Partition: Bad in Ireland and Palestine, Good in Syria?

By Gavin O’ Reilly
Source

Kobani ca326

Ask the question in left-wing circles of what affect partitioning a country along ethno-religious lines at the behest of an imperial power can have and the response will usually be straightforward.

In Ireland, following the 1921 surrender agreement between former revolutionaries and the British government, a six-county statelet was formed in the north-east of the country remaining under British rule and with an inbuilt Unionist majority; the pro-British element descended from English and Scottish colonizers, planted in the region by King James in the 17th century in a bid to displace the native Irish population which had provided so much resistance to British occupation.

The Nationalist population of this British-ruled part of Ireland, those descended from the indigenous Irish and who sought to live in an Ireland free of British rule, suffered systemic discrimination at the hands of this newly-formed British statelet, being denied the same access to housing, education, and employment that was afforded to their Unionist counterparts.

A neo-colonial pro-British state was also formed in the south of Ireland, where secret police and military units intern Irish Republicans through the use of non-jury courts to this day.

In Palestine, following the establishment of the Zionist State in 1948 in line with the UK-authored 1917 Balfour Declaration, more than half a million Palestinians found themselves refugees in their own country overnight; being forced from their homes in order to accommodate Jewish settlers from Europe.

The State of Israel, in a similar vein to the occupied North of Ireland, would also subject its indigenous Arab population to systemic discrimination and would go on to launch several imperialist wars against its Arab neighbors throughout its existence, with the most recent being covert Israeli involvement in the Syrian conflict.

This would all ultimately suggest that partition is a concept that should be universally opposed by anyone claiming to be anti-Imperialist. Right?

Wrong; when it comes to the issue of Syria, many ‘anti-Imperialists’ do a complete U-turn on the position and instead demand that the Arab Republic, along with Iran, Iraq, and Turkey, is divided up to form a US-Israeli backed Kurdish ethnostate.

In July 2012, when the Syrian conflict was its height, units of the Syrian Arab Army withdrew from the predominantly Kurdish Rojava region in the north of the country in order to provide assistance to military units fighting elsewhere in the Arab Republic; besieged at the time by Western-backed terrorists and yet to receive the key support which would later be provided by Iran and Russia.

The withdrawal of the SAA allowed local Kurdish militias to turn Rojava into a de facto autonomous region, with the most prominent of said groups being the People’s Protection Units (YPG), part of the wider Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed anti-government group.

However, whilst US-backed groups elsewhere in the country were supported by the White House with the intention of ousting the government of Bashar al-Assad, the primary reason for Washington’s support of the Kurds was to fulfill the 1982 Tel Aviv-authored Yinon plan.

This document, written by Oded Yinon, a senior advisor to Ariel Sharon, envisaged Israel maintaining hegemonic superiority in the region via the balkanization of neighboring Arab states hostile to Tel Aviv; in Syria, a country long known for its opposition to Zionism, this would entail the creation of a Kurdish state in the north of the country in a bid to undermine the authority of Damascus.

However, despite this US support for Rojava lining up perfectly with the Yinon plan, support for the creation of a Kurdish state within Syria remains widespread amongst Western leftists, with the feminist politics of the YPG endearing itself to Western Anarchists in particular; the lessons of Ireland and Palestine being lost it would ultimately seem.

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