you people consider so politically backward compared to the
> acolytes of Murray Bookchin. I admit that I have not read all the
> hundreds of articles about Kurds and Assad in 2012 but the first 25 or
> so read like this:
> NY Times, April 19, 2012
> Kurds sit out the fighting in Syria; Long-oppressed group with hope of
> nation-state fears joining losing side
> The Kurds of Syria, long oppressed by the government of President Bashar
> al-Assad, are largely staying out of the fighting that has gone on for
> more than a year in their country, hedging their bets as they watch to
> see who will gain the upper hand.
> Mr. Assad has made major efforts to keep them out of the fray, aware
> that their support for the opposition could prove decisive. He has
> promised that hundreds of thousands of Kurds will be given citizenship,
> something the ruling Assad family has denied them for nearly half a
> century.
> The Kurds have other reasons for holding back: The opposition movement
> in Syria is made up in large part by the Muslim Brotherhood and Arab
> nationalists, two groups that have little sympathy for Kurdish rights,
> and the Kurds cling to their long-sought goal of a Kurdish state.
> ''Syrian Kurds are, by and large, sitting out this dance,'' said
> Jonathan C. Randal, the author of a widely respected book on the Kurds -
> the largest ethnic group in the world without a state. Yet a recent
> report by the Henry Jackson Society, a foreign policy research institute
> in London, describes the Kurds as a ''decisive minority'' in the Syrian
> revolution and says their support would help in a ''rapid overthrow in
> the Assad regime.''
> The Kurds, who make up about 10 percent of the country's population,
> find themselves in something of a dilemma. If the revolution against Mr.
> Assad succeeds, their passive role will give them less of a say in how
> the country is ruled. But they also fear that any future government will
> be much more Islamist than the secular Assad government.
> As Michael Weiss, a spokesman for the institute, said, ''The Kurds don't
> want to join something that will lose.''
> That is not surprising, given the history of oppression of the Kurdish
> people, not only in Syria but also in Turkey, Iraq and Iran, the four
> countries that intersect the traditional Kurdish region, much of it
> rugged mountain terrain.
> In the past, they have been denied language, culture and any sort of
> national identity in those countries, though major changes have been
> made in oil-rich northern Iraq since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
> The history of their poor treatment in Syria is lengthy. But the most
> notable event took place in 1962, when 120,000 Kurds had their
> citizenship denied on the grounds they were not born in Syria. Today,
> that number has roughly doubled because of descendants who cannot lay
> claim to citizenship.
> In 1973, Syria began creating an ''Arab belt'' in northern Syria,
> confiscating Kurdish land and giving it to Arabs.
> In 2004, Syrian security forces used live ammunition after clashes broke
> out between Kurds and Arabs at a soccer match in the northern Syrian
> town of Qamishli, killing at least 30 and wounding more than 160. After
> rioters burned down the local Baath Party headquarters and toppled a
> statue of former President Hafez al-Assad, hundreds of Kurds were arrested.
> Besides the banning of the Kurdish language and books from schools,
> celebrations like Nowruz - the traditional Kurdish New Year - were long
> prohibited in Syria.
> As part of his effort to appease the Kurds, Mr. Assad pledged that he
> would grant citizenship to about 200,000 stateless Kurds as protests
> were spreading - a promise he has yet to make good on.
> Mr. Weiss, the institute spokesman, said it was Kurdish protests at the
> government in early 2011 that first alarmed the Assad government, which
> little realized that an uprising was to follow in other parts of Syria.
> ''At first, Assad just thought he had a Kurdish problem on his hands,''
> he said.
> Gokhan Bacik, the director of the Middle East Strategic Research Center
> at Zirve University in Gaziantep, Turkey, said the Syrian Kurds were
> fragmented among many political parties, making it all the more
> difficult for them to unite for any cause.
> But even though the Kurds as a whole do not want to jeopardize the
> long-term goal of a nation-state, he said, they are keeping their own
> counsel.
> ''There is a nascent idea of a Kurdish nation,'' he said. ''They don't
> want to risk this process. For them, the major point is long-term
> survival in better conditions.''
> The Kurdish National Council, a bloc of Kurdish parties, walked out of a
> meeting in Istanbul last month of the Syrian National Council, an
> organization that has come to represent the rebellion in exile. They did
> so because the Islamist-dominated Syrian group refused to include
> wording about the rights of Kurds.
> The Kurds have said they are seeking constitutional recognition,
> compensation for their suffering and a federal government, as well as
> the removal of the word ''Arab'' from Syria's official name: the Syrian
> Arab Republic.
> The Kurds of Syria are hardly operating in a vacuum, with neighboring
> Turkey and Iraq also involved.In Iraq, Masoud Barzani, the president of
> the semiautonomous Kurdish north, has been an active supporter of the
> Kurdish National Council. Turkey, meanwhile, has tried to act as the
> interlocutor for the Syrian National Council and the role the Kurds
> play. But that has its own set of pitfalls because the Kurds remain
> suspicious of Turkey, which has treated its own Kurdish population poorly.
> A wild card in all this is the Kurdistan Workers Party, or P.K.K., a
> well-armed and well-trained militia that has been designated a terrorist
> organization by the United States. In Syria, the group has allied itself
> with the Assad government, which could use it to stir up tensions along
> the Turkish border, should Mr. Assad see the need.
> In the past, Syria armed and protected the P.K.K. in its long campaign
> against Turkey, though that assistance cooled when relations between the
> countries began improving little more than a decade ago. The group has
> already threatened to turn all Kurdish areas in the region into a ''war
> zone'' if Turkey crosses the border to intervene in the Syrian crisis.
> A Turkish journalist, Serdar Alyamac, who has specialized in Kurdish
> issues, said the group would also serve as an enforcer for Mr. Assad in
> the Kurdish regions of Syria.
> ''Assad naturally wants to use the P.K.K. to control the area,'' he
> said. ''Plus the P.K.K. is familiar with the area. It's a win-win
> situation for Assad and the P.K.K., if it works.''
> In the cluttered bazaar of this ancient city near the Syrian border, the
> merchant who sells lipstick and face powder in his tiny stall tells the
> story of the Syrian town of Afrin.
> Before the troubles began, he said, there was no school there.
> ''It's completely under the control of the Kurds,'' said the man, who
> refused to give even his first name for fear of reprisal. ''The
> government opened four schools for them, so it's quiet there. I know
> because four of my children live in Afrin and I call them all the time.''
> At another stall, a cloth merchant named Nouri reached into his pocket
> and took out his cellphone, which he used to pull up pictures of the
> refugee camp housing more than 9,000 Syrians just outside the city. A
> Kurd, he has been working part time as an interpreter from Arabic to
> Turkish for the refugees.
> The shots show white, boxy prefab units, one of the two mosques in the
> camp and the beginning of a children's playground.
> ''In the camps, there are some Kurds,'' he said. ''But if you ask them
> if they are Kurds, they always say no. And they always speak Arabic, not
> Kurdish. They are frightened because they think Turkish people will
> believe they are from the P.K.K.''
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