The Protest in Basra’s city, south of Iraq, continues

The Protest in Basra’s city, south of Iraq, continues

By: Zaher Baher

Iraq

08/09/2018

“Out Iran out out, Basra lives free” this is one of the main chant thousands of the protesters were shouting.  The strong protesters back to the streets in the afternoon of Tuesday, 04/09 when the Prime Minister of Iraq, Haider al-Abadi failed to deliver his promises to meet people’s demands of July.

Since the beginning of the protests on Tuesday,10 protesters killed and over 100 injured. They cut off the road of Umm Qasr on Wednesday, 04/09.  Umm Qasr Port is part of the city of Umm Qasr and one of the couple ports in Iraq for entering goods to Basra and the rest of Iraq.

The protests are getting bigger. They are very angry because they are lack of every basic service including clean water electric power. In this very hot weather while the temperature still reaches 50 degree people has no enough power. The concerns of people in Basra mentioned in my initial repot of July still have not been taken in to the consideration by the Iraqi government.  Please see the link below of my report to see more information about the people’s demand in July:

https://libcom.org/library/mass-protest-central-southern-iraq

On Wednesday, 05/09 the protester occupied the building of the governor of Basra and burned down.  On Thursday, 06/09, four TV offices and fifteen political parties headquarters and some of the government’s building also burned down.  On the same day, Wednesday night, the protesters occupied the Iranian Consulate in Basra, the staff managed to flee but the protesters set a fire on the building.

People in Basra have lots of sympathy from Iraqis from South to the North of Iraq.  There was a big rally/ protest yesterday, Friday, in Tahrir Square in Baghdad to support the people’s demand in Basra.

There are also unconfirmed reports of entering the US forces into the city of Basra watching the situation closely. Other reports are talking about fleeing most of the MPs, the chiefs of the political parties, heads of the companies and the directors of main services in the city.  There is other report talks about fleeing government’s agents while some of the protesters found their places where they work and live.

While I am not justifying violence from the protesters but the true is the police, securities and  the Militias of the political parties have been very violent from the beginning of the protests in the  afternoon of 04/09.  There is other reason for the people in Basra to get very angry.  They are very desperate and frustrated  while for the last 15 years whoever came to power locally and centrally failed them. The people in Basra on one hand see themselves have been deprived almost of everything; on the other hand they see a tiny minority of their people have been beneficiary from the situation and living highlife.

The true and the right thing is people in Basra regardless of their differences have been united, fighting back the local and central government for their legitimate and natural demands.  It did not last long for them to realize the religion and the nationalism do not worth a single bread, single tablet, free education, free treatment, freedom and the rest of basic rights.

The protests and the demos have not been controlled by any political parties or any other side from the foreigners. They have so far rejected them because  they have 15 years of experience with the regime.  But they need to organize themselves in non-hierarchical independent groups in wherever possibly they can to coordinate their action against the state and its powers.

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The battle of Idlib Province in Syria is decisive and crucial for the future of Rojava

The battle of Idlib Province in Syria is decisive and crucial for the future of Rojava

By: Zaher Baher

Iraq

05 Sep 2018

“We are at the final stage of solving the crisis in Syria and liberating whole territory from terrorism”, stated Walid al-Moualem, Syria’s foreign minister when he met Sergei Lavrov, his Russian counterpart, in Moscow.

The Assad Regime and its allies are preparing themselves for the upcoming battle for Idlib. The military launch might start this month, September, or the beginning of October. The war will likely bring victory to Assad and catastrophe to the 2 million citizens of Idlib where 1.6 million are already in need of humanitarian aid.

Idlib, near Aleppo, Hama and Homs, is a stronghold of over 60,000 anti-regime rebels and over 10,000 jihadists. To justify attacking Idlib, Assad often claims the province is full of terrorists.

Although the battle of Idlib looks rather small with any parties like the US, Russia, Turkey and Assad and their other allies’ involvement directly or indirectly, it will, no doubt, be a big battle. Each of these parties has their own stake in Idlib and the region. Assad is trying to control the whole country by defeating opposition rebels and terrorist groups. He also wants an open hand over the Kurdish in Rojava either to suppress or negotiate with them on his own terms and conditions. Turkey, which has supported anti-Assad forces and terrorist groups throughout the war for many reasons, has its own interests too. The US and Russia have been the major powers in the region and are arch enemies. Their intervention and involvement in Syria only serves their own interests economically, politically and financially and protects the power of their friends in the region.

As for Rojava’s situation, its future within the Idlib battle scenario is quite complicated. In my opinion, Rojava’s position has been weak since Jul 2015 when Erdogan launched a brutal attack on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)  forcing them to become involved  in war. On the other hand, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) has been aligned with the US in the war against Islamic State (IS), and has committed many deadly mistakes mentioned in my previous article.  Please see the link below:

http://www.anarkismo.net/article/30915?search_text=Zaher+Baher

The battle of Idlib will happen sooner or later.  It will be decisive and crucial for the major powers and their allies in the region and also for Rojava. At the moment, US opposes the attack because it would lead to a “humanitarian catastrophe “. The White House warned on Tuesday 04/09 that the US and its allies would respond “swiftly and appropriately” if Assad used chemical weapons. The question here is why the US and its allies were not concerned about a “humanitarian catastrophe” when Turkey invaded Afrin and massacred hundreds of innocent people? In Idlib,the US is probably concerned with defeating the terrorist groups rather than innocent people because they want the game to last longer to achieve completely what they planned in the first place.

  Rojava and its self-rule administration and the SDF cannot be ignored during the attack on Idlib and after the battle as well.  It cannot be left as it is. The Rojava question and its future must be resolved either way.  Rojava is facing many possible scenarios. If Assad prevails in this battle, as commonly predicted, the position of the Kurdish in Rojava will be weaker.  Assad will be in a very strong position, securing his hold on power for a while.  In this situation, he can impose his terms and conditions on the PYD and SDF while they are in a weak position. There is also the possibility of the SDF joining Assad’s forces for the battle of Idlib while the PYD is  negotiating with the regime. As we can see, the PYD and SDF are in a very complicated situation. The SDF may join Assad’s forces against the rebels; an action  which is  opposed to US interests.  In this circumstances the PYD and SDF might be abandoned by the US which, in the near future, may encourage a Turkish attack on Rojava or, at least, Turkey may try to occupy the towns on its border  currently under control of the SDF.

If Assad fails to defeat the rebels in Idlib, it won’t be in the interest of Rojava either, because Assad’s defeat will also be a Turkish victory who will then be in a better position to attack Rojava  as happened to Afrin.

However, whatever the outcome of Idlib’s battle, it will be critical for Rojava as its future is tied to the battles between the forces mentioned above. The situation may  become so complicated in Rojava that it will become difficult  for the Kurdish  to maintain their principal aim of Democratic Confederalism.

What keeps Rojava alive is the continuing war with Isis and other terrorist groups and, also, the economic embargo imposed by regional powers.  Saying this does not mean that  Rojava’s movement will collapse.  In my opinion, the Kurdish have proved themselves and resolved many questions positively so they cannot be ignored or marginalized by any sides of the major powers and Assad’s regime I believe that, in the end, there might be some compromise between the US and  Russia over Syria and its regime.  The power struggle between them and their allies to reach their own aims forces Assad, or a future government in Syria, to offer cultural autonomy and some cultural rights. These rights would be far short  of building  Democratic Confederalism.

Zaherbaher.com


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