Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

In Iraq Stop the War Coalition Opposes US but what is its Strategy to Oppose Islamic State? (answers on back of a fag packet).

with 7 comments

PKK - women guerillas

Stop the War Coalition turns its Back on Brave Kurdish Fighters of the Socialist PKK.

Most people are full of doubts about the evolving situation in Syria and Iraq.

To illustrate its position the Stop the War Coalition posts an article from the ‘controversial’ American site Counterpunch.(1)

A certain Garry Leech says (24th of August)

WITHOUT QUESTION, the beheading of US journalist James Foley was an inexcusable and savage act of violence by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The killing of non-combatants should always be condemned. But there is a clear discrepancy in the response of both the Western media and the general public with regard to the killing of Western civilians compared to Islamic civilians.

The number of Western civilians killed by Islamic militants pales in comparison to the number of non-combatants that have died at the hands of the US and its military allies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen. And yet, the outrage at the killing of these innocent Muslims, many of who are women and children, is virtually non-existent in the West.

He then makes to interesting claim that,

Every form of colonialism throughout history has given birth to a violent resistance movement. And it should not be surprising that the current imperialist model in the form of capitalist globalization has also spurred a violent response. There were no extremist groups in Iraq before the US invasion. It was the US invasion and occupation that opened the door to al-Qaeda’s entry into Iraq as part of the broader insurgency that rose up to liberate the country from its foreign occupiers. And it was this insurgency that gave birth to ISIS. Therefore, it could be argued that our widespread killing of civilians in Iraq helped to create a fertile recruiting environment for extremist groups such as al-Qaeda and contributed to the emergence of ISIS.

Original in Counterpunch.

Let’s pass over the claim that no “extremist” groups existed in Iraq before the (wholly wrong) US invasion – starting with the obvious question about the regime of Saddam Hussein.

So how exactly are the StWC going to oppose Islamic State?

We know that Lindsey German is against ‘blaming Muslims.

The Chair of the Coalition says,

Blame the Muslims. If all else fails in the defence of a foreign policy which is so bankrupt that even the envoy for peace in the Middle East Tony Blair has gone quiet, then start talking about the domestic threat, and the need for increased surveillance of Muslims.

The hideous beheading of James Foley, apparently by a British member of ISIS, and the government claim that hundreds of British citizens are fighting in Syria and now Iraq, has brought a whole new raft of demands. Ranging from the Nigel Farage cry that their passports should be confiscated to the return of control orders which effectively mean house arrest for individuals, these are all more about political posturing than dealing with the problem of ISIS.

So we know what people should not do, that is, back the US or the British Government.

They are completely right to stand against the repression underway in the UK and the legislation being proposed to increase this. 

One other thing they are also not going to do is come out and back the courageous  comrades of the PKK (Kurdish Workers’ Party).

One can search in vain in this outpouring from German –  Kurds, ISIS and the crisis in Iraq – is US and UK military intervention the answer? – for any reference to the PKK

But then the British Stop the War Coalition knows a lot better than the Kurdish fighters about what to do.

On the Kurdish fighters more generally see: KURDS RESIST ISLAMIC STATE BUTCHERS (Socialist Resistance). 

Kurdish fighters

If we are looking for any signs of hope in the long-running tragedy of the people of Iraq, suffering from the rapaciousness of outside powers and the tyranny of sectarian party rule, we should pay close attention to recent events in Northern Iraq writes Sarah Parker. Yekîneyên Parastina Gel (People’s Defence Forces) guerrillas from Syria, who fought to open a narrow corridor through the desert from Sinjar and out of Iraq into the YPG controlled area of northern Syria permitted the dramatic rescue of thousands of Yezidi Kurds and others from on Mount Sinjar, where they had fled to escape the onslaught of Islamic State.

(1) Publishers of the anti-semitic Israel Shamir.

 In an essay published on his website discussing Holocaust denier David Irving, Shamir wrote that “the Jews” now “rule over the minds and souls of Europeans””

David Irving was sentenced for denial of Jewish superiority. His doom seals the reign of (albeit limited) freedom that began with the fall of Bastille. European history went full circle: from rejecting the rule of Church and embracing free thought, to the new Jewish mind-control on a world scale. Not only is Western Christian civilisation dead, but even its successor, secular European civilisation, has met its demise only a few days after its proud and last celebration by the Danish scribes. It was short-lived: about two hundred years from beginning to the end, the Europeans may once have had the illusion that they can live without an ideological supremacy. Now this illusion is over; and the Jews came in the stead of the old and tired See of St Peter to rule over the minds and souls of Europeans.

In Counterpunch, amongst other articles by Shamir, one finds,   Hitting the Commercial Jackpot The Secret History of Pussy Riot Autumn 2012. by ISRAEL SHAMIR Moscow.


Written by Andrew Coates

August 26, 2014 at 10:57 am

7 Responses

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  1. German and Rees have built a career based purely on involvement in campaigns against this and that. German is the high priestess of reactionary drivel that will never be intellectually capable of expounding a ‘pro’ positive solution to any given event..

    Rees is even worse with long pseudo-scholarly articles that either cite himself or some other obscurantist drivel merchant.

    These two are essentially like creationists, insofar as each time their nonsense is falsified and chucked into the dustbin of history, they pull it out and hope that there is a new gullible audience who will take a view afresh.

    And this is what I truly dislike about them. The sheer mendacity to claim to Stop a War when providing no positive ideas as to how actually stop any of the conflicts around the world.


    August 26, 2014 at 6:17 pm

  2. “In Iraq Stop the War Coalition Opposes US but what is its Strategy to Oppose Islamic State? (answers on back of a fag packet).”
    Oh and you have a strategy to defeat IS do you? Please spell it out, I am sure we would all love to hear it. Maybe you could consider some of the points raised here – http://warontherocks.com/2014/08/dont-bs-the-american-people-about-iraq-syria-and-isil/#_

    puss wallgreen

    August 26, 2014 at 10:36 pm

  3. Puss there are valid points in the link.

    I am not endorsing intervention.

    What I am trying to do is to argue for the left-wing Kurds.

    A simple enought principle I’d have thought.

    Andrew Coates

    August 27, 2014 at 3:25 pm

  4. Why would a drone supporting leftist feel the need to put the Stop the War coalition, of all groups, on the spot? It should be them asking you, just look at where your ‘decency’ leads.

    They have been proved 100% correct in relation to Iraq and you and your fellow travellers have been proved 100% wrong. A bit of humility wouldn’t go amiss actually. Maybe post an apology for the carnage you contributed, in your own small way, to? Beg for forgiveness, reject the current you belong to. Change the bias and bent of the your articles, demonstrate that you are willing to change. Renounce imperialism and denounce the position of your bedfellows.

    I personally am not full of doubts, I am wholly opposed to the USA and the imperialists bombing Iraq yet again. When spouted by you the word doubt is not some show of modesty but a show of apology.

    The best way for Westerners to oppose reaction in the Middle East is to first oppose the imperialist project and fight for the right of the people of that region to determine their own future

    Socialism In One Bedroom

    August 28, 2014 at 5:31 pm

  5. Re puss wallgreen, It is very hard for some Americans to understand that it is not always all about them.

    Sarah Parker’s article is very interesting and informative, Andrew. I share her hopes for the left-wing Kurds, though I would say:

    1) She is falling into the common far left habit of seeing US control and strategy where little evidence for it exists. The US has not demonstrated a strong grasp of what has been going on, nor much enthusiasm for getting involved. The orthodox anti-American mind will usually tend to translate that into indications that the US is playing a cunning game at long-distance via proxies etcetera, but I don’t think that’s been borne out. Obama has been in a political pickle over this, open to charges of interfering and also of sitting on his hands. The US is making up its response – it’s hardly a strategy – as it goes along. It seems to be obligatory for a certain amount of the left always to say this, but the US is not ‘warmongering’ in this instance. It is being sucked into a conflict it obviously dreads and which Obama and his Administration have wanted to ignore for months.

    2) At the same time, it is very unlikely that ISIS can or will be stopped without some direct US military involvement, and that is something that anti-interventionists and anti-Americans are going to have to digest. I’m all for cheering on the fighters of the PKK, YPG etcetera, but Sarah seems rather over-optimistic to me. ISIS have a lot of money and a lot of heavy equipment at their disposal. They’ve been strategically cunning and they are also fanatical and ruthless.

    Even supposing various Kurdish groups ARE able to hold their patches, that still leaves millions of people outside of those areas at risk from the ISIS butchers, and it doesn’t explain how ISIS are going to be stopped and elminiated in Iraq and Syria (and anywhere else) as a whole. That will have to involve airpower and heavier weaponry, and it may have to involve some groups and countries putting aside, at least for the moment, their enmity.

    While Sarah Parker’s article is really worth reading, it does illustrate for me once again a recurrent problem, in my opinion, with far left thinking about geopolitics – it is reluctant to accept, let alone factor in to its reasoning, the importance of genuinely unforseen or uncontrollable factors. This leads to the so often mistaken conviction that certain parties are either more involved or significant than they may actually be, due to a conviction that they according to theory they should be. Thus, the US are manipulative warmongers even when they are not (for whatever reason), because That’s What Socialism Says The US Always Are, while the Socialist Kurds are capable of defeating ISIS pretty much on their own, even when they pretty obviously are not, because That’s What Socialism Would Like.

    In cases like this, far left analysis is not really ‘analysis’ so much as wishful thinking, no matter the amount of intertesting information and acronyms (always with socialists it’s acronyms). And I am not trying to pour cold water on the aspirations of socialist Kurds. I want them to win. But I think that entails looking at things as they really are in a particular situation, not just as one wishes or suspects them to be or as socialist theory tells one it should be. That, presumably, is why the Kurdish socialist groups have conspicuously NOT complained about US-UK warmongering. They understand certain hard facts, even if Sarah Parker can’t bring herself to admit them: if you want a peaceful and strong Kurdistan, socialist or otherwise, you had better start praying the US gets more involved. Indeed, anyone who wants ISIS defeated had better start praying that too.

    I hope that when this was discussed at your group, Andrew, people were able to identify where theory was diverging from reality.


    August 28, 2014 at 11:50 pm

  6. Lamina, I recall reading a detailed study of American policy over the Libyan intervention.

    It was, as you indicate in the present case, not a simple matter of some “cunning” plan carried out on orders from on high and one can easily exaggerate the extent of the US’s influence (even when not being hysterical about the New American Century).

    There are conflicting groups with different ideas in these kinds of policy decisions, as there are between the various Kurdish forces.

    The left has an unfortunate very long-standing tendency to assume otherwise.

    Something I read in the Indy a couple of days ago struck me.

    The multiple Middle East conflicts at present are being played out between forces as if they were on a multi-dimensional chess board.

    Andrew Coates

    August 29, 2014 at 10:52 am

  7. Welcome back Alex Callinicos!

    A bit grumpy after the hols on dad’s estates and a bit of grouse shooting?

    Andrew Coates

    August 29, 2014 at 3:39 pm

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