If there is one thing that the civil war in Syria has shown the world is that when the bosses have a disagreement, it is the workers who do the dying. For a quick rundown of who is fighting whom in Syria, click on this link.
Hundreds of thousands of workers in Syria have been murdered by the bosses’ bombs, due to their rotten ideology, their sectarian divisions manufactured by their borders, and the millions of bullets that they have made billions in selling. PLP has pointed out that this civil war in Syria has been a proxy war between the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, and other Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) nations in order to loosen Russia’s natural gas grip over Europe, control the natural gas mega field in the Eastern Mediterranean, and block Iran’s influence in the area. The millions of refugees created by this imperialist adventure are now being used as a political lever by Turkey as Erdogan does his best Gollum impersonation over his precious neo-Ottoman empire expansion into Syria using hoards and hoards of Islamist, mostly Al Qaeda aligned, rebel groups. He is tired of his nation being the ottoman of Europe.
Over 60% of Europe’s natural gas market is dominated by Russia, and the US is desperate to break this stranglehold that keeps them from absolute economic sanctions against Russia. This civil war is a classic example of category of dialectical imperialism known as appearance and essence. It appears to be, and is manipulated to look like by the bosses’ media, a civil war between a tin pot dictator and rebels trying to overthrow him, but it is really an imperialist proxy war between different major nations that is now spinning out of control.
Basically, the US supported Kurdish and Arab Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are now getting Russian Close Air Support (CAS) to fight the CIA vetted and armed moderate opposition that are also tactically aligned with both Al Qaeda and Turkey after the Assad Regime seized territory in northern Syria to cut off the supply lines that the CIA and Turkey were using to pump weapons and jihadis into the conflict. Turkey played a dangerous game and is now in the process of losing it. The worst moment in the history of France was when Germany formed out of the Germanic tribes that Europe had enjoyed using mercenaries in their militaries since the Roman Empire. When Germany rose, it was an existential threat to the social order where England and France’s military might vied to be the preeminent power in Northern Europe.
As Germany rose, it challenged the already divided world and its ambitions led to the conflagration that was supposed to be the Great War to end all wars, but is now just reduced to World War I. Turkey is now staring down that historical moment. An autonomous Kurdish zone, colloquially known as “Rojava”, has formed just south of Turkey’s border as the leftist People’s Protection Units (YPG), the group that is the heart of the SDF, whipped the snot out of the Daesh (Islamic State, ISIS, ISIL) fascists who were hoping to massacre them. Though there are progressive aspects of the YPG that PLP does support such as fighting against patriarchy, they are not Communist and will not be able to sustain a revolution that will transform social relationships through the transformation of the economic relationships. The YPG illustrates the contradiction that unless there is a proper political line fighting directly for Communism, they will eventually end up back in the pit of capitalist ideology and relationships. Just as the PLP did not unreservedly support the brave workers who fought imperialism in Vietnam, we will not uncritically support the YPG and their Rojava project. We will point out that their struggle is just as doomed to the quagmire of capitalism as Vietnam’s left-led struggle National Liberation.
As Kurdish Rojava rises to their southern border, Turkey sees them as more of a threat than the Daesh’s genocidal death cult and has actually embedded their special forces in with the Jihadi groups now infiltrating into Northern Syria as they are just wantonly firing artillery into the Kurdish controlled areas as the Kurds are fighting the “moderate” CIA vetted rebels that have no problem wiping out whole villages of Shia and Al Awari that don’t worship their deity the way that they want to in the name of their Sunni sectarianism.
We are at a historical moment now where the imperialists can either take their losses and leave Syria to a Russian victory – a Russian victory that is going to allow them to take on the mantle of being the army that has defeated Jihadi forces in the Middle East, that has helped to shove a massive thorn into the side of Turkey, and that will allow for them to keep an expanding military presence in an area of the world that is strategically vital to the US’s empire. Turkey and SA have threatened to invade Syria to ostensibly fight Daesh, but this excuse will be a military excursion in order to keep Rojava from uniting across the entirety of Turkey’s border. The US has been arming and funding the YPG in their fight against the Daesh death cult, now Russia is providing CAS, and the regime’s forces are not engaging them as they have worked out some type of de facto non-aggression pact.
When the “Arab Spring” happened, PLP pointed out that none of the groups fighting against their own tin pot dictators had the correct political line of fighting directly for communism and that the struggle would be hijacked. Well, once again we were right as the struggle in Syria led to the rebels making tactical alliances with Islamicists that have now rendered any secular struggle within the Western-backed rebels impotent. Since the rebellion in Syria did not have the correct goals at the outset, it’s now fully apparent that they have betrayed the working class in Syria and now Turkey is trying to stave off the endgame of them being crushed. They have been complaining about being abandoned by their Western backers like the US, but they have also aligned themselves with groups like Jabhat al Nusra, al Qaeda in Syria.
The Western backed rebels aren’t the first group of rebels trying to overthrow a tyrant that became tyrants as they made opportunist errors based on their incorrect political line. They made a deal with the devil, and now they are paying the price as they have basically not only lost the rebellion, but, even more importantly for a rebellion, they have lost the support of the people. Masses of workers are now meeting their former tyrant’s forces that are aligned with that despot Putin in Russia as well as the oppressive fascists in Iran with massive celebrations in the street. They are full of joy at being liberated from the liberators by their former exploiters!
PLP will continue to maintain a principled left position and will not be opportunist. We recognize the historical moment that is now occurring within Syria. We see the balance of forces moving in the direction opposed to the dominant US Empire and allies. We know that the US needs to create a Sunni state to block Iran’s influence and to eject Russia’s growing military might out of the area.
Turkey wants to expand, and as it expands, since it is a member of NATO, US power is also expanded. The issue now occurring is that Turkey has now overplayed its hand. It is now firing artillery into SDF controlled Syria, has tens of thousands of troops along the Syrian border ready to invade, and does not want the US armed and backed SDF to wipe out the US armed and backed rebels and Daesh that now control its southern border. The US is caught as two of the sides that they have supported in Syria are now at war, so they may be able to pull out some kind of diplomatic victory, but Turkey has gone all in on toppling Assad’s regime. If Turkey is unable to topple Assad, that’s bad, but if they not only don’t topple Assad, but are then stuck with a Kurdish autonomous zone along their southern border while they continue to fight a war with the secessionist Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) in their south then it can be easy to foresee a time when Syria facilitates the Kurds in their armed struggle against Turkey. This would be a catastrophe for Turkey and entail a major rollback of NATO, and by association, US power in the geostrategic region.
Turkey is now trying to get the US to say that the YPG is a terrorist organization just like the PKK is. It would not have been prudent, to say the least, if the US had admitted to arming, funding, and providing CAS to a terrorist organization, so they have officially said that the YPG are not a terrorist organization – much to the chagrin of their NATO ally. Turkey considers the revisionist YPG to be more of a danger than Daesh’s genocidal death cult!
It is historical moments like this where seemingly small wars can turn into massive world wars as imperialist rivals have the choice of either throwing in their hands and letting their rivals take all of the chips or doubling down and entering the fray themselves. Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, and, most importantly, Russia have said that if Turkey or SA were to invade it would be a violation of Syria’s sovereignty and they would be going home in body bags. This is not an empty threat. Turkey shot down a Russian plane that was bombing its Islamist proxy forces in northern Syria, and Russia has not forgotten. It will, in all probability, attack any columns of troops entering into Syria. Turkey may not be able to invoke the NATO defensive pact since it would be an offensive operation. SA would use an army made up of many of its allies including Pakistan and Indonesia, who, ironically, have both said that they don’t want to invade, but may be obligated to due to signed defense pacts. If Russia were to vaporize the Turkish troops that invaded, this could be quite the spark.
The bosses are seeing the weakness the US has right now, a weakness where they don’t have the mass army that they need to confront their current world rivals, don’t have the patriotism necessary to induce their army to fight, and, most importantly, don’t have their own ruling class unity won to the necessary economic sacrifices necessary for such a massive war.
Aspirant warmongers like Bernie Sanders would prove to be quite the boon to the US ruling class as he already is saying that he wants the rich to pay more taxes. He or Hillary would be just what the dominant liberal wing of the US ruling class needs to convince its working class to wage a really big war. So, whichever Repubulocrat or Demopublican, Trump or Sanders, that wins the US presidential election will have to carry out the needs of a US empire in decline. PLP knows that imperialist bloodbaths have lead to Communist revolution in the past and knows that, as we continue to build in over 25 countries on 5 continents, we have a world to win and nothing to lose but our chains. The bosses will attempt to destroy this world, but workers built it, run it, and can build it again even better. We know that this capitalist system will not last forever. The bosses can keep conspiring again and again, but only a Communist revolution led by PLP can end these wars once and for all.