The following article is a translation of an article – “Demokratik federasyon” – by M. Ali Çelebi published today in Özgür Gündem.
Two back-to-back developments have taken place which have changed the agenda in Syria and Rojava. The first was the declaration of a Rojava-Northern Syria Democratic Federal System, and the second was Russia’s surprising withdrawal of a portion of its air power in Syria.
In my column entitled ‘The State of Affairs in Syria’ from October 7th 2015 I wrote: “Syria will now be planned as a federation and confederation. The Rojava dynamic will be a determining factor in the balance of this process.”
And in my article entitled ‘Rojava-Arab Federation’ (February 22nd, 2016) I wrote: “Turkey would be the biggest loser among the foreign actors in Syria. Because the idea of the PYD-YPG-HSD is gaining traction and coming into fruition step-by-step. The process is evolving toward a Rojava-Arab federation.”
And in my analysis piece called “The British Position” (March 11th 2016) I argued that: “The alliances of the US, Britain, and between Russia and Iran might be different, but all of them will be forced to accept concepts such as ‘the Government of a Federal Syria’ or the ‘Northern Syrian Federal Government.”
And that day has come. When the Kurds were not invited to Geneva 3 they convened at a congress on March 12th in the town of Rimelan, near Girkê Legê, in order to formalize discussions about a Rojava-Northern Syria Federation. A 13-person preparatory committee was selected and the delegates for a Constitutive Assembly were determined. The Constitutive Assembly was formed from 200 people – Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs, Assyrians, Armenians, Turkmens and Chechens – from the Rojava Cantons as well as places such as Şeddadê, just recently liberated by the HSP, and the Şehba region, as well as from Aleppo. As these historical developments continue in Rojava, the second stage of the perpetually delayed Geneva-3 conference began on March 14th. The day before the Syrian Civil War was entering its 6th year and Russia was unexpectedly pulling out of Syria. How did the federation come together?
Manbij Is Next
Look what happened when on June 30th, 2012 the Kurds – an island of peace in the region and Syria’s best organized, energetic and emancipatory factor – were not accepted at the Geneva 1 talks. Or what happened when on July 4th, 2012 when suggestions made by the Kurds at the Cairo Conference that they be recognized were rejected with all the nonsense about the Misak-ı Milli. The Kurds, beginning with an action to push the Baath regime out of Kobane on July 19th, 2012, took steps to liberate their cities and the Rojava Autonomous Administrations began to spread.
The Kurds were also not invited to Geneva 2 (neither the first round at Montreux between January 22-31 2014 nor the second round in Geneva between February 10-15th 2014). The constituents of Rojava proclaimed the Social Contract, that is a constitution on January 6th 2014). Following this governments for Cizre, Kobanê and Efrîn were formed beginning on January 21st. As the Geneva talks became obsolescent and preparations were underway for a Geneva-3, it was discovered that the Kurds were experts at both the diplomatic and military chessgames.
The Kurds were not invited to the Vienna-1 conference on October 23, 2015. Two days prior to this an assembly and government was formed in the town of Girê Spî (Tel Abyad), populated by Kurds, Arabs, Armenians and Turkmens. They also received no invitation to the Vienna-2 talks (October 30th, 2015). On October 31st the HSD began its advance toward Hol. While the ENKS group affiliated with the Democratic Party of Kurdistan was invited to the Riyad conference which was designed to choose delegates for Geneva-3, the parties active in Rojava were not. The peoples of Rojava formed the Syrian Democratic Assembly. And on January 29th, as 2016 Geneva-3’s opening act was performed, the Kurds were once again not invited. On February 10th Rojava opened a representative office in Russia. Immediately after the Menagh airbase in the Azaz region, Til Rifat and Şeddadê were liberated. Despite the promises given to Rojava they were not invited to participate in second round of the Geneva-3 talks which began on March 14th, and the Federation of North Syria-Rojava was declared on March 17th. The 200-person Constitutive Assembly – composed of Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs, Assyrians, Armenians, Turkmens and Chechens from Efrîn, Cizîrê, Kobanê, Girê Spî cantons and the Şeddadê, Aleppo and Şehba regions, and presided over by the co-presidents Hediye Yusuf (a Kurd) and Mensur El-Selum (an Arab)- will meet in 6 months to prepare a new social contract. Don’t pay any attention to the official statements, and let me just say that the proclamation of the federation was undertaken with the full knowledge of US and Russian representatives in Rojava.
It seems that Manbij is next. Let them all continue with all of their insistence on one-state, one-nation, one-people and impositions which do not reflect the reality. And let’s see what their next steps will be now I wonder? And as for Bashar Jaafari, the head of the regime’s Geneva-3 delegation and Syria’s Permanent Representative at the UN who when asked about autonomy said that the Kurds are hallucinating and should take some Tylenol, and as for all those other cronies? Well they can sit down right across from Bashar al-Assad, who has turned this region into a hell, and they can take whatever they like.