Arabism, Political comment, Profiteering: war & invasion, Syrian history, Western Colonisation

Ashshams: Ball of Confusion, Three Issues that May Influence Turkey’s Position in Syria

Political comment: A Couple of Considerations, Before Jumping on Bandwagons


Turkey’s incursion into Syria is causing confusion as people suggest Turkey is fighting a proxy war with the West. No doubt true as there is a marked return to the pre 1914 power struggles between Russia, Turkey and Britain (America if people prefer), though this is not the only reason for Turkeys’ interference.  A consideration that closely ties into the notion of a proxy war, is Turkey’s designs on parts of Northern Syria, apparent from 2011 and no doubt part of an agreement with Britain, until it was reneged upon when the worm turned and Russia entered the fray.

As was discussed in previous entries, the Turkish/Ottoman empire was on its knees by the late 1800s and more recently Russian dominance diminished with the collapse of the Berlin wall, a symbolic event caused by the erosion of the welfarist model under state socialism, the furthering of neo-liberism and the take over of the economy by the ideological a ”free” market.

Another consideration is that the presence of the Islamic fighters in Syria, continues to complicate matters in so far as they may consist of mercenaries financed by Britain and its cohorts or of the Syrian Salafist movement, the Syrian Brotherhood, which is also supported by Britain. Turkey uses the excuse of fighting the Islamists just as Britain, its cohorts and the Kurdish do. Seemingly everyone in the West can recite the names of I.S., Nusra Front and a string others but have no idea of their actual affiliations.

In relation to Turkey, what is really unclear is the position of President Erdogen, in relation to Salafism. Constitutionally, if reports are accurate, there is no doubt he has shifted Turkey away from its secular base, which has evolved from the Ottoman era. Having said that Turkey is vast and as president, he has to please all his citizens. The truth is though, the back to basics nature of the Islamic revivalist movements permeate all Muslim countries. That said, Arabic Islamic revivalism may be incompatible with its opposite number in Turkey.

The Astana Talks Resume in Socci, Will the Kurds get a Slice of Syria and if so Which Kurds?

A further consideration is, an area in the North East of Syria may be awarded to the Kurdish factions, when the Astana talks resume in Socci, USSR this coming weekend. People in Syria and Lebanon are prepared for the dissection of of their country as, I am sure, is president al-Assad and people do want an end to the conflict. What is left out of the equation is the fact that many of the Kurdish in question are Turkish and in effect will be invaders. I am fully aware I discussed this in the previous entry but have a good reason for repeating the assertion in a different context.

The myth that is perpetuated at the moment is that the Syrian Kurdish are fighting Islamic State and this is no doubt true but there is a method in their madness, not born out of valour but opportunism. They are collaborating with Britain and leading the Turkish Kurdish into Syria. What is not disclosed either is the disparity among the Kurdish populations as many of them are Salafist.

The PKK was said to be Maoist, heroic and fighting against Turkish oppression, no-one denies East Turkey is poor and underfunded historically but in the 1980s and 1990s no-one mentioned why they were attempting to enter Syria. Could it have been in order to increase the Kurdish population in the North Eastern region in preparation for a stand-off with the the Arab people? Was this why the late president Hafez al-Assad closed the border in the North East corner? unusual as Syria and Turkey rarely agree on political issues.

Self appointed freedom fighters from Britain, whether Islamist or pro- Kurdish are committing a criminal act when entering Syria to harm the population there

At the time Britain seemingly backed Turkey’s decision but plans were already underway to invade Iraq and no doubt to use the Iraqi Kurds as part of an initiative to divide the country. Anyway the reason I’m rehashing the subject is because of an article I read, last weekend, in my local rag. It features an ”activist” who returned from Syria where he claimed to have fought Islamic State. This was no surprise as I know people who are in contact with these self appointed freedom fighters.

I know one woman who was bullied for setting up a social work outfit with refugees in Calais because she was not in Rojava the name, by which said activists refer to North East Syria. What galled was that the returnee bleated because the local constabulary arrested and questioned him as well as searching an address where he claimed to stay. There was no mention of questioning his family, which meant he got off scot free really. I was furious at his piety when he’d been in another country commiting acts of violence probably against the local population there. Not all Kurds accept the notion of a ”homeland” either.

Right I’ve sounded off and now I’ll put out my moderate reply, which took me hours because I’d have preferred to write something much more to the point.

I was appalled to read Tristan Cook’s article, which described how a man returned from Syria and was indignant about his treatment by the Bristol police. He claimed to have fought alongside a brigade of Kurdish ”freedom fighters”, to combat Islamic State and appeared to assume this gave him the moral high ground.
The Syrian situation is complex and the position of the Syrian/Turkish Kurdish militias unclear but their quest for a ”homeland” holds appeal for many ”activists” from all over Europe. People have described the proposed Syrian ”Kurdistan” as a utopia but the Kurdish populations in the Middle East lack homogeneity. There is insufficient space to discuss the pros and cons but suffice to say the Kurds have a tentative history, which distorts their entitlement to a separate territory in Syria.
The Islamist and pro-Kurdish activists, who leave Britain for Syria, regard themselve as freedom fighters but in my view, both factions are entering a country that is largely unknown to them to commit acts of violence and thus should be investigated when they return.

The Anarchist Irony

It was pointed out to me at an event last autumn, which is frequented by supporters of the self appointed ”freedom fighters”, who are busy helping the Tories restructure Syria, that many are part of a movement, which is renowned for its actions in foreign parts. Many of its number have lost in interest in Chiapas, a rural region of Mexico and still under attack from its govt and in Palestine, which is under attack from the Israelis. In relation to Palestine, it is ironic that those Kurdish, who are committed to a ”homeland” despite the measures they have to resort in order to achieve their aim, are notorious supporters of the Israelis, even allowing them to buy up property in the North of Iraq.

There’s nothing like switching sides when a more exciting opportunity presents itself I guess.







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