Well the USA definitely supports groups that evolve into terrorist organizations. Definitely agree with you there Rojava isn't "relatively" secular. It is completely secular. There is no religious basis for anything they are doing. There are a varieties of different religious groups living in the same neighborhoods. It is probably more religiously diverse per capita than the United States in that aspect.
Anyway that pattern you laid out jives with what I know. US foreign policy has pretty reliably done what you said.
That story has been repeated many of times in that region with the same result; dictatorship. Then you have to ask yourself how that's any different from Assad's anti-imperialism-turned-fascism?
Well for one, Assad and the Syrian state in general is Ba'athist. Ba'athism is an explicitly authoritarian Arab nationalist ideology. There was no delusion of liberation other than national self determination for a unified Arab nation-state. So it's pretty far-fetched to compare a libertarian autonomous movement like Rojava that's ultimately opposed to the concept of a nation-state and favors democratic confederalization to an authoritarian nationalist movement that suppresses non Arabs, just on the basis that they are anti-imperialist. Any movement that isn't a straight up US puppet state is going to be anti-imperialist. The only thing they have in common is that they don't want to give the USA their oil.
The only socialist movements in the Middle East have been either Ba'athist or Marxist-Leninist. Rojava is radically different than anything that's been tried in the region. The story you're talking about that has been repeated many times has been that of explicitly authoritarian movements fighting for state control and state power. The PYD/YPG (there are so many god damn acronyms lol) isn't even Marxist. The sole reason they exist was Abdullah Öcalan's denunciation of Marxism after reading about social ecology and shit like that while being detained by the Turkish state. (He's the leader of the Turkish PKK and the dude who developed Democratic Confederlism as a political theory).
Overall I have no faith in the YPG because their ideologies are going to drive local forces away. Their support from abroad is growing while they're losing local support, and to me that doesn't set up a sustainable foundation.
I ask out of genuine curiosity (tone is hard to convey over text), but do you have examples of them losing any local support they had? Whenever they gain "control" over new territory (typically by driving ISIS out of a given region), their first step is educating the population on how to govern themselves, and arming them for self defense. In the first place, there was never any local support in terms of other military actors in the region if that's what you're talking about. Every other political/military entity in the general region wants them dead. But so far they've proven capable of defending themselves against attacks on all fronts, even including keeping the second largest NATO army at bay and basically embarrassing the shit out of Turkey. (Quick disclaimer: A lot of European and American reporting on Turkey's military operation in Afrin are based off of straight up Turkish propaganda).
If they do defeat ISIS they'd be big enough to want more than just dirt and bragging rights, and after all the foreign anarchists go home they'll be basically a dissident militia, and historically when those get big enough they go from liberation to government takeover to dictatorship pretty damn quick.
They pretty much already have defeated ISIS. They've driven ISIS out of Syria and into the Iraqi desert, and ISIS has no more control over any significant territories. The fight's not totally over, but ISIS is pretty much fucked right now. They're going to need to rely on Turkey to beat the YPG. And the land they're reclaiming isn't just dirt. It has a shitload of valuable natural resources (which when all is said and done will look pretty nice to the USA once we decide to label them as terrorists and bomb the shit out of them 5-10 years from now). It's also land that has massive historical and cultural significance to them because it is literally Western Kurdistan. Their goal is to reclaim Kurdish land from Turkey, Syria and Iraq (though the Iraqi Kurds are a different situation entirely) to operate as an autonomous region governed by its citizens via directly democratic councils.
Regarding your comment on foreign anarchists going home and them becoming a dissident militia: While they're getting help from international leftist individuals (or as dasaten says, Russian trolls ) flying out there to fight in the revolution because they share the same ideals, foreign fighters ultimately make up a small percentage of their forces. Rather than the detriment of losing a small percentage of their fighting force, losing international support would be bad for them in the sense that it would make it much easier for the United States and Turkey to gain public support for bombing them to hell. International solidarity movements are pretty key to maintaining discourse that keeps the Kurds from being labeled as terrorists by Western powers.
As for dictatorship, it is entirely possible that some Marxist-Leninist faction will try to seize power (as history has shown to happen fairly often), or that the Iraqi Kurds will try to co-opt Rojava's movement to claim a unified Kurdish nation state as their own. Not gonna deny that, since shit like that can happen anytime there is a power vacuum. This is the whole reason they are fighting. But they're taking steps to eliminate the chances of something like that happening. For one, civilians are armed and police themselves, and the YPG/YPJ has no influence over civilian life. In Rojava, everyone gets a gun as long as they go through a couple months of training, which aside from how to effectively and safely operate their weapon, involves learning the concepts of communal self-policing, how to democratically manage resources, non-violence, and education on feminist theory because gender equality is at the forefront of their priorities. That might've been a bit of a tangent, but arming and training your citizens to fight authoritarian powers is not a very good strategy for any would-be authoritarians. The system they have set up is fairly complex so I'm obviously not going to explain all of it right here.
Anyway I obviously find the way they organize their society fascinating, which is why I read so much about it. Sorry for the walls of text haha. I like talking to Americans/Westerners about what's happening in Rojava because it is not getting much coverage and is glossed over in a lot of Western discourse.
see the wired article i posted in social media censorship thread..
Yo I'll check that out sometime tonight! I wrote that long ass response post to beef-clef above a few hours ago and it just now posted when I opened my laptop again