Afrin Invasion, 2018
“Do Not Let Afrin Become Another Kobane,” January 19, 2018, ANF/The Region. https://anfenglish.com/rojava/don-t-let-afrin-become-another-kobane-24280
A petition by academics and international human rights activists calling upon the U.S. and international community to protect the canton of Afrin—and the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (Rojava)—from attack and invasion by Turkish military.
Meredith Tax, “Showdown in Afrin: Turkey’s Attack on Syria’s Kurds Threatens That Country’s Most Democratic, Pluralist Force.” January 26, 2018, The Nation. https://www.thenation.com/article/showdown-in-afrin-turkeys-attack-on-syrias-kurds-threatens-that-countrys-most-democratic-pluralist-force/
Written during the first week of Turkey’s attack on Afrin, Tax’s article describes the pluralistic democracy found there, and frames Erdogan’s attack as motivated by racist hatred and driven by electoral politics.
Bethea, Charles, “A Kurdish Family in Syria, Feeling Betrayed by the U.S., Tries to Survive a Turkish Bombing,” January 26, 1018, The New Yorker.
An Afrin pharmacist, reached by phone, describes the continuous Turkish bombing and civilian deaths, the shortages of food and medicine, and the popular conviction that the U.S. could have stopped this from happening but didn’t even try.
Nujin Derik, “We fought for Our Democracy. Now Turkey Wants to Destroy It.” January 29, 2018, New York Times.
Nujin Derik, commander of the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) in Afrin, unveils the ‘extreme Islamist gangster’ groups which Turkey is using to help its ethnic cleansing program; and outlines the Kurdish freedom movement’s goals.
Rosa Burc and Karem Schamberger, “Defending Afrin,” February 2018, Jacobin.
“Defending Afrin” situates Erdogan’s invasion in its historical and geopolitical context of Turkey’s goals of Kurdish assimilation and erasure, goals threatened by the emergence of an autonomous Rojava next door.
Rahila Gupta, “The world’s most progressive democracy is being born. Don’t let it get strangled.” February 12, 2018, CNN.
Rahila Gupta discusses Rojava’s progressive politics and its focus on gender and racial/ethnic equality as the driving force of this revolutionary movement and its best hope for support from the international community.
David Graeber: “Why are world leaders backing this brutal attack against Kurdish Afrin?” February 23, 2018, Guardian.
Graeber investigates how Western powers justify permitting Turkey’s attack on Rojava and exposes how nation-states are threatened by Rojava’s “alternative vision of what life in the region could be like.”
Robert Hockett & Anna-Sara Malmgren, “Feminism across borders: don’t let Afrin become the next Srebrenica.” March 14, 2018, Jerusalem Post.
Hockett and Malmgren discuss Erdogan’s violence against Afrin as explicitly residing along gender fault lines. Afrin’s bottom-up and female-led, secular democracy is the opposite of all Erdogan represents.
Owen Jones, “Kurdish Afrin is democratic and LGBT-friendly. Turkey is crushing it with Britain’s help.” March 16 2018, Guardian.
The Guardian’s Owen Jones interviews two Londoners who are demonstrating against the invasion of Afrin and sees two systems at war here: the egalitarian, feminist and democratic model of Rojava and the authoritarian Islamist one of Turkey and Saudi.
David Romano, “Turkish Officials’ Talking Points on Afrin.” April 3 2018, Rudaw. http://www.rudaw.net/english/opinion/04032018
David Romano dissects the misleading claims and false statements made by Turkish officials about the conflict in Afrin.
Patrick Huff, Amber Huff, Salima Tasdemir, “‘Now is the time of monsters’: the future at a crossroads in Rojava,” April 11 2018, Red Pepper.
The violence in Syria is a third World War whose stakes are nothing less than competing visions of the future.
Human Rights Watch, “Syria: Turkey-Backed Groups Seizing Property,” June 14 2018.
HRW calls for reparations for property looted or destroyed by Turkey-backed armed FSA groups and to provide shelter for civilians moved there from other areas without displacing the Kurds.
Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place—Civilians in North-western Syria,” June 2018, Monthly Human Rights Digest.
Wladimir van Wilgenburg, “Afrin forum highlights human rights violations by Turkey”, December 3 2018, Kurdistan 24.
A conference on “ethnic cleansing and demographic change” after Turkey’s occupation of Afrin provides details about the region’s Turkification, forced homogenization, and mass displacements.
US Withdrawal Crisis, 2019
Guney Yildiz, “US withdrawal from Syria leaves Kurds backed into a corner,” December 30, 2018, BBC News.
Turkey has air power and an army of 25,000 Syrian rebels poised at the border. If the US withdraws, the SDF will have to cut a deal with the Assad government to avoid invasion, but so far Russia has not put pressure on Assad to compromise.
Anonymous, “The Threat to Rojava”, December 28, 2018. Crimethinc.
An anarchist writing from Rojava breaks down the major players in the current conflict in Northern Syria and each of their narratives and concludes with a bleak but clearheaded projection of the potential consequences of US withdrawal.
Yousif Ismael, “Withdrawal from Syria: an America last policy decision.” December 20, 2018. Washington Kurdish Institute.
Withdrawal from Syria is counter to longstanding US interests in the region and cannot be justified by Trump’s missile sale deal with Turkey; nor can Kurds continue to be used as ‘disposable proxies.’
Robert Hockett and Anna-Sara Malmgren, "Trump and the Two Thousand," January 2, 2019, Haaretz.
Argues against the belief of some progressives that withdrawing 2000 troops who have been a buffer between Rojava and Turkey is a blow to imperialism; instead, it is a gift to Islamists and Erdogan, not to mention Iran and Russia.
Akbar Shahid Ahmed, "Don't Count the Kurds Out Yet," January 19, 2019, Huffington Post.
Working with the U.S. has strengthened the Kurds’ position in Syria, but they are realists and have maintained relations with the Assad government as an insurance policy, and are trying to negotiate as much autonomy as possible.
Rosa Burc and Fouad Oveisy, “Rojava is Under Existential Threat,” Feb. 22, 2019, Jacobin. https://www.jacobinmag.com/2019/02/rojava-united-states-withdrawal-syria-erdogan
The history of the Kurdish question and Kurdish oppression under multiple forms of colonialism and imperialism. A new assault by Turkish settler colonialism will not bring peace, only further oppression, and for this reason US withdrawal should be opposed by the left.