Sorry for the long delay guys. In the past few weeks I got swamped with work and university, and I got thrown off by my Birthday back on November 8th (a few days after the last update), which completely threw off my flow with this aar. But not to fear to those still following, I didn't lose a save game or give up on anything. Just took longer to get things together this time around.
I also see I went past 30,000 views. Thanks to all the subscribers and others coming back to check this thread frequently, and to the new readers, like Taylor.
Without further ado...
The Middle-Eastern Campaign
January’s operations on the Russian Front bogged down into a stalemate as French forces attempted to reestablish supply lines before penetrating deeper into Russian territory. The winter only served to make matters worse for the Syndintern’s preparations to deliver a crippling blow to the Russian Empire. In its further consolidation of the continent, the Commune of France released a syndicalist Netherlands as the monarchist government of exile lost any hope of ever returning to the mainland.
Originally Posted by Radio Rome
The Italians were focused on the Eastern Mediterranean and the Ottoman Empire, the last major presence in the crumbling German order. The Ottoman Empire had managed to prevent a Russian invasion through the Caucasus, though they lost the client state of Armenia to advancing Russian forces. The Empire was facing border problems with Hashemite Arabia despite the peace treaty signed between the two, and difficult battles in the Balkans which threatened the capital itself. It had also managed so far to prevent a crossing of the Egyptian military into the Sinai Peninsula, with the Suez Canal becoming a virtual trench between the two forces.
The only significant obstacle to the Middle-Eastern operation was the naval presence of the Ottoman Empire along with remnants of the Imperial Germany navy. However the Turkish navy was not as developed as its Italian counterparts and the German ones were undersupplied. Both were already weakened with battles against the forces of the Syndintern, leaving much of the Eastern Mediterranean open to an invasion by the Italians. The French were occupied with the Russian Empire, the British with their campaign in Africa, leaving the Italians to take down the crumbling Ottoman Empire on its own.
The first target was to secure the island of Cyprus in order to provide a staging ground for an invasion of the Levant and a base for air raids across the region. The operation was launched at the beginning of February, consisting mostly of naval bombardments on island fortifications to clear the way for ground forces. The defenses on the island itself were not significant and the existing garrison was not prepared to face the invasion from Italy. By February 12, the entire island was under the control of Italy.
Italian controlled Cyprus
Admittedly the invasion of the island was made much easier with the dire straits the Ottoman Empire already was in. The last thing it needed was the Italians preparing to strike it at its most vulnerable areas while it attempted to hold back invasions from nearly every corner of its dominion. The impending Italian invasion also increased the chance of a long time project of the Syndintern coming to fruition- revolts by the Kurdish and Arabic populations as the empire showed signs of weakness.
Indeed the problem was not new to the Ottoman Empire. Its ongoing centralizing tendencies had irked the local populace, in particular the once powerful tribal leaders and other local notables, as more power began to shift to the imperial capital at Istanbul and the developing bureaucracy. The most recent major revolt against this drive took place in the Kurdish revolt that began on April 17th, 1938, spearheaded by a disorganized grouping of Republicans with syndicalist sympathies on one hand and a more tribal and religious rooted sentiment on the other. The revolt could not stand against the might of the imperial army’s intervention later though. A similar Arab revolt afterwards that served as a prelude to the Ottoman war with the Egyptians and Hashemites would face a similar fate.
This time around though, the Syndicalists had made sure that the Republican sympathizers would have the upper hand in organizing support for their movements and outmaneuvering tribal and religious groups to the best of their abilities. The Kurdish leader Qazi Muhammad who had trained in Italy along with other revolutionaries, while the Arabs were trained in France, had been deployed at the beginning of the war to establish the groundwork for a force that would aid the Syndintern once they reached the realms of the Ottoman Empire.
The French left the Middle-Eastern Theater in the Italians’ hands as they committed their resources to facing the Russian Empire. The major conflicts would take place in the Baltics during the first engagements between the two large militaries, with the French opting for a drive against the imperial capital at Petrograd. The French would begin their operation at the beginning of March, hoping to make promising gains by the time the summer rolled around.
A French breakthrough at the beginning of March, 1944
The Italian air force began a bombing campaign along the Mediterranean coast of the Levant, clearing way for an eventual beachhead for the deployment of Italian troops. The Levant was chosen due to the relatively light defenses in the region, with much of the Ottoman Empire tied up in other areas. The region would also be located in proximity to both the Kurdish and Arabic groups preparing to rise up once the Italians established a presence in the region.
On the early hours of March 10th, 1944, an Italian landing took place near Beirut to establish a beachhead for further operations in the Middle-East. Beirut’s defense garrisons were swept aside by the better equipped and trained Italian forces, which made way for even more Italian forces to be deployed into the area.
Italian beachhead, March 1944
The invasion prompted a desperate response from the Ottoman authorities as it seemed evident they would not have the capabilities to withstand the amount of fronts it was attempting to keep under control. From its regional garrison at Damascus the Ottoman Empire launched a counterattack on the Italian forces spreading out along the coast. The counterattack was ineffective, resulting in an Italian drive towards Damascus itself on March 25th. The garrison by this point was severely weakened and was even outnumbered by the Italian forces. The city would fall within days of the attack, creating a real threat for the Ottoman Empire in the region.
The Italian success in Damascus also indicated the possibility of a successful revolt within the Ottoman Empire backed by the Syndintern. Sending out agents to make contact with their agents, the word was spread through the region that the Syndintern would back those who choose to rise up against the Ottoman Empire. The offer was taken up by the Kurds and Arabs in the ancient lands of Mesopotamia immediately, who rose up in arms and turned much of the region into chaos, with the groups trying to fend off local Ottoman garrisons and their collaborators.
On April 10th the cities of Baghdad, Mosul, Arbil, and Sulaymaniyah were gripped with insurrection and broke off from Ottoman Authorities, with Arab and Kurdish groups declaring their own new state. Even further south in the marshlands Arabs rose up against Ottoman garrisons and sent the region into a state of rebellion.
The revolt was aided by the Ottoman Empire’s attempts to prevent attacks from its most vulnerable borders. The arrival of the Italian invasion and their destabilization of the region went unopposed as a result.
Revolts in Mesopotamia
The Italian forces also turned their attention to the Sinai Peninsula, hoping to secure it and prevent it from falling into the hands of the Egyptians as the Ottoman defenses on the Suez Canal began to weaken from soldiers being moved to fight against the Italian invasion. The first major confrontation would take place in El Arish on May 9th against a hastily constructed defense to prevent the Italians from encircling the Ottoman forces holding the Egyptians back across the Suez Canal. The battle, like the preceding one at Damascus, showed the Italian forces being able to handedly sweep by the defenders. This would leave the Sinai Peninsula to fall to the Italians in the coming months, and successfully preventing an opportunity for the Egyptians to enter into the peninsula.
The rebels had to only fear already weakened and demoralized soldiers of the Empire trying to fight them and their air support- everything else was in their advantage. Ideologically the groups were probably closer to socialism more found in the Union of Britain built along Republican principles- it did not show many similarities with the Anarchist and Syndicalist opinion dominating in France, or the resurgence of Marxist thought in Italy. However the Syndintern would be grateful for any opportunity to end the war in the Middle-East quickly in order to focus on the war with Russia.
Attempts to make the groundwork for a unified Middle-Eastern state were not successful as the Syndintern hoped . The Kurds and Arabs, while pledging ‘mutual’ assistance to one another, were suspicious of a single government between the two, with the Kurds in particular worrying that they would be outnumbered by the Arabs and relegated to a ‘minority’ status rather than enjoying a share in governance. With the revolutionaries only tentatively agreeing to a supranational entity, they went their separate ways in their regions.
With that opportunity in mind, it was the Kurds who took the first step of declaring their independence from the Ottoman Empire and formally aligning themselves to the Syndintern. Their success would rely on the eventual meeting of Italian and rebel battle lines to allow for the flow of supplies to the surrounded rebels. The second Kurdish state was not as large as the first- with the revolt in 1938 encompassing the territories in both Mesopotamia and Anatolia. This time around the revolt only took off in Mesopotamia, though the revolt itself was much better organized and more firmly in line with the republican camp. The tribal elements kept a low key, unable to find someone to rally around on account of Sheikh Barzanji’s continued exile in Aden.
By late may much of the Levant was already under the control of the Synintern, and progress was being made in linking up the battle lines with Kurdistan, which had been accepted into the Syndintern before. Arab revolutionaries managed to make a stand in Baghdad and were calling on their fellow sympathizers across the region to rise up and join in the struggle for independence. Advances on Baghdad were prevented due to the inability of the Ottoman forces to pass through the Kurdish mountains, with the other possible route now blocked by the Italians.
Across the ocean the war in South America- which had been looking unfavorable for the Syndicalists until then- began to show some gains for Brazil after losing its southeastern provinces to La Plata. La Plata had before the events of the summer of 1944 been relying on German support, due to being an associate, though not a full member, of Mitteleuropa. With Germany removed as a serious international power, La Plata now had to deal with its difficult adjustment to fight without Mitteleuropan aid, even as Brazil and Bolivia continued to receive Syndintern aid. With the elimination of the Entente from the Americans, arising from the collapse of the monarchy in Canada and the capitulation of the Caribbean Federation, La Plata was alone in its fight against Brazil.
The War in South America, June 1944
By the summer of 1944, the Syndintern had been making progress into the Baltics, though was constantly frustrated by the inability to deal a devastating defeat to the Russian Empire, which had avoided any major encirclements until that point. The Syndintern turned its attention to Ukraine, which was rapidly collapsing in face of the Russian advance and risking extending the front in the east even longer.
It was an odd conundrum for Makhno especially, being from Ukraine himself. His return to Ukraine had always been in the back of his mind as the Syndintern moved eastward, to the land which he had exiled himself from following the failure of his Black Army in Ukraine. In a way Makhno had his eye on finally completing his revolution in Ukraine, but was also aware of the danger of extending the front longer than they could handle.
The end of Ukraine was inevitable though. Ukraine could not hold back the Russian advance, even with the Syndintern forces from the west ordered to merely hold defensive lines and not advance into Ukraine. Kiev had already fallen to the Russians earlier, prompting the government to relocate to Odessa. As the Russians neared the city, the King and the Hetman  fled into exile, abandoning Ukraine to the Russians. On July 17th the Russian Empire formally annexed the whole of Ukraine.
Whether the Syndintern liked it or not, they would now have to deal with extended battle lines. The fall of Ukraine however removed the last trace of Mitteleuropa on the continent, now ensuring that the Syndintern’s new order would be there to stay. The Russian Empire now posed the most significant threat to them, and the whole of the Syndintern’s resources was now focused on withstanding the Russian military.
The new governments set up in the remains of old Europe were also committed to the war, but would have to deal in asserting their governments over the divided populace, some of whom would have loyalties with the old regimes. The German Union in particular under the joint Spartacist-FAUD government had to deal with the remnants of the German nobility that had not fled out of the country, as well as suspicion over military officers and other functionaries who showed signs of dissent against the new government.
Even in the old realms of Belgium and the Netherlands, there was a delicate balance the Syndintern would have to play to ensure the populace perceived themselves as members, rather than resources, of the Syndintern, much less puppets. The strains of war time helped to lessen the impact of these decisions, but it was looming on everyone’s minds of what would they do in the aftermath of the war, or in the worst case scenario, if the Russian Empire began to threaten Syndintern gains in Europe.
The Italians continued their campaign in the Middle-East with a greater consolidation of their beachhead. Armored and mechanized units were being brought in to better traverse the plains of the region in order to quickly seize control of Mesopotamia and strike upwards into the heart of the Ottoman Empire.
The gains of Italy in the region as well as the Ottoman Empire’s retreat out of the Balkans prompted the Arab regions to finally join ranks with the ongoing revolution in Baghdad and instigate another large uprising against Ottoman power. The movement was a large one, some sympathizing with the Republican stand point of the revolutionaries in Baghdad, but others choosing sides with the Hashemites and Egyptians. But for the time being, opposition to the Ottoman Empire was forged and on July 21st the region was caught up in the fervor of revolution.
The uprisings gripped the remaining Arab cities that had not risen in revolt by that point. Within areas controlled by Italy the framework was being established for a future socialist government in the region working with revolutionaries in Damascus, as well as holding meetings between those in Damascus and Baghdad to agree upon a unified movement. All the while the Ottoman Empire could not muster the strength to oppose the intrigue from the Italians as the empire began to crumble before their eyes.
The war was not over yet though, as the Imperial Army would undoubtedly attempt a last stand from within Anatolia to prevent the further progress of the Italian military to the capital. The Italians had ruled out a landing closer to the Imperial capital due to the strong naval emplacements in the region. The example of Gallipoli from the Great War presented a grim possibility of what could happen in such an operation. The Italians did not decide against Gallipoli from advice by the British, but rather supposed that with their progress as it was, the way would be open for an armored advance through Anatolia that would let it quickly fall.
By the beginning of August, 1944, the situation in the Middle-East was favorable to Italy. The Kurdish state had so far withstood the advances of the Ottoman military, and was now aiding their fellow Arab republicans against more conservative elements of the Arab resistance. Italy for its part was now focusing on capturing the ports within the Hatay region and opening its way to advancing into the core of the Empire.
The Middle-East by the beginning of August 1944
 Original Syndintern proposals suggested a Middle-Eastern syndicate encompassing Turks, Arabs, Kurds, and other groups in the Middle-East under one banner. An agreement from representatives of the communities could not be secured during the last major meeting of the International in Chicago in 1939 before the war.
 The arrangement in Ukraine was similar to other states in Eastern Europe formed by the Germans in the aftermath of World War I. Ukraine had a member of the German nobility, Erzherzog Wilhelm von Österreich-Teschen und Toskana, became king as Vasily I Vyshyvaniy, ruling with the aid of a Hetman, Pavlo Skoropadsky. Ukraine had originally had a parliamentary assembly, the Rada, but was dissolved on August 15th following the rising popularity of the syndicalist aligned Nikita Khrushchev, restoring more power to the Hetman.