Palmyra in Syria, ISIS and the CIA


This 2010 video is called Palmyra, Syria.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

The atrocities of ISIS and the US wars of sociocide

26 August 2015

Images posted Tuesday on social media have confirmed the destruction by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) of the 2,000-year-old temple of Baal Shamin in the Syrian city of Palmyra. The images show ISIS fighters planting explosive charges throughout the ancient structure and then detonating them, reducing the temple to rubble.

The willful demolition of this site, one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world and one of the best preserved Greco-Roman ruins in existence, followed the savage murder a week earlier of Professor Khaled Assad. The 82-year-old Syrian archeologist had participated in the excavation and restoration of Palmyra’s ruins and had remained there as the head of antiquities for nearly half a century. He was beheaded for refusing to assist ISIS in looting the site.

UNESCO, the United Nations cultural and educational agency, justifiably denounced these atrocities as “war crimes,” adding that “their perpetrators must be accountable for their actions.”

There is no question that those responsible for these acts and for far bloodier atrocities against the Syrian people are criminals and should be held accountable. The obstacle to bringing to justice those principally responsible, however, is the fact that they are the former and current chief officials in the White House, the Pentagon and the CIA.

It was they who laid waste to one Middle Eastern country after another, while working with the Islamist forces that comprise ISIS to carry out their wars of regime-change against a series of secular Arab governments.

The systematic destruction of a cultural heritage carried out by ISIS has a historical precedent in the crimes carried out by the Pol Pot regime and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. This regime set out to erase the country’s cultural heritage, while carrying out a reign of terror and mass murder against the population.

The similarities between ISIS and the Khmer Rouge do not end with their barbaric assaults on culture and human life. In both cases, the preconditions for these atrocities had been created through the destruction of entire societies by US imperialism.

In Cambodia, a US bombing campaign dropped some 532,000 tons of explosives on the country in four years—more than three times the tonnage dropped on Japan during all of World War II. The resulting death toll is estimated as high as 600,000, while 2 million people out of a population of 7 million were made homeless and economic life was shattered.

ISIS and the current bloodshed across Syria and Iraq are the direct products of similar acts of sociocide on the part of US imperialism. In Iraq, the illegal US invasion of 2003, the subsequent occupation and the systematic destruction of what had been one of the most advanced health and social infrastructures in the Arab world claimed the lives of over 1 million Iraqis, while turning another 5 million into refugees. The divide-and-rule strategy pursued by the Pentagon stoked a sectarian civil war by deliberately manipulating tensions between Iraq’s Shia and Sunni populations.

The ramifications of this policy have long since spilled across national borders, with increasingly catastrophic consequences, all driven by Washington’s resort to militarism to advance its aim of hegemony over the energy-rich regions of the Middle East and Central Asia.

To this end, the US has been involved in wars for over 35 years, beginning with the CIA’s orchestration of the war for regime-change against the Soviet-backed government in Afghanistan, where it allied itself with Islamist forces, including Osama bin Laden and the other founders of Al Qaeda.

Nine months before the last US troops withdrew from Iraq in December 2011, Washington and its NATO allies launched another unprovoked war of aggression to topple the government of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and impose their own puppet regime over the oil-rich North African country. The destruction of the Libyan state and the murder of Gaddafi plunged the country into chaos and bloodshed that continues to this day. Islamist militias used as US proxies in the Libyan war, along with tons of captured Libyan weapons, were subsequently funneled—with the aid of the CIA—into the civil war in Syria, strengthening ISIS and helping create the conditions for it to overrun more than a third of Iraq.

In the name of the never-ending “war on terrorism,” Washington is prosecuting another military campaign in alliance with the Shia-based government in Baghdad against ISIS in the predominately Sunni regions of Iraq, while in Syria it is stepping up military operations in alliance with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni Gulf monarchies, while attempting to find “moderate” Sunni Islamists it can utilize as proxies in the war to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

The New York Times Tuesday published a lengthy article reflecting an internal debate within the Obama administration over whether to provide more direct US support to Ahrar al-Sham, a Sunni Islamist militia with multiple links to Al Qaeda. The group already receives extensive backing from key US allies Turkey and Qatar.

The horrific consequences of decades of US wars are now spilling into Europe, with the increasingly desperate flight of hundreds of thousands of refugees—in many cases at the cost of their own lives—from homelands that Washington has turned into killing fields.

Politically and morally, the US government and its top officials, starting with Bush and Obama, are totally responsible for all of the crimes, atrocities and human suffering resulting from the multiple wars of aggression they initiated.

None of them have been held to account. Representatives and defenders of an oligarchy of corporate billionaires, they are not, under the present political setup, answerable to the American people, whose opposition to war they routinely defy.

The task of bringing these war criminals to justice and putting an end to the succession of wars and growing threat of a new world war lies with the working class.

Stop bird poaching in the Mediterranean


Stop bird poaching in the Mediterranean

From BirdLife:

Illegal Killing of Birds in the Mediterranean

The BirdLife Partnership presents ”The Killing”, a review based on the first ever comprehensive scientific study to quantify the scale and scope of illegal killing across the Mediterranean region.

The results are gruesome. Despite legal protection, illegal bird killing is taking place at quite extraordinary and unsustainable levels. While many turn a blind eye, an estimated 25 million birds are being illegally massacred annually.

In some countries such as Cyprus, Syria and Egypt, more than two million birds are illegally shot, glued or trapped each year.

The report identifies three individual locations – the Famagusta area in Cyprus, the Menbej-Tishreen Dam area in Syria and the El Manzala area in Egypt – where, staggeringly, more than half a million birds are being illegally slaughtered each year.

Populations of 40 different migratory songbird species that were once abundant in Europe are declining and some are now in free-fall. Many have already disappeared from much of their former range.

European Turtle-dove (Streptopelia turtur) has declined by 30% throughout Europe since the start of the millennium and in some countries by as much as 90% in the same period. Yet more than one million are still illegally killed each year.

Our birds deserve safer flyways. To tackle these threats, our conservation efforts need to be scaled up at the worst locations we have identified, coupled with effective and well-coordinated local, regional and national advocacy.

We invite you to share the information in this review so we can all prevent the future of these birds ending in nets, glued to branches or illegally shot for fun.

The BirdLife Partnership is committed to making the Mediterranean a safer place for birds, biodiversity and people. Join the cause!

United States air force kills five Syrian little girls, other civilians


This grandfather cries at the graves of his five grandchildren killed by international coalition air strikes on Atmeh, Syria

From Middle East Eye:

Five sisters among 8 civilians killed in US-led strike on Syrian village

Turkey denies its airbase was used for strike on an arms depot in the village of Atmeh, killing five sisters between the ages of 4 and 10

Wednesday 12 August 2015 16:34 UTC

At least 18 people, including several children, were reportedly killed by a US-led coalition airstrike in the northern Syrian village of Atmeh on Tuesday.

The target of the strike was a weapons depot belonging to the Jaish al-Sunna group, which is part of a rebel alliance that also includes the al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights.

The Observatory’s Rami Abdul Rahman initially said that the strikes killed 10 members of Jaish al-Sunna, in addition to a child. He later told AFP that a total of 18 people were killed.

“Eight of them were civilians, including five children and two women,” he said.

Atmeh is close to a large refugee camp and Abdul Rahman said residential buildings were near the target.

Aid workers on the ground took to social media to say that in addition to five children killed by the strike, four more were believed to be buried under rubble.

One aid worker wrote on Facebook that he had helped a man pull his wife and daughter alive out of the rubble.

“I was amazed that people could come out of that wreckage alive. After that, the other two children were already dead. Four more are still under the ground,” he said.

Hadi al-Abdullah, a Syrian journalist on the ground, interviewed Abu Bishr, the technical supervisor of the depot that was targeted who said six missiles hit the location after sunset.

The five children killed in the attack – Noor, Asia, Aminah, Haya and Fatima Omari – are sisters, aged between 4 and 10 years. Their mother has been hospitalised for her injuries. …

[Local] Idlibi said most of the local anger was directed at Ankara, which has started to allow US warplanes targeting the Islamic State militant group to use the Incirlik air base in southeast Turkey.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has denied reports that US military planes took off from Incirlik for the strike on Atmeh.

“No manned and unmanned aircrafts using the Incirlik Air Base participated in yesterday’s [Tuesday] air operation carried out by the coalition forces,” said the ministry.

It rejected as “misleading” and “evil-minded” reports in Turkish media that said aircraft returning from the attack flew towards Turkey.

Ahead of the Atmeh strike, the US had claimed that only two civilians have been killed by US-led coalition airstrikes against IS in Iraq and Syria.

But a report released earlier this month by Airwars, a team of independent journalists, found that more than 450 civilians were killed in the air campaign.

Turkish government, more war and oppression


This video from Turkey says about itself:

Turkey: thousands gather for peace rally in Istanbul

9 August 2015

Thousands of people have attended a peace rally in the centre of Istanbul.

The event was organised by the Peace Bloc, a group of around 80 Turkish civil society organisations, to mark the killing of 32 aid workers in a suicide bombing in the town of Suruç – and to call for peace in their name.

Those gathered heard a warning about a return to the 1990s era of deadly fighting between the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, and the Turkish Army.

“People want peace,” Selahattin Demirtaş, the Chair of the People’s Democratic Party said.

READ MORE here.

By Halil Celik and Jean Shaoul:

Turkish government steps up repression of political opponents

Washington launched the offensive under the pretext of fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), its former ally, which has seized vast swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, cutting across US interests in the region.

After months of equivocation, Ankara finally allowed the US to use its Incirlik airbase in southeastern Turkey to bomb ISIS positions. In return, Washington agreed to the establishment of a “safe zone” in northwestern Syria for “moderate Syrian opposition forces,” backed up by Turkish and American air power. This is a flagrant violation of Syria’s territorial integrity and constitutes an act of war that is almost certain to widen the conflagration.

It also gave the nod to Ankara’s real target, the PKK in northern Iraq and its allies, the PYD/YPG in Syria, which have carved out autonomous areas along the border with Turkey. Turkey’s purpose in establishing a “safe zone” is to prevent the formation of a contiguous Kurdish controlled area along the border that could lead to an autonomous Kurdish territory in Turkey as well.

Washington gave its agreement despite the fact that the Kurdish peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, the PYD/YPG and the PKK have been the most effective fighting forces against ISIS. But this evidently was a price worth paying to have Turkey on board.

Ankara joined the US-led coalition following the July 20 suicide bombing in the predominantly Kurdish border town of Suruç, which killed 31 activists, and injured many more people, who had planned to travel to the Syrian city of Kobane and assist in its reconstruction. While the government attributed the bombing to ISIS, the Kurds accused the government of organising a false flag operation to provide the pretext for military action in Syria. The PKK accused the government of doing nothing to prevent the bombing or protect the people.

Ankara’s broader political objective is to open up the Incirlik airbase to other air forces from France, Britain, Belgium and Canada, and thus get NATO rather than just US backing for its war drive against Syria. At the same time, Washington is pressing for Turkey to open up Malatya and Diyarbakir air bases to operational flights.

Turkish forces have made a show of bombing ISIS targets. However, they have reserved their heaviest firepower for airstrikes against PKK positions in northern Iraq, in an effort to get the KRG to expel the PKK.

Yesterday, Idris Baluken, the deputy parliamentary group chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), accused the government of committing a war crime. He claimed that an Interior Ministry official had told him that six fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the military wing of Syria’s Democratic Union Party (PYD), had been handed over to Ahrar Al Sham, a coalition of Islamist militias that includes the Al Qaeda-affiliated Al Nusra Front.

While praising Ankara’s active participation in the anti-ISIS coalition, Turkey’s allies are nevertheless concerned that the Turkish offensive in northern Iraq will endanger the effectiveness of the US-led coalition and stoke up the already tense situation in Turkey.

The launching of war on two fronts testifies to the determination of Erdogan and the AKP to suppress the working class and hold on to power on behalf of the financial and corporate elite at all costs. War abroad, coupled with the renewed civil war at home, serves to deflect the mounting anger over social, economic and political issues, sow divisions within the Turkish working class, and create the conditions for an even more authoritarian form of rule.

Over the last few days, more than 1,600 people have been arrested, mostly PKK members, ISIS supporters and members of the DHKP-C, but also some trade unionists and left-wing activists. Many Islamists have since been released.

The police have broken up peaceful anti-war demonstrations with the utmost violence, while the authorities blocked more than 90 news websites on August 3, including the mainstream Evrensel and Ozgur Gundem. The only news media widely available are those that toe the government line. To step outside the boundaries of what the government deems acceptable means imprisonment.

The AKP is trying to close down the HDP under the mantra of “fighting terrorism.” One of its co-leaders, Selahattin Demirtas, now faces a judicial investigation over his support for last October’s protests against the government’s aid to Islamists fighting the Syrian Kurds in Kobane. Supporters of the opposition Gulenist movement founded by US exile Fethullah Gulen, former allies of the AKP, are also being targeted for their support of investigations into leading AKP figures for corruption.

The reckless turn to war and authoritarianism, after several years of covert support for Islamist militias in Syria, took place within weeks of the June 7 elections in which the HDP, the new pro-Kurdish Party, won 13 percent of the vote. The result deprived the AKP of its majority and halted Erdogan’s move to amend the constitution in favour of an executive presidency.

Acting Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has until August 23 to form a coalition government. Should he fail to do so, either with the secular Republican People’s Party (CHP) or the fascistic Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), new elections must be held, probably in November.

Now, rather than form an unstable coalition government, it would appear that Erdogan and the AKP have deliberately stoked the conditions that will enable him to suppress all opposition and emasculate or outlaw the HDP in order to achieve a majority in new elections.

‘David Cameron plans for illegal British bombing of Syria’


This video from London, England is calleed Protest against war in Syria – US Embassy 03-09-2013 Jeremy Corbyn and Kate Hudson.

By Luke James in Britain:

PM will ‘exploit Labour row to win support for Syria attack’

Monday 10th July 2015

DAVID CAMERON is planning to take advantage of Labour’s leadership turmoil to win Parliament’s support for bombing in Syria, Andy Burnham warned yesterday.

MPs have already blocked bombing plans once, but Mr Burnham believes the Tory PM is planning to call a second vote within days following the election of the new Labour leader.

The Labour leadership candidate said it would be “disrespectful” to the public to try to ambush the opposition.

“The message I would just send back to Cameron at this stage is: Treat us with respect because it’s not about the Labour Party,” he told the Huffington Post.

“The opposition is the country in this, we’ve got to test what they are saying on behalf of the country.

“And if they try to bounce the opposition into this they are not treating the country with respect.”

The result of Labour’s leadership election will be revealed at a special conference on Saturday September 12 — five days before MPs are due to sit again on September 17. However there have been suggestions Mr Cameron is preparing to recall Parliament.

Mr Burnham said he would not rule out support for bombing if he becomes leader, but suggested it would be illegal.

British pilots have already been secretly embedded on US bombing missions in Iraq and Syria.

Now the government is under pressure to investigate claims the raids have claimed the lives of 459 civilians, including more than 100 children.

SNP foreign affairs spokesman Alex Salmond said: “The government’s behaviour in this matter is entirely unacceptable — effectively participating in a bombing campaign by stealth. We now need an investigation into these new findings on civilian deaths and we need it urgently.”

The dirty secret about the Obama administration’s “regime change” strategy in Syria is that it amounts to a de facto alliance with Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front which is driving toward a possible victory with direct and indirect aid from Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel: here.

The road to war is paved with a thousand lies. A fresh fib was tossed on the lie-cluttered warpath to Syria, when it was announced that the U.S. and Turkey would create a “safe zone” inside of Syria — supposedly to be aimed against ISIS: here.

United States ‘anti-ISIS’ bombs kill Syrian, Iraqi civilians


This 2009 video is called Iraq War: War Victims, Civilian Casualties, collateral damage.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Hundreds of civilians killed in US-led air strikes on Isis targets – report

Airwars project details ‘credible reports’ of at least 459 non-combatant deaths, including 100 children, in 52 air strikes

Alice Ross

Monday 3 August 2015 12.03 BST

The air campaign against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has killed more than 450 civilians, according to a new report, even though the US-led coalition has so far acknowledged just two non-combatant deaths.

More than 5,700 air strikes have been launched in the campaign, which nears its first anniversary this Saturday, with its impact on civilians largely unknown.

Now Airwars, a project by a team of independent journalists, is publishing details of 52 strikes with what it believes are credible reports of at least 459 non-combatant deaths, including those of more than 100 children.

It says there is a “worrying gulf between public and coalition positions” on the campaign’s toll on civilians.

To date the US Central Command (Centcom), the lead force in the campaign, has published one official investigation – a report in May that found two children were killed in a November 2014 strike in Syria.

The coalition’s lead commander, Lt Gen John Hesterman, has called the campaign “the most precise and disciplined in the history of aerial warfare”.

But Airwars project leader Chris Woods told the Guardian: “The emphasis on precision in our view hasn’t been borne out by facts on the ground.”

Since May, Centcom has conducted investigations into three further strikes, which found claims of civilian deaths were “unfounded”.

One of the attacks investigated was on Fadhiliya, Iraq, on 4 April. When the Guardian investigated this strike in May, witnesses and local politicians said a family of five had died, including a pregnant woman and an eight-year-old girl.

Centcom told Airwars it would only publish investigations with a “preponderance of evidence” of civilian deaths. It is understood to be examining six further incidents.

Sahr Muhamadally, from the Center for Civilians in Conflict, said: “All allegations of civilian harm, including from open sources, should be investigated by the coalition and processes should be in place to acknowledge and assist those harmed.”

However, over six months, Airwars examined 118 air strikes and identified 52 that Woods said “warrant urgent investigation”. Airwars believes there are strong indications of civilian deaths, according to multiple, reliable sources, from these attacks.

Airwars used international and local news reports in Arabic and English, social media postings including photos and videos, and the findings of monitoring groups on the ground. They cross-referenced these with coalition military reports. …

But in many cases civilian deaths are well-documented. In some attacks, multiple sources suggest that scores of civilians may have been killed.

The bloodiest was a 3 June air strike on a suspected IED [improvised explosive device] factory and storage facility in Hawija, Iraq. Videos and photos posted online after the bombing show a landscape of destroyed buildings and mangled metal. Local people told al-Jazeera and Reuters that over 70 civilians were killed.

In a press briefing shortly after the strike, Hesterman said the coalition used a “fairly small weapon on a known IED building in an industrial area”, but that this had hit a “massive amount of Daesh [Isis] high explosives”.

He added: “If there are unintended injuries, that responsibility rests squarely on Daesh.”

Centcom has since announced a formal investigation after receiving “credible” evidence of civilian deaths.

In Syria, the worst incidents include a 28 December air strike on an Isis facility in Al Bab that was being used as a temporary prison. Reports gathered by Airwars found that at least 58 prisoners – many of whom were being held for petty infractions of Isis’ rules, such as buying cigarettes – were killed. Local activists claimed that the use of the building as a prison was well known.

The coalition did not acknowledge the attack for nearly two weeks, after which it conceded, following repeated questions by news agency McClatchy, that it had conducted the strike. …

The UK is the second-most active participant in the coalition, having launched almost 250 strikes in Iraq.

As Britain’s MPs prepare to vote this autumn on expanding UK air strikes from Iraq to Syria, Labour MP Tom Watson called for thorough official investigations into claims of civilian deaths to allow an “informed debate” about the campaign. He added: “The UK should be leading in the tracking, reporting of and response to allegations of civilian casualties.”

Former international development secretary Andrew Mitchell told the Guardian he was in favour of expanding British strikes into Syria. “But if it’s our common objective to win hearts and minds and split off the terrorist thugs from the related population, then we have to acknowledge that killing innocent civilians acts as a significant recruiting sergeant for the terrorists,” he said.

Woods, from Airwars, said the US-led campaign’s focus on urban areas made civilian deaths unavoidable, despite “significant efforts” to avoid them. “What we are seeing in Iraq and Syria is the coalition is bombing where Isis is, and that’s in the cities … Unsurprisingly, that’s where we are tracking the highest number of civilian casualties.” The Isis stronghold of Mosul, Iraq, alone accounts for 40% of all civilian casualty reports in Airwars’ data.

The sheer pace of the strikes adds to the risk to civilians. Raines said that pre-planned missions made up approximately 10% of strikes.

The vast majority are on “emerging targets”. In these strikes the targeting process takes “anywhere from minutes to hours depending on collateral damage concerns, while maintaining careful consideration for each target to ensure we do our best to minimise civilian casualties and collateral damage,” Raines said. …

But Woods said Airwars’ findings suggest that the coalition’s narrative of virtually no civilian casualties may not be true. “You can’t have an air war of this intensity without civilians getting killed or injured, but they need to be more transparent,” he said.

See also here. And here.

President Barack Obama has authorized US air strikes to defend a small band of Pentagon-trained mercenaries inside Syria, including against any potential attack by Syrian government forces. The blanket permission for employing US air power, ostensibly in support of less than 60 “rebels” who have been trained, armed and paid by the US military supposedly to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), paves the way for a dramatic escalation of the war for regime change against the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad: here.

Erdogan, stop bombing Kurds, Britons, others say


This video says about itself:

Turkey Is Bombing Kurdish Forces — Who Are Fighting ISIS

29 July 2015

Turkish jets launched their heaviest assault on Kurdish militants in northern Iraq overnight since air strikes began last week, hours after President Tayyip Erdogan said a peace process had become impossible.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Stop bombing the Kurds

Thursday 30th July 2015

Activists, MPs, trade unionists and campaigners call on Turkey to stop its renewed aggression against the Kurdish people

WE have watched with increasing alarm and frustration as the peace process between the Turkish government and the Kurds has stalled and been brought to a halt.

Just a few months ago talks between Turkish officials and jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan promised to herald a historic breakthrough in the protracted conflict.

We believe that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had deserved credit for enabling these talks to go ahead with a view to finding a lasting resolution to the decades-long conflict which has brought incalculable damage to Turkish and Kurdish communities alike and needlessly claimed thousands of lives on both sides.

But recently, and at least since the run-up to Turkey’s June general election, President Erdogan has abruptly changed track and allowed himself to become embroiled in a reckless gamble that sees him playing with the country’s future.

He has stood accused of putting the peace process on hold and even of terminating it for political gain. The consequences of such a move would be to reignite the conflict and this can only be utterly catastrophic for the country and its future generations.

We share the fears expressed by the Kurds about Turkey’s repeated threats of military intervention across the border in Syria.

The stated intention to establish a buffer zone really appears designed to destabilise the fledgling democracy in the regions of Rojava liberated by the Syrian Kurds, rather than contribute towards a resolution of the crisis in Syria.

In addition, Turkey has been highly ambiguous in its attitude to Isis, with evidence that it is sheltering and supplying weapons to Isis fighters. The Turkish state has clearly been using Isis to undermine the gains of the Kurds in places like Kobane.

The opportunity for peace still exists and should not be squandered. President Erdogan can still facilitate it by showing true leadership, but this involves vision and magnanimity.

The possibility of securing a lasting peace would be a historic gain for Turkey, the Kurds and the entire Middle East region.

In fact the whole world has a stake in seeing Turkey at peace.

The leaders of Turkey need to recognise the importance of the choices that lie ahead: either grasp the chance for peace or reignite a conflict with no end in sight.

The results of the Turkish general election gave hope for peace when the pro-Kurdish HDP made historic gains and broke through the 10 per cent obstacle to achieve representation in the country’s parliament.

The HDP fought the election on a clear and unambiguous platform of support for the peace talks between Turkey and the Kurds.

The support that the party received was an endorsement of the peace process.

The party’s success inspires all those who want to see Turkey achieve a more democratic and pluralistic society founded on peace and reconciliation.

The Kurds have been calling for the restarting of the peace process. We believe that it is time for Turkey to reciprocate and opt for peace over conflict.

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign

Noam Chomsky
John Berger, novelist
Derek Wall, international co-ordinator of the Green Party of England and Wales
Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Lecturer in Political Sociology, Cambridge University
Melanie Gingell, barrister, Doughty Street Chambers
Bronwen Jones, barrister, Mansfield Chambers
John Hunt, journalist and writer
Sean Hawkey, photojournalist and Green Party member
Dr Austin Reid, consultant in international university development
Hywel Williams MP
Elfyn Llwyd, former MP, Plaid Cymru
Essa Moosa, Judge of the High Court of South Africa and Cape Town and Chair of the International Peace and Reconciliation Commission
David Graeber, Prof of Anthropology at London School of Economics and author
Jonathan Bloch, author
Margaret Owen, human rights lawyer and director of the international NGO Widows for Peace though Democracy
Dr Radha D’Souza, global justice scholar and democratic rights campaigner
Mike Mansfield QC, President of Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
Lord Rea
Baroness Jenny Jones, Green Party
Caroline Lucas MP, Green Party
Jean Lambert MEP
Lord Avebury
Dr Les Levidow, Senior Research Fellow, Open University
Bruce Kent, Vice-President, Pax Christi
Bill Bowring, Professor of Law, Birkbeck, University of London
Louise Christian, lawyer, Vice-President of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
Frances Webber, Vice-President of Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
Mary Davis, visiting professor at Royal Holloway University of London
Lindsey German, Convenor Stop the War Coalition
Trevor Rayne, Lecturer in Public Service Management and Economics
Dr Michael M.Gunter, Professor of Political Science, Tennesse Technical University
Dr Kariane Westrheim, Associate Professor University of Bergen, Norway
Nick Hildyard, policy adviser
Dr Andy Higginbottom, Associate Professor, International Politics and Human Rights
Zaher Baher, Kurdistan Anarchists Forum
Yvo Fitzherbert, Istanbul-based journalist
Liz Davies, barrister, Vice-President Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
Catrin Lewis, barrister
Sarah Parker, human rights campaigner
Stephen Smellie, South Lanarkshire UNISON
James Kelman, novelist
Dr Johanna Riha, epidemiologist
Bert Schouwenburg, International Officer, GMB (personal capacity)
Dr Zeynep Kurban, Physicist at Imperial College London, human rights activist
Rosa Salih, Kurdish Society, Scotland
Isabel Kaser, PhD candidate SOAS
Amin Husain, Tidal: Occupy Theory, Occupy Strategy magazine (tidalmag.org ) & Direct Action Front for Palestine
John Holloway, Professor of Sociology at the Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades in the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Mexico
Marina Sitrin, Post-doctoral Fellow at the CUNY Graduate Center, Author of “Everyday Revolutions: Horizontalism and Autonomy in Argentina”, National Lawyers Guild, US
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, University Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University, US
Silvia Federici, scholar, author and activist, prof emerita and Teaching Fellow at Hofstra University
George Caffentzis, political philosopher and autonomist Marxist, founder of the Midnight Notes Collective
Andrew Ross, cultural studies specialist, directs American Studies Programme at New York University
Andreas Gavriliedis, Greek-Kurdish Solidarity
George Eugeniou, founder and director of Teatro Technis
Eric Lee, LabourStart (personal capacity)
Prof Eleni Palazidou, Consultant Psychiatrist
Jean Lambert MEP
Kate Osamor MP
David Morgan, journalist
Dr Felix Padel, visiting professor, JNU, Delhi
Dr Janroj Yilmaz Keles, Research Fellow, Middlesex University
Eoin Slattery, actor
Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner
Pete Radcliff, Secretary of Beeston North Labour Party
Cynthia Cockburn, author and activist
Carol Mann PhD Women In War, Think Tank for Gender and Armed Conflict
Khatchatur I Pilikian, Prof. of Music & Art
Paloma Polo, visual artist and independent researcher
Batu Talu, independent researcher
Sheila Mosley, Co-Chair: International Support Kurds in Syria
Tim Cooper, Nottingham Unite Community treasurer and Nottingham Kurdish Solidarity Campaign
Kadim Lacin, Journalist
Penny Papadopoulou, Journalist
Tim Gopsill, editor of Free Press (CPF)
Houzan Mahmoud, Kurdish femininist activist
Maryam Ashrafi, photojournalist
Mithat Ishakoglu, PhD at the University of Exeter
Tony Fisher, Law Society Human Rights committee member
Melanie Sirinathsingh, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
Estella Schmid, Peace in Kurdistan Campaign

Having reached a deal with the Turkish government to set up a buffer zone inside Syria, ostensibly to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), official Washington has begun debating the rules of engagement for US military forces to intervene against the Syrian military: here.

An ‘Isis-free zone’ is nothing but a road to US mission creep, by Emma Ashford. The US’ involvement in Syria displays no strategy, no boundaries and no clear goals. The only viable long-term solution to Syria’s problems is diplomacy: here.