Syrian Arab Republic

Besieged since September 15, the northern Syrian Kurdish-majority city of Kobane (whose Arabic name is Ayn al-Arab) has mounted a heroic, all-out resistance to the murderous Islamic State gangs. As of September 25, despite the superior heavy weaponry deployed by the IS, it appears that fierce resistance and determined counter-attacks have halted or slowed the assault. Nonetheless, the IS has pushed closer to the city centre than ever before and the situation remains perilous.
With the US and allied nations, including Arab countries, carrying out air strikes in Syria, the Turkish government is trying to convince the West it does not support the Islamic State (IS) forces the US is targetting. Newly elected President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (the former prime minster) linked the adjective “terrorist” with “IS” for the very first time on September 23 during a US TV interview while attending the United Nations climate summit. “Turkey will do whatever needs to be done to stop this terrorist organisation, militarily, and politically,” he said.
Since September 15, the city of Kobane in the Kurdish-majority liberated area of Rojava in northern Syria has been under intense attack by the murderous forces of the self-styled "Islamic State (IS)". In July, Kobane (Arabic name: Ayn al-Arab) was besieged by 5000 IS thugs armed with US heavy weapons seized from the disintegrating Iraqi army. The defenders managed to hold out and inflict a heavy defeat on the IS gangs. But this time the attack appears far more serious.
Kurds search for unity amid fight to defeat Islamic State Across northern Syria and Iraq, Kurdish forces are locked in fierce battles with the murderous Islamic State (IS) armed force, writes Dave Holmes. Whether directly or indirectly, the whole Kurdish people is being drawn into this struggle. Ireland: Gerry Adams reflects on 20th anniversary of IRA cessation
On November 27, 1095, a speech by Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont used allegations of the persecution of Christians in the Holy Land to launch a series of military adventures by the warrior aristocracies of feudal Christian Western Europe against the Muslim civilisations of the Middle East. The ensuing two centuries of religious wars, or Crusades, were characterised by land-grabbing, plunder and the massacre of Muslims, Jews and non-Catholic Christians.
The US has been carrying out air-strikes in Iraq since August 8 for the first time since officially ending their occupation at the end of 2011. The strikes were aimed at the extremely violent multinational terrorist group previously known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, but which recently renamed itself Islamic State (IS) to reflect its global ambitions.
The Kurdish people are facing an unprecedented challenge. Across a vast swathe of northern Syria and Iraq, the region’s Kurds are locked in a desperate and heroic struggle with the genocidal forces of the so-called Islamic State (IS). Fighting is raging across a huge front hundreds of kilometres wide, from Aleppo and Kobane in Syria to Mosul and Kirkuk in Iraq — and all points in between.
We interviewed Ali Mustafa live from Egypt on January 24 — the Friday of the weekend marking the third anniversary of the popular uprising that captured the global imagination and put fear in the hearts of despots everywhere. Over a terrible connection and crackling phone line, Ali’s voice was difficult to make out as he described the scene: “The streets are empty, it’s almost eerie and ominous the way the streets are deserted.”
Salih Muslim is co-president of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a Syria-based Kurdish party fighting for self-determination. The PYD is a sister party of the left-wing Turkish-based Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The party is the ruling force in the Kurdish areas of Syria and took over three enclaves with Kurdish majorities in 2012.
Threats of a new United States-led war in the Middle East abated, at least for now, on September 20 when Syria met a deadline set in a September 14 agreement between the US and Russia. As part of the deal, Syria submitted details of its chemical weapons to Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The US threatened military action against Syria after an August 21 sarin gas attack killed 355 people in the East Damascus suburb of Ghouta.
The proposal by Russia, accepted by the regilme of Bashar Al-Assad, for Syria’s chemical weapons to be turned over to an international authority (presumably the United Nations) for destruction, has temporarily put off Washington’s plans for war against Syria. Obama has postponed asking Congress to approve of his plans to attack Syria. This represents a political defeat for the war drive. Even if Washington scuttles the proposed agreement and goes ahead with war, it will do so with even less support at home and abroad than it had before the Russian proposal.
On my wall is the front page of the Daily Express of September 5, 1945, and the words: “I write this as a warning to the world.” So began Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett's report from Hiroshima. It was the scoop of the century. For his lone, perilous journey that defied the US occupation authorities, Burchett was pilloried, not least by his embedded colleagues. He warned that an act of premeditated mass murder on an epic scale had launched a new era of terror.
In response to a chemical weapons attack by unknown perpetrators on August 21, US President Barack Obama, in a “coalition of the willing” with the governments of Britain and France, has made escalating threats for a military attack on Syria. With the likelihood of Russia and China opposition in the UN Security Council, Obama has indicated that his coalition, calling itself the “international community”, may strike Syria unilaterally.
The Socialist Alliance released the statement below on August 28. * * * The Socialist Alliance condemns the threatened US-led Western military assault on Syria. We call on the Australian government to reject this latest imperial aggression, to extract itself from its military alliance with the US and end its involvement in all aggressive multinational military operations.
More than two years ago, the Syrian people, inspired by the Arab Spring, began a democratic revolution against the viciously authoritarian Bashir al-Assad regime, a revolution that we enthusiastically supported from its beginning and continue to support. For two long years now, we, like the rest of the world, have watched in horror as the Syrian government waged merciless war on its own people. Some of the revolutionaries argued that for strategic if not for pacifist reasons, the movement should have remained non-violent despite the mounting repression it faced.
For much of the past two years, Israel stood sphinx-like on the sidelines of Syria’s civil war. Did it want Bashar al-Assad’s regime toppled? Did it favour military intervention to help opposition forces? And what did it think of the increasing visibility of Islamist groups in Syria? It was difficult to guess.

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