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Bombing ISIS: a question

29lll37Early last month with ISIS/ISIL/IS running amok in northern Iraq and leaving a trail of bodies in its wake, I argued there was a temporary coincidence of interest between the US/UK, the decaying apparatus of sectarian Iraqi state, the Kurds and the opportunities for labour movement and socialist politics in the region. Since then air strikes have happened, special forces are in action, the collapse of Iraq has been stymied by a new power sharing deal, and weapons and training have flowed to the Kurdish peshmerga. It’s also worth noting that Kurdish forces are secular and, by any definition, leftist.

This brings me to tomorrow’s vote in Parliament. According to Dave, the Iraqi government have asked for our help to rain bombs down on Islamic State strongpoints – hence why tomorrow’s vote in Parliament is looking to rubber stamp combat operations likely to take place over the weekend.

Contrary to Stop the War and other comrades opposed to the action and the worthy arguments they have marshalled against, I believe the aforementioned coincidence of interests still pertains. Remember, Britain owes the Kurds a profound historical debt too. But critically supporting military action against IS means just that, being critical. And there is one awkward question hanging over UK participation in a weekend of attacks.

While Dave has slowly and carefully built the case for war, there is one question he cannot answer. The Americans have undertook air strikes in Syria and Iraq. Other Arab states, some of whom were happy to throw money at the jihadis until very recently, have also taken part in bombing. Why then is the very modest effort from the UK needed? To let the Americans concentrate on targets in Syria? To be honourable? For domestic political boosterism?

This post first appeared at All that is Solid

One Comment

  1. Mike says:

    Don’t fool yourself that this is going to help the Kurds or anyone else. I doubt if the civilians killed by UK bombs – and there have been many killed by the US so far, if little reported – will be comforted by the fact that quite a few socialists here were only offering critical support. ISIS will not be defeated by an air campaign, nor is that the US’s intention. They aim for containment only. As long as ISIS exist – “pure evil”, etc, etc – it gives the US – and the UK – a justification for continued interference in the region. Does Iraq really need more bombs after the last ten years?

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