Tendance Coatesy

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Obama authorises ” targeted air strikes” “to prevent a potential act of genocide” in Iraq: Where does the left stand?

with 10 comments

Islamists Will Face US Air-Strikes.


Confronted with the threat of mass murder in Iraq by the genociders of the Islamic State (ISIL)  the American President, Obama, has issued this statement.

Today I authorized two operations in Iraq — targeted airstrikes to protect our American personnel, and a humanitarian effort to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food and water and facing almost certain death.


First, I said in June — as the terrorist group ISIL began an advance across Iraq — that the United States would be prepared to take targeted military action in Iraq if and when we determined that the situation required it.  In recent days, these terrorists have continued to move across Iraq, and have neared the city of Erbil, where American diplomats and civilians serve at our consulate and American military personnel advise Iraqi forces.

To stop the advance on Erbil, I’ve directed our military to take targeted strikes against ISIL terrorist convoys should they move toward the city.  We intend to stay vigilant, and take action if these terrorist forces threaten our personnel or facilities anywhere in Iraq, including our consulate in Erbil and our embassy in Baghdad.  We’re also providing urgent assistance to Iraqi government and Kurdish forces so they can more effectively wage the fight against ISIL.

Second, at the request of the Iraqi government — we’ve begun operations to help save Iraqi civilians stranded on the mountain.  As ISIL has marched across Iraq, it has waged a ruthless campaign against innocent Iraqis.  And these terrorists have been especially barbaric towards religious minorities, including Christian and Yezidis, a small and ancient religious sect.  Countless Iraqis have been displaced.  And chilling reports describe ISIL militants rounding up families, conducting mass executions, and enslaving Yezidi women.

In recent days, Yezidi women, men and children from the area of Sinjar have fled for their lives.  And thousands — perhaps tens of thousands — are now hiding high up on the mountain, with little but the clothes on their backs.  They’re without food, they’re without water.  People are starving.  And children are dying of thirst.  Meanwhile, ISIL forces below have called for the systematic destruction of the entire Yezidi people, which would constitute genocide.  So these innocent families are faced with a horrible choice:  descend the mountain and be slaughtered, or stay and slowly die of thirst and hunger.

I’ve said before, the United States cannot and should not intervene every time there’s a crisis in the world.  So let me be clear about why we must act, and act now.  When we face a situation like we do on that mountain — with innocent people facing the prospect of violence on a horrific scale, when we have a mandate to help — in this case, a request from the Iraqi government — and when we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye.  We can act, carefully and responsibly, to prevent a potential act of genocide.  That’s what we’re doing on that mountain.

The Stop the War Coalition has published this a couple of days ago (from the most recent Labour Briefing)

ISIS barbarians threatening Iraq: who they are and where they come from.

Sami Ramadani states,

We should support secular-democratic efforts to rebuild a measure of peaceful co-existence between the sects, religions, ethnicities and nationalities of Iraq and the Middle East. Keeping quiet about ISIS throat-cutters and their assorted allies, just because we oppose the Maliki regime’s policies, is a recipe for disaster.

Having pillaged large parts of Syria and terrorised its religious and ethnic minorities, as well as its women, they are now marching towards Baghdad, joined by Saddamist officers and Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi zealots. This will lead to a sectarian bloodbath.

ISIS will not flinch from burning Baghdad’s remaining books and removing its girls from schools. They want to punish millions of “idolatry” Shia and crucify its remaining “Nassara” Christians. They were funded, armed and trained by the US and its allies: Turkey and the amoral sheiks and princes of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Israel helped them by bombing raids on Syria and treating their wounded in Israeli hospitals before re-arming them to go back to Syria to escalate the carnage.

We need to face the fact that popular activity in west and north west Iraq, just like in Syria, has been effectively highjacked by sectarian and racist forces. I cannot possibly remain silent about movements, no matter how popular, that are led by racist, sectarian and nihilist forces. In Mosul, Tikrit and Fallujah, they have capitalised on popular demands and are now dominant.

Ramadani is critical of the Iraqi government, led by Maliki, which he describes as sectarian and brutal,

What Iraq needs, and sadly lacks today, is strong secular, democratic organisations that can unite the people to overthrow the occupation-built sectarian institutions, and rid Iraq of US intervention and that of all regional powers. This cannot be achieved by replacing Maliki’s corrupt regime with a regime led by the above organisations. Maliki is a passing phase, but, if the barbarians win, they will destroy what is left of Iraqi society, following its devastation by the US-led occupation.

It is for the Iraqi people to remove Maliki and not for the US and its proxies to impose a more pliant ruler. This is the devastation that evolved in Syria and we must not ignore its probable evolution in Iraq. For the winners will be the oil companies, arms manufacturers, and sectarian war lords plunging the entire Middle East into a blood bath.”

The evidence is that Baghdad is ruled by a sectarian government.

As Patrick Cockbrun states in the latest London Review of Books,

Iraq’s Shia leaders haven’t grappled with the fact that their domination over the Iraqi state, brought about by the US overthrow of Saddam Hussein, is finished, and only a Shia rump is left. It ended because of their own incompetence and corruption and because the Sunni uprising in Syria in 2011 destabilised the sectarian balance of power in Iraq.

He indicates that the genociders have powerful backing from outside Iraq and Syria,

The foster parents of Isis and the other Sunni jihadi movements in Iraq and Syria are Saudi Arabia, the Gulf monarchies and Turkey. This doesn’t mean the jihadis didn’t have strong indigenous roots, but their rise was crucially supported by outside Sunni powers. The Saudi and Qatari aid was primarily financial, usually through private donations, which Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, says were central to the Isis takeover of Sunni provinces in northern Iraq: ‘Such things do not happen spontaneously.’

If a “a new and terrifying state has been born.” perhaps it will die of its internal contradictions.

It may well be that US intervention will not solve anything.

Unfortunately the Christians, Yezidi and Shia of Iraq cannot wait or pose these questions.

They need help now.

Can we stand by, criticise Obama, and let nothing be done to come to their aid?

Some of us would accept help from anyone if we were in the plight of the potential victims of the Islamist genociders.


France prepared to give military support for action in Iraq against the Islamic State, without giving details of what this entails. Libération.

Why are the Yazidis threatened with genocide?

They are not “people of the Book”:

“Yazidis are a Kurdish-speaking people who follow an ancient religion blending elements of Zoroastrianism, Islam, Christianity and local folk beliefs. Several hundred thousand followers live in Sinjar and Sheikhan, two regions just west and east of Mosul.

Smaller communities of Yazidis live in Syria, Armenia and Germany.

At their unique conical temples, they worship a peacock deity called Melek Taus and hold elaborate ceremonies that involve fire and water.

“Yezidism is a syncretic religion that takes from a variety of different traditions, some Zoroastrianism, Islamic and a little bit of animism,” said Austin Long, professor of international affairs at Columbia University in New York.  “It’s a mixed religion with a long-standing history in Iraq. Most are Kurds, ethnically.”

Through the centuries, Yazidis have often been persecuted by Muslims who say the faith is forbidden. In 2007, hundreds of Yazidis in Sinjar died in a series of massive explosions orchestrated against them by al-Qaida in Iraq — the precursor of the Islamic State.” from here.

More:  Why you really need to pay attention to Iraq’s Yazidi community By SOFIA PATEL




Written by Andrew Coates

August 8, 2014 at 9:30 am

10 Responses

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  1. “Where does the left stand?” A good question.

    “Where *should* the left stand?” To ask the question is to answer it.

    Will reblog at Shiraz Socialist.

    Jim Denham

    August 8, 2014 at 10:24 am

  2. Thanks Jim.

    Like many of the comrades I have followed this closely.

    This is a real threat of genocide.

    Andrew Coates

    August 8, 2014 at 4:23 pm

  3. Let me think this through. I’ve just been driven out of my lifelong family home by a bunch of murderous medieval scum. Should I wait for some cunt from the British left to save me or hope that “imperialism” bombs them to shit?

    Boleyn Ali

    August 8, 2014 at 6:53 pm

  4. What does “the left” stand? In all sorts of diverse positions. None of it has the slightest influence on the situation. Some parts of “the left” will moralise about other parts of “the left” failing to do something or other, but none of it will do anything concretely useful, because there is nothing concretely useful that it, as “the left”, can do. It has neither the influence, nor the resources.

    As for what governments and armies could usefully do, I don’t think any of us on “the left” would oppose a rescue operation to get the Yezidis to safety. But air strikes? I’d be interested to see the arguments to show that air strikes can defeat demented Islamist zealotry. That ideology thrives in situations of chaos, as we can see from the history of the last 35 or so years – from Iran and Afghanistan in the late 1970s to Libya, Syria and Iraq today.


    August 9, 2014 at 10:20 am

  5. I find it interesting that Muslims appear to find it impossible to condemn the slaughter and dispossession of the Yazidis and Christians . An Iraqi Professor of Politics (in an English university I think) claimed that the Americans were teh founders and supporters of ISIL and now that the entire Iraq State was threatened, the Americans owed it to the Iraqis to send their soldiers back to do the fighting. As I like to say, are they ready for self-government? I mean, if they are incapable of acting rationally and solving problems, perhaps they should be annexed by a European power? Seriously, the bare-faced cheek of it is disgusting. Why aren’t any of the countries a little closer providing water and safe passage? (That’s a rhetorical question).

    Sue R

    August 9, 2014 at 6:51 pm

  6. Just want to say that man makes history, but not under circumstances of his own choosing. History moves on all the time, things change, one thing leads to another. The Thirty Year war at the end of the 17th century lead to the Peace of Westphalia, which was the beginning of the nation-state and national sovereignty. We may be seeing the same process in the Middle East, only these days with nuclear, biological and chemical weapons it is a lot more dicey. A lot of damage can be done before this is through. The slence of the Left groups is sickening, is it because it is summer, because long-cherished beliefs are being rattled, because they don’t have the smarts to deal with it?

    Sue R

    August 9, 2014 at 9:40 pm

  7. What happened to my well considered comments I made last night?

    Sue r

    August 10, 2014 at 2:37 pm

  8. what the left in the West should do: demanding weapons for the progressive and secular Kurdish forces like the YPG who are to my perception the most capable force on the ground against IS(IS) and also demanding that Germany, France etc. repeal the ban of the PKK & Co. and stop listing them as terrorist orgs.

    one of the best news sources at the moment: http://en.firatnews.com/news/news


    August 11, 2014 at 9:20 am

  9. Thanks comrade, I really must keep up to date on the German Left,

    “German Left Party (Die Linke) MP Ulla Jelpke, who is in Rojava, said that the PKK was ‘a guarantee of life’ for Yezidis and Christians in South Kurdistan and Iraq. Jelpke recalled that while the PKK is on EU and US ‘terror lists’, ISIS terrorists had carried out attacks in Syria using NATO member Turkey’s territory.

    In a press statement regarding the situation of the tens of thousnads of refugees who fled Sinjar, Ulla Jelpke stressed that it was not the US air strikes that were protecting the people from ISIS massacres. Jelpke drew attention to the role played by the PKK and YPG in preventing massacres, adding: “the US bombardment of ‘jihadis’ who have taken over towns and villages in Nortern Iraq only puts the civilian population in danger. The Kurdish militia, in particular the PKK guerrillas, are putting up the most active defence against these terrorist gangs.”

    ‘Allah and the PKK saved us’, they said

    Jelpke noted that many people who had been rescued from the threat of slaughter had told her, ‘Allah and the PKK eventually saved us.’ She added: “PKK guerrillas and the Rojava militia (YPG-YPJ) in alliance with them succeeded in opening a corridor from the mountains of Sinjar to the Syrian border for the refugees. In this way in the last few days tens of thousands of people, in particular Yezidis, have managed to escape the ISIS butchers.”

    Ulla Jelpke drew attention to the fact that the refugees needed humanitarian aid, saying that there was a shortage of food and medical supplies on account of Turkey’s embargo towards Rojava.

    ‘Support from Turkey and the Gulf for ISIS must end’

    The Die Linke MP added that the PKK was a guarantee of safety for the Yezidis and Christians in northern regions of Iraq, warning the US and European governments about their policies towards Turkey. Jelpke concluded by saying: “while the PKK is still on the US terror list, ISIS murderers fighting in the name of Allah are using Turkish territory to carry out attacks in Syria. If the US government and its allies are going to wage a serious struggle against ISIS, they must first end the support for the ‘jihadis’ coming from Turkey and the Gulf states.”

    Andrew Coates

    August 11, 2014 at 11:30 am

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