By Beth Pulman in Britain:
Owen Smith in bizarre row with anti-Isis fighters
Saturday 27th August 2016
MP gets defensive after Bob Crow Brigade brands him a ‘backstabber’ over Isis round-table policy
OWEN SMITH has become embroiled in a bizarre spat with Brits fighting in Syria as part of the Bob Crow Brigade over his call for talks with Isis.
The volunteers, who are fighting with the International Freedom Battalion of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), hit out at the over comments Mr Smith made in a televised hustings.
And in an unexpected turn, a spokesperson for the gaffe-prone Pontypridd MP has issued a statement replying to their criticism.
Mr Smith is standing by controversial comments he made during a live debate on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show last week.
Asked whether Isis should be invited to talks, Mr Smith said: “Ultimately all solutions to these sorts of international crises do come about through dialogue, so eventually, if we are to try to solve this, all of the actors do need to be involved.
“But at the moment [Isis] are clearly not interested in negotiating.”
Asked the same question, Mr Corbyn replied: “No.”
Now the Bob Crow Brigade, which includes British and Irish volunteers has released a photo showing five fighters, wearing red balaclavas and brandishing automatic rifles, posing next to a wall where a response to Mr Smith has been spray painted.
The message reads: “@OwenSmith2016 Want to talk to Isis? Tell that to the martyrs of Manbij”.
It ends by quoting late RMT general secretary Mr Crow: “If you fight, you won’t always win. If you don’t fight, you will always lose.”
It was accompanied by a statement from Gary Oak, an English member of the group which is fighting on the front line close to Raqqa.
He said: “We were appalled to hear about Owen Smith suggesting he’d talk with Isis. People are dying here in defence of democracy and civil liberties.
“Owen might not be clever enough to realise it but he’s stabbing us in the back, just like he stabbed Jeremy Corbyn.
Mr Oak also branded Hilary Benn a hypocrite for backing Owen Smith after using the International Brigades to justify his support for British bombing in Syria.
“Hilary Benn was banging on about the International Brigades one minute, then backing someone who would make deals with Isis fascists the next,” he said.
Hilary Benn justified the British Conservative government’s bombing of Syria by equating it to British International Brigades members fighting Franco’s fascist rebels in the 1930s Spanish civil war. That equation was false: the bombing of Syria being by the British conservative government, and the International Brigades members going to Spain against the wishes of the (mostly) Conservative British government. Also, the International Brigades supported the internationally recognized government of Spain. While British Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron’s bombing of Syria was/is against the internationally recognized government of that country.
Owen Smith also falsely invoked the International Brigades to justify his support for Bush’s and Blair’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, another war of ‘regime change’ against an internationally recognized government.
Around 260 fighters died in the “Manbij Offensive,” an action which saw Syrian Democratic Forces recapture and defend the city, cutting off supply lines for Isis and making it more difficult for them to send soldiers into Turkey and Europe, according to reports.
It is currently unconfirmed how many of these were international volunteers.
Dean Carl Evans, a 22-year-old from Reading, was killed in Manbij on July 21 when he and a Kurdish combatant were struck by an Isis rocket.
The female Kurdish fighter was trying to assist Dean, who joined the YPG after being refused entry to the British army, after he sustained a bullet wound just before the fatal rocket was fired.
A memorial for fallen fighters is being held in London by the Britain Kurdish People’s Assembly tomorrow at 31-33 Dalston Lane, London E8 3DF.
OWEN SMITH was accused of “pandering” to right-wing scaremongering yesterday after claiming refugees were putting public services in south Wales under strain. The Labour leadership candidate claimed schools in particular were under pressure from “significant numbers” of people fleeing from the Middle East to south Wales during an interview with Newsnight earlier this month. But official migration figures published on Thursday show that only 18 refugees are living in Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, which includes Mr Smith’s Pontypridd constituency: here.
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