Bombing Iraqi civilians does not stop ISIS crimes


This video from Britain is called Lindsey German-Stop the War Coalition-The People’s AssemblyNo More Austerity 21.06.14.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Activists rally against Iraq bombing campaign

Monday 6th October 2014

OPPONENTS of Britain’s bombing missions in Iraq rallied in London this weekend, arguing that waging war would not bring peace to the Middle East.

The protest took place against a background of revulsion following the murder by Islamic State (Isis) extremists of aid volunteer Alan Henning.

Mr Henning, a taxi driver from Eccles in Salford, Greater Manchester, was beheaded and a video of the execution posted online by Isis.

His brother-in-law Colin Livesey has accused the government of doing too little to save him.

“They could have done more when they knew about it months and months ago,” he said.

“Just the same with David Haines as well — I don’t think they did enough for him either.”

Mr Haines was the first Briton to be executed by Isis after being kidnapped in Syria.

Saturday’s anti-war protest in London was organised by the Stop the War Coalition.

Demonstrators held placards saying “stop bombing Iraq” and “don’t attack Syria.”

Francis O’Neill, 36, from Oxford, said: “I just think it’s insane.”

He said he had “every sympathy” with Mr Henning’s family, but said dropping bombs is not the answer.

Mr O’Neill said Britain inflicts “equal barbarity” on the people of Iraq, but people in Britain feel “distanced” from it.

Josh Blakely, 35, from Berkshire, said: “The war is not in my name. It’s in MPs’ names. If we’re going to go to war then the whole country should get to vote.”

A special multi-faith church service for Mr Henning will be held in Eccles in the near future.

Imam Asim Hussain, of Manchester Central Mosque, said those responsible for Mr Henning’s death are “the most misguided individuals” who are “causing a huge amount of problems for the name of Islam.”

They are not Islamic in any way, nor are they a state,” he said. “Neither do we as Muslims consider them to be Muslims.”

Mr Henning’s wife Barbara said: “Alan was a decent, caring human being. His interest was in the welfare of others. He will be remembered for this and we as a family are extremely proud of him and what he achieved and the people he helped.”

‘DON’T bomb Iraq! Don’t attack Syria! – How can we fund a war when we can’t feed the poor!’ Shouted marchers in the pouring rain on the 3,000-strong march ‘Stop the War’ march in London on Saturday: here.

“Ammunition transferred into Syria and Iraq to help stabilize governments has instead passed from the governments to the jihadists, helping to fuel the Islamic State’s rise and persistent combat power. Rifle cartridges from the United States, the sample shows, have played a significant role. ‘The lesson learned here is that the defense and security forces that have been supplied ammunition by external nations really don’t have the capacity to maintain custody of that ammunition,’ said James Bevan, director of Conflict Armament Research, the organization that is gathering and analyzing weapons used by the Islamic State.” [Story, Image via NYT]

In Fallujah, the US used poison gas, and phosphorus weapons and also depleted-uranium-tipped ammunition to kill large numbers of men, women and children. As in Vietnam, among the newly born children there are still the grossly deformed. Now the US imperialists are back, and their bombings of these cities will undoubtedly aid the ISIS movement which has not got the support of the Sunni masses in western and northern Iraq. In fact, there was no Al-Qaeda or anything like ISIS in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, and when they tried to impose themselves after the trial and execution of Saddam Hussein, they were driven out of the region by the ‘Awakening Movement’ of the Sunni tribes. In fact, the US had to come to the Sunni tribes, cap in hand, and pay them to do the job. So the appearance of US helicopter gunships and fighter planes attacking Fallujah and Ramadi can only strengthen the Islamists: here.

FORMER senior military commanders are runnng a campaign to strengthen the British army for a war in Syria: here.

In June, tens of thousands of Iraqi Security Forces in Nineveh province north of Baghdad collapsed in the face of attacks from the militants of the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), abandoning four major cities to that extremist movement. The collapse drew much notice in our media, but not much in the way of sustained analysis of the American role in it. To put it bluntly, when confronting IS and its band of lightly armed irregulars, a reputedly professional military, American-trained and -armed, discarded its weapons and equipment, cast its uniforms aside, and melted back into the populace. What this behavior couldn’t have made clearer was that U.S. efforts to create a new Iraqi army, much-touted and funded to the tune of $25 billion over the 10 years of the American occupation ($60 billion if you include other reconstruction costs), had failed miserably: here.

British citizens’ safety and wars


This video from Britain is called Anti Iraq War Demonstration, London 18/11/2001.

By Ian Sinclair in Britain:

Protecting British citizens? British foreign policy in the Middle East

Friday 3rd October 2014

The government should never be trusted to mean what it says, writes IAN SINCLAIR

ANNOUNCING that the terror threat had been increased from “substantial” to “severe,” in August David Cameron said: “My first priority as prime minister is to make sure we do everything possible to keep our people safe.”

Home Secretary Theresa May echoed Cameron’s pledge, noting: “The first and most important duty of government is the protection of British people.”

As with all government statements, it’s always good to remember Eduardo Galeano’s maxim that “in general, the words uttered by power are not meant to express its actions but to disguise them.”

With this in mind, it’s worthwhile looking into the government’s claim that protecting British citizens is its top priority.

Let’s start with the biggest political issue of recent times — the 2003 US-British invasion of Iraq.

According to a September 2003 report from the intelligence and security committee, in February 2003 the joint intelligence committee told the government: “Al-Qaida and associated groups continued to represent by far the greatest terrorist threat to Western interests, and that threat would be heightened by military action against Iraq.”

This advice was in line with warnings from many others, ranging from the leaders of the burgeoning British anti-war movement to Tony Blair’s close friend Hosni Mubarak, who claimed a war would lead to 100 bin Ladens.

In January 2003 former foreign secretary Douglas Hurd argued an invasion risked “turning the Middle East into an inexhaustible recruiting ground for anti-Western terrorism.”

As everyone knows, the government pushed aside these concerns and marched into Iraq in March 2003.

And, as surely as night follows day, the illegal invasion and subsequent bloody occupation massively increased the terror threat to the West, a fact confirmed by the former head of MI5 from 2002-7, Eliza Manningham-Buller. The London terror attacks of July 7 and 21 2005 were the shocking outcome.

A similar narrative also applies to Afghanistan. Over the last 13 years both Labour and Conservative governments have repeatedly told the public that British armed forces are occupying Helmand to keep British streets safe.

In contrast, Adam Holloway, Conservative MP, former Grenadier Guards officer and member of the Commons defence select committee, has said: “Put starkly, our current situation is working against the West’s security interest and is making attacks on the streets of Britain more, not less, likely.”

The majority of the public seem to side with Holloway, with a 2009 Mail on Sunday poll finding three-quarters of those questioned did not think fighting in Afghanistan was making British people safer from terrorism.

Both the murder of Lee Rigby and the Boston marathon bombing were “justified” by the Western occupation of Afghanistan.

Turning to the new Iraq war against Isis, a plethora of experts have warned that US and British bombing of Iraq (and Syria) will likely lead to more terrorism directed at the West.

Professor Robert Pape, director of the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, argued in June that “far from hurting the terrorists, re-engaging Iraq (and/or engaging Syria) would put us back on the path of a rising terrorist threat that has taken us over a decade to escape.”

By intervening militarily in Iraq “we would be seen — again — as foreign occupiers and become a target for terrorist organisations.”

Richard Barrett, the former director of global counter-terrorism operations at MI6, concurs, noting that US-British air strikes in Iraq could “increase the risk” from home-grown terrorists in the West.

The US started bombing Iraq on August 8 and Syria on September 23. The predictable outcome?

The director of the FBI recently told US Congress that support for Isis increased after US air strikes began in Iraq.

And following the US air strikes in Syria, the radical jihadist rebel group al-Nusra Front stated the US attacks have “put them on the list of jihadist targets throughout the world.”

Rather than the safety of British citizens being a top priority for the government, by disregarding repeated expert warnings its actions prove the threat of terror is actually a low priority for our rulers.

Of course Cameron and Blair aren’t evil Disney villains sitting at home twirling their moustaches thinking about the best way to harm British citizens.

But as prime minister they head a government that has geopolitical, military and economic interests that, in the final analysis, trump the safety of the British people.

And we can go one further. Rather than protecting British citizens, we can say with certainty that British foreign policy in the Middle East in support of these interests actually endangers British citizens by whipping up hatred of Britain.

Ian Sinclair is the author of The March That Shook Blair: An Oral History of 15 February 2003, published by Peace News Press. He Tweets @IanJSinclair.

People of Iraq, Syria suffer from war


This video is called Turkish Soldiers Shoot Another Child From Rojava [north Syria] On Border.

Residents of besieged Kabane have claimed that Turkey has been collaborating with Isis in a bid to “crush” Kurds in the Rojava region, even allowing Qatari support to Isis to cross the border: here.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

US war against the people of Syria and Iraq

2 October 2014

US air strikes in Iraq and Syria will kill tens of thousands of innocent civilians, and the White House and Pentagon are fully aware of this fact. That is the only conclusion to be drawn from a remarkable public statement Tuesday by a top White House aide.

The statement coincided with the heaviest attacks so far in the air war in Syria and Iraq, with US and allied countries launching 24 strikes, 12 in each country on Tuesday, with British warplanes making their first attacks.

National Security Council press spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden, in an e-mail to Yahoo News, confirmed that the targeting restrictions announced by President Obama for US drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen do not apply to the war launched against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Obama announced those restrictions in a speech to the National Defense University, claiming that the US would only conduct drone strikes against supposed Al Qaeda targets if there was a “near certainty” of no civilian casualties, which he called “the highest standard that we can meet.”

“The specific standards at issue in the NDU speech apply only when we take direct action ‘outside areas of active hostilities,’ as was noted at the time,” Hayden wrote. “That description—outside areas of active hostilities—simply does not fit what we are seeing on the ground in Iraq and Syria right now.”

Hayden was responding to concerns over casualties in the village of Kafr Daryan in Idlib Province, in northwestern Syria, where a Tomahawk cruise missile killed as many as a dozen civilians, including women and young children. The US Central Command confirmed the September 23 strike, saying it targeted the “Khorasan group,” the US-invented label for members of the Al Qaeda affiliated Al Nusra Front, one of the main Syrian “rebel” groups fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Pentagon’s top spokesman, Rear Admiral John Kirby, confirmed the more permissive standard for air strikes against targets in Syria and Iraq when questioned by reporters Tuesday. “When we say we’re going to go after them, we mean it,” Kirby said.

The restrictions that Obama claimed he was applying to drone missile strikes did not significantly limit the carnage inflicted by 500-pound warheads smashing into the huts of tribal villagers in rural Pakistan and Yemen. Pakistani officials and outside organizations like Amnesty International estimated the civilian death toll from more than 300 drone strikes in these areas as ranging from the high hundreds to many thousands.

After a series of studies on civilian casualties in drone missile strikes were published last year, the WSWS wrote, “The reports, in fact, provide prima facie evidence for a future war crimes tribunal whose defendants would include Obama and top officials at the National Security Council, the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency.” (see: Report documents US slaughter of civilians in drone strikes).

In addition to the direct toll of dead and wounded, there is the effect of such constant attacks on the whole society. An April 2014 article in Rolling Stone observed: “The people of Yemen can hear destruction before it arrives. In cities, towns and villages across this country, which hangs off the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, the air buzzes with the sound of American drones flying overhead. The sound is a constant and terrible reminder … Over half of Yemen’s 24.8 million citizens—militants and civilians alike—are impacted every day.”

The statements of the White House and Pentagon spokesmen indicate that the death and destruction inflicted on the people of Iraq and Syria will dwarf the horrific impact of drone warfare on Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia. And not a single voice of protest against such mass killing has been raised in official Washington, in either the Democratic or Republican parties.

Representatives of US-backed Syrian groups allied to al-Nusra briefed members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the Kafr Daryan strike. One Republican congressman who attended the briefing, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, dismissed concerns about civilian deaths, telling Yahoo News, “Nothing is perfect,” and arguing that any collateral damage from US strikes was “much less than the brutality of the Assad regime.”

The death toll from bombs and missiles is only the beginning. As US officials were at pains to emphasize this week—most prominently Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations—the main goal of American imperialism in Syria remains that of the overthrow of Assad and his replacement by a US-backed puppet regime in Damascus.

That goal inevitably requires the deployment of tens of thousands of ground troops—whether American, British, French, Turkish, Saudi or some combination—and the military conquest of Syria. The invasion and occupation of Iraq led to a million deaths from 2003 to 2011. A crime of even greater dimensions now looms in both Iraq and Syria.

Obama has become the fourth consecutive U.S. president to launch a war in Iraq: here.

CAR bombs targeted a school in the central Syrian city of Homs yesterday, killing at least 22 people including 10 children. The Ekremah al-Makhzoumi primary school is in an Alawite area of the city and the attack is assumed to have been the work of Sunni Islamist terror groups fighting to overthrow the Bashar al-Assad government: here.

United States Marines in Kuwait; Turkey joins US coalition. New steps to wider war in Middle East: here.

British Muslim women against ISIS


This music video is about a song by a young Syrian Kurdish singer.

By Louise Raw in Britain:

The British Muslim women making a stand against Isis

Tuesday 30th September 2014

As the US-led coalition launches air strikes, LOUISE RAW talks to Muslim women who reject ‘Islamist’ extremism and misogyny

LOOKING at a huge, rather beautiful poster of a young Muslim woman wearing a vivid Union Jack hijab, I know I’m not in standard leftie territory — and that’s before Theresa May pops in to press the flesh.

Not many media launches are both timed to coincide with the school run and surrounded by heavy security either. But Sara Khan is used to doing things differently.

Khan is the driving force behind new anti-extremism group Making a Stand, launched last week in Whitehall.

She is also the Director of Inspire, a group which I note is described by the Guardian as a “women’s human rights organisation.”

I don’t particularly want to give Alan Rusbridger a heart attack, but women technically are human beings. There, I’ve said it.

And while an increasing number of men accept that “women’s issues” are everyone’s issues, there’s still a tendency to see anything particularly affecting the female population as niche.

If it affects Muslim women, it’s usually even more a case of Nothing to Do With Us.

Khan is not letting Britain off the hook that easily, however, and is trenchant on the wrong-headedness of using supposed “cultural sensitivities” as an excuse not to oppose extremism and gender inequality wherever they’re found.

On this basis I’d asked her to speak at this July’s Matchwomen’s Festival, and she did so passionately, happily answering some “Everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-Islam-but-were-afraid-to-ask” questions from guests afterwards.

However, she was criticised for Islamophobia by two delegates over her condemnation of the murder of Lee Rigby.

The line on such atrocities from some on the British left is that the West has only itself to blame for “retaliations” to its foreign policy.

She replied that she was a practising Muslim who rejected such violence as outside her faith. The same went for the radical preachers who encouraged it.

As for the Islamic “women question,” Khan says that those in favour of gender inequality “don’t know [their] own faith. The prophet’s wives weren’t submissive women.”

She is adamant that we will see more and more young British women joining Isis, and about where part of the blame lies.

“We need to educate women better to improve this marginalisation problem in Muslim communities. For far too long mosques have marginalised Muslim women and their participation.”

However she’s also keenly aware that the perception of Islam as the ultimate oppressor of women is manipulated by the far-right, which publicly condemns the religion on this pretext even as supporters attack Muslim women on the street.

Some women won’t speak out against gender-based discrimination even though they loathe it, precisely because to do so may fuel anti-Muslim attacks, of which they could end up the victims.

So they can be caught between a rock and a hard place, suffering both fascist violence and gender discrimination from within their own communities. The resultant trauma and alienation is a risk in itself.

Khan says: “We know Muslim women who wear the headscarf are more likely to experience attacks. Will that make them feel they don’t belong? Are they [joining Isis] because all they’ve come across in this country in Muslim communities is a narrow view of women?”

This is the sort of difficult, and potentially dangerous, political terrain Khan has to constantly navigate.

It goes without saying then that “making a stand” will have required considerable courage for at least some of the women present at the launch last Wednesday. This was underlined by a total advance publicity embargo launch for security reasons.

But Khan made it clear on the day that silence was no longer an option when young British Muslims were being drawn to Isis — and there have been reports of British female recruits joining the al-Khanssaa brigade, an all-women militia set up by Isis which punishes women for “unislamic” behaviour.

“They have bought into a pack of lies,” says Khan.

“They think they’re following Islam, but actually it’s a patriarchal ideology that seeks to treat women as second-class citizens.”

Making A Stand has practical proposals for British Muslim communities — they ask mosques to start treating women more equally, communities to take more responsibility for women and women and young people to speak out on social media using the hashtag #MakingAStand, to directly challenge Isis sympathisers.

Later, over lunch, I spoke to some of the women present about the causes of radicalisation.

Sufiya Ahmed, Tamina Mir and immigration lawyer Piya Mayenim identified multiple factors that they saw as contributing.

High unemployment and institutionalised racism which limited Muslim young people’s futures made them feel they didn’t belong in Britain.

The three women saw Isis as something of a trend, though no less dangerous for that.

A generation with generally more liberal parents could only rebel by becoming more extreme, and Mayenim was aware of instances of teenagers criticising their parents for being “too Western.”

The black-clad, macabre chic of Isis could seem an appealing alternative to Western decadence and consumerism.

We talked about the government’s response to date. The Prevent initiative was launched in the wake of the terror attacks of September 11 2001 to counter radicalisation at community level, and continues to do so, but with significantly less funding under the coalition.

It hit another major roadblock in 2010 when it emerged that CCTV cameras placed in Muslim areas of Birmingham, 72 of them covertly, were partly funded by Prevent cash.

The resultant loss of confidence and trust was enormously damaging.

The women had also seen secular youth clubs close due to cutbacks, to be replaced with self-organised single-race or religious groups, decreasing cultural cross-pollenation.

Although May had come to praise the launch, there were no new commitments that day either — while promising the government would support Making A Stand “if you can do this” (ie counter and monitor extremism) we were left not knowing if this would mean an occasional fist-bump or anything more concrete.

I spoke also to Mehmoo Dah, an older Muslim woman living in sheltered accommodation who had travelled from Leicester for the launch.

She was visibly distressed as she spoke about the racism she says she personally experiences after every Isis incident, with locals saying: “You’re all terrorists.”

Khan has her work cut out for her, but is deeply committed to her mission.

“Extremist views from both sides blight the lives of British women and weaken our country,” she says.

“As a country that stands for equality, justice and women’s rights, we cannot allow extremists of any kind to deny British women their rights.”

Louise Raw is author of Striking A Light: The History of the Bryant and May Matchwomen’s Strike (Continuum). She will be chairing and speaking at the Freedom For Sussex 2014 Conference: Children and Young People on Thursday October 16 at the Pavilion Theatre, Marine Parade, Worthing, West Sussex, BN11 3PX, 10.15am-4.30pm (registration opens at 9.45am). For more information visit http://www.safeinsussex.org.

As US and allied warplanes continued to strike targets inside Syria, the Obama administration is marshalling support for a war that is more and more explicitly aimed against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, rather than the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS): here.

This week, to bestow legitimacy on the US war on Syria, the US media suddenly discovered the coalition “leader”, Hadi Al-Bahrah, and highlighted his calls for US bombing of his country. But none of the US media mentioned the revolt against him and the call by his own Military Council to oust him: here.

Le Monde is serving as a mouthpiece of the French state’s war propaganda, trying to browbeat the public into accepting a massive, long-term escalation of war in the Middle East and Africa with mendacious claims that Paris and its imperialist allies are waging a “war on terror”: here.