Dec 08 (1/2): SitRep: Rojava

I feel like a total poser using the term “SitRep” as it sounds like a term of trade, but it really is a lot shorter than spelling the same thing out in the title and it’s well known that it means a report on a situation.

Next I’ll be trying to use jargon.

Anyway, the situation in northern Syria continues to be a kind of detente while the political situation—particularly the preliminary posturing before real negotiations occur—develops.

But with the usual low level background violence. It’s like constant static right now.

Most significantly here is Erdogan’s “evolving” position on Turkey’s mission in Syria.

This is pretty messed up.

AMNNews: Turkish military will leave Syria when Syrians say ‘thank you, you may leave’: Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated on Saturday that Turkish forces won’t leave Syrian territory until the people of the country ask Ankara to withdraw.

“We will not leave Syria until the people of Syria say, ‘Thank you, you may leave now’”, the president said at a rally in Istanbul.

I’m not completely clear and maybe there is a language issue, but is this, like, he’s pledging to work to help them until life there is so good that they thank him for it?

Because that’s what I thought he meant the last couple of times he talked like this.

This is starting to sound more like he’s going to hold their heads under water and until they thank him for the privilege.

I wonder if Erdogan even thinks those are different things.

Increasingly though, news media is managing more and more to articulate that this is a load of crap.

Jersulem Post: Turkey’s changing story on Syria: From self-defense to long-term control

Turkey’s narrative is slowly changing on its expanding role in northern Syria.

Turkey says it won’t leave Syria until foreign countries leave “or Syrian people demand the country leave,” according to the Turkish president. This is part of Turkey’s changing narrative on its expanding role in northern Syria. It claimed in 2016 that it had to invade northern Syria to fight ISIS, then it invaded Kurdish regions claiming it was “fighting terrorism,” and then claimed it was taking over Syrian land to re-settle refugees.

Turkey is a sophisticated country with a plethora of pro-government media and diplomats who have articulated the reasons behind Turkey’s various operations in northern Syria. But Turkey is also not consistent in its explanations, often trying to pose each operation as in line with whatever logic suits the ruling party, or messaging to the populace, that is necessary at the time.

Of course, some of the Israeli papers are getting more and more forthright about what and how they think about the Kurdish Question.

Jerusalem Post: If we don’t stand with the Kurds, who should stand with us?

When US President Donald Trump withdrew peacekeeping troops from Northern Syria last month, he executed the latest in a string of historic betrayals by the West towards the Kurdish people.

womens protection unit ypg.JPG

The parallels are stark and increasingly depressing. The Kurdish struggle for statehood is all too similar to the Jewish one in the early 20th century. If we stay quiet, we discard our history and the principles on which Zionism was founded. The old saying goes that, “Kurds have no friends but the mountains.” It’s time we change that.

When US President Donald Trump withdrew peacekeeping troops from Northern Syria last month, he executed the latest in a string of historic betrayals by the West towards the Kurdish people. They are the largest stateless people in the world and despite the promises made in the past, that isn’t changing today.

And, I mean, more and more of the rest of the world, especially since the NATO summit, is having conversations about it as well—not everyone, of course, but the sorts of people who have such conversations.

ANF News: Gavriye: Erdoğan’s goal is a genocide in North-East Syria

Nazira Gavriye is the co-chair of the autonomous administration in the Cizirê Canton. For her it is clear that Erdoğan intends a genocide in Northern and Eastern Syria / Rojava.

The co-chair of the Cizire canton, Nazira Gavriye, is in Europe for diplomatic talks with various political representatives about the ongoing Turkish invasion attacks against Northern and Eastern Syria.

For Gavriye it is clear that the Erdoğan regime wants to initiate a comprehensive ethnic cleansing in Northern Syria under the guise of alleged security concerns. She spoke to ANF about the current situation in Northern Syria.

Nazira Gavriye, who is a member of the Syriac community, first recalled the history of Turkey and the Ottoman Empire, which is full of genocides against the Christian communities of the Middle East. “With each of these genocides our number became smaller. That they are now forcing Christian clergy within Turkish borders to pray for their war of aggression in Northern Syria is extremely perfidious. Who are these soldiers who are wanted to be prayed for in the churches of the Syriacs, shooting at? The Turkish state has established a network of agents even in our churches,” she said.

Meanwhile, Turkey continues with its campaign of ethnic cleansing that is so justified that the super positive humanitarian resettlement of the Syrian refugees from Idlib that don’t actually want to be in northern Syria are brought in furtively under cover of night.

Let’s just recall for a moment what kind of production values are involved when Turkey wants people to see something they’re doing.

Of course, it’s easy enough to situate all this within the context of the war.

So they’re not even going with theater that the “resettlement” of a place where people already live is an attractive thing.

Which makes sense, since, as we’re increasingly seeing, that’s a tough sell.

Meanwhile, beyond the wilfull misrepresentation of life in northern Syrian and Erdogan’s plans for it, Turkey continues to try to control the politics of the region.

The people who live there don’t think much of the alleged representation of their multi-ethnic population of multiple religions who fiercely advocate that women be given voice.

It looks like the NFL deciding on Ray Rice’s punishment for hitting his fiancee.

That was not solid work.

But whereas the NFL screwed up, this is intentional.

RUDAW: Turkey appoints mayors in recently invaded northern Syrian towns

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Sari Kani and Gire Spi, Syrian towns recently occupied by Turkey, have been assigned new mayors by the Turkish government.

Abdullah Erin, the governor of Turkey’s Sanliurfa province, which borders Syria, said that Turkey has appointed mayors for both Gire Spi and Sari Kani “in order to create a coordination” in the areas

Wow. I didn’t think anybody was worse than the NFL.

But yeah, Turkey’s telling the people of northern Syria how they should be governed and by whom.

I don’t know a lot about democratic confederalism, and certainly not as much as I feel like I should, but I’m pretty sure this is not going to fly.

Like, two of the things I think I do know about it is that it’s dedicated to reducing the distance between the government and the people through an emphasis on localism (which is really interesting post-Madisonian stuff), and to emphasizing the importance of women’s voices.

The basic idea, I think, is to keep the system both republican and democratic through an emphasis on institutionalizing everyone having a voice at a level of government to which they can feel connected, which is one of the most important things lost with government centralization.

From an American politics point of view, it’s a really neat attempt to bridge the concerns about big government that threatens freedom and the desire for a responsive, robust government to accomplish the public good.

So this is basically the opposite.

Like, literally the frickin’ opposite of everything the people of Rojava have been going for.

So yeah, not going to fly, I don’t think.

So lets finish up by looking at the background to all this: the kinetic static.

Violence on the Ground

Good news is that the patrols are continuing.

In various combinations depending on location.

It remains to be seen how well they’ll work out though.

RUDAW: Mustafa Bali: Turkey continues to violate ceasefire deals, targets Kurds

Mustafa Bali, head of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) media office, told Rudaw on Sunday that Turkey has launched 200 attacks outside of the ceasefire-designated areas of northern Syria, has occupied 80 villages, and committed mass killings in flagrant disregard for US and Russian-brokered deals.

Speaking to Rudaw in Erbil, Bali said although the US decision to pull out of northern Syria created “hopelessness” among Kurdish forces, the SDF does not consider it a betrayal, because US troops continue to act as a “guarantor” in Derik, Qamishli, and Kobane.

Amid reports of further talks between Syria’s Kurds and the regime of Bashar al-Assad, Bali said the SDF will only engage in talks with Damascus to strike a political deal. Regime institutions will not be allowed to return to the Autonomous Administration region under the guise of a military deal, he added.

Turkey is trying to convince the international community to designate the SDF and other Kurdish forces as terrorists. Bali said “the world is not a fool” and has struck deals with the SDF to fight ISIS terrorists.

So yeah, there hasn’t been a lot of reason in the past for this to be particularly promising, Russia’s new affection for buzzing the tower with helicopters notwithstanding.

So I’ll just end-end with a brief rundown of the kinds of generalized but sporadic violence going on—just recall that this isn’t really a true cease fire but a component of the broader, more subtle campaign of ethnic cleansing.

So anyway, skirmishing, theft, fighting, bad guy stuff, etc.

The best parts are always when the bad guys start fighting with each other.

In case you missed it.


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