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Women, Revolution, and Counter-Revolution in Syria
by Steven Argue
Sunday May 19th, 2013 7:01 AM
[Photo: female Commander Engizek who leads a combat brigade of the Committees for the Protection of the Kurdish People (YPG) in Syrian Kurdistan. The brigade under her command is 20 percent women. Lebanon Daily Star, 22 April 2013.]
In Syria, the fierce and effective fighters of the communist influenced YPG integrates women into its armed forces while the imperialist backed religious fanatics of of the so-called Free Syria Army generally do not.

In interviews with the Lebanon Daily Star, Commander Engizek said, “Women can shoot machine guns, Kalashnikovs and even tanks – just as well as men, women are an integral part of our rebellion.”

In contrast, when asked the same question, a member of the chauvinistic "Free Syria Army" opposed the idea of women combatants and, referring to the YPG's woman combatants said, “They are not women – they are men, a real woman is more feminine.”

The so-called "Free Syria Army" is guilty of atrocities against religious and ethnic minorities, including unarmed civilian Kurdish women. The U.S. backed Free Syria Army also recently shocked the world when one of its soldiers, Khaled al-Hamad, ripped out the heart of a victim and ate it in front of a camera saying ”I swear to God we will eat your hearts, Alawite soldiers of Bashar the dog” while someone says "God is great!" The Alewites are a religious minority hated by the so-called Free Syria Army which has carried out massacres of Alewite men, women, and children.

A few days ago Islamist rebels released grisly video of eleven bound prisoners who were executed on by the "opposition" government in rebel controlled territory of Syria. They were sentenced to death by a sharia (Islamic) court. Besides being sentenced to death for a possible crime, the death sentence accused the unarmed and bound victims of being "apostates" (wondering from the faith).

Across Syria, sharia courts have been set-up in all rebel controlled areas except those controlled by the Kurdish YPG which, besides battling the government, have also been forced to battle the western backed Islamic extremists. In Islamist controlled areas Alawite and Christian minorities have been subject to atrocities, including the murder of unarmed men, women and children. Another video released by the rebels shows them cutting a Christian man's head off. His name was Andrei Arbashe, 38, a taxi driver who had recently married. After murdering him, his body was cut-up and he was fed to the dogs. Twenty Christian churches have been destroyed by the Islamist rebels and the Christian and Alawite minorities are fleeing for their lives from rebel controlled territories.

Despite assurances by fake socialists who have been supporting the "opposition" FSA, secularism has been absent from the emerging governments in rebel controlled areas with the exception of areas controlled by the Kurdish YPG. While giving no political support to Assad, I have always argued that the FSA and other imperialist backed rebels should not be supported.

Openly backing the Islamic rebels with aid has been the United States and the U.S. allies of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar. Turkey has long been guilty of extreme crimes against its own Kurdish population. Saudi Arabia, who the U.S. sells billions of dollars in military aid, is the worst dictatorship on Earth with no religious or political freedom and no rights what-so-ever for women. In Saudi Arabia one would be executed for celebrating Christmas. Saudi Arabia, with U.S. backing, is also aiding the government of Bahrain in attempting to crush the pro-democracy movement taking place there. In Syria, Saudi Arabia is backing the worst Islamist elements.

Yes, there are horrific things being done both by the so-called "Free Syria Army" and President Assad's military, but this shouldn't stop us from opposing the attacks by the the FSA on Alewites and Kurds, from supporting the Kurdish armed resistance to the FSA, from opposing ongoing aid to the FSA by the U.S. imperialists and its allies in the region, and from supporting the right of the Syrian and Kurdish people to smash this armed imperialist intervention militarily. Assad needs to be overthrown in a socialist revolution, not by imperialist backed religious fanatics filled with hate towards Alewites, Christians, Kurds, women, and secular government. A victory for the FSA, like all imperialist backed counter-revolutions, will only make matters much worse in Syria.

Our stated opposition here is to the so-called "Free Syria Army" and other Islamist forcs. That doesn't infer support for Assad in any other way than supporting the right of the Syrian people to defend themselves from this current and future imperialist aggression. Nor does it infer opposition to other actions against Assad that are not affiliated with the imperialist backed sectarian religious fanatics of the FSA. In fact, while the Kurds were in direct combat with the FSA a couple months ago when the FSA attacked Kurdish territory, today they are fighting Assad's troops. The YPG are disciplined combatants who, unlike the FSA, are not carrying out atrocities against the civilian population, are not sectarian religious fanatics like the FSA, and, as far as I know, are not getting backing from the U.S. imperialists and their allies, as the FSA is. Unlike the FSA, I see the Kurdish uprising as a legitimate revolutionary action that is already bringing significant gains for the Kurdish people. In closing, our strong opposition to the FSA in no way means that we oppose all struggle against Assad.

-Steve Argue of the Revolutionary Tendency

For more from this author on this and related topics, see:

End U.S. Imperialist Attacks on Liberated Syrian Kurdistan!

End Imperialist Intervention in Syria!

Afghanistan: Misogynistic Hell Hole Made in the U.S.A.

For Women’s Liberation through Socialist Revolution!