Donald Trump drew sharp criticism from high-level Republican Party figures after he gave the green light for Turkey to make a military attack against Kurdish areas in northern Syria.
On Sunday 6 October, the White House announced that US forces will be removed from near the Syrian border with Turkey. This allows a Turkish attack against Kurdish militias which control parts of northern Syria. These militias often led the fight against Isis and, until recently, were backed by the US.
Leading Republican, Mitch McConnell, rebuked Trump for making his deal with the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Senate majority leader reflects sections of the US ruling class who are alarmed that Trump's actions will open the door to greater conflict, threatening US interests.
Erdogan plans to seize control of territory in northern Syria and to forcibly "resettle" millions of refugees who fled to Turkey during the civil war in Syria. This seizing control would threaten the lives of thousands of Kurds and other ethnic groups in northern Syria, as well as potentially creating thousands more refugees.
The Erdogan regime fears that the consolidation of a Kurdish state in northern Syria would encourage similar movements among the oppressed Kurds in Turkey. For decades, the Turkish army fought a bloody war against the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) inside the country.
Under fire from 'progressive' Democrats and hawkish Republicans alike for his decision, Trump tried to play on the deep anti-war mood in America and reverted to his earlier pledges to "bring our troops back home" now that "we defeated Isis".
Facing an overwhelming Turkish military foe, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces called on all Kurds to "defend our homeland" and declared Trump's actions "a stab in the back". But this is just the latest in a series of betrayals by imperialist and regional powers of the Kurds.
For decades, Kurdish nationalist movement leaders have sought alliances with imperialist powers and local capitalist regimes in their struggle to attain national and cultural rights across several countries, including Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey.
The Socialist previously warned that reliance on imperialism, such as Kurdish forces in northern Iraq backing the US-led invasion of 2003, and the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) allowing itself to become an ally of the US in Syria during the fight against Isis, would not lead to genuine self-determination for Kurds.
The US and other powers have, for many years, cynically used the Kurds' plight for their own selfish geo-strategic aims in the Middle East. They have shown they are more than willing to sacrifice this oppressed nationality to further imperialist interests.
Last December, Trump announced the withdrawal of US troops from Syria but was checked after strong opposition from the Pentagon and a torrent of criticism from Republicans and Democrats. The US ruling class is split over foreign policy. The Democrats are no more 'progressive' on these issues than the various factions of the Republican Party. The two parties of big corporations only differ on how to further the interests of American imperialism.
Facing impeachment threats at home and dangerously deteriorating relations with Turkey, Trump has made a new deal with Erdogan in which Kurdish people will mainly pay the price. A Turkish army invasion and the imposition of mainly Syrian Arab refugees into Kurdish areas of northern Syrian is a recipe for new bloody national and sectarian conflict.
The latest unfolding tragedy facing the Kurds underlines the need for an internationalist, socialist approach to realise their national and cultural rights. This means rejecting the pro-capitalist Kurdish nationalist leaders, the regional capitalist regimes and the imperialist powers. It requires building an independent workers' alternative, capable of uniting the oppressed Kurds and the entire working class and poor of Syria, Turkey and the whole region, to resist capitalism and for genuine self-determination of all oppressed nationalities.
27 Jan After the defeat
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