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Seumas Milne and the ‘Multipolar World': Clutching at Straws.

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‘s Multipolar World. 

On parts of the left a theory has gradually developed that an emerging “multi-polar world” is the best defence against American-led imperialism.

This view, taken from academic studies of international relations, and given a political edge, is behind many apparently bizarre positions.

Such as backing Beijing, Moscow, or even Tehran ‘against’ the ‘West’.

The tiny entrist faction, Socialist Action, has taken this to mean that the left should defend countries, like China,

In a conflict between the world’s greatest imperialist power and a former colonized and dominated country the most elementary position should be clear: anyone on the side of progress and justice defends semi-colonial, emerging China against the offensive of imperialism and its allies.

It is not even necessary to believe China is a socialist country to form this conclusion. It is simply necessary to take the same principled position that the left would take if the USA and its allies were to organize an assault on any other semi-colonial country whatever the character of the economic or political system in place.

Socialist Action, 14th May 2014. Jude Woodward.

An even less influential groupuscule, the Global Revolutionary Alliance,  carries this article,

John Morgan:  I’m not certain about a return to the bipolar model anytime soon. While we have seen the rise of new powers capable of challenging American hegemony in recent years – China, India, Iran, and of course the return of Russia to the world stage – none of them are capable of matching the pervasive influence of the American economy and its culture, nor of projecting military power around the world as NATO has been doing. At the same time, we can plainly see now that America and its allies in Western Europe have already passed their economic limits, now racking up unprecedented debt, and their power is beginning to wane.

Rather than the return of a bipolar world, I think we will see the emergence of the multipolar one, as Prof. Dugin has suggested, in which several nations wield significant power but none reigns supreme above all. In order to protect their interests, stronger nations will need to forge alliances with weaker ones, and sometimes even with other strong nations. But I think the era of the superpower is rapidly coming to an end.

The Morning Star frequently gives voice to similar arguments.

In that daily reviewing a book on the overthrow of Gaddafi in Libya Carlos Martinez allows himself to claim,

Thus Libya is a boon for Nato in the geostrategic context of the Project For A New American Century, the US’s desperate attempt to maintain its hegemony and prevent the emergence of a multipolar world order. 

This is a strategy of  “divide and ruin” — violating national sovereignty, creating civil wars and removing states that refuse to play ball, all in the interests of creating an unstable global political environment that only the Western powers have the military weight to control. 

It is a thread that runs through the wars in Libya and Syria, the Nato and EU-sponsored boiling pot in Ukraine, the “revolt of the rich” in Venezuela, the CIA-funded social media campaigns in Cuba and Barack Obama’s so-called Asia pivot. It’s the duty of all progressive humanity to recognise and oppose such a strategy.

Rarely however are the actual policies of the Russian Federation celebrated as a progressive side to these developments.

Nor expressed them clearly in the mainstream media.

Until, that is,  the Guardian journalist  has given them an airing in this week.

A real counterweight to US power is a global necessity is a strange ideological concoction.

Milne makes a number of sweeping claims.

He begins by blaming everything that has gone wrong in the Middle East on the US-led ‘world order’.

The results of the invasion of Iraq are certainly a major factor in the chain of events that have led to the present – multiple – crises in the region. The US and its allies bear a heavy responsibility. The invasion was wrong wrong and wrong.

But there is nothing on the politics of post-invasion Iraq, the rise of the Mahdi Army, the conflicts between Shiism and Sunnism, and a host of other developments that have flourished in the aftermath of this “shock”.

Most seriously he ignores  any internal causes for the steps beyond the traditional repression and intolerance of Islamist politics: the genocidal Isis/Islamic State. That’s as if, to give a comparison, as if Hitler could be explained in terms of the Versailles Treaty and the manoeuvres of the 1920s Great Powers.

For Milne it is not necessary to go further than geopolitics to account for the growth of an Islamist  totalitarian movement, based on ‘micro-states’ policies of ‘discipline and punish’, and killing, have their own life and own responsibilities. Why the Arab Spring has largely failed – outside of Tunisia – is another ‘non-US led’ issue.

For Milne there is one important topic: NATO (the ‘West’) is a  diabolical force that has been challenged – however partially – by Russia.

 But if the Middle Eastern maelstrom is the fruit of a US-dominated new world order, Ukraine is a result of the challenge to the unipolar world that grew out of the failure of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. It was the attempt to draw divided Ukraine into the western camp by EU and US hawks after years of eastward Nato expansion that triggered the crisis, Russia’s absorption of Crimea and the uprising in the Russian-speaking Donbass region of the east.

The Ukrainian right-wing has its own responsibilities and we are far from those who put the blame on ‘Russia’ for what has happened in the country.

But Milne makes the interesting claim that the President of the Russian Federation has appealed for a global way out of such crisis .

It fell on deaf ears.

But there is little chance of the western camp responding to Putin’s call for a new system of global rules. In fact, the US showed little respect for rules during the cold war either, intervening relentlessly wherever it could. But it did have respect for power. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, that restraint disappeared. It was only the failure of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – and Russia’s subsequent challenge to western expansion and intervention in Georgia, Syria and Ukraine – that provided some check to unbridled US power.

Yet they cannot stem the new multipolar system of powers.

Along with the rise of China, it has also created some space for other parts of the world to carve out their political independence, notably in Latin America. Putin’s oligarchic nationalism may not have much global appeal, but Russia’s role as a counterweight to western supremacism certainly does. Which is why much of the world has a different view of events in Ukraine from the western orthodoxy – and why China, India, Brazil and South Africa all abstained from the condemnation of Russia over Crimea at the UN earlier this year.

This has its limits, but they do not stop Milne’s claims to swell and swell.

But Moscow’s check on US military might is limited. Its economy is over-dependent on oil and gas, under-invested and now subject to disabling sanctions. Only China offers the eventual prospect of a global restraint on western unilateral power and that is still some way off. As Putin is said to have told the US vice-president, Joe Biden, Russia may not be strong enough to compete for global leadership, but could yet decide who that leader might be.

Despite the benefits of the emerging multipolar world, the danger of conflict, including large-scale wars, looks likely to grow. The public pressure that brought western troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan is going to have to get far stronger in the years to come – if that threat is not to engulf us all.

It would appear that there is something of the argument (used by New Left writers amongst others) that the old Soviet Union might be repressive and reactionary at home but by the sheer fact of its presence tilted global politics in favour of the left, bringing fear to capitalists and concessions to social democracy in its wake. More convincingly some asserted that the Kremlin’s support for national liberal movements was decisive. Less persuasively that it was its  saving grace.

Milne studiously avoids (as Shiraz points out) discussing Stalinism and its immediate aftermath.

He effectively asserts (or wishing) for something similar: that the ‘multi-polar world (Russia and China its chief among many heads) can provide £some check” to “unbridled” US power – as if Washington was a war horse needing constant restraint from….war.

How far is this shown by recent events?

Today’s Latin American left cannot have much of a debt to anything remotely resembling this, or to Putin – unless Milne can provide some evidence so far hidden from the rest of us.

Not can Russia be said to have played a role in supporting any left project or holding back the US (and more to the point, international capital) from blocking progressive policies.

China and Russia’s presence, as capitalist powers, suggests that globalisation is proceeding. It can hardly be expected that they will do anything that threatens the interests of …capitalism.

They are indeed both ‘imperialist’ in the classical Marxist sense that they export capital, and influence global politics by virtue of their economic power, not by persuasion. The conflicts they enter into are part of ‘their’ perceived interests in this respect.  Their only ‘challenge’ to neoliberalism is that their political structures are authoritarian and repressive.

Although their super-patriotism and moral conservatism (in Russia above all) appear to attract some European far-rightists and former leftists they hardly act as much of a ‘counterweight’ to a more direct menace to the left: the growth of the  populist and racist far-right in Europe – not to mention the rise of Islamist reaction in the Middle East and elsewhere. 

The existence of competing superpowers is more generally said to have been a major contributing factor to two World Wars in the Twentieth century – at least according to  Marxists.

Lenin, who is not the be-all–and-end-all on this topic, nevertheless  provided a useful  5-point definition of imperialism:

(1) the concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life; (2) the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this “finance capital”, of a financial oligarchy; (3) the export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance; (4) the formation of international monopolist capitalist associations which share the world among themselves, and (5) the territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed. Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capital is established; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun, in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed.

These terms are contested, and the role of political sovereign nations in a globalised world has altered, not to mention capital flows and the world division of labour.

One thing is also clear: the ‘multipolar’ model gives us little indication of how to support people’s such as the Kurds of Kobane, struggling might and main against the Islamist genociders – that is the  duty of international solidarity. 

But that does not matter for the left supporters of “multipolarism”:  Milne thinks that the “division of the world” between competing capitalist nation states is a progressive thing.

The left should, if we follow this advice, do all it can to favour the “emergence of a multipolar world order.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 31, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Bangladeshi Islamist Sentenced to Death for Genocide.

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Not Forgotten.

The head of Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party has been sentenced to death for war crimes committed during the independence war against Pakistan in 1971.

Motiur Rahman Nizami, 71, faced 16 charges including genocide, murder, torture and rape.

A state prosecutor said the sentence reflected the “gravity of the crimes”.

The defence said that the charges were not proven beyond reasonable doubt and that it would appeal.

There are different estimates for the number of people killed in the nine-month Bangladeshi war of secession.

Government figures suggest as many as three million people died, while some say that figure is too high and unverifiable.

A war crimes tribunal in Bangladesh with a three-judge panel announced the verdict to a packed courtroom in Dhaka.

Nizami, who was head of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was accused of acting as supreme commander of a militia, al-Badr, an auxiliary force which helped the Pakistani army identify and kill pro-independence activists in Bangladesh.

The prosecution said the group carried out systematic torture and executions during the war, including of teachers, engineers and journalists.

Nizami served as a minister in the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led government from 2001-2006. He was also given a death sentence in January after being convicted in an arms smuggling case.

Nationwide strike

“Considering the gravity of the crimes, the tribunal punished him with the death sentence,” state prosecutor Mohammad Ali told Reuters news agency.

BBC

This report is more graphic,

Dhaka, Oct 29 (IBNS): A Bangladesh war crimes tribunal on Wednesday handed down a death sentence to a Jamaat-e-Islami leader for his involvement in riots during the nation’s independence war against Pakistan in 1971, media reported.

According to reports, Motiur Rahman Nizami, 71, was reportedly found guilty of murder, rape and looting during the nine-month long freedom war with Pakistan.

It has been learnt that the court in Dhaka sentenced Nizami to “hang by the neck until his death” for orchestrating the killings of several Bengali nationalists, including several professors, writers and doctors, during the conflict.

“Considering the gravity of the crimes, the tribunal punished him with the death sentence,” media quoted state prosecutor Mohammad Ali as saying.

According to media reports, Nizami was the commander of the Al-Badr militia, which helped the Pakistani army identify and kill pro-independence activists in Bangladesh during the war.

He was reportedly facing charges of personally carrying out the killing and ordering the deaths of nearly 600 Bangladeshis. He has been convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Following the verdict, Jamaat supporters went on rampage at different parts of the country.

Reports emerged that angry members of Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing ‘Shibir’ have vandalised at least 20 vehicles in the city on Wednesday afternoon.

They also engaged in a chase and counter chase with Chhatra League activists in the city’s court point area as the ruling party members tried to resist them.

Security has been beefed up in Dhaka and other major cities across the country.

Previous judgments by the tribunal had also sparked off violent clashes between the police and Jamaat-e-Islami supporters.

Amnesty International statement,

The death sentence against a leading opposition figure in Bangladesh for war crimes will not bring justice to the millions of victims of the independence war, Amnesty International said.

Additionally, the defence team has consistently raised concerns that trial proceedings have not followed fair trial standards.

Motiur Rahman Nizami, head of Jamaat-e-Islami, the third largest political party in Bangladesh, was sentenced to death for war crimes on Wednesday by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), a Bangladeshi court established to investigate the events of Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war.

“Bangladesh must overturn the death sentence against Motiur Rahman Nizami and all others. The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and can never be a way to deliver justice,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh Researcher.

Perpetuating violence

“The crimes committed during the independence war were horrific, and there is no question that victims deserve justice. But the death penalty only perpetuates the cycle of violence.”

“The death penalty is not only a violation of the right to life, but it is an irreversible punishment if it leads to execution, and leaves no room to correct any possible judgment errors or fair trial violations from the proceedings.”

All verdicts so far have come against individuals associated with the opposition Jamaat-e-Islami party. The ICT has faced allegations of unfair trials from rights groups since it was established – complaints echoed by Nizami’s defence team during the trial.

“The ICT is a unique opportunity for justice and reconciliation in Bangladesh. But in the face of consistent concerns raised by the defence team about the trials not being fair it will only have the opposite effect and create more resentment,” said Abbas Faiz.

Protests likely

Previous death sentences handed down by the ICT have led to large-scale street protests, and Jamaat-e-Islami have already called for a three-day national strike (hartal) to protest today’s verdict.

“The political situation in Bangladesh is extremely tense, and there is a real risk that any street demonstrations could erupt into violence. It is crucial that security forces ensure that people’s right to demonstrate peacefully is respected, and that leaders on all sides urge their supporters to not commit abuses,” said Abbas Faiz.

As of today, 140 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. Bangladesh was one of only nine countries that carried out executions every year between 2009 and 2013.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to carry out the execution. The organization calls on the Bangladeshi authorities to immediately establish a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition and commute all death sentences.

It will be interesting to see the reaction from the Jamaat’s supporters in the United Kingdom.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 30, 2014 at 12:54 pm

New International Brigade Joins Kurds to Fight Isis Fascism.

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Western “comrades” join Kurds, Arabs, secularists, Yezidis, and Syriac Christians against Islamic State

This is incredibly moving (Hat-Tip Mal Function).

Rozh Ahmad @rozhahmadmedia

War in Syria The Kurdish fight in Syria slowly turns international on the ground as an unprecedented number of foreign volunteers join the pro-Kurdish militias to fight against the Islamic State (IS) jihadists.

The most widely reported cases include 43-year-old US air force veteran Brian Wilson and 28-year-old ex-US Marine Jordan Matson.

According to local sources inside Syria’s Kurdish “Rojava” region, however, 10 American citizens as well as hundreds of non-Kurdish volunteers comprising Syrian Arabs, Turkish citizens and Europeans have already joined the People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighting against IS jihadists.

“I give no figures, but there is a considerable number of Westerners fighting in the ranks of the YPG as well as European women comrades who’ve joined the Women Protection Units (YPJ). There are many Turkish comrades too,” said 28-year-old Kristopher Nicholaidis, who left Greece and joined YPG in Syria five months ago.

NICHOLAIDIS WAS AN ACTIVE local artist back in Greece where he used his art and politics to defend migrants, including Muslims.

“There is a considerable number of Westerners fighting in the ranks of the YPG”

“I come from a political family and I am a democratic socialist. I used my art and politics to defend the Muslim community from attacks initiated by fascists of the Golden Dawn party, but I consider IS jihadists as 21st century fascists posing a greater global threat as they barbarically spread Islamofascism on an international level,” he said. “I believe that the YPG is therefore leading the greatest anti-fascist struggle of our time by fighting against IS jihadists. I joined this struggle to fight against global fascism in defence of democracy and peace in Kurdish Rojava.”

Arsalan Celik, 26, studied political science at one of the most prestigious Turkish universities but left and joined the YPG April this year.

“I am not Turkish-Kurdish, I am Turkish from the city of Mersin. I came here because the IS jihadists come from all over the world instigating a war against humanity and my government helps them. I wanted to make a practical stance against IS and YPG was the only democratic militia I found in the region fighting back against these jihadists,” he said.

“I have seen many Syrian Muslim Arabs as well as left-wing Turks fighting against IS in the ranks of the YPG and YPJ militias, but we have not made headlines as much as our American comrades,” he said light-heartedly, adding, “We fight against IS jihadists to defend the democratic values of this Kurdish-led revolution because only the Kurds are now able to bring peace to Kurdistan, Syria and Turkey.”

CELIK IS NO STRANGER for Syria’s Kurds as tens of Turkish men and women have joined YPG and YPJ since last year, and some of them have lost their lives.

Serkan Tosun was the first Turkish YPG fighter killed when he fought to repel jihadist attacks to defend the predominantly Kurdish city of Serekaniye (Ras Al-Ain) in September 2013.

30-year-old Nejat Ağırnaslı, a Turkish academic, was killed two weeks ago when he fought in the YPG ranks in defence of the city of Kobane.

This is  just so simply put and right.

Zuleikha Muhammad of Rojava Martyrs’ Mothers Committee, whose only son joined YPG and was killed last year, said: “The international volunteers are not ‘foreigners’ as some describe them because we do not consider them as ‘foreigners’, they are our children and Rojava is their homeland.”

She said: “We love international volunteers as our own children because they are fighting against IS gunmen to defend us and they are martyred like our sons and daughters to defend Rojava revolutionary cause for people’s fraternal relations.”

This is the conclusion,

Some left-wing writers in the West have begun to compare YPG and YPJ militias in Syria to the International Brigade and POUM militia that operated during the 1936 Spanish civil war, but this is not how the YPG perceives itself.

“We are not communists nor do we call for a separatist Kurdish nation-state. We are democrats advocating the third way in Syria based on the Democratic Con-federalism philosophy of Abdullah Ocalan. The YPG is a people’s militia and people are free to advocate any ideology,” said Bahoz Berxwedan, one of the YPG commanders who run political education lectures in the Al-Hasakah province.

“Any freedom-loving democrat in this world can join us regardless of their religion, ethnicity, and ideology, as long as they accept our main principles of gender equality, peaceful coexistence and self-rule autonomy for all communities,” he explained. “This is why YPG fighters include Kurds and Arab Muslims, secularists, Yezidis, Syriac Christians and some American and European comrades too.”

Written by Andrew Coates

October 28, 2014 at 5:07 pm

Tunisian Islamists Conceed Defeat to Secular, Nidaa Tounes, Party,

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Tunisia: Nidaa Tounes Beats Islamists.

Tunisia’s Ennahda party, the first Islamist movement to secure power after the 2011 “Arab Spring” revolts, conceded defeat on Monday in elections that are set to make its main secular rival the strongest force in parliament.

Official results from Sunday’s elections – the second parliamentary vote since Tunisians set off uprisings across much of the Arab World by overthrowing autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali – were still to be announced.

But a senior official at Ennahda, which ruled in a coalition until it was forced to make way for a caretaker government during a political crisis at the start of this year, acknowledged defeat by the secular Nidaa Tounes party.

We have accepted this result, and congratulate the winner Nidaa Tounes,” the official, Lotfi Zitoun, told Reuters. However, he repeated the party’s call for a new coalition including Ennahda. “We are calling once again for the formation of a unity government in the interest of the country.”

Earlier, a party source said preliminary tallies showed the secular party had won 80 seats in the 217-member assembly, ahead of 67 secured by Ennahda.

Reuters.

These are some percentage figures.

Nidaa Tounes 38.24% = 83 seats Ennahdha: 31.33% = 68 seats Free Patriotic Union (run by rich businessman and Africa football club owner Slim Riahi), : 7.83% = 17 Seats Popular Front (the left bloc): 5.25% = 12 seats Afek Tounes: 2.3% = 5 seats Congress for the Republic: 1.84% = 4 seats The Initiative: 1.84% = 4 seats

Tunisia Live.

Le Monde reports,

The Islamist party knew he would see a decline in popularity but had not imagined such a setback. Triumphantly elected in 2011, when the first free elections were held after the fall of Ben Ali, the movement had two difficult years in government, marked by economic failure, political assassinations and a rise in terrorism.

On Sunday, voters did not hesitate to say they had voted Ennahda in 2011 and had been then disappointed. So that they had decided to turn to Nidaa Tounès. “We need people who can make the country move forward “, noted a resident of Rafraf, small coastal town in the north, attracted as were many voters by the figure of Beji Caid Essebsi, a former prime minister and leader of the transitional government after the revolution.

While British commentators  like the Guardian’s Seumas Milne had described Ennahda as “progressive” and “centre left” critics from Tunisia’s important secular left and labour movement had accused it of harbouring a hard-line Islamist wing, and practising neo-liberal economics.

The assassination of the left leader Chokri Belaïd (February 2013) indicated the existence of a far-right Islamist current prepared to use violence against the progressive movement. It as a key moment in defining the difference between Islamist reaction – including that of Ennahda – and the Tunisian left (seeTunisie : Le mouvement ouvrier à la croisée des chemins.). At one point it looked as if the fringes of the party would work with the religious hard-liners  and establish Islamic ‘mini-states’ based on the Sharia.

This did not happen.

The Parliamentary Islamists recoiled from the terrorism of the Salafist inspired street fighters.

All Tunisian elected parties have since accepted a new (2014) Constitution, unique in the Arab world, which establishes a framework for open decentralised government, promotes gender equality and accepts freedom of religion (that is the right not to be a Muslim), although restricts attacks on faith.

Nidaa Tounes (the حركة نداء تونسNidā’ Tūnis, French: Appel de la Tunisie, Call of Tunisia), is a secular party, or as Wikipedia calls it “secularist”. “founded by the former prime minister Beji Caid el Sebsi after the post-revolution 2011 elections. It describes itself as a “modernist” party.”

In this context modernist means that the party is dedicated to democracy, gender equality, social openness, and is not prepared to allow movements imposing Islamic rules on daily life. Economic development is seen as a condition of progress.

“The party has patched together former members of ousted president Ben Ali’s Constitutional Democratic Rally, secular leftists, progressive liberals and Destourians (followers of Tunisia’s “founder” Habib Bourguiba). In addition, the party has the support of many members of the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) and the national employers’ union, UTICA. They believe that Tunisia’s secular forces have to unite to counter the dominance of the Islamist Ennahda Movement.”

Nidaa Tounes’ promises increased growth and a reduction in unemployment (currently at 15,20%).

It is believed that the party’s criticisms of the “instrumentalisation” of Islam, experienced candidates (regardless of their Destourian past),  and its call for “sécurité et de la stabilité” accounts for its successes.

To their left with 17 seats the Popular Front has achieved Parliamentary representation. It suffered from leftist in-fighting, and the alliance of some trade unionists with Nidaa Tounes. Nevertheless it also remains linked to the left-wing of the powerful  Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail (UGTT).

It is believed that the UGTT and Tunisia’s strong civil society have helped hinder the growth of an Islamist anti-democratic movement.

Nevertheless over  2,400 Tunisian citizens (out of a population of 10,89 million) have joined the jihadists in Syria and Iraq.

It is expected that very different social conflicts will result from any attempt by the probable national unity government that the elections are likely to create (led by Nidaa Tounes) to tie a ‘modernising’ economic agenda to neo-liberal policies. Calling themselves “technocrats” is an obvious attempt by politicians to deflect opposition to unpopular measures which could include further austerity.

For the moment minds are concentrated on the defeat of Ennahda.

There are inevitable charges of – marginal – electoral malpractice.

But some things stand out: watching the images of voting in Tunis on the (UK) telly news stations today you could have been excused for simply thinking how ordinary the Tunisians looked – democratic, calm, modern people.

British Jihadist Killed Fighting our Kurdish Sisters and Brothers in Kobane.

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Muhammad Mehdi Hassan is believed to have been killed in Kobani.

Mehdi Hassan: Died Fighting with Isis Against our Kurdish Sisters and Brothers.

The BBC has just reported.

A fourth man from Portsmouth who went to fight in Syria for Islamic State (IS) is believed to have been killed.

Mehdi Hassan, 19, travelled to the country with a group of four other men in October 2013.

A photo of his body emerged on Twitter on Friday and his family confirmed earlier to their local mosque they had received news of his death.

Iftekar Jaman, Mamunur Roshid and Hamidur Rahman have previously been killed in the fighting.

In a statement, the Foreign Office said it had not received any reports about Mr Hassan’s death but was “aware of reports about the death of a British national in Syria”.

‘Well mannered boy’

Chairman of the Portsmouth Jami Mosque, Abdul Jalil, said: “It has been confirmed with the family that he has died. Right now they are very upset.

“I am saddened and again shocked for the community about this news.”

It is thought he died in Kobane.

A family friend, who did not want to be named, told the BBC: “Mehdi Hassan was a polite well mannered boy and always spoke to elders with respect.

“He had a good family upbringing. It’s a shame, he would have been a valuable member to Portsmouth society.”

On 17 October, a tweet from an account believed to be linked to Mr Hassan said: “Between 20-40 us strikes daily in ayn al arab [the Syrian town of of Kobane]. Alhamdulillah they are spending $10’s of billions…against themselves.

The Guardian says,

On Tuesday, it was confirmed that another of the so-called “Pompey lads” Manunur Roshid, 24, was also killed in fighting on the Syrian frontline with reports suggesting he also died in the battle to seize Kobani, which borders Turkey. Reports of their death follows that of two other Portsmouth men, Ifthekar Jaman, 23, last December and Muhammad Hamidur Rahman, 25 in August.

Hassan’s death leaves Assad Uzzaman, 25, fighting in Syria with Isis while the other member of the group, Mashadur Choudhury, 31, returned to the UK and is currently in jail.

…..

Hasan was part of a group of five calling themselves the “Britani Brigade Bangladeshi Bad Boys”. The fanatics, all from Portsmouth, had been seduced by glamorous tales of martyrdom to join Islamic State – formerly Isis – establishing a Muslim caliphate in the Middle East.

Shiraz Maher, from King’s ICSR, said: “Now, of the six men who went from Porstmouth to fight jihad in Syria, four have now died and one is in prison.

“We know that Hassan was fighting for the battle of Kobani, likely alongside Manunur Rohsid who was reported killed a few days ago.”

Maher said that this death showed that Brits were being killed in all regions of the sprawling and bloody conflict from Mediterranean coastal provinces in Syria, to the west of Iraq to towns on the Turkish border. “Brits are not there to take a back seat in this conflict, they are full participants in this war,” he said.

We take the participation of British Islamists in the genocidal war against our Kurdish sisters and brothers extremely seriously.

Their assault on the beloved people of Kobane is a monstrous  war crime.

Meanwhile the Stop the War Coalition sees fit to publish this in reaction to the attacks in Canada,

The term “terrorism” has become nothing more than a rhetorical weapon for legitimizing all violence by Western countries, and delegitimizing all violence against them, even when the violence called “terrorism” is clearly intended as retaliation for Western violence.

It is hard to think of how they would describe the blood-stained crimes of the “well-mannered” “Pompey lads”.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

October 25, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Solidarity with Kobani and Shingal Public Meeting, House of Commons.

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PUBLIC MEETING: Solidarity with Kobani and Shingal

Organised by the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees

28 October at 18:30

Committee Room 10, House of Commons.

* Hosted by John McDonnell MP

Please join us to express solidarity with the peoples of Kobani (Syria) and Shingal (Iraq) and others resisting the bloodthirsty ISIS assault.

Speakers include:
Activists from Iraqi Kurdistan
John McDonnell
Jean Lambert MEP
Representative from Amnesty

We will discuss how to build solidarity with the resistance to ISIS, solidarity with socialist and working-class forces in the region, and support for the displaced and refugees.

For more information contact: 07804 891 082 or 07856 032 991 or 07894 252 708

Yesterday the comrades from Shiraz published this.

The Kurds are crying out for support, for Western governments to help them.

They demonstrate with banners saying “Your silence is killing us.” They are right.

This is Guernica, this is Madrid. These are our comrades. But where is the left? Where are the thousands who rightly throng the streets in support of another stateless, oppressed people in Palestine? Where is the Stop The War Coalition? Why the silence? Why, why, WHY?

ATTILA THE STOCKBROKER
http://www.attilathestockbroker.com

There have been left groups, such as the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, and Socialist Resistance, and libertarian left-wingers who have been campaigning with our Kurdish sisters and brothers.

Many, many on the left feel as Attila does: that we have yet to see major forces being committed

We hope that this meeting offers an answer.

We also note this resolution (amongst others broadly in the same line, but this is the clearest) for Left Unity’s 15th-16th November Conference.

P. Solidarity with Kurdistan

Proposed by Adriano Nerola Marotta

Seconded by Alia Al Ghussain

Left Unity Notes;

Since 16th of September, the Kurdish city of Kobane in northern Syria have been defending themselves against the onslaught of ISIS

Those Kurdish areas captured by ISIS have seen mass executions and enslavement of female Kurdish civilians take place, indicating a potentially likely future if Kobane falls to the hands of ISIS

That Kobane, the home of the progressive “Rojava Revolution”, is the political base of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD)

That the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, allied with the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), is the key progressive Kurdish political force

That the Kurdish resistance fighters, which include the all-female defence unites YPJ (Women’s Protection Unit) which make-up 30% of Kurdish militias, have been fighting ISIS with light weaponry and practically no international support against the more advanced military of ISIS

Turkey has not provided any military or monetary support for the Kurdish resistance to ISIS, despite the continuous calls for intervention by the Kurdish community in the legal borders of Turkey

Left Unity Believes;

That ISIS is a reactionary and gruesome organisation which has caused suffering and death to the civilian populations of large parts of Syria and Iraq

That the Kurdish resistance and progressive political establishment are worthy of international solidarity and support

The British Kurdish community have repeatedly demanded solidarity for the people of Syrian Kurdistan, with little support from the established British left

That internationalism is the cornerstone of socialist politics and is more needed today than ever before

Left Unity Resolves:

To coordinate a fundraising campaign for the (Syrian) Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) together with Kurdish community organisations and other supportive groups

To campaign for the de-criminalisation of the Kurdish PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party)

To campaign for the British government to grant asylum-seeker status to any and all Kurdish refugees seeking asylum in Britain

Update.

URGENT CALL FOR ACTION: Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity!

Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity!

Date for the Global Rally: 1 November 2014, 2pm

kobane is not alone

 

Prof Noam CHOMSKY-US; Archbishop Desmond TUTU-South Africa; Adolfo PerezESQUIVEL, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 1980-Argentina; Hugo BLANCO, leader of the CCP (Campesino Confederation of Peru)-Peru; Prof Bill BOWRING, University of London, Birkbeck College -UK; MICHAEL MANSFIELD QC, President of Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers-UK; Dr Felix PADEL, Sussex University-UK; LordHYLTON, House of Lords, UK; Margaret OWEN O.B.E, human rights lawyer-UK; Nick HILDYARD, policy adviser-UK; Prof Kariane WESTRHEIM, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC)-Norway; Prof Michael GUNTER, EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC)-US; Dr.ir. JP Joost JONGERDEN, Wageningen University, The Netherlands; Estella SCHMID, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign-UK; Dr. David GRAEBER-anthropologist, author, UK;  Mark THOMAS, writer/comedian-UK; Peter TATCHELL, Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation-UK; Dr Derek WALL, International Coordinator of the Green Party of England and Wales-UK; Stephen SMELLIE, UNISON Lanarkshire, Scotland-UK; FABIO AMATO, Foreign Representative of the PRC Party and Secretariat of the European Left-Italy; Moni OVADIA, perfomer/musicians/theatrical author–Italy; Michel ROLAND,  President of Médecins du Monde, Belgium; LUDO DE BRABANDER, spokesperson Vrede vzw (Belgian Peace Organisation)- Belgium;WARD KENNES, Mayor of Kasterlee/ MP, Member of the Flemish Parliament-Belgium; Stephen BOUQUIN, Prof of Sociology, Universite d’Evry-Val-d’Essone and Chairman of ROOD-Belgium; Em. Prof. Herman DE LEY, Ghent University-Belgium Dr. Suresh KHAIRNAR, National Convenor, All India Secular Forum-India; KishoreJAGTAP, President, Phule-Ambedkar Intellectual Forum-India; Amaresh MISRA, Editor-in-Chief, Medhaj News-India; Feroze MITHIBORWALA, National President of Bharat Bachao Andolan (Movement to Save India from Imperialism & Zionism)-India; Dr Radha D’SOUZA, Indian Association of People’s Lawyers – India; ManuelMARTORELL, historian and journalist-Spain; Osvaldo BAYER, historian, writer and anarchist-Argentina; Stella CALLONI, journalist, international analyst and writer-Argentina; Fernando SIGNORINI, Coach of the Argentinian Soccer Team-Argentina; Nora CORTINAS, Human rights activist, co-founder of the Mayo’s Square Mothers-Argentina; Rosana ALVARADO, First Vice-President of the National Assembly-Ecuador; Maria Augusta CALLE, President of the Commission on Sovereignty and International Relations of the National Assembly-Ecuador; Virgilio HERNANDEZ, Member of the Board of Directors of the National Legislative Assembly- Ecuador; PedroDE LA CRUZ, President of the Andean Parliament–Ecuador; Francisco VELASCO, Former Minister of Culture, Member of the Administrative Board of “Alliance Country”-Ecuador; Guillaume LONG, responsible for External Relations of Ecuador Alianza Pais Party-Ecuador; Fernando BOSSI, People’s Bolivarian Congress-Argentina; Prof Kamal A.Mitra CHENOY, Centre for Comparative Politic & Political Theory, School of International Studies-India; Achin VANIK , Professor of International Relations and Global Politics from the University of Delhi (retired)-India; Amir M. MAASOUMI, Peace Ambassador-India; Sushovan DHAR, Radical Socialist-India; Jatin DESAI,veteran journalist & General secretary of the “PIFPD” (Pakistan India Forum for Peace & Democracy) – India; Wilfred DACOSTA, Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), New Delhi- India; Sandhya JAIN, Journalist, New Delhi – India; Asha KACHRU, Writer-India; Dr. Suresh KHAIRNAR, National Convenor, All India Secular Forum-India; Kishore JAGTAP, President, Phule-Ambedkar Intellectual Forum-India; AmareshMISRA, Editor-in-Chief, Medhaj News-India; Anwar KOMBAI, Documentary Filmmaker, writer & journalist, Chennai, India; Javed ANAND, Muslims for Secular Democracy, Mumbai-India; Rohini HENSMAN, Writer and Independent Scholar, Bombay-India; Jawad MOHAMMED,Lawyer from Chennai-South India; Sukla SEN,EKTA (Committee for Communal Amity), Mumbai-India; Sushovan DHAR, Radical Socialist-India; Jatin DESAI, veteran journalist & General secretary of the “PIFPD” – Pakistan India Forum for Peace & Democracy-India; Raghu JAYANTIYA, Engineering Design Manager-UK; Mukta SRIVASTAV, National Alliance of People’s Movements, Mumbai-India; Com. VASUDEVAN, Bluestar Trade Union, Mumbai–India; Com Deepti GOPINATH, Airport Workers Trade Union, Mumbai-India; Akshay KUMAR, Orissa Farmers Struggle, Bhuvaneshwar-India; Prof. Rakesh RAFIQUE, Yuva Kranti, Founder, Moradabad-India; Ravi KOHAR, Convenor, Yuva Kranti (Revolutionary Youth), New Delhi-India; Shelley KASLI, Journalist, Bangalore-India; SalimALWARE, Indian Muslim Intellectual Forum, Convenor-India; Jyoti BADEKAR, Bharat Bachao Andolan, Mumbai-India; Farouk MAPKAR, Bharat Bachao Andolan, Convenor, Mumbai-India; Yusuf PARMAR, President, Indian Muslim Development Council, Rajkot-India; Arif KAPADIA,  Bharat Bachao Andolan, Mumbai-India; AfaqueAZAD, Bharat Bachao Andolan, Mumbai –India; Bhupen SINGH, Journalist, New Delhi-India; Shujaat Ali QADRIQ, Convenor, Muslim Students Organization, Lucknow-INDIA; Ashraf Ali ZAIDI, Bharat Bachao Andolan, New Delhi-India; Sanjay SINGHVI,General Secretary, Trade Union Centre of India (TUCI), Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) CPI-ML-India; Luisa MORGANTINI – Former Vice President of EP-Italy; Massimo ARTINI, MP, Vice President of Defence Committe in Parliamnet- Italy; Prof. Annamaria RIVERA, Anthropologist-Italy; Prof. Enrico Pugliese, Sociology-Italy; Prof. Giorgio FORTI, Emeritus at the Faculty, University of Milan, and Member of the Lincei National Academy-Italy; Prof. Maria Immacolata MACIOTI, Association of Sociology in Italy (AIS)-Italy; Alessia MONTUORI, Association ‘Senza Confine’-Italy; Alfonso DI STEFANO, Comitato NoMuos/ NoSigonella Commitee-Catania-Italy; AnnaDI SALVO, Associations of the “La Città Felice”; Antonio RAMPOLLA, No Muos, Palermo- Italy; Claudio TREVES, General Secretary of the Labor Union Nidil-Cgil-Italy; Enrico Campofreda, Journalist-Italy; Fabrizio GATTI, alias Bilal Ibrahim el Habib, journalist and author-Italy; Gianni RINALDINI, Former General Secretary of the Labour Union Fiom-Cgil and Member of the Cgil National Board; GiorgioCREMASCHI, Former President of the Central Committee of the Labour Union Fiom-Cgil; Luca CASARINI, co-worker; Pippo GURRIERI, Director of the Sicilia libertarian-Italy; Teresa MOAFFERI, Cobas Scuola; Sicilia, Italy; Anarchist Federation of the Sicilia -Italy; Association s of the ‘Un ponte per…’- Italy; Associations of the ‘RUMORI SINISTRI’ –Rimini-Italy; Embassy of the Rights,Marche-Italy; MADIBA Network House- Rimini-Italy; Magazine of the ‘Sicilia Libertaria’-Italy; NO MUOS Ragusa-Italy; Polisportiv of the ACKAPAWA, Jesi-Italy; Polisportiv of the ANTI-RACISTS, Rimini-Italy; Polisportiv of the ‘ASSATA SHAKUR’ Ancona-Italy; Social Center Groups of the Marche regions-Italy; Social Center of the AQ16 -Reggio Emilia-Italy; Social Center of the INTIFADA, Empoli, Italy; Social Center of the NORTH EAST-Italy; Social Center of the S. LABAS, Bologna-Italy; Social Center of TPO-Italy; YA BASTA! Bologna-Italy; YA BASTA!Marche -Italy; YA BASTA! Trento -Italy; YA BASTA!, Padova-Italy; YA BASTA!,Treviso-Italy; Laxman  SINGH, Research Scholar (Jamia Millia Islamia)-India; MichelROLAND,  President of Médecins du Monde, Belgium; Georges-Henri BEAUTHIER  Lawyer-Belgium; Hind RIAD, Lawyer-Belgium; Selma BENKHELIFA, Lawyer-Belgium; Olivier STEIN, Lawyer-Belgium; Joke CALLEWAERT, Lawyer-Belgium;LUDO DE BRABANDER, spokesperson Vrede vzw (Belgian Peace Organisation)- Belgium; DOMINIQUE WILLAERT, Artist- Belgium.

Kariane Westrheim, Chair
Prof Dr Michael Gunter, Secretary General

EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC)

As American Help is Dropped to Kobane Kurds, Stop the War Coalition Enters New Crisis.

with 4 comments

US state department file photo.

US Drops Help to Kobane: Not in Our Name? 

“…the airstrikes by the US, Britain and their allies are not intended to save lives or to defeat ISIS, but to strengthen the west’s domination of the Middle East region strategically and control its resources, most notably its oil.”

Wrote Aaron Kiely (Socialist Action) on the Stop the War Coalition site on the 15th of October.

Why students should oppose bombing Iraq and Syria and whipping up of Islamophobia

Kiely does not mention any alternative way to aid the Kurds and others to defeat Isis.

His main concern apparently is that there is a “disgusting smear campaign against the Stop the War Coalition, CND, prominent NUS student leaders and others, accusing the anti-war movement of supporting the barbaric terrorist group Isis.

Speaking for “Muslim communities” he says they are “are strong opponents of terrorism”. He adds, “Young people and students want a future free from the scourge of war, terrorism and Islamophobia.”

Keiley is infamous for  Tweeting his opposition to an “Islamophobic”  motion at the NUS – that is one supporting the Kurds, drafted with the close help of/and by Kurds.

He may well “oppose” Isis, but if there was no evidence of supporting the Kurds then, there is none now.

Their right to freedom from Islamist racism and mass murder (Isis/Islamic State)  is not mentioned.

What, then,  does the Stop the War Coalition (StWC)  think of the Kurdish plight?

 Leading figures of the StWC, Lindsey German and Robin Beste, have argued (3rd October),

  • The issue of the Kurds is central to countering ISIS expansion in the region. The Iraqi Kurds are close allies of the west, but there is a very different attitude to the Kurds in Turkey and Syria. The PKK, which has been struggling for Kurdish self-determination for decades, is still listed as a terrorist organisation by the EU and the US. This is despite the PKK and its allies being prominent in the battle against ISIS. Turkey has oppressed the Kurds for many years and will not help those in Kobane, now under imminent threat of seizue by ISIS. Turkey could open its border to the Kurds, but refuses to do so, in contrast with its support for ISIS in the past. Instead the Turkish parliament has voted to create a ‘buffer zone’ at the Syrian border which will involve the disarming of the Kurds.
  • Bombing will prove counter productive because it will do nothing to help the people already suffering, but will lead to far greater levels of death, injury and destruction. This has been the experience over the past 13 years, not only in Iraq, but in Afghanistan and Libya too.

Today we learn (BBC),

US military aircraft have dropped weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to Kurdish fighters battling Islamic State (IS) militants in the key Syrian town of Kobane.

US Central Command said C-130 transport aircraft made “multiple” drops of supplies provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq.

US air strikes have helped push back IS in the town near the Turkish border.

Correspondents say the airdrops are likely to anger key US ally Turkey.

The drops of supplies provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq were “intended to enable continued resistance against Isil’s attempts to overtake Kobane,” Centcom said in a statement. IS is also referred to as Isil and Isis.

All the aircraft involved had returned safely, it added.

The US air drops represent a significant shift in Washington’s policy towards the Syrian Kurds.

Syrian Kurdish fighters confounded the bleak predictions about Kobane’s imminent fall, and the air drops are now taking place despite objections from the Turkish government: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said his country would not agree to any US arms transfers to Syrian Kurdish fighters.

Nevertheless, the US state department recently declared that it had held the first direct talks with the Syrian Kurdish Party – considered an ally of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which fought a three-decade war against the Turkish army until 2013.

Reporting on this today the French left paper Libération states that the French government has put an ultimatum to Qatar to stop all support for the Islamic State/Isis.  Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian stated to the Emir of the country  that one does not have to “choose” between the Syrian dictatorship and Isis terrorism, but should oppose both.

The Kurdish News agency, Rudaw has stated,

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—The Turkish government has agreed to give Kurdistan Region Peshmerga forces passage to the besieged Kurdish town of Kobane, a well-placed source told Rudaw today.

The official source said that Turkey has responded positively to a request from Kurdish President Massoud Barzani to allow Peshmerga forces pass through Turkish territory to relieve Peoples Protection Units (YPG) fighters in their battle against the Islamic State (IS).

According to the source who didn’t want to be named, Barzani and Peshmerga Minister Mustafa Sayid Qader have coordinated the plan with Salih Muslim, leader of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and his YPG commanders.

Muslim met with Barzani in Duhok last week where the two discussed the fighting in Kobane between the YPG and IS militants who have besieged the town for more than a month.

There are good reasons to be very cautious about this report on Turkey’s change of attitude.

But nobody can contest that the US action has taken place.

It may well not stem the offensive of the Isis genociders.

But is the StWC right to claim that this bombing will prove to be “counter-productive”.

I don’t think so.

Written by Andrew Coates

October 20, 2014 at 11:20 am