Déclaration de la IVe Internationale: La solidarité internationaliste avec les classes populaires syriennes est plus que jamais nécessaire !

La IVe Internationale réaffirme sa solidarité avec toutes et tous les civils de Syrie bombardés, massacrés, torturés, affamés et déplacés, sa solidarité avec les forces démocratiques et progressistes qui continuent de défendre les aspirations d’une insurrection héroïque. Sept ans après le début du soulèvement populaire syrien, transformé progressivement en guerre meurtrière avec un caractère international, la situation dans le pays est catastrophique à tous les niveaux. Continue reading


مكتب الأممية الرابعة: التضامن الأممي مع الطبقات الشعبية السورية ضروري أكثر من أي وقت مضى!

تؤكد الأممية الرابعة تضامنها مع جميع مدنيي سوريا، رجالا ونساء، ضحايا القصف والمذابح والتعذيب والتجويع والترحيل، كما تعلن تضامنها مع القوى الديمقراطية والتقدمية التي تواصل الدفاع عن تطلعات انتفاضة بطولية. بعد سبع سنوات من بدء الانتفاضة الشعبية السورية، والتي جرى تحويلها تدريجيا إلى حرب مميتة ذات طابع دولي، صار الوضع في البلاد كارثيا على كل المستويات. 

على الأرجح فاق عدد الضحايا، قتلى ومختفين، نصف مليون، أكثر من 80٪ منهم قتلتهم قوات النظام المسلحة وحلفائه. وفر أكثر من 6 ملايين شخص خارج الحدود ونزح 7.6 مليون إلى مناطق البلد الداخلية، وذلك ضمن سكان يبلغ عددهم 22.5 مليون نسمة في سنة 2011. ويعيش أكثر من 80٪ من السكان تحت عتبة الفقر. وقدر البنك العالمي في يونيو 2017 أن حوالي ثلث كل المباني وما يقرب نصف كل المباني المدرسية والمستشفيات في سوريا قد تضررت أو دمرت. 

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Internationalist solidarity with the Syrian people is more necessary than ever!

The Fourth International reaffirms its solidarity with all the bombed, massacred, tortured, starving and displaced civilians in Syria; its solidarity with the democratic and progressive forces that continue to defend the aspirations of a heroic insurrection. Seven years after the beginning of the Syrian popular uprising, it has been gradually transformed into a deadly war with an international character, the situation in the country is catastrophic at all levels.

Probably more than half a million are dead and missing, over 80% of whom were killed by the regime’s armed forces and allies. More than 6 million people have fled across borders and 7.6 million are internally displaced, out of a population of 22.5 million in 2011. Over 80% of the population lives below the poverty line. The World Bank estimated in June 2017 that about one third of all buildings and nearly half of all school and hospital buildings in Syria had been damaged or destroyed.


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Trump renforce l’instabilité régionale et internationale

Donald Trump a tenu sa promesse. Le président américain a annoncé le 8 mai que « les États-Unis vont se retirer de l’accord sur le nucléaire iranien », aussi appelé le Plan d’action conjoint (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, ou JCPOA en anglais) passé en 2015 entre l’Iran et le groupe P5+1 (États-Unis, France, Grande-Bretagne, Allemagne, Russie et Chine), mêm si l’Agence internationale de l’énergie atomique (AIEA) a déclaré a de nombreuses reprises que l’Iran avait coopéré de façon satisfaisante avec l’Agence et que les sanctions pouvaient être levées. Le retrait états-unien de cet accord a déjà augmenté les tensions régionales et internationales. Continue reading

Interview with Ela Liberta: “The Syrian Revolution and the Emancipation of the Palestinians and the Kurds”

A) Ela Liberta: A large part of the Left chose not to support the Syrian revolution, or even stand by the Assad dictatorship. The main argument is that the Syrian regime was for years an ally of the Palestinian movement. Its overturn it would be a very serious defeat for the Palestinians. Is there any truth in these allegations? What were the relations between the Syrian Baath regime and the Palestinian liberation movement?What has been the treatment of Palestinian refugees in the Syrian camps all this years? How did the Palestinians of Syria see the Syrian revolution? Has Palestinians been involved in protest demonstrations?

Joseph Daher: The idea that the Assad regime is a supporter of Palestinian liberation is one of its biggest lies. Actually the final break in 1970 between Salah Jadid, de facto leader of Syria at the time, and Hafez al-Assad, who was Minister of Defense and head of the Air force, occurred following the refusal of Hafez al-Assad to support the government decision to allow the Palestinian Liberation Army (under command of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA)) to intervene in Jordan during the war in 1970 between the Palestinian resistance and King Hussayn’s army. This led to the bloody Black September with thousands Palestinians killed. The Ba’th party led by Jadid started a process to expel Assad from his positions of power, in order to dominate the army more firmly. The decision was never implemented. The army took control over the party headquarters, on the orders of Hafez al-Assad and Mustafa Tlass. This new bloody coup led to complete control of the party and of the regime by Assad. Continue reading

Syria is not exceptional: interview with Joseph Daher | Part 2

 In Part 1, Daher concluded our discussion of classes, sects, and secularism in the country by saying that ‘the Middle East and North Africa is not “exceptional” – nothing prevents it from struggling for the same things that other parts of the world want, such as democracy, social justice, equality, secularism’.

There’s a sense across a variety of UK-based left-wing groups that the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Union Party (the PYD) and its military groups, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) are vitally important to that struggle – that they are, so to speak, the least ‘exceptional’  forces in Syria. And, at least some of those former groups insist on Kurdish liberation against Turkish, Da’eshi, and otherwise reactionary aggressions, whilst also criticising the al-Assad regime – hardly a friend of Syrian Kurds prior 2011, or indeed after, as Kurdish-British historian Djene R. Bajalan explained recentlyand remaining at least cognisant of the more progressive sections of Arab Sunni uprising.

There is something straightforward about ‘solidarity’ – it is with all oppressed and exploited people. Syrian politics, though, are not straightforward, and non-abstract solidarity has come to demand knowledge of, and judgements on, the relations between the region’s several revolutionary, liberatory, and non-reactionary political streams. Dangers, defeat, and dividedness in the country have made these judgements much harder, and overstatement much easier – nothing’s seemed more frivolous over the last few years than Europeans’ ‘solidarity’ via a borrowed sectarianism, in notional support of groups and struggles whose even medium-term continuation appears to demand a near-opposite approach towards each other.

In the following interview, Syrian-Swiss author Joseph Daher explains the concrete relations between Kurdish and Arab forces in Syria over the past four years, and the history of Europe-based groups’ relationship with each.

JH: I’d like to ask about the campaign against Da’esh in Raqqa, fought largely by Kurdish forces between June and October 2017, and supported by the US.

Raqqa is a majority Arab Sunni city, which Da’esh had taken as its major Syrian base from January 2014. As the pseudonymous author ‘Samer’ wrote in theirRaqqa Diaries, after Da’esh took control, ‘every day they make a crowd gather in the square, as if they are about to stage a play’, and then executed people.

Just over a year later, YPG/J forces broke Da’esh’s offensive against Kobane, in the spring of 2015. Following this, and after a name-change that Autumn, to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), they defeated Dae’sh in Minbij, in north central Syria, in August 2016.

In October 2016, Lahur Talabany, the Director of the Zanyari Agency, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s (PUK; major political party in Iraqi Kurdistan) intelligence unit, said that ‘if there were some sort of reassurance given to the YPG and the SDF, they could very quickly shift their forces towards Raqqa’ (from 17.00, here). They did shift; I believe the SDF forces were the most important ground force in Raqqa.

You’ve recently written that ‘the last major success of the PYD [i.e., political body of the SDF’s] was the expulsion of [Da’esh] forces from Raqqa’. You recognised the ‘deep humanitarian cost for its inhabitants’, but nevertheless saw it as ‘a positive situation’.

What are the circumstances of Raqqa currently, post-Da’esh?

JD: To be clear, I said that the defeat in mid-October of the jihadist group Da’esh in Raqqa by the SDF, which is a coalition of fighters – Kurds, Arabs, Syriac, albeit dominated by the YPG – with the support of United States Air Force, was certainly good news.

But the cost in human terms, as in Mosul a few months before, has been terrible.
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“The war in Syria only benefits the counter-revolutionary forces” | Interview with Joseph Daher

Interview-introduction: Lina Theodorou, Antonis Faras

The Syrian Civil War continues for 7th year, but it is still not clear when it will end. During the war, over half a million people died and about 10 million people, about half of the Syrian population, was displaced. On the occasion of the bombing of Syria, targeting the military bases of the Damascus regime, by US forces, the UK and France, the debate was renewed; anti-war strikes were organized and demonstrators even attempted to throw the statue of Harry S. Truman in Athens, Greece.

However, in the anti-war movement against the Syrian war, the hegemonic narrative within the Left has an approach to anti-imperialism, which, more or less, limits the position of imperialist exclusively to the United States. This view, which is an important analytical tool for interpreting the world outside of the West, takes one geopolitical character that neglects the social element as a factor of change, and on the other hand it implies a structural orientation in the way the Left treats politics, when talking about “others”.

Trying to shed more light on the debate, which is obscured rather than clarified by ad hoc confrontations, we asked Joseph Daher to answer a series of more comprehensive questions about the Syrian civil war. Daher is a Swiss-Syrian Marxist and scholar, whose books have been published in English, such as “Hezbollah: Political Economy of the Party of God (2016, Pluto Press).

We want to take a closer look at what have happened these seven years. Briefly: What led to the uprising specifically in Syria? What were Assad’s relations with the Syrian left and anarchist space before the uprising? What was his relationship with sectarian extremism?  Can you describe how the rebels organized during the first years of the uprising and what went wrong? How islamists prevailed, If they have, in the rebel’s groups?  

Syria is a despotic regime, ruled for the past 40 years by one family, and it is also a bourgeois patrimonial regime that went through a process of neoliberalization and privatization, accelerated considerably with Bashar al-Assad’s arrival to power. Sixty percent of the population was living under or just above the poverty line in 2011. Syria was subjected to the same form of crony capitalism that is prevalent in the region. For example, in Egypt it was the Mubarak family that benefitted mostly from the privatization and neoliberalization; in Tunis it was the Trabelsi family, of the wife of the dictator Ben Ali; and in Syria it is Makhlouf, the cousin of Assad. In the end what we have are neoliberal and authoritarian systems, and Syria is no different in this regard. Continue reading