Syria watchers will be aware that in recent weeks and months, there has
been a 3-way or even 4-way clash in northeastern Syria between:
1. the Free Syrian Army (FSA, including several independent units of it)
2. the Syrian Kurds (principally the PYD, allied to the Kurdish PKK in
3. and the reactionary Islamists (initially mainly the Syrian Al-Nusra,
allied to Al-Qaida, but now more and more the Islamic State of Iraq and
Syria (ISIS), an Al-Qaida group composed largely of Iraqis and foreign
fighters) – I say “or 4-way” because the latter are so reactionary and
repressive that even Al-Nusra has been clashing with them recently.
And of course all 3 (or 4) forces are opposed to the Assad regime – thus
we shgoulod say 4 or 5 way, but the regime has largely ignored the
northeast, content to let its opponents battle it out.
Needless to say, our sympathies ought to be with the FSA, and in the
Kurdish regions, with the Kurdish organisations. Many of the popular
revolutionary forces in these areas see the reactionary Islamists,
especially with the sudden and large-scale intervention of ISIS, as an
enemy almost equivalent to the Assad regime (the so-called “secular”
regime which destroys its own towns, cities and people with long-range
missiles and fighter planes, as well as sectarian death squads more
brutal even than ISIS).
Therefore, I would have little desire to defend the reactionary
Islamists, who I hope the FSA and/or the Kurds can destroy, as long as
they can get over their own differences, differences caused largely by
the refusal of the exile-based Syrian opposition leaderships to support
Kurdish self-determination (ie, the bourgeois-led opposition leadership
has much the same policy as Assad on this).
Given the Turkish regime has been a major backer of the FSA, its recent
deal with the PKK, and its subsequent switch of sides from the
reactionary jihadists to the Kurds (PYD) in northeast Syria
offers the possibility that an FSA-Kurdish rapproachment is hopeful.
However, while ISIS is clearly seen as an enemy by most Syrian
revolutionaries, in as much as it is theoretically also anti-Assad, its
crimes can be useful grist in the mill for left and right Assad-fans.
But even more, so can bullshit directed against them, as it sounds more
believable if its about them rather than the mainstream anti-Assad
So when you read that reactionary jihadists have massacred 120 Kurdish
*children*, the aim is to show that these reactionaries are every bit as
brutal as the regime (or, in their eyes, more brutal, since they refuse
to accept the crimes of the regime), and by extension, the whole
revolution is damned.
And that’s where good journalism comes in: see Clay Claiborne’s expose
of this bullshit story at
which shows that the photo, the one and only piece of evidence presented
for this Iranian propaganda, was actually an old photo from a website
about US drone warfare, and think about the lengths that some people
will go to publish bullshit.
Subsequently, Louis Proyect at marxmail also dug up a similar piece of
bullshit, as he shows in his post today:
A report depicting Kurds being burned alive in Syria this month was
But it turns out to have been made in Iraq, allegedly about gays being
burned alive there (2 years earlier!):
So comrades need to keep this kind of thing in mind when presented with
what looks like misinformation, because often when it looks like a