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Turks, Kurds, Americans: the Kobani riddle

By       Message Pepe Escobar     Permalink
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Reprinted from RT

From youtube.com/watch?v=d2AfFFZntJw: Airstrikes hit Kobani
Airstrikes hit Kobani
(Image by YouTube)
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Pay close attention to the women of Kobani, where Syrian Kurds are desperately fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. They are also fighting the treacherous agendas of the US, Turkey, and the government of Iraqi Kurdistan. Who will prevail?

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 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 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."

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In Rojava, decision making is via popular assemblies -- multicultural and multi-religious. The top three officers in each municipality are a Kurd, an Arab and an Assyrian or Armenian Christian; and at least one of these three must be a woman. Non-Kurd minorities have their own institutions and speak their own languages.

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).


Women mourn during a funeral in Qamishli for six YPG fighters killed in clashes with ISIS near al-Taliliya, Syria.
(Image by IMAGE: CENGIZ YAR JR)
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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 at the forefront of 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 the mainstream Western media.

If these components were not enough to drive crazy deeply intolerant Wahhabis (and their powerful Gulf petrodollar backers) then there's the overall political set up.

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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.)

What the PKK -- and the PYD -- are striving for is "libertarian municipalism." In fact that's exactly what Rojava has been attempting; self-governing communities applying direct democracy, using as pillars councils, popular assemblies, cooperatives managed by workers -- and defended by popular militias. Thus the positioning of Rojava in the vanguard of a worldwide cooperative economics/democracy movement whose ultimate target would be to bypass the concept of a nation-state.

Not only is this experiment 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 in prolonging 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."

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Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)
 

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