On May 18, the secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a Norwegian named Jen Stoltenberg, stood on a stage, flanked by the ambassadors to NATO of Finland and Sweden, Klaus Korhonen and Axel Wernhoff, respectively. It was one of those made-for-television moments that politicians dream of — a time of high drama, where the ostensible forces of good are faced off against the relentless assault of evil, which necessitates the intervention of like-minded friends and allies to help tip the scales of geopolitical justice toward those who embrace liberty over tyranny. “This is a good day,” Jen Stoltenberg announced, “at a critical moment for our security.” Left unsaid was the harsh reality that hundreds of miles to the east the military forces of Russia and Ukraine were locked in deadly combat on Ukrainian soil.
The Iraqi geopolitical analyst, Ali Fahim, recently said in an interview with The Tehran Times: “The arrival of [newly elected Iranian President] Ebrahim Raisi at the helm of power gives a great moral impetus to the resistance axis.” Further, with new administrations in the United States, Israel, and Iran, another opportunity presents itself to reinstate fully the 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement, as well as completely lift the US economic sanctions from Iran. Let us wait and see after Raisi is in power in August 2021. It is a fact that, since the Trump administration pulled out of the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal, tensions have been on the rise. One can legitimately suspect that the Trump pull out had as its real intentions: first, to provoke Tehran; second to undo one of the only foreign policy achievements of the Obama administration, which was negotiated by John Kerry for the US.
Since Sept. 27, fighting in the disputed south Caucasus Mountain region of Nagorno-Karabakh has killed over 1,000 people, both civilians and combatants, while uprooting the lives of thousands. This includes new 11 casualties on Sunday, Oct. 25, noted in a Deutsche Welle report citing numbers released by the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Ministry. Leading up to the 2020 election, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, its disputed history between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and its geopolitical implications, along with many other critical foreign policy issues, have been largely ignored by the American media...
The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria has signed an agreement with an American oil company, well-placed sources with close knowledge of the deal told Al-Monitor. One of the sources said the agreement to market oil in territory controlled by the US-backed entity and to develop and modernize existing fields was inked last week “with the knowledge and encouragement of the White House.” The sources named the company as Delta Crescent Energy LLC, a corporation organized under the laws of the state of Delaware. The sources gave no further details about the company but would only say they had been in talks for “a long time” and that it had received an OFAC license to operate in Syria. Oil is a politically radioactive topic, with the central government in Damascus accusing the United States of stealing its oil after Trump declared last year in the wake of Turkey’s October incursion against the SDF that he was keeping some 500 US Special Forces in the Kurdish governed space “for the oil.” Despite steadily tightening sanctions on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, the United States has turned a blind eye to ongoing oil trade between the Kurds and Damascus. A fair amount of the oil is also sold at cut-rate prices to the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
Despite the odds stacked against it, the women’s movement is determined to continue the struggle. In response to the Turkish invasions, hundreds of thousands of women from the different communities in Northern Syria have taken to the streets. On the International Day against Violence against Women, all the women’s organizations in Northern Syria organized large rallies across the region with the slogan ‘Occupation is Violence’. These local actions were echoed by feminist actions around the world under the campaign ‘Women Defend Rojava’. ‘Day and night, we engage in efforts to struggle against the occupation,’ Evîn says. ‘Our aim is for these areas to be liberated and for our people to see a dignified return. Both things must be led by the organized, free woman.’
Having been hit by the Syrian Air Force in Idlib, Turkey has called on NATO’s protection, but as much as the alliance would like a fight with Assad and his ally Russia, it’s refused to back Ankara’s questionable adventure. Turkey engaged NATO in Article 4 consultations, seeking help regarding the crisis in Syria. The meeting produced a statement from NATO condemning the actions of Russia and Syria and advocating for humanitarian assistance, but denying Turkey the assistance it sought. The situation in Idlib province has reached crisis proportions. A months-long military offensive by the Syrian Army, supported by the Russian Air Force and pro-Iranian militias, had recaptured nearly one-third of the territory occupied by anti-Assad groups funded and armed by Turkey.
Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Foreign Relations Committee wrote a letter addressed to the American people and President Donald J. Trump responding to the comparisons made between the Kurdish movement and ISIS amid the genocidal campaign of the Turkish state against the Kurdish people. The letter reads as follows; “To the American people and President Donald J. Trump, We refuse comparisons being made between our movement and the inhumane thugs of ISIS. Our response is as follows: There are more than 40 million Kurds living in the Middle East today. At the end of the First World War, outside powers divided them among four autocratic states: Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, where our movement began.
The negotiations in Sochi were long – over six hours – tense and tough. Two leaders in a room with their interpreters and several senior Turkish ministers close by if advice was needed. The stakes were immense: a road map to pacify northeast Syria, finally. The press conference afterwards was somewhat awkward – riffing on generalities. But there’s no question that in the end Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan managed the near impossible.
When forces in U.S. ruling circles contend with and denounce each other to justify foreign intervention — as is currently happening in reaction to the announced U.S. pullback from the Kurdish area of Syria — this generates speculation, analysis and confusion in the population, including among anti-war activists. It demands a clear political response. This confusion takes place because U.S. apologists invent pretexts for the government’s military interventions. They falsely claim it sends troops to defend democracy or to protect the human rights for some group. Rather, U.S. troops are sent to intervene only to protect and expand the strategic or economic interests of U.S. imperialism. U.S. forces in Syria have brought nothing but misery to that country’s people, including its Kurdish population.
Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Foreign Relations Committee wrote a letter addressing to the American people and President Donald J. Trump responding to the comparisons made between the Kurdish movement and ISIS amid the genocidal campaign of the Turkish state against the Kurdish people. The letter reads as follows; “To the American people and President Donald J. Trump, We refuse comparisons being made between our movement and the inhumane thugs of ISIS. Our response is as follows...
Since October 9, Turkey has been engaged in a large-scale offensive against the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, threatening the future of the Rojava revolution. After 10 days of fierce battles between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Turkish army, mass displacement of Kurdish civilians and reports of roadside executions by Turkish-backed proxies, the Trump administration negotiated a ceasefire that is nothing short of a total surrender and capitulation to Ankara’s demands.
President Trump recently announced he was withdrawing US troops from northeastern Syria where they had fought and imprisoned ISIS members with the Kurds. This move gave the green light for Turkey to invade and try to push the Kurds out ostensibly to replace them with the three million Syrian refugees from the western region currently living in Turkey. Democrats and Republicans are criticizing Trump for withdrawing and abandoning the Kurds. This has created a dilemma for peace activists - should the troops stay or go? We speak with Ajamu Baraka of Black Alliance for Peace who has spent time in the Middle East, most recently in Syria, to clarify what is going on and how best to advocate for peace in the region.
Current events concerning Turkey and the Kurds in Syria remind me of a conversation I had with a US Air Force colonel almost 17 years ago in a courtroom in Des Moines. To refresh my memory, I dug deep into my closet and dusted off the transcript of the case, “STATE OF IOWA, plaintiff vs. CHRISTINE GAUNT et al.,” in which I was a defendant, heard in February, 2003, the month before the US invasion of Iraq. The following quotes from that dialogue are verbatim per the transcript. The case concerned an alleged trespass at the headquarters of the 132nd Tactical Fighter Wing of the Iowa Air National Guard, based at Des Moines International civilian airport, on October 26, 2002. Activists from around Iowa blocked the gates of the base in protest of the 132nd’s participation in Operation Northern Watch, the no-fly zone over northern Iraq imposed by the US after the Gulf War that lasted until the Iraq War in 2003.
What is happening in Syria, following yet another Russia-brokered deal, is a massive geopolitical game-changer. I’ve tried to summarize it in a single paragraph this way: “It’s a quadruple win. The U.S. performs a face saving withdrawal, which Trump can sell as avoiding a conflict with NATO ally Turkey. Turkey has the guarantee – by the Russians – that the Syrian Army will be in control of the Turkish-Syrian border. Russia prevents a war escalation and keeps the Russia-Iran-Turkey peace process alive. And Syria will eventually regain control of the entire northeast.”
Footage showing members of Turkey’s mercenary “national army” executing Kurdish captives as they led the Turkish invasion of northern Syria touched off a national outrage, provoking US government officials, pundits and major politicians to rage against their brutality. In the Washington Post, a US official condemned the militias as a “crazy and unreliable.” Another official called them “thugs and bandits and pirates that should be wiped off the face of the earth.” Meanwhile, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the scene as a “sickening horror,” blaming President Donald Trump exclusively for the atrocities.