Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Amongst Protests Against War with Iran the Anti-Imperialism of Fools comes back

with 28 comments

Jeremy Corbyn at the No War on Iran demonstration in Trafalgar Square


Yesterday in London there was a small, 2,000 strong according to Socialist Worker, demonstration saying no to war with Iran.

This is an honourable cause.

But one aspect leaves a very nasty taste.

Jeremy Corbyn made  some valid points,

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has told a rally in London that the shooting down of a passenger plane in Tehran was an “appalling act” for which there can be “no excuses”.

Addressing a “No war on Iran” protest in Trafalgar Square on Saturday, Corbyn said the disaster, which killed 176 people, was “part of a whole pattern of appalling acts across the region”.

He added: “There’s no excuse for shooting down an airliner, there’s no excuse for a targeted assassination by one state against another.”


Are these acts equivalent?

Some go further.

Socialist Worker,

The immediate threat of war appears to have fallen back after Iran hit back with its missile strike on US bases on Tuesday night.

But the downing of the Ukrainian airliner shows the unintended consequences the US’s wargames in the Middle East can have.

Not only can it lead to appalling loss of life—176 people were killed—but such an incident could spark retaliations that spiral uncontrollably into war.

In other words, it’s the US that is ultimately to blame for the murder of the air passengers.

Image may contain: 1 person, text


Followed by,


Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, possible text that says 'Margaret Kimberley @freedomrideblog The U.S. assassination of Soleimani and al-Muhandis took 8 other lives. People were trampled to death in the massive crowds at the funeral. And now this accident. The U.S. has again caused terrible trauma to Iranians. Hassan Rouhani @HassanRou... 3h The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous EI86'


Image may contain: 1 person, possible text that says 'Margaret Kimberley Retweeted George Szamuely @GeorgeSzamuely He is right. US is responsible in large part. US unnecessarily picked a fight with Iran and then escalated the conflict with its reckless decision to assassinate Soleimani. Accidents will always happen in war. That's why starting a war is always the fundamental war crime. Javad Zarif @JZarif. 4h A sad day. Preliminary conclusions of'

Accidents will ‘always Happen’

Morning and RT writer John Wright,


This is not the view of many Iranians.

Iranians hold angry protest over downed plane

Protesters in Tehran have chanted calls for the resignation of officials, after Iran admitted it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane on 8 January.

Relatives and friends of those who died held a vigil near the Amirkabir University of Technology on Saturday.

Videos uploaded to social media show a crowd gathered, with some chanting for their country’s leaders to resign and calling officials “liars”.

Iran had initially denied reports its missiles had brought down the plane, but said on Saturday that it had “unintentionally” shot it down.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 12, 2020 at 12:08 pm

28 Responses

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  1. I wouldn’t get too excited about the SWP account of how many were there. They always lie. I remember going to a meeting about the BNP out in Barking twenty years or so ago and there was a handful of people all crowded into the center of a room with plenty of space left over. When the report appeared in Socialist Worker there were a couple of hundred at the meeting and a narrow shot of those who actually were there as a ” part of the crowd”. The SWP Guy Smallman must be the only photo journalist in the world who hasn’t got a wide angle lens!

    Dave Roberts

    January 12, 2020 at 12:24 pm

  2. I expect the Stop the War Coalition/Counterfire, who are past masters at this, will say there were ‘thousands’.

    Andrew Coates

    January 12, 2020 at 12:27 pm

  3. How could you possibly mistake a Boeing 737 on the ascent just after take-off from an airport for an incoming missile? You would be able to recognise it visually. Even at full cruising altitude you can still identify aircraft by sight with or without the aid of a cheap pair of binoculars.

    Ms Black

    January 12, 2020 at 12:47 pm

  4. The hypocrisy of Jeremy Corbyn, the SWP & the rest of the anti-war movement is staggering. They oppose war(s) yet support a system which generates war(s).

    What do they have to offer? We must talk, negotiate, disarm etc. The same tripe they’ve been proposing since 1914.

    Though this must be the first, the Morning Star, of all people! Telling us that the West has not right to violate the national sovereignty of Iran. Communists for national sovereignty? That is a new low, even for them.

    Steven Johnston

    January 12, 2020 at 1:14 pm

  5. Those that pay the piper, call the tune. Quite clearly Trump wasn’t going to get too exercised about this as the passengers were Iranians. The so-called Left have knee-jerk reactions. Reflex and unthinking.

    Sue r

    January 12, 2020 at 1:17 pm

  6. Iran’s sole female Olympic medalist says she’s defected.

    Iran’s sole female Olympic medalist Kimia Alizadeh announced that she has permanently left her country for Europe.

    “Let me start with a greeting, a farewell or condolences,” the 21-year–old wrote in an Instagram post explaining why she was defecting. “I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran who they have been playing with for years.”

    “They took me wherever they wanted. I wore whatever they said. Every sentence they ordered me to say, I repeated. Whenever they saw fit, they exploited me,” she wrote, adding that credit always went to those in charge.
    “I wasn’t important to them. None of us mattered to them, we were tools,” Alizadeh goes on to say, explaining that while the regime celebrated her medals, it criticized the sport she had chosen: “The virtue of a woman is not to stretch her legs!”

    Her defection comes amid anti-government protests in cities across Iran on Saturday and international pressure after Iran admitted it had accidentally shot down a Ukrainian flight, killing all 176 people aboard.


    Andrew Coates

    January 12, 2020 at 1:28 pm

  7. Andrew Coates

    January 12, 2020 at 1:47 pm

  8. A few facts. I was at the march Saturday and I thought there were about a couple of thousand marching. Someone asks how do you mistake a passenger airline for a missile or enemy plane. There have been too many examples of this. US warship HMS Vincennes shot down an Iranian passenger plane in 1986 killing 290. They knew it was a mistake within hours – it took FOUR YEARS for the Pentagon/US government to acknowledge. The captain of the ship was given a commendation for his service!

    Stuart King

    January 12, 2020 at 2:06 pm

  9. Who was the captain who received a commendation? Gene Hackman? I’m almost certain that he received some sort of commendation for shooting down something.


    January 12, 2020 at 3:05 pm

  10. Mm. It could have been Tom Hanks. Tom must be pretty decorated by now after all those derring-do years of military service he has under his sturdy belt.


    January 12, 2020 at 3:34 pm

  11. Mm. It could have been Tom Hanks. Tom must be pretty decorated by now considering all those years of derring-do military service he has under his sturdy belt.


    January 12, 2020 at 3:36 pm

  12. Err sorry to be pedantic, the ship that shot down the Iranian airliner was the USS Vincennes


    January 12, 2020 at 3:43 pm

  13. It’s a bit of a come down from Glasto! Back in 2017 they sang “Ooooooooooo Jeremy Corbyn” and had (wet) dreams that he would end “Tory” austerity. Now he gets branded a “useful idiot”. Btw, was there ever anything useful about Corbyn?

    Steven Johnston

    January 12, 2020 at 5:10 pm

  14. When Russia shot down a Malaysian plane over Ukraine here’s how these people behaved.


  15. One of the proudest achievements of Shiraz Socialist over the years has been to debunk and discredit the “blowback” theory/explanation of terrorist attacks.

    There was a time when no Islamist terror outrage was complete without an article published within a day or two, from Glenn Greenwald, Mehdi Hasan, Terry Eagleton or the undisputed master of the genre, Seamus Milne, putting it all down to “blowback”. Such articles usually also claimed that no-one else dared put forward the “blowback” explanation, and the author was really being terribly brave in doing so. No such articles have appeared for a few years (the last one I can recall was after the Charlie Hebdo attack),but it seems that the Stop the War Coalition is attempting to revive “blowback” following the assassination of Suliemani and the Iranian downing of Ukraine Airlines Flight PS752.

    In fact this is not a case of “blowback” in the sense that Milne, Stop the War and other apologists for Islamist terror have used the term in the past.

    Discussing the 2005 London (“7/7”) attacks, comrade Clive (quoted by us at Shiraz) wrote:

    “Racism and imperialist wars, Fallujah and so on, of course must have played a part in what made these kids want to be suicide bombers. But since the vast, overwhelming, incalculably larger number of people who have been victims of racism or outraged by imperialist wars, have not chosen to become suicide bombers, it is surely an ‘explanation’ of their state of mind or their actions only in the most fantastically minimal sense. And that, surely, is another way of saying that it isn’t an explanation at all.

    “Yet these generalities are repeatedly presented in the liberal media – a stack of articles in the Guardian for instance – and by the SWP, George Galloway and all, as the explanation for what has happened. Moreover, anyone who questions this is ‘in denial’, as Gary Younge puts it, about the Iraq war. The ‘blowback’ argument is presented as if it’s the height of worldly sophistication, political courage, straight talking, and what have you. In fact it’s so simplistic as to verge on an insult to the intelligence.

    “Apart from that, its inescapable logic is to ask you to have sympathy with the bombers or their supposed cause, and to shift the blame to the government. I won’t repeat everything I’ve already said about that.
    If you want an explanation about the first ever suicide bombers in the UK, you surely need to look at the ideology and MO of the type of organisations that recruited them, brainwashed them and sent them to their deaths. You need to look also, sadly, at the prevailing culture within (some) Muslim communities, the ‘narrative’ youth are being told, which might allow al-Qaeda-type groups to prey on them.
    This is very uncomfortable, even to think about. But it seems to me it must be true that poisonous stuff has been coming out of some mosques, maybe not just the Abu Hamza-period Finsbury Park variety, but softer versions also.

    “And worse: the left is not only not in a state to do anything about this problem (ie: to fight al-Qaeda type groups and the softer versions of them), but has morphed into part of the problem. The left talks about these movements as if they didn’t need to be fought and as if to fight them is ‘racist’, etc, etc, etc.”

    Clive’s critique holds good and deserves to be repeated whenever such an attack takes place.
    Bur, paradoxically, the downing of the Ukrainian airliner – acknowledged by all to have been a tragic accident, probably does warrant the term “blowback”. It wasn’t a deliberate reprisal, but the result of panic and human error on the part of Iranian military commanders in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s assassination of Suliemani.

    For sure, it was Iran that shot down the plane and there should be no doubt that the immediate fault is theirs (in fact the Iranian regime has accepted their blame – unlike the US in 1988 when it brought down Iran Air Flight 655 killing 290 civilians).

    But, in fact, on this occasion, to talk about “blowback” (or its close relation, the “root cause” theory/excuse) is not so far of the mark. Trump’s reckless decision to assassinate Suliemani (himself, of course, a butcher), set in motion the events that lead to this tragedy.

    Let’s just hope that the popular uprising against the Iranian regime that has now erupted, meets with success. But if it does, that’s no vindication of Trump’s irresponsible recklessness: it’s an unintended and entirely unpredicted consequence – “blowback” if you will.

    Jim Denham

    January 12, 2020 at 6:04 pm

  16. Jim, I guess you can also be grateful that the Labour party lost the general election.
    You shudder to think just how soft they would be on Iran.

    Steven Johnston

    January 12, 2020 at 10:05 pm

  17. You just know that had John Wight been around in the Thirties he would have been writing syrupy hailographic accolades to one Joseph Stalin


    January 13, 2020 at 10:03 am

  18. Jim is absolutely right to be proud.

    Another comrade who has also done this is Bob:

    Andrew Coates

    January 13, 2020 at 11:10 am

  19. On missiles and planes. Ground to air missile systems do not work on eyesight or binocular sight but by radar, often radar with computer systems that identify the signature of aircraft, and respond accordingly. Its unlikely those operating the anti-aircraft missiles were anywhere near the aircraft or able to see it. Its the problem of modern warfare that because attacks are so rapid, an efficient defence against them is only possible by use of computers, not human control.

    On blowback. Those that claim that the actions of imperialism over decades, and particularly more recently has little or no explanatory effect in relation to terrorism have to explain why then, Switzerland, which is a prosperous economy, probably the most democratic in the world, has suffered not one act of terrorism committed by foreigners, or from hone-grown Islamist terrorists. The only terrorist actions committed in Switzerland have been from domestic right-wing terrorists.


    January 13, 2020 at 11:28 am

  20. You have to explain why one of the biggest growths of Islamic terrorism was in Algeria during the 1991 (following a coup negating an Islamist electoral victory) to 8 February 2002 civil war, without a single Western intervention. Around 150, 000 died.


    Andrew Coates

    January 13, 2020 at 12:13 pm

  21. IainF, you just know that if half of the left had been around in the 30s they’d have been writing syrupy hagiographic accolades to one Leon Trotsky

    Steven Johnston

    January 13, 2020 at 12:20 pm

  22. So has Corbyn gone from hero to zero?

    Steven Johnston

    January 13, 2020 at 12:29 pm

  23. Boffy, are you saying that ANY passenger-carrying aircraft flying anywhere in the world is in danger of being downed by some ‘Samsung radar system’ gone wrong? If that is true, then it is pretty scary, indeed!


    January 13, 2020 at 12:34 pm

  24. Christine,

    It depends on the sophistication of the system, and the general environment, and the extent to which the radar profile of one plane resembles that of another. There have been plenty of instances even of the more sophisticated systems of the US nearly causing global nuclear war, because of such instances. Generally, there is time for humans to act as a back up, and further check, to prevent such accidents. That is how nuclear war has been avoided in the past, though it was literally within minutes of being unleashed.

    If you are sitting in Britain manning one of these systems, you are unlikely to allow it to mistake a plane that has just taken off from Heathrow or coming in to land as being hostile, because you have other information at your disposal, and unless its in a situation of near war, where an attack is likely, the probability of it being hostile is remote. But civil aviation authorities divert aircraft from potentially dangerous zones for precisely this reason. They also have civilian aircraft fly at higher altitudes to separate them from military aircraft. Its one question that was asked about the previous aircraft downed over Ukraine as to why that had not happened. It was neither diverted nor was flying at the appropriate altitude.

    There have probably been more such incidents, but you would not get to know about them if the plane is not found and so on.

    With the development of AI, it gets both better and worse. AI should be better at recognition, but precisely for that reason, everyone will want to place more reliance on that rather than human intervention, because human intervention will be simply too slow. With human intervention removed, the chances of things going very badly wrong, if the AI ever did make a misrecognition are then increased massively. That is also increased with the latest Russian and US weapons, because they can similarly use AI to travel in non-linear trajectories so as better to disguise their nature, and target, as well as avoid interception.

    When we get to Skynet of course, things get really scary(!), but the truth is the technology is pretty much already there for it, and game theory suggests it will then necessarily be introduced, unless some world agreement to prevent is reached.


    January 13, 2020 at 3:49 pm

  25. Honestly, I don’t believe that any of the world powers are enemies. You know how “reality” TV shows always have a bunch of drama going on? As I’m sure you know, it’s not actually real. The producers manipulate things in order to create conflict. That’s what sells. The producers of earth’s “reality” do this on a global scale. They are laughing all the way to the bank, which they own.

    Hong Konkey

    January 14, 2020 at 12:45 am

  26. Next they’ll be saying Hitler and Stalin hated each other…

    Steven Johnston

    January 14, 2020 at 9:56 am

  27. Excellent points Jim but I would note that the Russian system may well be at fault, so any human error may also have that context.

  28. Steven Johnston

    January 16, 2020 at 9:48 am

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