17/08/2018 by socialistfight
Benjamin Netanyahu has recently gotten hit by a political bullet, and this is coming from former Israeli defense minister Moshe Ya’alon (left). Netanyahu, says Ya’alon, is fostering “fascistization” in Israel and much of the West.
Theresa May sacked International development secretary Priti Patel on 9 November 2017 ostensibly because she wanted to send British aid money to support an Israeli army programme treating wounded Syrian jihadists, including al-Qaeda fighters, in the occupied Golan Heights. May had accepted an apology for the 12 other secret meeting with Israeli ministers on the 6 November.
Two and a half years ago, The Times of Israel told us, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon admitted that Israel has been providing aid to Syrian rebels:
“Israeli officials have previously balked at confirming on the record that the country has been helping forces that are fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad… Israel has treated over 1,000 wounded Syrians in its hospitals since the onset of the civil war in 2011.”
Israel regularly bombs Assad’s Syrian Arab Army and never bombs ISIS/Daesh or Al Qaeda, whose fighters they generously restore to full health and fighting form in their own hospitals as a ‘humanitarian’ gesture, as Priti told us. Their rescuing of the Al Qaida supported White Helmets, is another ‘humanitarian’ act which fully reveals the real p-land of imper8ialism in the region; they were sponsored by the US. Britain and France in the main. On 9 August it was reported that the SAA had taken triangle of Syrian territory slicing between Jordan and the Israeli Golan Heights in the Yarmouk Basin located in the far western countryside of Syria’s southern province of Daraa. From this high ground an Israeli observatory can be seen on the Golan Heights on the right and on the left is Jordan. Arms supply to rebels are now cut off here.
Now there are three main jihadist groups in Syria, ISIS/Daesh, in retreat on all fronts and facing defeat, HTS, funded by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc., and the FSA, now Turkey’s protegee. All three were either initiated or funded or assisted in other ways by the USA either directly or covertly via Israel and its Gulf, Turkish and Jordanian allies to effect regime change in Syria. The only reasons the USA began fighting ISIS was a) its appalling social values on show in the mass executions for religious and ethnic reasons which made it impossible to openly support it in a bourgeois democracy and b) in Syria the intervention of Russia, Hezbollah and Iran meant Assad was winning the war and they would be excluded from substantial influence and resources in the region when ISIS and the other jihadists were defeated. Similarly, with Iraq, Iran’s intervention was crucial, and the USA could not allow those forces to win the field alone.
Of course, it is necessary to deny most of this; the USA is, of course ostensibly horrified at the funding of these barbarians by its allies and really does try to persuade them to be a little more discerning in who they sponsor they want us to believe, as we see from the extract here:
“The messages, published by Wikileaks, contain an unambiguous statement by her (Hillary Clinton’s) campaign chairman, John Podesta: “We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.”
Indeed, the former US vice president, Joe Biden, once spoke off-message by accusing Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states of pouring “hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad.” He explained: “The people who were being supplied were al-Nusra, and al-Qaeda, and the extremist elements of jihadis who were coming from other parts of the world … We declared [ISIS] a terrorist group early on. And we could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them.”
US-led coalition allowed hundreds of ISIS vehicles to leave Raqqa city. Despite Kurdish and American drones hovering above Raqqa on all flanks, the Islamic State convoy remained completely untouched by coalition airstrikes.
SDF/YPG begins to abandon US imperialism, turns to Assad
Once Raqqa fell in October 2017 preparations for war against Iran got going properly. The USA is very anxious to get Turkey onside again to make sure it doesn’t defend Iran or Qatar by throwing the Kurdish forces to the Turkish wolves. And Putin will turn his head away also. And many of us have seen that coming from the moment the YPG puts its head in the US lion’s mouth in Kobanî.
The Syrian Arab Army vied with the US-backed forces for the oilfields around Deir Azzor (Az-zor, Ezzor), although the SAA took the town itself on 4 November 2017. The Euphrates Valley holds the best of Syria’s farmland and the oil fields, the real prize.
The USA was already organising its transnationals to take control and exploit these oil fields. In September 2017 the USA made a determined effort to win that race by directly attacking the SAA. No less than 37 US air strikes killed between 90 and 106 Syrian Army soldiers and wounded 110 more. This was not the first ‘mistake’ made by the US in bombing the SAA which directly assisted ISIS, whom they hypocritically asserted was their real target. On 6 December 2015, the US bombed a Syrian Arab Army base at Deir Ezzor reportedly killing 4, wounding 13 and eliminating 2 tanks. US officials lied that the bombing was a mistake by Russians, but ISIS attacked in concert immediately. In April 2017 Trump launched 59 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles at a Syrian airfield following the false flag “sarin gas” attack.
On 18 May 2017 the US bombed the Syrian Arab Army close to At Tanf, on the Jordanian border, where US and UK special forces were training “Syrian rebels” to fight against ISIS, allegedly. The US bombed the Syrian army in al-Tanf again on 6 June as it desperately sought to prevent the SAA from advancing to the Iraqi border and opening up a direct route for Iran to the Mediterranean. They claimed to have destroyed or damaged all Syrian armoured vehicles. They have now lost that battle. The Mina blog reported:
“The US claims the Syrians were within 55 kilometers of the US base at al-Tanf, Syria which made them a fair target. But the 55 kilometer exclusion zone is a unilateral American invention. It has no grounding in law or common sense. What is worse—as the US air force was bombing the Syrian army—US-backed rebels were bragging about attacking Syrian forces sitting just outside the 55 kilometer perimeter with their artillery. For some reason the unilaterally-proclaimed “deconfliction zone” cuts only one way — the Syrian army may not drive past it, but the CIA-backed rebels may come as close to the government forces as they please.”
Russia complained bitterly but was ignored. The US claimed responsibility for these attacks, alleging they had a right to protect its Syrian “rebels”. Russia said the September raids were intentional and it resulted in a breakdown in relations with the US and an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting. It was these US air strikes that finally persuaded Russia to recapture East Aleppo, which was liberated from the jihadists in December 2016. Wikipedia reported:
“The dispute led to an end of U.S.-Russian bilateral peace talks on Syria. Russia used the air raid to justify enhancing its missile air defences in Syria and the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry would go on to claim that the breakdown of the ceasefire helped lead to the eventual capture of rebel-held East Aleppo by Syrian government forces. The attack also led to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which was besieging the Syrian-government held city of Deir ez-Zor, capturing multiple strategic points around the Deir ez-Zor airport.”
The result of the Iraqi Kurdish referendum was announced in September Kurdistan in Iraq in September 2017. Iraq recaptured much of this territory after the referendum Israel was the first state to endorse the referendum and an independent Kurdistan, Netanyahu said that Israel “supports the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to achieve their own state”. Iran’s Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the United States of ″seeking to create a new Israel in the region″ by supporting the Kurdish independence vote. The US, in seeking to balance between Turkish and Israeli interests in the region, sent mixed messages. Turkey opposed the referendum and bombed PKK bases in the mountains of north-west Iraqi Kurdistan in early November 2017, as it has done several times in recent years. In the wake of the opening of negotiations between Kurdish leaders and Assad Erdoğan has again threatened to attack this PKK base in Iraq.
The fall of Afrin and Manbij to Turkey and its Free Syrian Army allies has brought home to Kurdish leaders the appalling danger they opportunism has placed them. Reliance on the USA and Russia was always a dangerous game. Negotiations with Assad have now opened up new possibilities for Kurdish self-determination.
Turkish tanks cross into the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in Syria on January 22. The US went from supporting Syrian Kurds, to backing Turkey against them – in just 9 days
Turkey’s offensive against Afrin
The offensive by Turkey against Afrin began on 21 January, two days after Russia withdrew its “military advisors” from the enclave. The offensive was against the Kurdish-led Democratic Union Party in Syria (PYD), its armed wing People’s Protection Units (YPG), and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). It was entirely predictable that the US would throw the YPG to the wolves as soon as they had served their purpose. Turkey is a far more valuable NATO ally ultimately and it must repair differences lest Russia profit too much from them. Russia’s backstabbing of Assad over the Afrin attack has produced unexpected results. Now Egypt has backed Syria over this as they had allied with Assad over opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood in both Egypt and Syria.
Rosa Gilbert, in Facebook debate with Gerry Downing, defended the US-Kurdish alliance and denied there was any change of tactics;
“Gerry you’ll notice that the YPG do indeed have a pact with the regime (did you miss what happened in Aleppo?) and the govt did warn Turkey not to intervene else their planes will be shot down – but the Syrians are completely reliant on the Russian military force who are more interested in securing their gas pipeline deal with Turkey. Gerry, you can’t secure socialism in a single country if there is no fucking country in the first place!!!!”
Gerry Downing commented:
“You have deliberately ignored my central point here, Rosa Gilbert, the nationalistic agenda of socialism in a single country is completely bankrupt in a situation where one nation’s rights contradict another nation’s rights when they invite the assistance of the prime enemy of socialism in the planet (the USA) to assist them. You cannot advocate Kurdish self-determination with the assistance of the USA. It could not happen anyway as we are now seeing. This Kurdish Anarcho-Stalinist leadership are reaping the rewards of their unprincipled and opportunist alliance with Uncle Sam. As for changing horses in mid-stream we can never cross the stream of revolution on the horse of reformism or Stalinism, as someone once said (almost).
Rosa Gilbert Commented:
How dare you say they are “reaping the rewards” whilst civilians in Afrin and brave YPG fighters are being slaughtered by the fascist Turkish state. And to address your point about the US, the alliance between the SDF and the US was not to establish a Kurdish state but to assist in the fight against ISIS. Just as they did a similar deal with Russia in Afrin. But sure it’s easier to blame the Kurds who for 100 years have been forced to live within the confines of the imperialist-drawn borders of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran which split their towns and villages in two in many cases, than to actually bother to criticise the role of the imperialist powers and NATO, the duplicity of both the US and Russia, which is much more complex and nuanced than your pathetic purity politics.
Gerry Downing commented:
Ok. The Kurdish fighters are reaping the rewards of the treachery of their leadership. PS – Anyone who speaks of the duplicity of the US really has not learned the ABC of Marxism. [i]
Socialist Action’s Jeff Mackler reported on the dramatic change of line in March 2018:
“The open rift between the Kurds and U.S. imperialism had its origins in Afrin during the past two months when U.S. officials assured its NATO ally, Turkey, of its long-term intentions in Syria. Former U.S. ambassador to Turkey and Iraq, James F. Jeffrey, bluntly stated, “We told the Turks that the Kurds were temporary, tactical, and transactional to defeat ISIS. Now we need them to contain Iran. The whole purpose of this is to split the Russians from the Syrians by saying we’re going to stay on to force a political solution in Syria” (The New York Times, Jan. 22, 2018). [ii]
Whilst disagreeing with the pro-imperialism of the Kurdish leadership it is nonetheless incumbent on us to defend the Kurdish masses, and in these circumstances, that does mean defending the Kurdish leadership militarily but not politically (their ethnic cleansing of Arab villages is reprehensible) against the Turkish onslaught. Ultimately a defeat for the YPG here would be seen as a defeat for revolutionary struggle in the region in general. Which is why the USA and Russia have withdrawn support. We utterly condemn the gross pro-imperialist and pro-Zionism of leader Masoud Barzani, President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region from 2005 to 2017. He is also leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) since 1979. He continues to collaborate with the US, Israel and Turkey against his own fellow countrymen.
Marxists support the right to self-determination of all the Kurds in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey in a single state but do not advocate it in the present circumstances where the only beneficiaries would be imperialist and Zionist and the creation of puppet states with puppet leaders in hock to US and EU transnational corporations like Exxon Mobil Corporation, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, BP plc, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total S.A. However, the alliance with Syria opens up the prospect of the emergence of a better and more anti-imperialist leadership in Kurdistan and in Syria.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri who always seems to agree with the last person he was talking to.
Lebanon: Hezbollah and its emerging power
On 4 November Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri issued a resignation statement from Riyadh; his life was in danger, he claimed:
“Iran controls the region and the decision-making in both Syria and Iraq,” he said. “I want to tell Iran and its followers that it will lose in its interventions in the internal affairs of Arab countries.” Iran credibly claimed that, “The resignation was aimed at creating tension in Lebanon and the region. This resignation was also meant to compensate the US for its failures after the defeat of the Daesh (ISIS).”
Iran backs Hezbollah, a political party and militant group that maintains Lebanon’s most powerful military force and is considered a terrorist organization by the United States. Iran has also invested in allies in Syria, Yemen and Iraq.
But the situation changed dramatically since then. Hariri rescinded his resignation on 5 December 2017 and pledged that all members of the government would stay out of conflicts in Arab countries in future. However, the results of the elections in early May boosted the position of Hezbollah and its political allies. They “expanded their share of seats in Lebanon’s Parliament, increasing their political clout at the expense of the country’s Western-backed prime minister, according to preliminary election results released on Monday. The outcome of Lebanon’s first parliamentary elections in nine years shored up Hezbollah’s position in a way that is likely to alarm the United States, Israel and Gulf Arab nations like Saudi Arabia”, according to the New York Times.
A portrait of Lebanon’s Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on the side of a road in the mainly Shiite Muslim southern suburbs of Beirut.
Central to this also is the situation in Yemen, the merciless bombarding and starving by blockade of the civilian population, funded and organised by Britain and the US to defeat the Houthi rebels, Iran allies and fellow Shia coreligionists. The Independent reported on 8 November that:
The number of British-made bombs and missiles sold to Saudi Arabia since the start of its bloody campaign in Yemen has risen by almost 500 percent, The Independent can reveal. More than £4.6bn of arms were sold in the first two years of bombings, with the Government grant increasing numbers of export licences despite mounting evidence of war crimes and massacres at hospitals, schools and weddings. The United Nations says air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition are the main cause of almost 5,295 civilian deaths and 8,873 casualties confirmed so far, warning that the real figure is “likely to be far higher”.
French President Macron said that he had heard “very harsh opinions” on Iran from Saudi Arabia, which did not match his own view. “It is important to speak with everyone,” he added. On 9 September, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies told their citizens in Lebanon to leave the country immediately. It came after Riyadh accused Iran of “direct military aggression”, saying it supplied a missile which it says was fired by Hezbollah at Riyadh from Yemen on Saturday.
Apart from Brazil Latin America escaped WWII directly and Brazil was only tangentially involved. It looks far different this time around. As we have analysed the US is seeking to reverse the losses suffered after fightback of the late 1990 and the first decade of this century and the economic collapse after the 2008 debacle. Venezuela is in Trump’s crosshairs also; he told reporters that he would not “rule out a military option” for Venezuela. All the elements for WWII are now in place in these four flashpoints; North Korea, Syria/Iraq, Ukraine and Venezuela. All these developments oblige serious revolutionaries to redouble their efforts to re-forge the scattered remnants of Trotsky’s Fourth International as the world party of socialist revolution.
[i] Defend Afrin, defend the Kurdish nation’s right to self-determination, US and Turkish troops out of Syria!, Socialist Fight Editorial Board 28-1-18, https://socialistfight.com/2018/01/28/defend-afrin-defend-the-kurdish-nations-right-to-self-determination-us-and-turkish-troops-out-of-syria/
[ii] Jeff Mackler, Syrian Kurds begin break with U.S. imperialism, 17 March, 2018, https://socialistaction.org/2018/03/17/syrian-kurds-begin-break-with-u-s-imperialism/