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Syria, Turkey, the Kurds, and the US – Explained

When: Wednesday, November 13, 2019, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Where: Community Church • 565 Boylston Street • Boston

Trump’s sudden withdrawal of some US troops from Syria has caused chaos in an already troubled Middle East. It’s also caused a great deal of confusion among citizens who are both anti-Trump and anti-war. Turkey, a NATO ally supplied with US weapons, has invaded Syria. The predominantly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been forced to retreat. However, Trump ordered 500 troops to seize Syria’s oil wells and sent 2,000 more troops to Saudi Arabia. So much for his promise to “bring the troops home.” Legitimate concerns about the welfare of the Kurds are being used to argue for endless U.S. intervention, but more U.S. troops stationed around the world in conflict zones can’t be the solution. Foreign intervention in Syria has only prolonged the civil war, leading to the deaths of thousands and the displacement of millions. What’s really going on here? Luckily we’re bringing together a few experts to shed some much needed light on the situation:

Book author and foreign correspondent Reese Erlich recently returned from Istanbul where he reported on the crisis for Foreign Policy and Radio DW (Germany). He will speak about how the US can withdraw troops without creating chaos, the future role of Russia and the prospects for a political settlement between the Damascus government and the Kurds. Erlich is author of Inside Syria: The Back Story of Their Civil War and What the World Can Expect, and this year’s The Iran Agenda Today: The Real Story Inside Iran and What’s Wrong with US Policy. He writes the Foreign Correspondent column for The Progressive Magazine. Click here to read his articles: “Trump dumps Kurds as the empire crumbles” and “Turkey plans attack on Syrian Kurds.”

Jeff Klein, a retired machinist and local trade-union president active with the anti-war group Dorchester People for Peace and several Palestine solidarity organizations, will join Mr. Erlich in the discussion. Jeff is a board member of Massachusetts Peace Action and a leader of its Palestine-Israel Working Group. Since 2004 Jeff has traveled almost every year to Palestine/Israel and elsewhere in the Middle East, most recently, Syria in 2016 and 2018. Click here to read his latest article in CounterPunch: “Syria, the Kurds, Turkey and the U.S.: Why Progressives Should Not Support a New Imperial Partition in the Middle East.”

Image result for val moghadamThe discussion will be introduced and moderated by Valentine M. Moghadam. She is Professor of Sociology and International Affairs at Northeastern University, Boston. Born in Tehran, her areas of research include globalization, transnational social movements and feminist networks, economic citizenship, and gender and development in the Middle East and North Africa. Professor Moghadam is author of Modernizing Women: Gender and Social Change in the Middle East (first published 1993; revised and updated in 2013).

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