War on Syria, British Parliament update

David Cameon wants war by smearing opposition

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Syria vote live: Jeremy Corbyn urges MPs to remember past wars as Cameron refuses to say sorry for ‘slur’

MPs will vote on war in Syria after more than 10 hours of debate throughout the day

Lizzie Dearden, Adam Withnall, Matt Dathan, Jon Stone

Here are the latest updates:

Jeremy Corbyn on Syria war and ISIS

London peace demonstrator on war and ISIS

According to an Independent online poll, 82% of respondents oppose bombing Syria.

LUKE JAMES reports from Parliament on how the vote is likely to go: here.

Is David Cameron planning to include al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra in his group of ‘70,000 moderates?’ If he was, Nusra men are likely to prove very expensive ‘ground troops’ for the RAF and its two Tornados if they bomb Syria: here.

3 thoughts on “War on Syria, British Parliament update

  1. Wednesday 2nd November 2015

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    by Derek Wall

    THE media and political class pre-frame debates so we are left with limited choices. Often a simple analysis of the situation shows that the positions advanced are nonsense.

    The current debate over how to fight Islamic State (Isis) in Syria is a typical example. The debate is framed as bombing Isis versus a pacifist position. We are set up to agonise over intervention.

    On the one hand Western intervention in Iraq and Libya has created the chaos which led to the birth and growth of the so-called Islamic State.

    On the other, after the bloodshed in Paris, to do nothing is not an option, so many of us reluctantly are tempted to support British bombing of Raqqa and other areas controlled by Isis.

    However even a cursory examination of the facts on the ground suggest that, far from opposing Isis, the British government is actually campaigning against the most successful of its opponents — the revolutionary Kurds led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and organised in the Peoples Protection Units (YPG).

    David Cameron recently name-checked Kobane in a speech. In 2014 Kobane in northern Syria was under siege by the Islamists but was eventually liberated by Kurdish forces after a dramatic struggle.

    However just last week a young women of Kurdish extraction from Croydon, Shilan Ozcelik, was sent to prison for wishing to join the Kurdish forces in Kobane fighting Isis.

    Yes, you heard it right. While Cameron badgers us about the need to fight Isis with mass bombing campaigns, a woman has actually been sent to prison because she was alleged to have wanted to fight Isis.

    Are the mainstream media protesting about Cameron’s failure? No, they don’t actually care about the fight against Isis and are busy demonising Jeremy Corbyn.

    A Kurdish student living in Britain noted: “The UK is part of the anti-Isis coalition that bombs Isis down there. Now a girl is jailed for wanting to fight the same Isis, as the UK does. It makes no sense.”

    So Cameron wants to fight Isis, praises the resistance at Kobane but has anyone travelling to Syria to fight against Isis arrested under the 2006 Terrorism Act. Like many aspects of government policy, it is utterly absurd.

    The Kurds and their allies in Rojava, the autonomous zone of northern Syria, should be supported by anyone who opposes Isis.

    There are a number of reasons why their fight is the fight of all who abuse the brutality of Daesh (a term used by the Kurds and other opponents for Isis).

    First, they have been highly successful in challenging and beating Isis and now control a huge swathe of northern Syria.

    Second, in a region where communities are increasingly polarised, many Sunni communities are driven into the arms of Isis by the fear of Shia or other sectarian communities.

    The Kurds are committed to a multiethnic, secular and pluralist approach. Kurds are, at least, trying to create a multi-ethnic and multi-faith society that respects difference.

    Third, the Kurds have sealed nearly all the border between Turkey and Isis territory. Fighters, cash and military equipment have flowed from Turkey to Isis, but the Kurds are in a strong position to totally cut off links between Isis and the outside world to the north of Raqqa.

    Guess what? Cameron’s government is having none of this. It has explicitly condemned the forces of Rojava.

    Defence Secretary Michael Fallon recently accused the Kurds of ethnic cleansing.

    The Turkish government has told the Kurds that if they advance into Jarablus they will be attacked by Turkish forces. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stated, quite openly, that if the Kurds displace Isis along the border between Syria and Turkey they will be under fire.

    We have said: “The PYD will not pass to the west of the Euphrates. We’ll hit them if they do.”

    So a democratic secular force that is able to fight Isis and seal off one of their main sources of fighters and equipment, has been told by Turkey that they will be bombed for doing so.

    What is worse is that Turkey has on several occasions recently bombed Kurdish communities in northern Syria.

    In Britain we heard nothing of this. Our media was too busy suggesting that Corbyn had not bowed to the Queen.

    Even more shocking is that fact that the British government is backing Turkey.

    The right-wing Islamist government of President Recep Erdogen has been engaged in an increasingly bitter struggle with Turkey’s Kurdish population.

    There have been allegations that Erdogen’s government has ignored or even aided attacks by jihadists from both Isis and the Nusra Front on the Kurds. This has led to a breakdown in the peace process between Turkey and the Kurds.

    A bomb attack in Ankara before the recent general election on a Kurdish peace rally led to the death of over 100 activists, including a founding member of the Turkish Green Party.

    The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) suspended its military operations against Turkey but Erdogan ignored this, continuing to bomb PKK bases in Iraq.

    There have increasingly brutal attacks by the Turkish police and military on Kurdish communities in the south-east of Turkey. Numerous individuals have suggested that human rights are being heavily eroded in Turkey.

    Very diverse forces recognise the importance of the Kurds in Syria in fighting Isis.

    The British government so far is an exception. British military intervention is rejected by most of us on the left.

    However, military intervention by both Russia and the US has been used to support the Kurds in Syria.

    Such intervention, I am sure, is controversial to many of us on the left. What is less controversial and should unite all is opposition to Turkey’s threat to the most successful force challenging Isis.

    When Cameron calls for British forces to bomb Syria it is unclear what this means. Cameron has, of course, shifted from wanting to bomb Assad to wanting to bomb Isis.

    However, when asked in Parliament whether he had challenged Turkey over bombing the Kurds in Kobane, Cameron was dismissive.

    To be blunt, we have no idea whether Cameron is seeking to support Turkey or not in its ongoing war against the Kurds.

    Cameron has nothing to say on Isis while he opposes the very force most effective in challenging Isis.

    He must stop criminalising Britain’s Kurdish community, he must delist the PKK so that they are no longer seen as terrorists.

    Above all, if our government is to have any credibility on foreign policy, it must support the renewal of the peace process between Turkey and the Kurds.

    Foreign policy can throw up difficult ethical choices and it’s easy for all of us to be armchair experts far from the field of conflict.

    Yet one thing is very clear, if we want to defeat Isis we must support the Kurds in Rojava. This simple fact is sadly distant from much media and political comment at present.

    Derek Wall is international co-ordinator of the Green Party of England and Wales.



  2. Wednesday 2nd December 2015

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    France is using an obscure part of the Lisbon Treaty to suck the EU into its Paris revenge campaign, writes JULIAN JONES

    TERRORIST attacks on Western soil will inevitably spark hyperbolic responses from the British and European Establishment, and these very human tragedies are often manipulated for a number of reasons.

    They are frequently used as a motive with which to target and undermine our rights to privacy and personal freedom, or to justify confused or downright imperialist plans for intervention in foreign countries.

    So far, we have witnessed both of these responses in the wake of last month’s attacks in Paris.

    But another agency of reactionary politics has also been reinforced in the aftermath of the attacks.

    On November 17, France made use of an obscure mechanism of the Lisbon Treaty calling on other EU member countries to assist in its military operation in Syria.

    As such, a politically united EU with its own foreign policy and interventionist military objectives was strengthened, impinging on the sovereignty and independence of peoples across Europe.

    The mechanism used, known as Clause 42.7 of the Lisbon Treaty of 2007, states that: “If a member state is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other member states shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power.”

    In other words, any country deemed to have suffered an armed attack can call on other EU nations to apply their military powers, away from accountability and with little democratic scrutiny.

    Any claim that French territory is under attack is particularly spurious and is of a deeply arbitrary nature.

    No matter how tragic the events, under no stretch of the imagination can it be claimed that France has been the victim of a sustained armed aggression.

    And why is it that the only seemingly acceptable response to such an “aggression” should be that Britain and other EU member states call up their armies and air forces in order to “assist” France? Why should this “assistance” take place not in France but some 3,000 miles away in Syria?

    Strict boundaries regulating what might be considered an “armed aggression” of a member state and the appropriate responses have not been thought out.

    It is doubtful whether they will be considered in future instances either.

    And the implications of this particular clause go beyond issues such as legal definitions or parameters. At stake is the entire future direction which the EU will take.

    The application of Clause 42.7 does not merely function as a joint European strategy to combat a common enemy — there is, of course, an obvious need to counter Islamist terrorism at a European level.

    But the application of this mechanism also confirms long-held fears by organisations such as No2EU that the EU has marked out a path which leads towards a political and military United States of Europe.

    Under this clause, imperialist powers such as France, Germany, Spain, and of course Britain can ask other member countries to join in their military ventures with little or no consultation, consolidating the military and political union of the EU.

    At the heart of this issue is also a lack of respect for democratic accountability and the sovereignty of European peoples.

    While most European democracies are flawed in some respect — look no further than our hereditary House of Lords — at very least the electorate has a limited voice and is free to elect representatives, who can, in turn, present, draft and change laws.

    The single most important decision our governments make — whether to go to war or not — should be decided uniquely and exclusively by our own representatives.

    The case for war and, lest we forget, the potential for deaths of our own troops resulting from such a decision, should not be made by Francois Hollande, EU commissioners or any other foreign heads of state.

    Of course, France’s decision to invoke the clause did not immediately bind our government to go to war, but it’s one of the reasons which has precipitated David Cameron’s rush to push through a vote in Parliament.

    Next time, under different circumstances and a different set of pressures, Cameron might not even seek a vote in Parliament. He is not strictly obliged to.

    On the very same day as the invocation of Clause 42.7, the EU Commission decided to exempt France from its economic restraints in order to pursue its military objectives.

    This decision, which went hand in hand with Clause 42.7, showed that the EU is prepared to forgo all of its economic posturing in order to back up its newfound military zeal.

    Under normal circumstances, the European Fiscal Compact — which thankfully Britain has not signed up to — dictates that no country can have a level of debt higher than 3 per cent of its GDP, placing strict limits on public expenditure. Here, the very clear message is that a country with education, healthcare or policing shortfalls is bound to austerity out of necessity.

    When it comes to highly draining military spending, however, the EU and its institutions will permit a healthy dose of free-spending Keynesianism.

    Does not a public healthcare crisis, like the one in Greece, deserve to be taken as seriously as a terrorist attack?

    Why the exemption for bellicose military projects and not for other crucial matters?

    What all of this entails is that a country which doesn’t want to set aside a large amount of its annual expenditure towards military expenditure, or doesn’t agree with a quite arbitrary conclusion that an EU member country is under attack or refuses to comply with Clause 42.7 could be at risk from EU-imposed legal or political penalties.

    These recent measures underline the fact that while much of the left rallies around the dangers of Nato membership pushing countries into war despite the opinions of its populace, EU treaties including similar conditions are roundly ignored.

    So what does this mean for those of us in Britain who would like to escape the prospect of more foreign interventions, which have undoubtedly made our world a scarier place for all?

    The simple answer is that reclaiming democratic control and sovereignty over Britain’s foreign policy from Nato and the EU must be a priority for any anti-war campaigner.

    We have enough to contend with in trying to stop our own politicians, of whichever hue, to stop interventions abroad, without having to stop any one of a multitude of European or international leaders dragging the country kicking and screaming into further wars too.



  3. Pingback: Paris, San Bernardino crimes abused for warmongering | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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