Another French Left Group (Ensemble) Backs Arming Kurds.
Ensemble Backs Kurdish Fighters Against Islamic State.
(Signed – Suren, but it seems clear that the main points have general agreement in Ensemble, as with most of the French left)
Ensemble (‘movement for a left/green solidarity, is the ‘Third’ largest component of the Front de gauche, launched in November 2013, it is made up of Les Alternatifs (Originally from the PSU/FGA, historic self-management tendency), Convergences et alternative (Ex-Nouveau parti anticapitaliste, NPA) , the FASE (democratic Communists, left socialists, Greens, associated with the magazine Politis) , la Gauche anticapitaliste (ex-NPA), and activists of the Gauche unitaire (ex-LCR, the first Trotskyist group to join the FdG but who have split from the ‘Picquet Tendency’ ) and people from no organised left party or faction.
What is at Stake in the autonomous Struggle of progressive Forces against the Islamic State. (Extracts – Adapted)
The announcement of an “international coalition” to fight the “Islamic state” is the latest act in a string of disasters caused by Western imperialist interventions in the Middle East. This – a reminder – is not part of any genuine anti imperialism, but allows us to understand the dynamics at work, which have been reshaped since the US intervention in 2003, in the current situation. As with 2003, Western imperialism produce disasters, then intervenes to “fix” the consequences of these catastrophes, and then creates further disasters of an even greater magnitude – a succession of links in an endless chain.
Thus, we cannot admit that there are “humanitarian” motives at work inside the US administration or support the coalition that they seek to put in place in order to maintain their hold. Nevertheless, it is impossible to denounce, simply, American imperialism, and remain indifferent to the devastation caused by the Islamic State, IS (mass killings, persecution of religious minorities, Sunni disagreements, the tens of thousands of Yazidis left to die in the Sinjar). This would equally be to ignore the actions of the reactionary and authoritarian and regional powers. We need not simply to react to the massacres and repression perpetrated by the IS but also to stem the wave of disasters engulfing the region. Indeed, imperialism finds its strongest basis in these religious confessional and national divisions..
Faced with these obstacles, it is necessary to defend movements of local self-defence rather than increasing the stranglehold of imperialism. This implies, therefore support (including weapons) for progressive forces in the region to combat the Islamic State. That is, for the Popular Committees in Syria who have been abandoned to their fate, and for the broad movement around the Kurdish PKK.
(There follows an analysis which lays the blame for ISIS’s rise in Syria on Assad’s willingness to foment divisions in his opposition, and on Turkey, which is charged with “complaisance” towards the rise of the Islamists.)
Kurdish forces and issues
The main armed resistance opposed to the Islamic State is represented by various Syrian opposition movements and the PKK, the main Kurdish political-military organization of Turkish forces.
The PKK was born in the social and political ferment of the 70s Turkey, created by Kurdish leftist students. Its historic leader, Abdullah Ocalan, is held in prison in Turkey but still leads the PKK and the movement that revolves around it.Following a tradition that can be termed “Stalinist” the PKK has managed to supplant other Kurdish organizations in Turkey and has a mass base in the bulk of Turkish Kurdistan. The PKK “mouvance” (broad movement) can often have a very opportunist line – but retains a military capacity, is the political representative of the large Kurdish minority in Turkey. Note also that the whole movement around the PKK is highly feminised (both in recruitment and in access to positions of fighting and political-military leadership).
..an essential part of fighting is taking place in Syria where this movement already existed. However, it is true that the PKK stepped onto Iraqi territory in the mountains of Sinjar to fight IS and to rescue tens of thousands of Yezidi (a Zoroastrian religious minority from Kurdish-speaking areas). In keeping with its normal practice, the PKK has sought to create a local sister organization, with the Yezidi, the Resistance Units Kirkuk-Mexmour. In northern Syria, the PYD unilaterally declared independence in the territories it controls (the Rojava, that is to say, the Western Kurdistan). It has been criticised by other Kurdish organizations in Syria gathered in the Kurdish National Council. This tension between the PYD and CNK is only a reflection of the broader opposition among the Kurds between the PKK and the KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) of Massoud Barzani, the “feudal” political leader who heads the autonomous Kurdish regional government Kurdish in northern Iraq (and which is bound by the CNK in Syria).
Briefly, the PKK reproach, rightly, to Barzani and the Kurdish autonomous regional government in northern Iraq with having links with the Turkish government, leaving the Islamic State free to continue their progress progress in northern Iraq, and, as a result of this alliance, to be so directly responsible for the progress of EI and the fall of Mosul. Conversely, Barzani accused the PKK-PYD of having links with the Assad regime. …
(There follows detailed analysis of these ties, claims and counterclaims.)
The important points of the Ensemble analysis are these: they back “active local defence “, that they regard this as a “medium-term challenge ” to ” imperialist logic” and believe that will contribute towards the “healing” (assainissement) of the Kurdish national question” which is one of “the elements of division between the most important people of the region.”
The Stop the War Coalition (StWC) warns against US-led intervention in Iraq and Syria.
It has yet to offer any comment on demands for “support (including weapons) for progressive forces in the region.”
By contrast Socialist Worker said in August, Arming the Kurds won’t stop Iraq’s brutal civil war.
More recently (September 16th) they found nothing to say on the Kurdish struggle against the Islamist genociders.
Instead they warned US missiles will worsen Iraq crisis.
Apparently one of the main dangers is that, “This will be a green light for targeting Muslims and increasing Islamophobia as all Muslims are portrayed as a terrorist threat.”