Latest post on Left Futures

How Britain could assist in the fight against ISIL without air strikes

ISILThe performance of Jeremy Corbyn on the Andrew Marr show was extraordinarily impressive, puncturing in a number of places the complacent rationalisations that David Cameron has presented for British involvement in the Syrian civil war. Let us remind ourselves that this is an issue that the Conservative Party is also divided over, with MPs such as Julian Lewis and John Baron likely to oppose the government.

There is a strong case that British military involvement would be wrong and counterproductive in the fight against so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), and would not only increase the terrorist risk to the British people, but also endanger British interests internationally.

But for those of us who believe that the ISIL does nevertheless need to be isolated, contained and defeated; then there is a legitimate discussion about what measures the left in Britain should support and indeed advocate for the defeat of ISIL. Jeremy Corbyn has wisely indicated that measures to cut off ISIL’s financial supplies should be explored.

Much of the discussion about the question unfortunately does not seek to understand the nature of ISIL, which is certainly a terrorist organisation and inspiration of terror, but is more fundamentally a warlord polity, and while it is characteristic of warlordism for them to assume the functions of a proto-state, the ideological element of ISIL has made them rapidly self-aware of this function, and they actually present themselves as a state. This gives it its unique character.

Dr Rim Turkmani’s paper published in July 2015, ISIL, JAN (Jabhat Al Nusra) and the War Economy in Syria is very interesting, based as it is on field data and interviews with involved actors.

The most important thing Syrians lost because of the conflict is simply their state, which is exactly what ISIL is attempting to provide by reversing the process of state collapse. The key to its success is that it plans and acts like a state. When it dominates an area and considers it part of the Islamic State it acts as the one sole actor in charge. It ensures that it has complete monopoly over the use of force in the area, and it has developed a comprehensive model for running a proto-state; a model that includes governance and the provision of public services, for example, judiciary system, policing, education, an army, an ideology and indeed intelligence. It offers a surprisingly effective and adaptive governance model. Its reputation for governance is one of its key recruiting tools for both civilians and fighters.

Areas dominated by the war economy environment are very vulnerable to ISIL expansion and JAN infiltration. The extremely high levels of unemployment, together with very high prices and the absence of other sources of income, has left men of fighting age, who typically have to provide for their families, in a very exposed position and vulnerable to recruitment by extreme organisations. ISIL pays the highest combatant salaries in Syria starting from USD 400 per month. It is followed by JAN which pays around USD 100 per month whilst most other armed groups struggle to match even JAN’s salaries. The salary system for fighters in ISIL reflects the fact that most of its high and mid-level leadership is composed of valued Arab and foreign fighters, who are much better paid, ideologically driven and strongly believing in the proto-state. The bulk of its fighting force is composed of Syrian men who are paid less, not believers in the ‘state’ but had very little choice.

The indispensable precondition of warlordism is the absence of a state, and its two indispensable components are control of territory and a war economy.

Turkmani describes a war economy as a state of affairs “which destroyed the local legitimate economy so that many people had no other source of income except through joining an armed group, and in which access to resources depends on violence”

The independent inter-govermental body, the The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), published a report in February 2015 on the Financing of the Terrorist Organisation Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)This describes ISIL as being a non-traditional terrorist organisation, the report:

identifies ISIL’s primary sources of revenue which are mainly derived from illicit proceeds from its occupation of territory. These sources include bank looting and extortion, control of oil fields and refineries and robbery of economic assets. Other sources include the donors who abuse Non-Profit Organisations (NPOs), Kidnapping for Ransom (KFR) and cash smuggling (areas where FATF has conducted in-depth research), to new and emerging typologies which have not yet been addressed by the FATF, such as the extortion of goods and cash transiting territory where ISIL operates and grass-root funding strategies.

Anyone seeking to understand warlordism needs to read Antonio Giustozzi’s magisterial book “Empires of Mud” which provides detailed case studies of the warlord polities of Ismail Khan, Abdul Rashid Dostum and Ahmad Shah Massoud in Afghanistan.

Giustozzi discusses two aspects which are useful to understand, one of which is the degree to which the collapse of state authority can “orphan” military commanders and units, who seek a new role. While the perception of ISIL in Britain has been coloured by the stereotypes of foreign born fanatics like “Jihadi John”, a considerable component of ISIL comes from former Ba’athist army officers from Iraq, as reported in the British press last year.

Hassan Hassan, a Dubai-based analyst and co-author of the book Isis: Inside the Army of Terror . “A lot of people think of the Islamic State as a terrorist group, and it’s not useful,” Hassan said. “It is a terrorist group, but it is more than that. It is a homegrown Iraqi insurgency, and it is organic to Iraq.”
The de-Baathification law promulgated by Paul Bremer, Iraq’s American ruler in 2003, has long been identified as one of the contributors to the original insurgency. At a stroke, 400,000 members of the defeated Iraqi army were barred from government employment, denied pensions — and also allowed to keep their guns.

Another useful concept from Giustozzi is that of military charisma within warlordism.

The drive to perpetual warfare is partly created by the parasitic consumption of the substantive, real, economy by the war economy of plunder, and indeed the FATF report referenced above refers to the relative inefficiency of economic activity in ISIL controlled areas creating a drive towards constant expansion to plunder new resources, especially as they estimate that ISIL needs to spend US$ 10 million per month.

But perpetual warfare also creates the “charisma” of leadership, and underpins the patronage of the warlords.

The charisma of ISIL for those attuned to its hateful message, has been created both by military success, but also by its effective and shocking use of news management and the deliberate feeding of the thirst for atrocity by the 24 hour news channels. While it may seem distasteful to use such a marketing term, ISIL has been adept at becoming the brand leader of Jihadi terrorism.

By 31 December 2014 the higher prestige of ISIL compared to other Jihadi terror groups had led to an estimated 19000 foreign fighters joining them, Many of these fighters have brought funds with them, for example taking out substantial cash loans before they travel to Syria. Foreign donor support can also be significant, for example, attracted by ISIL’s success foreign organizations, like Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf Group or the Egypt-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM), have raised funds and channeled these illicitly through the banking system.

The high profile, and the financial sophistication of ISIL, even includes crowdfunding strategies using social media, for example through its propaganda arm called the Al-Itisam Establishment for Media Production and the Al Hayat Media Center. The FATF reports notes “The development of a Twitter campaign like #AlleyesonISIS and a mobile android phone application free for public download are signs of ISIL’s growing technological savvy”

The overall picture that emerges is that ISIL is like a barbarous and murderous Ponzi scheme, that needs to perpetually move and expand to survive. Its funding sources are diverse: from smuggling oil, phosphates and other minerals; from illicit tariffs charged on goods in transit through areas they control, from bank looting, extortion and human trafficking; from plundering ancient artifacts, from kidnap and ransom; from foreign sponsors; and even from crowdsourcing.

An additional aspect of complexity is that the civil war contests territory within the Iraqi and Syrian states, that previously had integrated economies, administration and infrastructure. For example, in both Iraq and Syria bank branches exist of national banking institutions within ISIL controlled territories, and in Iraq, the state continues to pay salaries for government officials within areas controlled by ISIL, that are subject to a 50% levy from the Jihadis. All sides in the Syrian civil war engage in barter and trade, due to the necessity to maintain food supplies, water and fuel. In Aleppo, the Free Syrian Army and ISIL collaborate over the limited objective of maintaining flour mills and bakeries even though they are engaged in combat with each other on the same front; similarly despite brutal war between ISIL and the Syrian government, credible sources suggest that there is trade in crude and refined petroleum due to mutual necessity.

Turkmani argues that this trade and the way this allows the reproduction of normal life for the civilian population underpins a key economic front in the war.

ISIL offers a surprisingly effective and adaptive governance model. Its reputation for governance is one of its key recruiting tools for both civilians and fighters.

ISIL seems to give priority to the control of strategic resources in all of its military moves inside Syria. This includes controlling oil resources, power plants, water resources and all that is needed to provide bread including silos, mills and bakeries. This has meant that other Syrian actors become dependent on ISIL especially for the provision of oil. The lack of any legitimate sources of much-needed diesel and other types of fuel in the countryside of Idleb and Aleppo has given ISIL the opportunity to sell crude oil to these areas, to make them dependent on it. The Syrian government is also dependent on ISIL’s control of strategic resources. It is reported to be buying oil from ISIL, it paid it transit fees for allowing wheat trucks from Hasaka to cross its areas and it struck deals with it to ensure the provision of water to government-controlled areas in return for providing electricity for ISIL controlled areas.

In particular, Turkmani argues that the other rebel groups opposed to the Assad government have failed to develop governance infrastructure, and therefore struggle to hold territory contested by ISIL. As Turkmani says “Any contested area in Syria is a potential region for ISIL expansion. Ending the conflict requires serious commitment to an inclusive political solution that is supported by regional and international consensus. Very strong emphasis also needs to be put on restoring governance in opposition-controlled areas, especially those most vulnerable to further ISIL expansion.”

This is an important point, because it is these ineffective rebel groups, vulnerable to ISIL expansion, that David Cameron and the UK government are relying upon to provide the ground troops to take and hold territory from ISIL.

In actual fact, if we understand that ISIL is effectively a warlord polity, the support for which is contingent and often mercenary, and fed by the reality that fighting for ISIL is often the only paid employment in areas devastated by a war economy, then ISIL’s military strength may be fragile, in that it gathers support and momentum when winning, but will lose support and may suffer rapid degradation should it start to lose and a credible alternative force capture and hold the territory it currently controls. Indeed, ISIL itself recognizes the lack of full committment from some of its troops by the different levels of Bay’ah, the oath of allegiance given to ISIL by new recruits, so that many recruits only agree to fight for ISIL under specific, limited conditions.

A strategy to defeat ISIL requires that it is defeated militarily, that it is displaced from the territory that it currently occupies by a credible military force that can bring with it effective governance and civil administration, and that the war economy upon which warlordism feeds is replaced by the restoration of a substantive productive and commercial economy. The experience of Afghanistan shows that in certain circumstances warlordism can be overcome without even fighting, if a political process exists.

Outside the fantasy of Western liberals, there is only one force in Syria that can play that role. It is the Syrian government, supported by its Russian and Iranian allies. That is not a value judgement on the virtue of the Syrian government, it is simply a fact on the ground.

Certainly a political process is indispensible, that offers an end to the war, and a conflict resolution model that allows combatants to cease fighting. It is necessary to understand that many who have taken up arms, even for ISIL, are conscripts or mercenaries. However, Western preconditions are an obstacle to any solution if they require concessions from the Syrian state that it cannot realistically meet.

There is certainly a terrible prospect of the British government committing RAF air support for the anti-Assad rebels, in Syrian territory, and if those rebels do advance into ISIL controlled areas, which could even be rapid if component parts of ISIL defect with the turning tide, then those rebels may find the same ground that they just captured with RAF support being contested by Syrian government forces. Will the RAF continue to support them?

I therefore do not believe that there is any sensible case for British military involvement in the Syrian civil war. We would only make things worse.

However, Britain could have an important role. The British government could use diplomatic pressure to seek sanctions against those states and corporations that are funding, trading with and arming ISIL. This would include Turkey and Saudi Arabia, as well as other Gulf states. As John Ross observes, if the UK were serious in defeating ISIL, then measures like the following, would be advocated:

1. Turkey should be told it must close within 24 hours the main supply route across its border to ISIS at Jarablus and at other border crossings. If it does not a UN Security Council Resolution will be adopted imposing financial sanctions on Turkey, as with Iran and North Korea, and the UN Security Council will authorise coalition bombing for 5km inside the Syrian border with Turkey to cut supply routes to ISIS from Turkey.

2. Saudi Arabia should be told it must cease all transfers of money to ISIS. If proof is found of any further such transfers a UN Security Council Resolution will be adopted imposing financial sanctions on Saudi Arabia as with Iran and North Korea.

London’s key role in the world’s financial system means that Britain is well placed to assist in the furthering of the international cooperation necessary to prevent, for example, insurance companies paying out for ransom demands (which is the case in UK law, but not internationally), and furthering the capacity for international banking institutions to prevent money laundering. Britain could seek to ensure that corporations are not involved in the oil and mineral smuggling and the trade in antiquities. The FATF report discusses the difficulty that many states have in practically enforcing prohibitions on money transfers to terrorist groups, this is an area where Britain could assist, and could do so more credibly as a non-combatant nation

Such measures would be more effective than a few raids by RAF planes, but they would require a fundamental shift in outlook, whereby Britain sought to strengthen the rule of law, rather than involve itself in possibly illegal wars; it would mean respecting national sovereignty rather the participating in the destruction of states, as we did with Iraq and Libya. It would mean recognizing that nations that do not benefit from the democracy that we enjoy in Britain will not achieve our model of liberalism simply by being bombed.


  1. David Ellis says:

    OMG why do they allow these Assadists and Putinites on here?

    1. Sandra Crawford says:

      This is not Stalinist or Putinist. Remember – Putin is using the method of bombing.
      It is realistic. Bombing will not work, it will only make things worse, because you cannot get rid of terrorists by bombing. Read this article written by a man who has been out there and observed them.
      He knows that bombing will increase terrorism, and likely cause an attack in Britain.
      Read an article by David Davis, his comments are not that far removed from Corbyns, he is hardly Putinist.

    2. Susan O'Neill says:

      Possibly to counter the Russophobes and their torrent of perpetual propaganda which is both uninformed and unhelpful. Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel have been looting the oil reserves in Iraq and Syria which is the main source of income for the Islamic State groups and thereby perpetuating the terrorist threat.
      THAT’S WHY!

  2. John Penney says:

    What a dreadful old unreconstructed Stalinist you are, and always have been on every geopolitical issue where some leftover policy from old Soviet era foreign policy can be dredged up , Andy Newman.

    The ” lesson ” you learn from the debacle in Syria is :
    “Outside the fantasy of Western liberals, there is only one force in Syria that can play that role. It is the Syrian government, supported by its Russian and Iranian allies. That is not a value judgement on the virtue of the Syrian government, it is simply a fact on the ground.”

    Utter rubbish ! Do you seriously think that the murderously sectarian kleptocratic Baathist dictatorship of the minority Alawite based Assad clan could possibly refill the political space in Syria , without a bloodbath which would make the current casualty levels look minimal in comparison ? Also the refugee outpouring would become a permanent depopulation of Syria by its Sunni majority.

    Let’s just remember that when the first year or so of the “Arab Spring” in Syria occurred – via peaceful mass street demonstrations asking for basic democratic reforms , these were met with unrelenting , murderous , violence from the entire Assad state regime – from snipers on rooftops , to murder squads. It is the Assad regime that deliberately slaughtered the democratic opposition, and left the fascist warlordist gang of Daesh to fill the ungoverned space to crush its remaining less Islamic fundamentalist opponents. An irony that both Turkey and Assad have cultured the growth of Daesh for their different purposes. So far Assad and his totalitarian allies have killed many more Syrians than even the murderous cleric-fascists of Daesh.

    The idea that a combination of the forces of the brutal theocratic dictatorship of Iran, the utterly sectarian dictatorship of Assad, and the mafia oligarchy of Russia can “solve” the disaster in Syria – by re-imposing the state power of the Assad dictatorship over all Syria, is both offensive and ludicrous. Hopefully the equally cynical western Powers will not also go for this gross strategy too.

    1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

      Blah, Blah, Blah……………

      Not so long ago Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley, (if not him personally then his supporters,) were, “Terrorists,” and before them Nelson Mandela and before him Ben Gurion and Sharon in Israel; and the brutal and barbaric, (which they are make no mistake about it,) practices for which we so despise Isis, (and rightly so,) are the exactly same ones that we are so keen to politely overlook when they’re being carried out by the Saudis for example, time then to stop the killing defenseless old men, women and children and to feed, cloth and shelter them instead.

      1. Jim Denham says:

        So you seriously think ISIS/Daesh is comparable with the PIRA, Prot para-militaries, the ANC or even the hated “Zionists” (sic)?

        We should send you out to negotiated with them, Craig-Wilson, and perhaps also explain to them that they are, indeed, a bit “brutal and barbaric.” I’m sure you would be well received.

        1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

          Seriously ?

          “So you seriously think ISIS/Daesh is comparable with the Irish paramilitaries, the ANC or even the hated “Zionists”

          And yes I really do and 20 years from now we’ll probably look at them exactly the same way; so why not just cut to the chase and curb the body count now.

          1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

            But then according to the Independent I’ve probably been, “groomed by extremists,” anyway.

            “Child protection officials been criticised after warning parents that young people who take issue with government policy or question what they are told in the media may have been radicalised by extremists.

            “A leaflet drawn up by an inner-city child safeguarding board warns that “appearing angry about government policies, especially foreign policies” is a sign “specific to radicalisation”.

            “Parents and carers have also been advised by the safeguarding children board in the London Borough of Camden that “showing a mistrust of mainstream media reports and a belief in conspiracy theories” could be a sign that children are being groomed by extremists.”


            It just gets worse and worse.

    2. Susan O'Neill says:

      Where do you get your disinformation from? The Guardian, or is it the BBC? The people of Syria have a right to defend their country and choose who shall lead them, they did so in 2014. They, unlike outsiders, knew of the role played by the US, UK and other EU and Gulf States who contrived this destabilization as far back as 1995. They did it, precisely because Assad would not bend to the will of the western states and their greed based goals of dominance and so-called democratization, which in effect left the citizens prisoners of western allied occupation.

    3. Susan O'Neill says:

      Peaceful mass demonstration sprinkled with liberal terrorist activists supplied by the US running amok in the streets, looting and killing the police who are Syrian as opposed to Alawhite, Sunni or Shi’ite. The western propaganda highlights Assad’s reaction to the atrocities being committed against both police and civilians but glosses over the said terrorist activists underlying the so-called civil war. I assume you are aware of the events of 2008 and understand the origins of those demonstrations, yet still you do not see the complexities of the problems the many factions faced. Your arguments against destroying IS funding and the termination of Saudi/Turkey attempts to destabilize Syria make no sense.

      1. John Penney says:

        So you uncritically support the murderous hereditary 40 year Alawite minority-based Baathist Assad clan dictatorship do you , Susan ? Believe it a pivotal “anti imperialist , axis of resistance, power” along with the equally murderous dictatorship of the Iranian Imams, and the family dictatorship of the crazed Gaddafi in Libya no doubt ?

        This is called “substitutionism” – the belief on some of the more gullible of the Left , from Stalinism onwards, that some rhetoric-rich supposed enemy regime of US Imperialism, is somehow an ally of the working class struggle for socialism. All these gross regimes are mainly famed for their total suppression of independent working class action, in favour of the enrichment of the ruling elite
        – with a sprinkling of nationalised industry to justify gullible Lefties that they are somehow some sort of “break with capitalism”.

        Well, Susan, you keep on providing excuses for the murderous oppression of their populations by regimes like that of the Assad clan if you want – but thankfully most socialists today grasp that a regime based on a viciously oppressive sectarian police state can never be a part of any solution to the Syrian tragedy.

      2. Richard Tiffin says:

        You may or may not be right about some US inspired terrorists exploiting the uprising in Syria for their own ends, I cannot comment but I wouldn’t be surprised, but there was an uprising. The catalyst for this was the torture and murder of a 13 year old boy, one of many murdered by the regime over many years, hence the uprising and the demands of the masses were reasonable and political.
        Since then there has been a bloody civil war where many thousands have died because of the regime and opposition forces. So I would struggle to see much of the population of Syria ever wishing to submit to the governance of Assad after this. If he was to regain power it would have to be followed by oppression in order to retain it. I struggle more to see socialists suggest it. Any regime that treats its workers in this way cannot be worthy of our support, irrespective of the opposition they are to US imperialism.

  3. Robert says:

    I think Cameron is worried the American will not send him a Christmas card or offer him a medal or Honor .

    God almighty why not go the whole bloody hog and invade somebody, start a war that should get the country out of a mess.

  4. stewart says:

    caste your mind backs,we bombed the Bosnian serbs and the Serbia itself which killed over 3028 innocent men, women and children with cluster bombs etc all in the name of preventing genocide in the Bosnian and Kosovo civil wars,are the same people who supported the illegal bombing of the Bosnian Serbian forces and Serbia itself against the bombing of fascist,genocidal isis,with the exception of George Galloway and tony benn I think you are,maybe I am wrong,am i.

    1. James Martin says:

      That action was to allegedly hit Serbian tanks in Kosovo. NATO destroyed around a dozen of them, but killed thousands of civilians in Serbia who were nowhere near the conflict, bombed a state TV station and killed journalists and bombed the Chinese embassy and killed diplomats. And most telling of all the imposed NATO peace treaty had as part of it an enforced commitment by the Serbian government to privatise state property which actually gave the real game away. NATO always has been the problem.

      1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

        “Most telling of all the imposed NATO peace treaty had as part of it an enforced commitment by the Serbian government to privative state property which actually gave the real game away.”

        There you have it; and that’s always been the end game of American economic and foreign policy, (globalization, the dollar gap, consumerism, free trade etc….) all over the world for the last hundred years if not always, and is no different to how they’ve behaved throughout the Caribbean, South America and now in Europe, (Greece again,) and the Middle East and in North Africa.

        Michael Meacher once coined the useful and appropriate term, “Economic Colonialism,” for this process which is also occurring here and now in the UK and is what ultimately is driving, (via the World Bank, the IMF etc…..) the reactionary agenda of selling of the NHS, the police, the railways and utilities social housing, etc, and other state financed and operated functions and using the money from social security provision to pay for unnecessary and debilitating loans, via instruments such as the PFI deals and of course, (always,) for buying armaments.

        But I got up this morning expecting to write a positive and encouraging post for a change, (my neighbor told me last night that JC had managed to stop Cameron’s insane and useless proposals to bomb Syria,) about JC’s firm principled stand to avert more bloodshed, (state terrorism in own view,) in middle east, but reading the papers but that’s really not the case at all and entirely as expected the PLP are selling us and the Syrians out faster than you can say, Andy Burnham is a sleazy opportunist and there’s really nothing much that anyone can do about it.

        “If there was anything that depressed him more than his own cynicism, it was that quite often it still wasn’t as cynical as real life.”

        ― Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!

        1. Sandra Crawford says:

          They do not use the money “to make loans.”
          Loans are created by banks, out of nothing, see bank of England paper here.

          For an explanation of government money watch this.

          1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

            I know that you’re a clever lass etc, but in this case you’re simply wrong or at least off topic to the point of complete irreverence, and looking at my comment only in the context of an opportunity to bang your own drum about one of your favorite obsessions; I’m talking about loans like, Lend Lease or, “help,” with usual neolibral preconditions in the form of loans made by the IMF and World bank for example.

            This history and not some abstract and arcane and largely irrelevant economic theory, that very few people indeed outside academia really take very seriously anyway.

          2. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

            I note also that you betray no hint of you’re own views about the merits or not; of further bombing the civilian populations of these Middles Eastern Regions around and within Syria as against those of, say for example, building schools, hospitals, social housing decent roads, irrigation schemes and utilities etc…

  5. roland says:

    spot on james martin.the so called kosovo liberation army and isis spot the difference.the bombing of serbia was a war crime.

    1. Jim Denham says:

      … unless the ethnic cleansing of Milosevic and the Serb genociders.

      1. Jim Denham says:

        “Unless” should be “unlike”

  6. David Ellis says:

    Oh yeah, I’d forgotten that the degenerate Western Left doesn’t just support Assad and Putin and their mass slaughter of Syrians today but also backed the Milosevic organised Bosnian Serb siege of Sarajevo and Srebrenica and later Kosovo and their Islamaphobic ethnic cleansing and slaughter in central Europe.

    These are the reasons to oppose the bombing of ISIS in Syria:

    It will kill civilians;

    It will give Assad and Putin a major military boost on the ground making the West the bringers not of liberation but of genocide;

    As a result it will give ISIS a long term, long lasting political boost;

    It will create thousands more refugees amongst whom there will be ISIS fighters;

    It will not make Britain safer as claimed;

    It will bring the major robber baron states of America, Russia, UK, France, Germany, Turkey, Iran, China, Japan and uncle tom cobbley and all a giant leap closer to the world conflagration that is the logic of decaying capitalist globalisation.

  7. Aubrey Meyer says:

    It seems to me now to be completely unrealistic to separate this whole affair from the ‘suicidal’ context of changing climate and the fossil fuel loyalties dictated by that.

    I get the sense that Jeremy Corbyn is really trying to reframe discussions in that direction: –

  8. Bill says:

    I cant find anywhere else to pin this to but why does the ‘left’ of the party need the ‘right’ what do they bring to the party?

    I wrote in my opinion a very good article this morning but unfortunately my phone managed to lose it. The central points were:

    1 It seems that over 70% of Labour Party members oppose bombing. If the views of members count then why don’t we have a Shadow Foreign Secretary to represent our views?

    2 A lot of young people joined the party because Jeremy Corbyn enthused them. These young people are probably going to march to stop the war. They are very likely no leave the party.

    3 In Scotland if Labour is to survive they might well have to split from the U.K. party.

    4. The Members of Parliament in favour of bombing have serious convictions but then so do Labour Party Members. How can Members in all conscience vote for or campaign for people so opposed to their views?

    I see in the press today ” Total Climb down for Corbyn” words to that effect anyway. The media and the right will claim that any bad electoral results are due to Jeremy Corbyn. However if even a sample of the 70% of the membership opposed to war decide in conscience they cannot vote for those that supported airstrikes then Labour’s vote will be down. I hope we manage to get this fact over to people if the Oldham By Election goes badly.

    1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

      I live in Oldham, (effectively a rotten borough,) and frankly you could pin a red rosette on a Tory and we’d elect him; pretty much uncritically, which sums up my own views about Jim McMahon and about Debbie Abrahams who was formerly NHS manager during the Blair NHS privatization programs, so I won’t be voting for either of them despite my pride, respect and admiration, (not wholly uncritical,) for the the late Micheal Meacher MP.

      I’m expecting McMahon to be elected regardless of that, but as you say it will be interesting to see how well the labour majority her holds up ?

      1. David Ellis says:

        If the Labour majority goes up it will be due to the Corbyn effect. If it goes down it will be because the local party elected a right wing New Labour clone to contest the seat and they are electoral kryptonite.

  9. Bill says:

    Sorry error ….

    2 A lot of young people joined the party because Jeremy Corbyn enthused them. These young people are probably going to march to stop the war. They are very likely to leave the party.

  10. Bazza says:

    Remember our RAF will be going into Syria uninvited (unlike Iraq) on very dubious international legal grounds based on a non-specific UN resolution.
    They will also be bombing so called IS areas where so called IS are deeply dug in (amongst probably captive) local populations and apparently according to the latest New Statesman plenty of our air raids in Iraq come back without bombing because they can’t ID Targets so it is likely some Civillians will die.
    And of course the bombing will be a great recruiting agent for Grotesque so called IS and how will it help us to win hearts and minds if we don’t appear to value Arab/Muslim lives as much as Western lives – all human life is precious.
    But we do need to destroy so called IS and their ideas as they slowly draw us in as they try to present themselves as the true defenders of the Muslim World and caliphate (although what they really want again according to the NS is Mecca and Messina).
    Grotesque so called IS has perhaps one strategy for the West: ‘Slowly, slowly, catchey, monkey.’
    So as democratic socialists we need to help by politically defeating their ideas and I can only offer a socialist ideas.
    We need to starve so called IS of arms, starve them of money (from the oil etc. they have stolen through their imperialism) and starve them of political propaganda in the areas they control, people may laugh at me but I would bomb their areas with leaflets -political propaganda to undermine them.
    But we need to go further down the chain and stop the dreadful undemocratic Saudi Govt from exporting and funding its extreme Wahhabism and for example they fund Madrasses in Pakistan etc. where literally poor kids are sent for a meal by their desperate parents who think they will get an education but are taught to hate us.
    And of course we need a peace plan in Syria bringing all parties together (including foreign backers).
    We should also listen to the progressive voices in Syria (and they are the – see latest Red Pepper, and trade unions) and don’t forget Assad’s clique still controls the richest half of Syria and his elite owns one third of the economy.
    We should also end our Western Imperialism and we should force Western TNCs to give oil resources etc. back to people in the region which may help turn local tribes against so called IS (and a recent New Left Review piece was particularly good on the importance of tribes in the region and World).
    Solutions should come from within the region and as democratic socialists we can peacefully help by trying to unite diverse human beings of all religions and of none – it should be us that are saying we are all brothers and sisters.
    I don’t want to kill one human being but am not a pacifist and recognise if you are attacked by violent people as a last resort you should defend yourselves (like the Kurds) but as I say solutions should come from within and as John McDonnel said, ‘We shouldn’t fit in with the (so called) IS Crusader narrative.”
    We are alI human and I snapped today (which is rare) at Right Wing Labour MPs (Social Imperialists) treating members like we are children and as they know better than us as all knowing adults (despite not having an original idea in their heads) but I guess we have to be patient if we believe in a grassroots-led, bottom up, democratic socialist Labour Party.
    We have a progressive grassroots (75% oppose Syria IS bombing) and we should patiently but continuously work to get power back to members and and conference then in a few years choose potential democratic socialist MPs who reflect the members.
    We should also have faith in members internal democracy.
    And by the way we support our armed forces (I would trade unionise them for non-combat issues) but if they ever wanted ground troops in Syria we should say no and we support our armed foces because we don’t want them killed, blinded, or maimed.
    Violence is the last resort of an exhausted mind.
    I stand with Jeremy.
    Yours in peace & international solidarity!

  11. Bazza says:

    STOP PPESS! Cameron just called Labour, “Bunch of terrorist sympathisers!’ (BBC News 10pm 1/12).
    Pure Goebells Propaganda from Cameron – sounds desperate, sounds worried.
    “Hey Cameron, Osborne, Johnson & May.
    How many kids will you kill today!”

    1. David Ellis says:

      Well that is ironic cos I’m pretty sure Cameron will have included the pro-Assad PKK as part of the 70,000 ground force he expects to retake ISIS territory on the ground. They just put some girl in prison for fighting for them because they are a proscribed terrorist outfit in the West. Doesn’t that make Cameron the terrorist sympathiser?

  12. prianikoff says:

    No, Cameron didn’t include the PKK in his 70,000. One reason being they don’t operate in Syria.

    Another being it would annoy Britain’s NATO allies in Turkey, who have been propping up various terrorist militias by sending arms and volunteers into Syria.

    The PKK aren’t “pro-Assad” either
    (It was expelled from Syria at the insistence of Turkey, which in case you hadn’t noticed, has been bombing the PKK’s bases since late July)
    Prior to the Suruc bombing that it had mainained a ceasefire for 2 years.

    Those PKK supporters who remained behind in Syria formed the PYD, which consists of Syrian citizens. It’s not “pro-Assad” either.
    But unlike Ellis, they have to fight the fundamentalists and don’t regard fascists as a mere “embarassment”.

    Cameron of course, is more of a hands-on terrorist than a mere sympathiser.

© 2024 Left Futures | Powered by WordPress | theme originated from PrimePress by Ravi Varma