The article draws out the main general points from the current situation, decomposition, continuing centrifugal tendencies, developments of imperialism and militarism and the specifics of the situation in the Middle East.
This assault of the "New Ottoman Empire" of Erdogan has come at the right time for him and the AKP given the problems they were encountering and the shift of Turkey towards Russia continues posing more problems for NATO. Russia has come out the "winner" here but the article shows that problems are already arising and the development of centrifugal tendencies from many levels will continue to plague this region. The other side of the Russian military and diplomatic advance is the historical weakening of the US in the region. It's true that the necessity for the US military to confront Chinese imperialism (an anti-Chinese rapprochement between the US and Russia does make sense) took its attention away from the Middle East but, as the article makes clear, it was also the weakness of the US to maintain itself as the world cop; a process that begins with the Obama administration. And for all the furore in Washington and beyond over the Kurds, it was always made crystal clear in State Department discussions and protocols, that the arrangement for US protection of the YPG was temporary and contingent. The sudden turn of the Kurds towards Assad (and Russia) for protection could have been facilitated by the open lines that some Kurdish elements have maintained over the last couple of years with the Assad regime. In any case it shows the fundamental imperialist nature of Kurdish nationalism and the impossibility of national liberation.
It was an expression of the weakness in the first place for the US to rely on the YPG to take the battle to Isis knowing that it would bring serious problems down the line with Turkey. There were other Kurdish paramilitaries that they could have used but the Kurdish Peshmerga were out given they had been unceremoniously chased out of Kirkuk, which they controlled for several years, by the Iraqi army, following a US plan in October 2917, in what was termed another "betrayal" by the latter. The unpredictability's of the Middle East are such, and it's almost been airbrushed out of history, that only a few years ago, despite the former not being part of the official "Coalition", the Iranian and US militaries worked together at very high levels in coordinated and very effective attacks on Isis. But, whatever the options, there was never going to be a "right way" for the USA to have even the minimum control over the region without putting many more troops on the ground and whatever the mental problems and gyrations of Trump, he does represent the interests of US imperialism here. A year ago, after the condemnation of his Syria withdrawal plan, he said he would wait a year and that is what he has done. With its Saudi and Israeli allies, such as they are, the US will not stop its "activities" in the Middle East, albeit from a position of weakness and despite the demise of al-Baghdadi, Isis remains a potent force that thrives on instability.
The reminder of the "green light" as a tool of the diplomatic/military world is a useful one and so is the example given of the 1990 war in Iraq and the US "invitation" to invade Kuwait; another pivotal event with the US trying to cohere a crumbling western bloc and where Germany wouldn't even send its AWAC's planes. As the article says the "betrayal" of the Kurds, after being called to rise up against Saddam by the US and the "humanitarian" British Prime Minister, John Major, was a case of a "green light" being given to Saddam's intact Revolutionary Guards to wipe out the Kurds. There were some stories about how the US and Britain saved the Kurds from Saddam's fighter-jets, but the US edict from the commander-in-chief, "Storming" Norman Schwarzkopf, forbidding Saddam to use his fixed-wing aircraft, was a "green light" to use his deadly helicopter gunships against the mostly defenceless Kurds.
In Iraq and Lebanon the oppressed and working class have again expressed their indignation over the situation they find themselves in. There are weaknesses to this movement in that there has apparently been no expression of class discussion and organisation and there are dangers of it being sucked into some bourgeois campaign. In Iraq the immediate danger is one of repression and many more have been killed and wounded than the official figures say. The sects and religious leaders may have lost their sway, a tendency that was already evident, but they are armed and dangerous. Yesterday students and schoolchildren joined the protests for the first time and in Baghdad were immediately attacked by the Iraqi army.