Reports Michael Voss (of the Danish Red-Green Alliance, Enhedslisten – De Rød-Grønne), known as Enhl, and SAP (Socialistisk Arbejderparti) in International Viewpoint (journal of the Fourth International).
The nightmare of some ‘anti-imperialist’ hipsters has had a real political impact…..
Why Danish leftists supported military aid to Iraq Monday 15 September 2014
Comrade Voss made the honest point that,
In that way there is a temporary coincidence of interests between imperialism and socialists on the simple issue of fighting IS. We want to supply the Kurds with weapons, and US imperialism want to supply the Kurds with weapons – for the time being. Not supporting it, only because of the US command, would be as if Lenin had refused to travel in the sealed train supplied by German imperialism through imperialist Germany to Russia in the middle of the Russian revolution, as another NL-member said.
I don’t think that much argument is needed to back the fact that revolutionary socialists also want to fight and stop IS, a murderous, sectarian and deeply reactionary force. A victory for IS will set back any social, democratic, pro-women or anti-imperialist development that may have taken place in parts of Syria and Iraq.
But that their MPs made sure that,
- that the Danish Hercules plane cannot be used for any other purpose than delivering arms to the forces fighting IS
- that this decision does not allow any other Danish military activity in the region;
- that whatever happens, a new parliament decision is necessary if the government wants to prolong the activity of the airplane after 1 January 2015
As a follow up to the decision the RGA have taken other initiatives to stop military and financial supply for IS, to popularise the fight for the Kurdish peoples’ right to self-determination and to have the PKK removed from the US and the EU list of so-called terror organisations. A special Danish aspect is the fact that the TV-station of Kurds for all Europe was based in Denmark until it was recently banned, and 10 people from the Kurdish community face trial for collecting money for organisations that – according to the police – transfer the money to PKK.
When the first shipment of weapons to the PKK/YPG by a Danish airplane under US command has taken place, it will be hard for the authorities to explain that they are supporting a terror organisation.
This decision took place in mid-August (reported in International Viewpoint on the 15th of Septmeber.
Danish arms to support Kurds in Iraq
25. aug. 2014 13.14
The Red-Green Party’s central committee has agreed that its parliamentary group may vote yes to send Danish arms to support Kurds fighting in Iraq.
However, final approval by parliament on Wednesday is needed before a Hercules transport aircraft containing a consignment of light weapons can be sent as Denmark’s contribution to the USA’s action in Northern Iraq, where Kurdish fighters are being hard-pressed by the militant Islamic State (IS).
“I’m pleased that the central committee has approved the parliamentary group’s proposal for Denmark to support the campaign by sending a transport aircraft with weapons and ammunition to the hard-pressed Kurdish fighters in Northern Iraq,” said Nikolaj Villumsen, spokesman on defence for the Red-Green Alliance.
The government received the final support of all parliamentary parties on Sunday after the remaining parties had acknowledged their approval at a meeting of the Foreign Policy Committee on Thursday.
Today, the government will present its proposal to send the aircraft to Iraq as soon as possible with a consignment of weapons and solders to protect the aircraft.
“The Islamic State is one of the most perfidious movements the world has seen for many years and must be forced back before it commits new crimes against humanity.
“It must be emphasised, however, that our support for this limited action will not entail any Danish military intervention in Iraq and is purely intended as support for the Kurds to help them defend themselves against the Islamic State. We are not entering into a new war in Iraq,” said Villumsen.
Put in their place in 2011
In March 2011, the Red-Green parliamentary group was quickly put in its place by the party when it wished to support the use of Danish F-16 fighter aircraft to support the Libyan Army.
At the party’s AGM, a procedure was established for how the parliamentary group could support Danish military action, when it was made contingent on approval by the central committee.
The authorities are indeed concerned,
Some Danish politicians, however, are sceptical that the Danish involvement could inadvertently support the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which the European Union (EU) labels a terrorist organization.
Since IS captured about a third of Iraq in June, the PKK, which is based in Iraqi Kurdistan, has become part of the war. The PKK’s affiliate, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria, are fighting IS alongside the KRG’s Peshmerga troops. Rudaw.
The Red-Greens are noted for their support for a foreign policy based on human rights.
Enhl initially backed plans for UN-led intervention in Libya but pulled back, after party protests, once the campaign got underway.
The Red-Green Alliance currently has 12 seats in the Danish Parliament (Folketinget) with 6,7 % of the vote.
Wider Backing for Military Action Against Islamic State/Daʿesh
Support for the Kurdish and other democratic fighters against Islamic state is widespread on the European left, a stand that contrasts with the isolationist Stop the War Coalition in Britain.
As the Guardian prints Richard Seymour’s hipster take on ISIS the StWC has just published the weighty reflections of Russell Brand: Will Obama’s bombs stop the ISIS beheadings?
By contrast over the weekend one of the Editors of the French Communist Party daily l’Humanité, and MEP, Patrick Le Hyaric, said of the Islamic State, Da’esh, , “il faut briser les reins à ces égorgeurs.” – we must break the backs of these murderers.
He continued, “Nous avons, à cet instant, une pensée particulière pour nos frères et pour nos sœurs kurdes qui combattent en première ligne contre la cruauté sauvage de l’Etat islamique, en Irak comme en Syrie..” We have a special place in our thoughts for our brother and sister Kurds who are fighting in the front line against the savage cruelty of the Islamic State,in Iraq as in Syria.
Le Hyaric emphasised however that military action should be decided by Parliament and endorsed by the United Nations, and not take place through the channels of NATO.
The French Nouveau parti anticapitaliste, NPA, (the largest group associated with the Fourth International) has yet to publicly take a position on their Danish comrades’ decision.
Other articles in International Viewpoint, such as one by David Finkel published on the same day as the above contribution, repeat the well-known refrain that, “the global terror of imperialism generates its ugly local and regional counterparts from Taliban to the “Islamic State.” The terrorist forces arising in shattered societies can’t be eradicated without uprooting the global system that inevitably breeds them.”
The British FI group, Socialist Resistance has shown deep sympathy for the Kurdish struggle and the fight against ISiS.