.....Mass popular mobilizations against the Assad regime in 2011 were met with brutal retaliation, crushing them. This led to the civil war, killing more than 250,000 people and displacing millions.
Decades of betrayal by the Stalinist Syrian Communist Party left no revolutionary working-class leadership in the country capable of charting a course to defeat the regime and take power. In the vacuum this created, exacerbated by the brutal slaughter unleashed by Assad, Islamic State was able to seize territory and set up a reactionary caliphate.
More than 400,000 people live in areas besieged by Assad, cut off from access to food and supplies. An estimated 2.5 million Syrians have fled to Turkey; a million to Lebanon and about 630,000 to Jordan, according to the U.N.
Hundreds of thousands have fled to Europe. Their arrival coincides with a sharp capitalist economic downturn. Governments there have moved to increase border patrols, erecting barbed wire fences and other obstacles.
The Kurdish people have long been denied a homeland. In the 1916 Sykes-Picot pact, London and Paris, victors over Berlin and the Ottoman Empire, carved up the oil-rich region and imposed national borders. Kurds were divided into parts of Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran. The secret deal was exposed after the 1917 Russian Revolution, when the Bolsheviks released the pact made by the imperialist powers to divide the spoils they found in the files of the overthrown czarist regime.
Independent Kurdistan 'now closer'
World leaders "have come to this conclusion that the era of Sykes-Picot is over," said Masoud Barzani, president of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq. Barzani said Iraq and Syria would never be reconstructed with their former borders. He urged a new accord, saying an independent Kurdistan is "now closer than at any other time."
The ongoing assault against the Kurdish population in southeastern Turkey by the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan has received little coverage in the U.S. press. Dozens of civilians have been killed, villages destroyed and more than 100,000 people driven from their homes. "Turkish authorities are bombing infrastructures and residential neighborhoods across Sirnak and Diyarbakir," two major cities in the area, Kurdish human rights lawyer Hoshin Ebdullah told ARA News Jan. 24.
Since the Islamic State-inspired terror attack in Paris, 31 U.S. governors have said they will try to keep Syrian refugees out of their states.
Severe restrictions and bureaucratic obstacles have made it extremely difficult for Syrian refugees to get into the U.S. Since 2012, authorities have admitted just 2,174 Syrian refugees — a grand total of 0.0007 percent of the U.S. population.
In New Jersey, with an estimated 200,000 Muslims, Gov. Chris Christie, who sought out relations with Muslim communities and groups when he ran for governor in 2010, has changed his tune. Now seeking the Republican presidential nomination, he calls for stopping Syrian refugees, including "orphans under age 5," from entering the United States.
In France, Hollande is calling for amending the constitution to allow the government to deny those with dual citizenship entry into the country and to revoke their French citizenship if they are deemed a "terrorist risk."
A demonstration called by the General Confederation of Workers (CGT) and many human rights and labor organizations is being organized in Paris for Jan. 30 to protest the state of emergency and the constitutional "reform."
The state of emergency causes "fear that this and future governments will use it against workers and militants," said a CGT statement Dec. 29.