Reprinted from Asia Times
Let's start by talking about Rojava. The full meaning of Rojava -- the three mostly Kurdish provinces of northern Syria -- is conveyed in this editorial (in Turkish) published by jailed activist Kenan Kirkaya. He argues that Rojava is the home of a "revolutionary model" that no less than challenges "the hegemony of the capitalist, nation-state system" -- way beyond its regional "meaning for Kurds, or for Syrians or Kurdistan."
Kobani -- an agricultural region -- happens to be at the epicenter of this non-violent experiment in democracy, made possible by an arrangement early on during the Syrian tragedy between Damascus and Rojava (you don't go for regime change against us, we leave you alone). Here, for instance, it's argued that "even if only a single aspect of true socialism were able to survive there, millions of discontented people would be drawn to Kobani."
Among a myriad of women's and youth councils, there is also an increasingly famous feminist army, the YJA Star militia ("Union of Free Women," with the "star" symbolizing Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar).
The symbolism could not be more graphic; think of the forces of Ishtar (Mesopotamia) fighting the forces of ISIS (originally an Egyptian goddess), now transmogrified into an intolerant Caliphate. In the young 21st century, it's the female barricades of Kobani that are in the forefront fighting fascism.
Inevitably there should be quite a few points of intersection between the International Brigades fighting fascism in Spain in 1936 and what is happening in Rojava, as stressed by one of the very few articles about it published in Western mainstream media.
If these components were not enough to drive crazy deeply intolerant Wahhabis and Takfiris (and their powerful Gulf petrodollar backers) then there's the overall political set up.
The fight in Rojava is essentially led by the PYD, which is the Syrian branch of the Turkish PKK, the Marxist guerrillas at war against Ankara since the 1970s. Washington, Brussels and NATO -- under relentless Turkish pressure - have always officially ranked both PYD and PKK as "terrorists."
Careful examination of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan's must-read book Democratic Confederalism reveals this terrorist/Stalinist equation as bogus (Ocalan has been confined to the island-prison of Imrali since 1999.)
Not only this experiment is taking place politically across northern Syria; in military terms, it was the PKK and the PYD who actually managed to rescue those tens of thousands of Yazidis corralled by ISIS/ISIL/Daesh in Mount Sinjar, and not American bombs, as the spin went. And now, as PYD co-president Asya Abdullah details, what's needed is a "corridor" to break the encirclement of Kobani by Caliph Ibrahim's goons.
Sultan Erdogan's power play
Ankara, meanwhile, seems intent to prolong a policy of "lots of problems with our neighbors."
For Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz, "the main cause of ISIS is the Syrian regime." And Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu -- who invented the now defunct "zero problems with our neighbors" doctrine in the first place -- has repeatedly stressed Ankara will only intervene with boots on the ground in Kobani to defend the Kurds if Washington presents a "post-Assad plan."
And then there's that larger than life character; Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, aka Sultan Erdogan.
Sultan Erdogan's edicts are well known. Syrian Kurds should fight against Damascus under the command of that lousy fiction, the reconstituted (and to be trained, of all places, in Saudi Arabia) Free Syrian Army; they should forget about any sort of autonomy; they should meekly accept Turkey's request for Washington to create a no-fly zone over Syria and also a "secured" border on Syrian territory. No wonder both the PYD and Washington have rejected these demands.