Kobane: echoes of Warsaw

October 8, 2014 at 1:20 pm (anti-fascism, genocide, history, islamism, kurdistan, Middle East, posted by JD, solidarity, Syria, turkey, war)

Above: dying YPG fighter

From today’s Times:

The hearts of the Kurds are breaking and we must heed their pleas. In Kobane, lightly armed Kurdish fighters are defending people against a genocidal enemy with tanks and artillery. If the city falls, the Da’esh fanatics will butcher the men and sell the women into sexual slavery; not even children will be safe. Meanwhile, Turkish troops sit idle on the frontier and the authorities stop Turkish Kurds from crossing to assist their comrades. The scene is eerily reminiscent of the Warsaw uprising of 1944 in which Stalin held back the Red Army to allow the Nazis to wipe out Polish resistance fighters. The world must call upon Turkey to arm the Kurdish fighters. Governments must also drop the designation of the Kurdish YPG fighters as terrorists; they are secular nationalists who pose no danger to the world, and earlier saved the Yazidis from annihilation.
Senior lecturer in politics and history, Victoria University, Melbourne


  1. Andrew Coates said,

    ““…any genuine and unfeigned demand that imperialist states “arm the Kurds” arises chiefly because of our weakness and incoherence. Those raising it hope to at least verbally short-cut through the mountain of work and struggle that is necessary to get to a stage where we are relevant to such situations. And this is the problem. The British Left has always tended to assume that what it says and does about what should happen Over There is of tremendous significance. Those former leftists who rallied behind Bush’s ‘war on terror’, on the assumption that it was their war fought in their interests, stood in this tradition. This is a kind of chauvinism, an ideological artefact of imperialism. In this situation, the role of a small, divided and weak Left is pedagogy. The role of any slogan should be to stake out the discursive space in which a leftist, anti-imperialist analysis can be popularised – not just now but ongoingly. The slogan, “arm the Kurds” is an own-goal.”

    Connard of the Day. Richard Seymour. Arm the Kurds. 8th October.”

    More on better news (thanks for compliments Jim but this is really really important and lots of us are acting now): http://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/danish-left-mps-collect-money-for-defenders-of-kobane-as-world-left-moves-to-back-kurds/

  2. Jim Denham said,

    For the first time I can remember, I agree with a ‘Morning Star’ editorial – or at least about 90% of it:


  3. Lamia said,

    There is some accurate analysis in that article, but it’s almost submerged by the usual far left textbook anti-western theory that is not matched by reality.

    “Nato-led imperialist forces, including Britain, have been up to their necks in boosting Isis and other obscurantist elements because of their hostility to Assad, Iran and their allies in Lebanon and Iraq.”

    This is false. ISIS in its previous form set up shop in Syria a decade ago with the connivance of Assad’s regime. It was allowed to use Syria as a base to attack Iraq. Until a few months ago, the two sides had been mostly leaving each other alone during the Syrian Civil War and concentrating on attacking the FSA. Assad has now lost the tacit agreement he had with ISIS. ISIS is the monster which Assad leased his basement to, and now it’s taking over the whole house. Britain played no role in boosting ISIS, and it doesn’t become true no matter how many on the left claim it.


    “If David Cameron had had his way, British bombers would have played the role of the Isis air force a year ago.”

    Again, a plain lie based on falsely conflating all the anti-Assad opposition. It doesn’t become truer by repeating it.

    “The US president understands what a propaganda boost it would be for Isis to capture Kobane in the face of US air strikes and what a humiliation it would be for Washington and its allied air armada.”

    There is sadly no evidence that Obama or Kerry understand what a propaganda boost it would be for ISIS. They have managed to be both immoral and clueless in not intervening more.

    What the far left need to get over is its almost superstitious conviction that behind every evil in the world lurks the manipulative USA. Obama’s presidency has been marked by a mixture of reluctance to get involved and miscalculation in seeking new allies while snubbing old ones. There are other forces at work too. Kerry and Obama have been played by Erdogan, and there will be nothing to show for it. It will delight those on the left who like seeing America weak and/or bamboozled, but it is actually bad news for everyone but ISIS and their sympathiser Erdogan. The two things the article does get right is that (1) Turkey has well and truly shafted the Kurds, and (2) NATO should indeed be changing its policy in order to arm or assist those who are actually fighting ISIS.

    While you are at it, you would do well to reflect on the betrayal of the Kurds and others in Syria by the Labour Party and most of the left. They have been actually worse than Cameron and co on this. Objectively they’ve been an obstacle to intervention and thus any real hope of helping the Kurds this site professes (and I believe it) to support. after Miliband’s fine-sounding stuff last year about ensuring that civilians in Syria are helped, he has been practically silent on the subject ever since. This is his failure too.

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