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Boko Haram: Islamic State’s African Ally, Murder 150 in Nigerian Mosques.

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Nearly 150 Killed in Suspected Boko Haram Attacks in Nigeria

 

Boko Haram, Daesh Affiliate in Nigeria.

While – rightly – marking our respect for the dead in Tunisia today we should remember these victims as well.

Nearly 150 Killed in Suspected Boko Haram Attacks in Nigeria.

Maiduguri, Nigeria (Agence France-Presse) Suspected Boko Haram militants have killed nearly 150 people in northeastern Nigerian villages, mowing down men and children while they prayed in mosques and shooting women preparing food at home, witnesses said on Thursday.

Dozens of militants stormed three remote villages in the flashpoint Borno state on Wednesday evening, setting houses ablaze in the bloodiest day of attacks by the extremist group since President Muhammadu Buhari came to power in May.

Gunmen killed at least 97 people in Kukawa, the worst-affected village, a local who gave his name as Kolo and who said he had counted the bodies told AFP.

“They wiped out the immediate family of my uncle… They killed his children, about five of them,” Kolo said.

A fisherman who witnessed the attack corroborated the death toll.

‘Victims as Young as Four’

Babami Alhaji Kolo, another witness in Kukawa who fled to the state capital Maiduguri, said more than 50 militants had stormed the village.

“The terrorists first descended on Muslim worshippers in various mosques who were observing the Maghrib prayer shortly after breaking their fast,” he said.

“They… opened fire on the worshippers who were mostly men and young children.

“They spared nobody. In fact, while some of the terrorists waited and set most of the corpses on fire, others proceeded to houses and shot indiscriminately at women who were preparing food,” he said.

Malami Abdulkareem, an Arabic teacher in Kukawa, said some of the victims were as young as four.

“The attackers did not spare even children between four and 12 years old who went to mosques with their fathers.

“I saw at least nine kids who were killed in two mosques,” he said.

A military source in Maiduguri, who refused to be named, confirmed the attack but could not yet give a death toll.

“The military responded with aerial bombardments on terrorist positions,” he said, without giving further details.

‘Volleys of Bullets’

In two other villages near the town of Monguno, meanwhile, gunmen killed 48 people and injured 11 others, local lawmaker Mohammed Tahir and witnesses told AFP.

“They selected particular male residents from among the crowd of worshippers… and opened fire on them before setting the two villages on fire and razing them to the ground,” Tahir said.

Another resident who managed to flee said the militants arrived in vans and on motorcycles.

“Many of us managed to escape amid volleys of bullets,” said the resident who asked not to be named for safety reasons.

Kukawa is around 50 kilometres (30 miles) away from the two villages near Monguno.

All three are located near Lake Chad, which straddles Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon and has been a focal point of the unrest.

Boko Haram had captured scores of towns and villages in the northeast last year, but has since been pushed back into hide-outs by a four-nation military offensive that kicked off in February.

Despite their territorial losses, the insurgents have kept up their deadly raids, explosions and suicide attacks on “soft” targets such as markets and mosques.

And the armed group has intensified its campaign of violence since Buhari came to power on May 29 vowing to crush the jihadists’ bloody uprising that has claimed at least 15,000 lives.

Since then, some 400 people have been killed in attacks blamed on the extremists, who have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State group, according to an AFP tally.

March 13th Reuters.

Islamic State leader accepts allegiance of Nigeria’s Boko Haram

The leader of the Islamic State militant group that controls tracts of Syria and Iraq has accepted a pledge of allegiance from Nigerian Islamists Boko Haram, his spokesman said, calling on supporters to fight in Africa.

Boko Haram, which has killed thousands and kidnapped hundreds during a six-year campaign to carve out an Islamist state in northern Nigeria, pledged its allegiance last week, highlighting increased coordination between jihadi movements across north Africa and the Middle East.

“Our caliph, God save him, has accepted the pledge of loyalty of our brothers of Boko Haram so we congratulate Muslims and our jihadi brothers in West Africa,” Islamic State spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani said in an audio message, referring to his group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

So far as we can tell the reaction of the Stop the War Coalition (StWC)  to Boko Harem centres on demands for no outside military intervention.

Last year they published this by Xavier Best:

Nigerian militant group Boko Haram has kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls and US policymakers and the “free press” have exploded into a fit of pro-interventionist hysteria. It’s hard to escape media reports about the ruthless cruelty of Boko Haram’s leader Abubakar Shekau and his vow to sell his hostages into slavery.

…..

It is widely conceded that the popular base of Boko Haram is a response to severe economic inequality that has disproportionately impacted Nigeria’s northern region. Unlike the south, Nigeria’s north faces severe problems meeting basic human needs of education, healthcare and clean water. Unemployment among young males in northern Nigeria “is in excess of 50 percent.”

Written by Andrew Coates

July 3, 2015 at 11:23 am

Syria: Air Strikes on the Way? How Should the Left React?

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Two RAF Tornado GR4's

Is ISIS massacre of 30 UK holidaymakers in Tunisia only the beginning?

Comments Paul Rogers on the Stop the War Coalition site.

He notes:

“..the great majority of people in the UK are hardly aware that this is a major war – and that Britain is at the centre of it.”

That,

While one intention was seriously to wreck the Tunisian tourist industry, leading to higher unemployment and more anger and resentment, providing a better environment for recruiting young people to the IS cause, it was probably part of a much wider intention to bring the conflict home to the coalition of countries now engaged in the air war.

This makes for uncomfortable connections, especially as most people in Britain simply do not recognise that the country is part of a large coalition that has been waging a major air offensive on IS forces in Iraq and Syria for almost a year.

He concludes,

One of the grim ironies of the Sousse attack is that the appalling loss of life might alert more people in the UK to the true extent of the war. Equally, IS will no doubt encourage further attacks on the countries at war with it; counterterrorism forces in countries as far afield as the US, Australia, Canada, France and Britain will accordingly be intensifying their work.

It is just possible that the Sousse massacre will turn out to be an isolated attack on British nationals, but it’s very unlikely. The reality is that the war with IS in Iraq and Syria is beginning to extend beyond those countries and the region – even beyond the established battlegrounds ofAfghanistan and Libya. What happened to the holidaymakers in Sousse may only be the beginning of a new phase.

 

If it is a “war” against Daesh we can be sure we know today where the UK government stands.

Consider Syria IS strikes, defence secretary urges MPs

MPs should consider allowing Britain to bomb Islamic State targets in Syria, the defence secretary is to say.

The RAF has been carrying out strikes in Iraq since September but Michael Fallon will say Parliament should look at the case for missions in Syria too.

The UK does not need the backing of MPs to launch raids but Mr Fallon has said the Commons will have the final say.

He will suggest terrorist attacks, such as Friday’s tourist murders in Tunisia, may have been planned by IS in Syria.

Thirty of the 38 tourists killed on the beach in Sousse on 26 June have been confirmed as British. Student Seifeddine Rezgui, 23, said to have had links to IS, was shot dead by police after carrying out the attack.

Prime Minister David Cameron later said IS posed “an existential threat” to the West, and its members in Iraq and Syria were plotting “terrible attacks” on British soil.

The Mirror also notes,

Britain edged closer to bombing Islamic State extremists in Syria after the Defence Secretary said it was “illogical” to attack jihadists in Iraq but not over the border.

Michael Fallon said a new Commons vote would be needed before the RAF carried out air strikes against Islamist fighters in Syria.

But he insisted there was no “legal bar” blocking Britain from attacking extremists in either country.

RAF Tornados and drones have been bombing the jihadists in Iraq since last September as part of a US-led alliance.

But Mr Fallon said: “ISIS is organised and directed and administered from Syria and there’s an illogicality about not being able to do it there.”

Where does the StWC stand?

Will it ‘defend’ the genociders of Daesh, and the European volunteers for its racist Einsatzgruppen from this bombing?

We say:

Another foreign intervention in Syria and Iraq is a bad idea, ethically and in terms of Realpolitik. The UK and the West have not opposed support for the reactionary forces of Al Nusra and other Islamist murderers. Their allies, such as Saudi Arabia, actively back these reactionaries. They have not stood against the threat of Turkish ‘Neo-Ottoman’ policy. They had not stood against Shia sectarian killings in Iraq.

The possibility that they will encourage any kind of democratic outcome to the civil war, and a replacement for the Assad regime with a progressive alternative is non-existent.

But to make opposition to this  bombing our chief objective is wrong.

We should be backing the democratic, largely Kurdish forces, of the People’s Protection UnitsYekîneyên Parastina Gel,, battling the genociders and their International volunteers on the ground.

There is little we can do in this tumult, but we are must use all the resources we can to help our Kurdish sisters and brothers who are fighting for dear life.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 2, 2015 at 11:28 am

Are Jordan and Turkey Invading or about to Invade Syria?

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Erdogan: Neo-Ottoman Foreign Policy?

Are Jordan and Turkey Invading Syria?

Asks the Daily Beast.

Or are they just messaging to Obama that they’ve had enough with his non-policy?

Turkey announced plans to send 18,000 soldiers into Syria. That announcement was amplified by Jordan’s, which came out the next day in a Financial Times story that reported the Jordanian plan was “backed by key members of the international coalition against Isis.”

One key member of the coalition that definitely has not backed the plan is the U.S.

A State Department official, speaking the same day the story about Jordan’s planned buffer zone broke, downplayed the possibility to reporters, saying there was no “solid evidence” for it and citing “serious logistical challenges” in creating them.

Turkey and Jordan, on Syria’s northern and southern border respectively, have a common interest in erecting buffers zone. Both countries have absorbed large refugee populations fleeing the war and both are threatened by the growing presence of hostile actors on their doorsteps, be they jihadists are Kurdish nationalists. A buffer zone is an area controlled by military forces, either national armies or those of allied rebels inside Syria that would allow the Turks and Jordanians to exert more influence inside Syria and prevent people and materiel from passing over the border. But those are old concerns that have been expressed by Turkey and Jordan before. The resurgence of plans for intervention suggests that new developments—namely the Assad regime’s deterioration and the success of Kurdish forces fighting ISIS— may be changing the calculus in Ankara and Amman.

Turkey, which first announced plans for a buffer zone, is threatened by the growing power of Kurdish groups who have had a series of recent victories against ISIS forces in Syria.

“I am saying this to the whole world,” Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech last Friday, “We will never allow the establishment of a state on our southern border in the north of Syria.” He was referring to the increasing autonomy exhibited by the Democratic Union of Kurdistan (PYD), an armed and U.S.-backed Kurdish affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey (and the U.S.) consider a terrorist organization. The PYD has made no mystery of its intention to establish “Rojava,” an independent statelet of Syrian Kurdistan tantamount to what the Kurds of northern Iraq have maintained for decades. Impressive military gains in Syria by the PYD’s paramilitary force, the YPG, have rattled Ankara more than ISIS has.

This follows the following report (28th June) in the pro-Kurdish site, Kurdish Question.

KQ News Desk

Turkish newspapers especially those allied with the Justice and Development Party (AKP) have for the past few days been headlining discussions that have allegedly taken place between Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, former government and current majority party AKP and the Turkish Armed Forces on a possible military operation into Rojava (West Kurdistan-North Syria).

The headlines began coming thick and fast after the President declared ‘I am talking to the whole world, regardless of the price we might have to pay we will not allow a Kurdish state in North Syria, to the south of Turkey.’ This declaration was made on 26th June, a day after ISIS gangs, crossing over from Turkey (North Kurdistan), massacred over 200 civilians in Kobanê.

It is also being speculated that there is no consensus between Erdogan, his de-facto party and the Armed Forces and that the latter are wary of any military operation due to the unknown results it may trigger. The Armed Forces are asking the President and AKP to get support and the go-ahead from the USA, Russia and Assad, commentators are claiming.

The Turkish state for a long time were calling for a no-fly and buffer zone in Rojava on the pretext of bolstering the fight against the Syrian regime and protecting refugees. This was rejected by the international community and only the training and arming of FSA elements was supported. With Erdogan’s latest speech it has become clear that his main concern is the autonomous cantons of Rojava.

 

An important article by Selahattin Demirtaş,   the leader of the Turkish, democratic socialist, feminist and pluralist  Party HDP which won 13% of the vote in the recent elections and now has 80 MPs,  which touches on the Kurdish issue appeared in le Monde yesterday: Le rêve d’une Nouvelle Turquie est possible.

One of the reasons for the HDP’s success, he notes, is that the Turkish government alienated the Kurdish electorate by Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his “neo-Ottoman” foreign policy. At the centre of this has been a claim that his government was the “self-proclaimed protector of all the peoples of the Middle East” (“autoproclamé protecteur de tous les peuples du Moyen-Orient.”)

He notes,

Pendant la résistance kurde à Kobané, ce discours s’est durci en des termes inacceptables pour les Kurdes. Alors que l’immense majorité du monde démocratique soutenait l’héroïque résistance des combattantes kurdes face aux assassins du Daech, ainsi que l’abnégation des femmes et des hommes venus de partout – qui, poussés par une conscience internationaliste, ont défendu Kobané, où a été perpétré l’un des crimes contre l’humanité du XXIe siècle – et qu’on pouvait entrevoir dans ces résistances l’espoir d’une paix au Moyen-Orient, « la chute de Kobané ne tient qu’à un fil », ne cessait d’ironiser M. Erdogan.

During the resistance in Kobane, this line hardened in a way that was unacceptable to the Kurds. The vast majority of the democratic world stood with the heroic resistance of the Kurdish fighters against the murderers of Daesh. The self-sacrifice of women and men who came from everywhere – driven by an internationalist conscience – defended Kobane, where one of the Crimes Against Humanity of the 21st century was  carried out. While one could see amongst this resistance hopes for peace in the Middle East, Erdogan could only mockingly comment, “The Fall of Kobane Hangs by a Thread”.

Update:  Syrian Kurdish group PYD warns Turkey not to intervene militarily.

Syria‘s main Kurdish party warned Turkey on Wednesday that any military intervention would threaten international peace and said the country’s main Kurdish militia is ready to face any “aggression.”

The statement by the Democratic Union Party, or PYD, comes as Turkish media is abuzz with talk of a long-debated military intervention to push the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) back from the Turkish border – a move that would also outflank any Kurdish attempt to create a state along Turkey’s southern frontier.

Kurdish fighters backed by US-led airstrikes have been on the offensive against ISIL in northern Syria for months, and now control a long stretch along the Syria-Turkey border. Turkey has viewed the advance with growing concern and has warned it will not tolerate the establishment of a Kurdish state in Syria.

Two weeks ago, the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, which is dominated by the PYD, captured the border town of Tal Abyad, denying ISIL a crucial nearby border crossing used to bring in supplies and foreign fighters.

The capture of Tal Abyad cleared the way for the Kurds to connect their stronghold in Syria’s northeast to the once badly isolated border town of Kobani – where they famously resisted a months-long ISIL siege – and possibly extend it to the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in Syria’s northwest.

“Any military intervention in Rojava will have local, regional and international repercussions and will contribute to complicating the political situation in Syria and the Middle East and threaten international security and peace,” the PYD statement warned. Rojava is a term that refers to Syria’s predominantly Kurdish region.

The PYD called on NATO members to prevent Turkey from carrying out any “reckless” intervention. It added that Syria’s Kurds want good relations with their neighbors and have no intention to set up an independent state.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan chaired a National Security Council meeting Monday which covered developments in Syria. Pro-government newspapers said proposals ranged from loosening the rules of engagement to give Turkish troops a freer hand to fire into Syria, to a tanks-and-troops invasion aimed at occupying a 110-kilometer (70-mile) long, 33-kilometer (20-mile) wide buffer zone.

Turkish officials fear the creation of a vast and contiguous zone of Kurdish control could stir up separatist sentiment among its own Kurdish minority. Ankara is also concerned over reports that Kurdish rebels are chasing other ethnic groups, such as Arabs and Turkmens, out of the areas under their control.

The PYD statement said YPG fighters “are ready to repel any aggression by any party.” It called on Turkish officials to “stop their provocative and reckless acts.”

Those in direct contact with Turkish and Middle Eastern politics would no doubt be able to comment further.

Erdogan appears to be moving on the home front as well: Erdogan and Turkey move toward once-unthinkable grand coalition.

Moazzam Begg: Back Islamists of Al Nusra and from Al-Qaeda to Defeat Daesh.

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Al-Nusra: Stopping Daesh Narrative, Says Moazzam Begg.

David Cameron will not engage the only people able to stop the IS narrative writes Moazzam Begg on the Middle East Eye (Tuesday 30 June 2015).

Hat-tip: David T.

In this article these are the sentences that matter:

Ahrar al-Sham – part of the Islamic Front coalition – and Al-Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front are the largest, most effective opposition forces in Syria. They have been at the forefront in the fight against IS. Thousands of their members have been killed in battle, tortured, beheaded and crucified. Despite Al Nusra’s confirmation that Syria would not be used as a launchpad for attacks on the West both groups have been bombed by coalition forces.

Arguably the most credible voices against IS have been Islamic clerics traditionally associated with Al-Qaeda. These include Jordanian scholars Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi and Abu Qatada. Cameron’s government fought very hard to deport the latter from Britain where he had been imprisoned on the basis of secret evidence, without charge, for over a decade.

In the end, Abu Qatada opted to return to Jordan, of his own accord, where he was acquitted of terrorism charges against him. During and after his imprisonment in the UK and Jordan Abu Qatada made repeated calls for the release of British aid workers and journalists held by militant groups – including IS. He declared their consequent murders unlawful and subsequently issued scathing fatwa [religious edicts] denouncing IS:

“This group [IS] does not have the authority to rule all Muslims and their declaration [the caliphate] applies to no-one but themselves. Its threats to kill opponents, sidelining of other groups and violent way of fighting opponents constitute a great sin, reflecting the reality of the group.”

Cameron must be wondering how many young Britons would have joined IS if Abu Qatada made these statements from the UK instead of Jordan?

Many people will consider Begg’s intervention as part of the effort to “re-brand” Al-Nusra (The rebranding of the Nusra Front.Mehdi Hasan).

But in this case it appears to be part of an attempt to extend this to elements within Al-Qaeda.

It’s not as if there is a lot to white-wash.

I am at present about half-way through this important book: Al Qaeda’s Global Crisis. The Islamic State, Takfir and the Genocide of Muslims. V. G. Julie Rajan 2015.

This book focuses on the crises facing Al Qaeda and how the mass killing of Muslims is challenging its credibility as a leader among Islamist jihadist organizations.

The book argues that these crises are directly related to Al Qaeda’s affiliation with the extreme violence employed against Muslims in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan in the decade since 9/11. Al Qaeda’s public and private responses to this violence differ greatly. While in public Al Qaeda has justified those attacks declaring that, for the establishment of a state of ‘true believers’, they are a necessary evil, in private Al Qaeda has been advising its local affiliates to refrain from killing Muslims.

To better understand the crises facing Al Qaeda, the book explores the development of Central Al Qaeda’s complex relationship with radical (mis)appropriations and manifestations of takfir, which allows one Muslim to declare another an unbeliever, and its unique relationship with each of its affiliates in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The author then goes on to consider how the prominence of takfir is contributing to the deteriorating security in those countries and how this is affecting Al Qaeda’s credibility as an Islamist terror organization. The book concludes by considering the long-term viability of Al Qaeda and how its demise could allow the rise of the even more radical, violent Islamic State and the implications this has for the future security of the Middle East, North Africa and Central/South Asia.

It would be very complex to go into the various alliances and conflcists between the different groups in Syria and Iraq – though there have no doubt been convergences between the so-called “opponents” of Daesh – Al-Nusra and the Islamic Front.

Perhaps a simpler way of dealing with Begg’s lies about Al-Qaeda and the Al-Nusra Front is to cite Patrick Cockburn in yesterday’s Independent.

 Because Isis publicises and boasts of its atrocities in order to spread fear, it masks the fact that official al-Qaeda affiliates, such as Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria or AQAP in Yemen, are just as dangerous.

Their basic agenda is very similar to that of the self-declared caliphate, with al-Nusra carrying out the enforced conversion of Druze and the massacre of those who resist. This attempted rebranding of extreme but non-Isis Sunni jihadis is opportunistic and often directed at making them more palatable as proxies for Sunni states such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

 There is more in Begg’s ideology: the reference to the importance  of the ‘Caliphate’.

He ends his piece with this distasteful observation:

…why did Seifeddine Rezguie kill 38 innocent tourists? Warped as his ideas must have been, he saw the tourists as representatives of Britain. Britain that had wanted to destroy the caliphate past, and, the caliphate present. The only ones who can successfully challenge the IS narrative, however, are the only ones the government will not engage with.

‘Caliphate John’ would doubtless agree.

Elderly working class tourists are indeed ‘targets’ for vengeance against the destruction of the ‘Caliphate past’, the “dismembered and occupied” Ottoman Empire.

But what exactly was this past?

The Caliphate – if we can condense so many different forms together,  as Begg does was marked by the treatment of   non-Muslims  as second class citizens and women as second class citizens. The caliphates were for most of their history based on slavery and landowner  exploitation. The Caliphate empires were grounded on the oppression of peoples, from Eastern Europe to North Africa. They regularly engaged in massacres of minorities, the torture and the murder of political opponents.

The clue perhaps lies in the word “empire“, not the word “Ottoman”.

Most people who are acquainted with the real – not fairy-story – history of the Caliphate, will feel sick in the stomach at  the thought that the Caliphate should be revived.

Whether it’s by Daesh or the forces Begg appears to favour, it is a potent symbol of tyranny, of class, sexual and religious oppression.

It is to hoped that this is the last time we will hear anybody on the left defending Moazzam Begg

Christine Lagarde: the Wrong Person to Deal with the Greek Crisis.

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 http://www.london24.com/polopoly_fs/1.4131724!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_630/image.jpg

 

Protesters gather in Trafalgar Square to support the Greek government’s attempts to throw off austerity (Photo: Chris Plexidas via Twitter).

 

Yesterday Evening:

The Greece Solidarity Campaign wants a European conference to cancel Greece’s debts, and around three thousand people are at the square now to show their support and hear speeches from a range of MPs and activists including Paul Nowak from the TUC, Owen Jones, Sarah-Jayne Clifton of Jubilee Debt Campaign, Andrew Burgin of Left Unity, and John Rees of the People’s Assembly.

Jeremy Corbyn has said: “There is an escalating crisis of Greek society. There is no sane solution to the situation in Greece that involves repaying this debt. “The only sensible way forward is to cancel the Greek debt – or at least substantial swaths of it – and for the international community to support Greece’s democratically elected government to rebuild its society and its economy.”

Andrew Burgin from Greece Solidarity Campaign said: “We are coming together today to stand with the people of Greece and say: no to austerity, yes to democracy.

London 24.

The news today:

If Greece does not transfer the equivalent of €1.6bn to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday, it will become the first advanced economy to default to the fund in its 71-year history. The country will also take a step closer to what some fear could be its exit from the eurozone and another round of economic turmoil in Europe.

Writes the Financial Times.

It continues on site with a list of “10 things worth keeping in mind.”

One should add another “thing” to remember.

Christine Lagarde is the IMF managing director.

 Christine Lagarde was appointed head of the IMF – following Dominique Strauss Kahan’s ‘resignation’.

One reason was that it was “buggin’s turn’ – the post would still be held by a French person, but after the (Socialist politician) this time it would be a right-wing French politician.

Largarde’s political career has taken place  essentially in the exalted regions of appointees, beyond more than nominal engagement in electoral politics (councillor in the 12th arrondissement of Paris).

But she was, from 2007 to 2011, Ministre de l’Économie under  Prime Minister François Fillon (more detailed summary on French Wikipedia)

That is,  perhaps more significantly, during the reign of President Nicolas Sarkozy.

This was a right-wing government pursuing a neo-liberal economic strategy, mired in scandal.

This relates to a notorious, and long-lasting, ‘affaire’.

Investigation into alleged misuse of power

On 3 August 2011, a French court ordered an investigation into Lagarde’s role in a €403 million arbitration deal in favour of businessman Bernard Tapie. On March 20, 2013, Legarde’s apartment in Paris was raided by French police as part of the investigation.[57] On 24 May 2013, after two days of questioning at the Court of Justice of the Republic, Lagarde was assigned the status of “assisted witness”, meaning that she was not herself under investigation in the affair. According to a press report from June 2013, Lagarde has been described by Stephane Richard, the CEO of France Telecom (a former aide to Lagarde when she was Finance Minister), who has himself been put under formal investigation in the case, as having been fully briefed before approving the arbitration process which benefited Bernard Tapie. Subsequently in August 2014 the Court of Justice of the Republic announced that it had formally started a negligence investigation into Lagarde’s role in the arbitration of the Tapie case.

This is what Lagarde said in an interview with the Guardian in  May 2012 when asked about the crisis in Greece.

….when she studies the Greek balance sheet and demands measures she knows may mean women won’t have access to a midwife when they give birth, and patients won’t get life-saving drugs, and the elderly will die alone for lack of care – does she block all of that out and just look at the sums?

“No, I think more of the little kids from a school in a little village in Niger who get teaching two hours a day, sharing one chair for three of them, and who are very keen to get an education. I have them in my mind all the time. Because I think they need even more help than the people in Athens.” She breaks off for a pointedly meaningful pause, before leaning forward.

“Do you know what? As far as Athens is concerned, I also think about all those people who are trying to escape tax all the time. All these people in Greece who are trying to escape tax.”

Even more than she thinks about all those now struggling to survive without jobs or public services? “I think of them equally. And I think they should also help themselves collectively.” How? “By all paying their tax. Yeah.”

It sounds as if she’s essentially saying to the Greeks and others in Europe, you’ve had a nice time and now it’s payback time.

“That’s right.” She nods calmly. “Yeah.”

At the time Le Monde commented that the Greeks felt “shocked” and  “humiliated” by the Director of the IMF’s lecture on how, after living the life of Riley, they should now pay their taxes.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon remarked that it was Greek ship-owners and the Orthodox Church who ahd avoided paying taxes, not the ordinary people.  (Les Grecs se disent “humiliés” par les propos de Christine Lagarde.)

Largarde has made one notable further gaff (Wikipedia),

In January 2015, on the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Lagarde said “he was a strong believer in pushing forward women’s rights”.

Christine Lagarde is a vegetarian and is near-teetotal. Her pastimes include hanging out in the gym, swimming and cycling.

 

Tunisian Slaughter will Stop When Tunisia Stops Invading Middle East and Backing War on Terror: Stop the War Coalition.

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Tunisians Demonstrate Against Terrorist Murders.

Latest news on the Tunisian atrocity:

The number of Britons killed in Friday’s beach massacre in Tunisia is now expected to pass 30, it has emerged, as hundreds of British police were deployed in one of the biggest counter-terror operations since the London bombings on 7 July 2005.

Informed sources said the eventual death toll could be even higher. So far only 15 Britons have been confirmed among the 38 dead in a process overseen by a British coroner whose job has been complicated because of the nature and location of the attack, and the numbers involved.

The assault is already the biggest loss of British life to terrorism since the 2005 London bombings in which a total of 56 people including the attackers were killed.

Guardian.

This is how the Stop the War Coalition (StWC)  has reacted:

After terrorist atrocity in Tunisia it’s time to face facts: ISIS is a child of US-UK wars.

Lindsey German.

HERE IS a sense of shock and horror at the series of terror attacks which took place yesterday.

One can only condemn attacks which lead to the deaths of innocent people, whether praying in a mosque or lying on a beach.

The claiming of these actions by ISIS speaks of a strategy which is not just about fighting in the Middle East but about bringing the war into Europe.

ISIS explicitly stated with the Tunisia attacks that they were in response to members of the coalition at present bombing in Iraq and Syria.

While we can all condemn the attacks we need to also try to understand he reasons why they happen.

ISIS is the child of war, the creation of more than a decade of invasion, occupation and bombing in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere.

It’s brutality was forged those wars, funded by Saudi princes, facilitated by the Turkish government which allowed it to cross its borders, tacitly supported by Middle East despots.

Isis and other terrorist groups have grown as a result of the civil war in Syria, the bombing of Libya and the sectarian tensions fostered by the US in Iraq.

Support for it has also grown in western countries because of the way in which Muslims are treated here. The growth of Islamophobia means that Muslims are repeatedly under attack by government, police, media and the establishment.

The Prevent strategy in Britain is an attempt to criminalise, to spy on and to censor the Muslim community.

The vast majority of Muslims reject terrorism, but they are now being told that even if they are non violent extremists, this leads to violent extremism. The only   Muslim acceptable to them are those who raise no criticism of government policy.

Racism and attacks on civil liberties will only serve to marginalise young Muslims.

All these policies are symptomatic of government failure in its various policies.

The war on terror has created more terrorism. The prevent strategy has not prevented anything but has bred resentment among Muslims.

These are the problems which need to be addressed if we are to stop the tragedies like those on Friday, and the daily tragedies which afflict so many people in the Middle East.

Source: Stop the War Coalition.

This bundle of mendacious confusion shows why no progressive should back the ‘Stop the War Coalition’.

Some “problems which need to be addressed” by the StWC.

  • Whatever the ultimate causes of the growth of the Islamic State/Caliphate/Daesh, what are the StWC proposing to do to fight it?
  • Is support for the Daesh  in “western countries” a result of European ‘Islamophobia’? What kind of reaction to this feeling is joining a genocidal organisation that murders, rapes, and enslaves? What causal link is being made her? What kind of counterfactual conditions are explored? How many other victims of racism and Western ill-treatment turn to mass murder?
  • Is Tunisia in the Middle East or in  Europe? Is Tunisia bombing Iraq and Syria? As it is not, the wish to overthrow a democratic secular government looks a more probable reason for this attack than the fantasy offered by the StWC.
  • The StWC shows not the slightest concern about the victims of these genociders, the martyrs slaughtered in Syria and Iraq, and women abused and treated as chattel, the people living under their totalitarian oppression.
  • The War on Terror may be fundamentally flawed, but when will the StWC support the very real war carried on by the Kurdish people against Daesh?

The fact is that Tunisia and the Maghreb more widely faces a violent Islamist threat that predates the rise of Daesh.

It includes the assassination of prominent Tunisian leftists, the beloved martyrs  Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi (both in 2013).

Born in the Middle East at present, Daesh has a dynamic of its own: its ideology, backed by substantial finance and resources,  has become a material force.

Whether or not this is “real” Quranic Islam or not is irrelevant.

Daesh is part of actually existing Islamism.

It has created a totalitarian prison, its own ‘ruling class’, grounded on religious tyranny, sexual apartheid,  exploitation, and genocide.

As in this:

Its Western recruits and sympathisers are the modern equivalent of those complicit in the acts of the Second World War Einsatzgruppen.

There should be not the slightest tolerance shown to these criminals.

The immediate objective of progressives should be to back the democratic forces fighting them: in the first instance the Kurdish Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat‎, the PYD and its armed wing.

Tariq Ali tells Porkies about the French Left (Parti de Gauche, Mélenchon) and the stand on Greece.

with 21 comments

Tariq Ali : Plenty of Books, Should Brush up his French.

The crisis faced by Greece is extremely serious.

The international left, and in particular the European Left, has expressed solidarity with the Alexis Tsipras and the Syriza-led government.

We expect that there will be criticism from the fringes against their strategy.

We support, absolutely,  the British Greece Solidarity Campaign.

But there is one person, the ageing sage of Highgate, and Norfolk Lord of the Manor, who cannot resist the opportunity to use the drama facing Greece to pursue his personal vendettas.

In this case against Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of the French Parti de gauche and a staunch secularist (the latter playing a big part in Ali’s reaction).

Reading yesterday’s Le Monde in an Athens cafe I saw two long articles. Habermas denouncing Syriza for being nationalist and defending the EU and praising MarioDraghi, etc. A long interview with Melenchon arguing against Syriza defaulting because it would hurt FRENCH banks. I had heard that Melenchon was in a state of degeneration but hadn’t realised that the political cancer had affected his brain. The sooner this imbecile is replaced by his group, the better.

Greek Diaries. Counterpunch.

Now there are many reasons to be criticise Mélenchon (if Ali is going to pose as an expert in French politics the accent would seem obligatorily) .

This range from his personal behaviour which is not always very amiable, though personally I find his use of the word ‘connard’ often merited. to his vaunting as a model the alliance between his party, citizens’ groups  and the Greens (EELV) in Grenoble (which has just privatised the town’s street lighting). There is also his belief that the French left needs a form of populist left not dissimilar to Podemos. This, he indicates,  should be led by a bold-thinking leader, whose identity I am sure everyone can guess.

Recently another reason to be wary of the former French Presidential candidate (2012, 11.05%), a bit more than Ali’s  (0,9%) in Southall in 1979,  Mélenchon has been strongly criticised for his pamphlet, le Hareng de Bismark, which attacks the German “poison” (an oh-so-funny pun on “poisson”, fish) infecting European politics (see: Quand le pamphlet anti-allemand de Mélenchon agace.

But to our knowledge Mélenchon has always expressed absolute support for Syriza.

As indeed he did in the Le Monde article Ali half-read, where he laid the blame for the present Greek predicament on…….Germany.

La responsabilité intégrale du danger repose sur Merkel et Schäuble [la chancelière et le ministre des finances allemands], qui ont parié sur la tension et l’inertie de Hollande.

The complete responsibility for the danger (facing Greece TC) lies with Merkel and Schäuble (German Minister of Finaces), who have relied on the tensions facing Hollande (French President) and his inertia.

He indicated, simply,  that France would also suffer from the results of forcing Greece into a corner, and into destitution.

Al in other words, confused the observation that that this would have a bad effect on French banks, with an argument that this was the reason why Mélenchon was worried about a  Greek default.

Or maybe the French was simply too much for the Counterpunch puffer to grasp.

Yesterday Mélenchon issued an argument appeal for France to support the Greek government: Mélenchon à Hollande sur la Grèce: “Tu ne peux pas laisser faire ça.

So, if there is anybody who has “degenerated” it is “Tariq – “Charlie Hebdo had it coming to them” – Ali.

Though – to pursue our own long-standing feud  – his politics have been falling apart for some time now:  Punish the warmongers: vote Lib Dem Tariq Ali. (2007 Red Pepper).