AWL statement: US-UK bombing won’t stop Daesh!

December 2, 2015 at 4:24 pm (AWL, fascism, internationalism, islamism, Kurds, labour party, Middle East, posted by JD, Stop The War, terror, war)

Logo of the Alliance for Workers' Liberty

Statement issued today by the Alliance for Workers Liberty:

The House of Commons will shortly vote on proposals to extend UK air strikes to Syria. As Jeremy Corbyn has given Labour MPs a free vote, Cameron is likely to have a majority for extending the bombing.

The government says the renewed military campaign, now including UK, US, France, Turkey and the Gulf States, will be aimed at pushing back Daesh (Islamic State). But it is unlikely to make a decisive impact on Daesh’s position. It is more likely to perpetuate the current stalemate between all the military-political forces in Syria. That is, in fact, the preferred option of the military-political alliance the UK is joining. They want containment of the conflict until a deal on the future of Syria can be agreed.

At the very best the bombing may push back Daesh… in favour of some other Sunni-sectarian Islamist militia. 14 years of US bombing in Afghanistan have left the Taliban and jihadi-terrorism more widely stronger, not weaker, than at the end of 2001.

Cameron’s stance is political, not humanitarian. This is not an attempt to secure security for the ordinary people affected by Daesh’s recent atrocities in Paris or Beirut or over Sinai. It will not create peace in Syria or stem to the flow of refugees fleeing that country. There is no plan to destroy Daesh or end the Syrian civil war.

Cameron wants to look like a statesman in the eyes of the UK’s allies, and have a seat in US world-policy circles.

Meanwhile the Russian state continues to pursue its own political aims, bombing targets in Syria that are of most threat to the Assad regime. That regime has killed and displaced more people in Syria than any other single force fighting there. The primary target of Russian bombing is groups under the “Free Syrian Army”, the same forces which the US, France et al now refer to.

David Cameron claims there are 70,000 FSA fighters in Syria ready to be mobilised in a fight against Daesh. In fact the FSA is only an umbrella term for various forms of political Islamist, from relatively moderate to more hard line. Their main concern is to fight Assad, not Daesh. They are often intensely Sunni-sectarian. They offer no hope of a progressive outcome. Socialists cannot support them and, in fact, the US and UK and France have no plans to endorse them either.

Corbyn’s decision to allow Labour MPs to have a free vote is a big political mistake and will neither heal the deep divisions in the Parliamentary Labour Party nor close the gulf between Labour members, who are mostly against bombing in Syria, and the PLP. In fact it will galvanise Corbyn’s enemies.

We support Jeremy Corbyn and others in the Labour Party and labour movement in their opposition to the bombing and regret they haven’t been strong enough to make the Labour MPs stick by the Labour conference decision against bombing.

In doing so we in no way follow the pro-Assad and phoney anti-imperialist line of the Stop the War Coalition, who have continually refused to condemn the murderous regime of Assad. That regime has killed and displaced millions of people within Syria and caused millions more to flee the country. Our opposition to Western bombing endorses neither Assad nor his allies in Lebanon, Russia and Iran.

The Syrian Solidarity Campaign has rightly criticised the Stop the War Coalition saying, “If Stop the War’s slogan ‘Don’t bomb Syria’ is to have any meaning, let them demand the end of the regime whose bombs have killed so many.

“If Stop the War oppose imperialism let them demonstrate their sincerity outside the Russian Embassy. Let them demonstrate with placards calling for Russia to stop bombing Syrian hospitals.”

Unfortunately the SSC downplay the number of people killed by Daesh and other Islamist forces. Mass graves have been found in the wake of Daesh. They may not have killed hundreds of thousands, as Assad has, but they have butchered many more than we yet know about.

We reject the notion that Islamist-inspired terrorist attacks in France or against Russia, are “blowback” against military action.

Daesh’s actions are not rooted in a knee-jerk response to western imperialism. Daesh has its own interpretation of and programme for the world. It is a far right political-religious movement, and we are fundamentally opposed to it, just as we are to every other far right and fascistic movement. It is in fact Eurocentric to characterise the actions of Daesh in Paris, Beirut and Sinai as just reactions to the foreign policy of the European powers or the USA.

We do not oppose the bombing of Syria because it will make people in “Britain less safe” (i.e. “provoke” Daesh into further atrocities as many on the left we argue), but because the bombing is fundamentally not aimed towards an end to the ongoing and vicious sectarian conflict, and will not bring that end closer. It will serve only to keep the UK, France, and the USA “in the game” — a bloody and reactionary game.

Solidarity with the Kurds!

After the Gulf states, the US and UK’s strongest ally in the region is Turkey.

Turkey has the deepest involvement with some of the anti-Assad forces, including the Al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and Daesh itself. Much of Daesh’s oil is transported out of Syria via Turkey.

Turkey is also engaged in fighting the force most able to push back Daesh and Assad in the Kurdish areas of northern Syria — the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG). These Kurdish forces represent a predominantly secular and largely non-sectarian force in the bloodbath of Syria.

While the Kurds have come under sustained attack from Daesh, Turkey has intervened directly against the Kurds, including attacking YPG supporters and affiliates in Northern Iraq, closing the border to Kurds wishing to join the fighting, repressing Kurdish activists within Turkey.

The UK government’s response to Turkey, its NATO ally, has been to tolerate repression.
The FSA has also taken an Arab chauvinist position against the Kurds, for example excluding them from negotiation.

While not endorsing the politics of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK, the group behind the YPG), we unequivocally back the right of the Kurds to military aid and assistance including their demand for arms.

• They should be able to accept military aid from wherever it can be obtained in order to secure their fight against Daesh, Assad and where necessary the Turkish state.

• The PKK should be removed from the EU and US lists of terrorist organisations.

• If the Kurds demand a “no-fly”, or more accurately a “no-bombing” zone, in order to improve their military position, — an option which is unlikely to be included in the current plans of major imperialist powers, as long as Turkey is hostile to the Kurds — we should not oppose this as we would big-power bombing.


  1. Political Tourist said,

    Dan Jarvis MP, let’s bomb Syria.
    Hold on isn’t that the rightwing Labour MP the AWL comrades were running round working class Coatbridge with during the independence referendum.
    Hmm, think the term was “door to door, house to house” from the ex Brit Army officer.
    Nice one comrades, how you getting on promoting Federalism.

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      Pt. He is likely to be the next British PM. How sad that will be for a fascist Hamas, PIRA supporter. I thought Cameron was very suttle when he mentioned walking through the lobbies with terrorist supporters. We do know who they are Mr Pt.

      • Political Tourist said,

        Let me see, Terrorism in Scotland, what’s the biggest group charged under the Prevention of Terrorism Act in the last 40 years.
        Oh that’s right, supporters of Ulster Loyalism.
        Must be close on 200 of them.
        How’s Johnny Adair keeping these days?
        Better than Lindsay Robb i bet.

  2. Glasgow Working Class said,

    Pt. The fool on the hill and a very bitter nasty fool. I do not know any of those you mention or any idiot that killed or maimed working class people in the UK. However I get a feeling you are the kind of arsehole that may have rejoiced… One day you will die and be forgotten. A bonus for the human race. Maybe you could rejoice in some Jews being killed before your demise to the shit heap. A wee bonus for you.

    • Political Tourist said,

      Corbyn should chase those chancers in his shadow cabinet.
      Feckin warmongers.

  3. Glasgow Working Class said,

    As an after thought idiots like Pt should never be banned from posting. You do your worst Pt and we Brits will do our best.

  4. Political Tourist said,

    Well done to the Scottish MPs.

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      Money grabbing Jocks who will tak ra money nae conscience. Left wan day right the next. Centre next week. They will vote for the Union.

  5. Jim Denham said,

    Comrade Coatesy notes:

    ‘Britain is on the verge of entering into a long war in Syria based on wishful thinking and poor information…‘
    Patrick Cockburn was invited by Jeremy Corbyn to brief MPs on the facts about [the] Common’s vote on air strikes in Syria. This is his briefing to you

  6. Johnny Lewis said,

    I think the reason Hilary Benn’s speech last night was so effective is not because he had anything to say to respond to Corbyn’s position put forward earlier that day but because he correctly identified Corbyn’s and the entire lefts political weakness over the last 25 years.
    – its softness or even support for fascism and medievalist reaction as long as it comes in some anti western form.
    – that even after the fall of the soviet union the same old apologist shit still remains strong on the left and particularly the labour left. Against Human Rights abuses and imperialism anywhere but Russia and its allies who they use all sorts of relativist arguments to support.
    – that via Stop The Wars popular front with the right the left has adopted the old rights isolationism. The idea that it has “nothing to do with us”.
    – the much older Labour Pacifist tradition that Corbyn is steeped in. That despite some notable personal bravery in World War One and in the fight against nuclear weapons adopts instead of class struggle or anti fascism a impotent saintliness.

    So this meant even when Corbyn was making the better internationalist arguments against this specific bombing campaign people knew his and the lefts record to groups like Daesh was poor.

    We should be plain with people on the left that this debate should have been won. The right could play on peoples desire to do something to oppose Daesh and the better suggestions of the left to do this (support / arm the Kurds, end Assads bombing, stop the alliances with Turkey and Saudi) were not credible given the lefts history and the nature of some of our ‘comrades’ on the left opposition to bombing.

  7. Steven Johnston said,

    Yes folks Britain joins the war to end all wars…or terrorism…or to make the World a safer place!

    Recession? What recession, they will always find money to fight wars for capitalism.

    But just to be clear, which of the 57 different sides will the UK be fighting for?

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      Steven. It hardly matters how many varieties. This IS fascists are priority and must be defeated. Unlike WW2 we know the atrocities are being committed and can end it. We have seen a new fascist type left emerge over the last 20 years and are probably more dangerous than the BNP.

      • Steven Johnston said,

        You mean the bombing will make those funding IS think twice? We’ll show them! Long live Assad! They don’t like it up ’em! The only good Russian is a dead one! Hang on…we fighting alongside the Russians in this war? So just who are we helping here? Who ever we are against well bomb some sense into them! Then those that survive will learn to love us.

      • Glasgow Working Class said,

        Steven it an us or them situation. Anyhow they want to die for Allah and the virgins.

  8. Political Tourist said,

    Those 8 Brit planes will really make difference.
    Makes you want rush out to last at the proms.

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      If each plane kills fascists on each run then that is a bonus. Just give your satnav for Coatbrig Pt. One less Nazi.

  9. Dale Street said,

    If anyone on this blog is in touch with Daesh, could they please forward the following tweet to them, from a stalwart supporter of Scottish independence:

    Jeff Breslin‏@jeffbres Dec 1

    “When ISIL draw up retaliation plans for UK air strikes, I hope they remember a clear majority of Scottish MPs voted against.”

    Asked whether he was serious, Mr. Breslin replied:

    “Not entirely serious, no, but (heaven forbid) an ISIL attack in Scotland, given this vote, would be a constitutional quagmire.”

    • John R said,

      Well, I guess if pubs, clubs and other places of decadent Western vice in the rest of the UK wish to be safe, maybe they should start hanging giant saltires, alongside photos of Alex Salmond, outside their premises.

      Other Top Tips –

      1. Restaurants should have “HAGGIS – Our Speciality” on their boards.

      2. Pubs should have Andy Stewart’s “You take the High Rd” blasting out of their speakers. Note do not play “A Scottish Soldier”.

      3. Rab C Nesbitt elocution lessons should be available on the NHS. “Aye, Jihadi Jimmy, we Scots said, “Naw!” so dinnae kill me! Naw, it’s no skirt, it’s a KILT, ya eejit! Am no a homosexualist, ye ken!”

      Protect and Survive – the Scot Nat version for the 21st Century.

      • Steven Johnston said,

        1) I love haggis and can’t understand this aversion to it, but each to their own.

        2) Even Barry Manilow sounds great after 6 pints.

        3) After 10:30 pm it is de rigueur to speak like Rab C in a Glasgea boozer, that is, if they can still stand up.

        Plus, given the rates that pubs re shutting in England and the prices they charge in order to get a decent pint for under £3.50 we might all have to move north of the border.

  10. Political Tourist said,

    For eff sale DS, are you a complete Britnat.

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      16 planes now Pt. I am a Brit Nat and you are a deflated scrotum fay the Irish Republic off Coatbrig. Loser.

      • Political Tourist said,

        I liked to help get rid of right wing Blairite Labour MPs.
        No hold on we’ve already done that in Scotland.

      • Glasgow Working Class said,

        Nah you have right wing Scot Nat sis. And did anyone note the Irish Republican flag being flown at Walthamstow protest….Deport Pt tae Airdrie.

  11. Political Tourist said,

    Was wondering why the true blue crackpot was getting angry.
    Great win for Labour in Oldham.
    Liked the postal vote trick.

  12. Glasgow Working Class said,

    Good tae see a working class Labour win and not a a Nat si.

  13. Rilke said,

    PT, I want to adapt you and your ilks tactics and send Breslin and his pals images of mutilated and deceased French people from the Paris outrage with the tag line ‘good they are not Scots’, followed by threats to send my French and English mates round to knock fuck out of him and drop a cartoon on his mangy body of him saying to an IS operative, ‘only kill the Saxon and the Gaul not the Scot and you will be my pal’. This seems to be the ‘new media savy’ way you turds operate these days according to Livingstone and Left Unity and I would not wish to be behind the times.

  14. Steven Johnston said,

    Although I am opposed to the war I found this article to be hilarious.
    It’s from those Stalinists at the New (old) Communist party.
    Apparently bombs dropped by US, French or British planes will make no difference but those dropped by Russians or Assad’s forces will!
    Again, makes you wonder, is it a joke, serious or just beyoned parody.

    • John R said,

      Comrade, it’s the class nature of the bomb that matters, not who it kills.

  15. Steven Johnston said,

    Love their use of the phrase “imperialist lackeys” my 2nd favourite behind “running dogs of capitalism”.

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