Solidarity with Rojava - review of Serkeftin

Kurds view the US decision to withdraw approximately 2,000 US troops from Northern Syria as preparation for a full-scale Turkish military invasion and then occupation of the region. Turkish forces, armed with heavy artillery, are massing at the Syrian border. Since 2012, the Kurdish people and their allies in what they call Rojava (Western Kurdistan) have achieved self-government and implemented an authentic revolutionary process. Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, Syriac, Armenian, Druze, Circassian, Turkmen and other peoples living in the region have established unity and been building democracy. More than 10,000 of their people have been killed fighting Islamic State and other jihadi groups, which have been backed by the government in Turkey. What the Kurds and their allies have established is a threat to the regional status quo and to the Turkish state, with its large Kurdish population, in particular. In January 2018, Turkey and its jihadist auxiliaries invaded the western most enclave of Rojava, Afrin, without protest from the western governments or from Russia. They have killed Afrin’s people, others have been driven from their homes - but guerrilla resistance continues there. Below we carry a review of a book on the Rojava revolution.

Hands off Rojava!  

Serkeftin: a narrative of the Rojava revolution Marcel Cartier, Zero Books £10.99

The introduction to this book is a moving tribute to revolutionary Mehmet Aksoy, who had lived in London, from whom the author clearly drew a lot of inspiration. Mehmet was killed on 26 September 2017, becoming a martyr for the Rojava revolution and for all humanity. Reading the correspondence between Mehmet and Marcel brought me to tears and this sets the tone for what is truly a powerful and inspiring read.


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Lethal divisions in the Middle East

A US-made F-15 fighter jet flown by the Royal Saudi Air Force

Divisions between different powers in the Middle East are becoming more threatening. With the relative weakening of US imperialism’s economic and political power, so contenders for regional power fight for position. Saudi Arabia and Turkey are at the centre of this struggle. Iran is targeted by a US, Israeli and Saudi alliance. The European Union and the US may be on a collision course over US sanctions on Iran. Russia and China are using the divisions to expand their influence. Meanwhile, the British government and British arms firms see fresh opportunities to profit from murder and mayhem. The Palestinian and Kurdish people continue to fight for their right to exist. Trevor Rayne reports. 


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Afrin will continue to resist

YPG forces lead the resistance againt the Turkish invasion of Afrin

While the world’s media were focused on Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, 200 miles away Turkey’s armed forces were bombing and shelling the predominantly Kurdish Afrin canton in Syria’s north west. Turkey launched its attack on Afrin on 20 January 2018, using both its army and jihadist auxiliaries, including the Free Syrian Army and Islamic State (IS) fighters. Unable to advance quickly on the ground against the YPG/YPJ defence forces, Turkey resorted to increasing use of warplanes and heavy artillery against Afrin city. Water and electricity supplies were targeted. On 16 March, Afrin Hospital was bombed, killing 16 people. In the preceding week, civilians were being killed by bombs and shells at a rate approaching 40 per day. Together with Afrin’s population, the defence forces decided to move from a war of position to hit-and-run guerrilla tactics. This was, in part, to reduce civilian casualties. Saleh Moslem, former co-chair of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) explained: ‘For a war front we have neither the technical possibilities nor the armament. We are committed to lead a guerrilla struggle.’


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Oil imperialism and the class struggle

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no. 97 15 September/15 November 1990

' can say that the revolutionary movement in the advanced capitalist countries will remain a myth as long as the struggles of the workers in Europe and in North America against the capitalist system are not closely united against imperialism and world capitalism with those of the hundreds of millions of oppressed people in the colonies.' (Statement from the Popular Front for the Liberation of the Occupied Arab Gulf, May 1969)

The recent developments in the Arab Gulf have settled one decisive question of world politics. They have swiftly demolished the claim that the defeat of the socialist bloc and the end of the Cold War would inaugurate an era of democracy and peace between nation states. The massive build up of the US war machine in the Gulf shows how militarism and war are necessary characteristics of imperialism's defence of its interests all over the world. It shows that the capitalist system cannot survive without neo-colonial oppression to safeguard imperialist access to cheap sources of fuel and raw materials.

It is no accident that the first major development after the collapse of the socialist bloc has seen the biggest US military operation since the Vietnam war, to secure control of the world's largest oil reserves in the Middle East. Far from moderating imperialism's predatory character, the collapse of the socialist bloc has now removed all restraints on its drive to carve up and divide the world.


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How Britain and the US plunder the Gulf

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no. 97 April/May 1991

For 170 years the peoples of Arabia and the Gulf were slaughtered and suppressed in the interests of British imperial power. The British fleet shelled along the entire coastline of the Peninsula; British troops have poisoned wells, burnt crops, tortured and murdered Arab resistance; the Royal Air Force has bombed villages into oblivion. All of this accomplished by Conservative, Liberal and Labour governments alike with the connivance of Arab ruling classes prepared to sell their people's blood and land for gold.

Initial British interest in the Gulf stemmed from the conquest of India. For strategic purposes the frontiers of India were deemed to extend from the Red Sea to the Straits of Malacca off Malaya. Before the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 there were three routes to India: around the Cape and into the Indian Ocean; overland via the north Syrian desert, the Euphrates valley and the Gulf; or via Alexandria, the town of Suez and the Red Sea. The nineteenth century British ruling class feared French, then Russian and eventually German encroachment onto these routes and the Indian colony itself. By the 1880s India contained a fifth of Britain's overseas investment and took a fifth of its exports. Lord Curzon and later Winston Churchill maintained that India made the difference between Britain being a first and a third-rate power. To maintain Britain's control over the trade routes required a combination of brute force and financial inducements - bribes.


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15 years since Iraq invasion: imperialist war rages on

Labour party War Criminals

Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, [a Pentagon official] said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.

– Former Supreme NATO Allied Commander General Wesley Clark, Winning Modern Wars (2003)

On 20 March 2003, 45,000 British troops, alongside 248,000 troops from the US, and soldiers from around 40 other countries launched a devastating invasion of Iraq which was to go on to kill up to 1 million Iraqi people (Physicians for Social Responsibility, March 2015). Fifteen years on the entire region has become engulfed in war, driven by the murderous actions and interests of imperialism. These fifteen years of unbroken imperialist-waged and sponsored war are an expression of the deepening crisis of the imperialist system. The major imperialist powers are compelled to assert their domination over the region and its strategic resources (60% of known oil reserves and 41% of natural gas reserves) and location. The resulting chaos has led the US, Britain, and their allies, to become more and more drawn into deeply destructive wars with unmanageable consequences such as the ‘migration crisis’ and the rise of Islamic State (IS) jihadists. The imperialist strategy has met continual and increasing resistance, but US and British imperialism have made their long-term military commitment to the region clear. Of the seven targets listed in the quotation above, none has been untouched by imperialist subversion, with three of them devastated by imperialism since 2003.


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Statement in solidarity with the resistance in Afrin

Rojava map fit

The Revolutionary Communist Group and its paper Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! support the resistance of the risen Kurdish people of Afrin against the attack launched on 21 January 2018 by the Turkish state and its Free Syrian Army auxiliaries. The Turkish army could never have attacked without the connivance of the US, British, European and Russian governments.


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Crisis over Qatar

On 5 June Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates cut off transport links and diplomatic relations with Qatar. They accuse Qatar of support for terrorism and complicity with Iran, after Qatar paid about $1bn in ransom payments to Iranian officials and Tahrir Al Sham, an Al Qaeda affiliate group, for the release of members of its royal family, captured and held hostage while on a hunting trip to Iraq. Qatar is viewed by Saudi Arabia as insufficiently hostile to Iran and Qatar supported the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, loathed by the Saudis, who backed its overthrow in 2013. Qatar has retained ties with the Syrian government, opposed by the Saudis, and it may seek to fund the rebuilding of post-war Syria. This would give it influence in Syria, across which oil companies want to install a pipeline route from the Gulf to Europe via Turkey (Robert Fisk The Independent 8 June 2017).


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Kurds mount determined resistance

The Syrian Democratic Forces are an alliance of Kurdish Arab Turkmen and other rebels

On 24 May 2016 the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), began to advance on Raqqa, the Islamic State (IS) headquarters. The SDF comprises 31 forces, including Kurds, Arabs and other ethnic and religious groups, but its largest components are the predominantly Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) of Rojava (Northern Syria/West Kurdistan). Their advance is receiving Coalition, predominantly US, air support. At the time of writing these forces have liberated towns and villages between Raqqa and the YPG/YPJ-run town of Ain Isa, and have encouraged and welcomed refugees fleeing IS.


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Kurds wage historic struggle

The Kurdish struggle is more significant to the future of the Middle East than ever. In Iraq and Syria, Kurds are crucial to the outcome of the battle against Islamic State (IS) and other jihadi groups. In Turkey, Kurds are in insurrection, the fate of which will decide whether the country succumbs to fascism or progresses towards democracy. The British government, the European Union (EU) and the US are indifferent as towns in Turkey are destroyed by tanks and heavy artillery, civilians are burned to death in their homes, academics, lawyers and journalists are branded as terrorists and the President says that democracy and the rule of law are meaningless in Turkey. Trevor Rayne reports.

The Turkish state planned for war on the Kurds in Turkey and Syria after the defeat of IS in Kobane, in northern Syria/Rojava in January 2015. Turkey’s ruling class fears that Kurdish self-determination in Syria will undermine its rule in Turkey itself, by encouraging the Kurdish struggle for rights. Turkish state forces prevented Kurds going to assist the resistance in Kobane and attacked and killed protestors in Turkey. The success of the Kurdish-led Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the June and November 2015 parliamentary elections thwarted President Erdogan’s ambition to change Turkey’s constitution from a parliamentary to a presidential system, and provided a pole of attraction for those opposed to the authoritarian rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. A wave of arrests of HDP members and supporters preceded the 1 November election and the predominantly Kurdish town of Silvan was placed under curfew. Turkish state forces attacked Kurds in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. On 3 November the Group of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK), established by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), declared the ceasefire, begun in March 2013, to be over.


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'The Kurds don’t vote for me’: the Kurds and Britain

Demonstration in London against attacks on the Kurds, 1991
Demonstration in London against attacks on the Kurds, 1991

For a century, British imperialism has suppressed the Kurdish struggle for self-determination. Armed force has been used in the Middle East, while in Britain the police, prisons and criminalisation have been employed against Kurds. British governments have repeatedly supported Middle Eastern states’ oppression of the Kurds. That oppression has been integral to imperialist domination of the Middle East. Trevor Rayne reports.

* The Sykes-Picot Agreement 16 May 1916:   This secret deal between Britain and France planned the carve-up of the remains of the Ottoman Empire after the First World War. Initially, Kurds were offered a truncated Kurdistan on what is now Turkish territory, omitting the Kurds of Iran, British-controlled Iraq, and French-controlled Syria. This was proposed in the Treaty of Sevres 1920. With the success of Turkey’s Ataturk and the Turkish National Movement, the promise to the Kurds was dropped in the Treaty of Lausanne 1923. At the end of the First World War among the great losers in the Middle East were the Palestinians and the Kurds. The Turkish, Iraqi, Syrian and Iranian states were, in part, founded on the oppression of the Kurds. Kurdish self-determination is inextricably tied to the advance of democracy in the Middle East.  


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Seventh anniversary of the launch of the Kurdish liberation struggle - interview with Abdullah Ocalan

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no. 103 - October/November 1991

15 August 1991 marked the seventh anniversary of the launching of the national liberation struggle and the founding of the ARGK (People's Liberation Army of Kurdistan). A European delegation was invited to join the celebrations at the Academy Mahsum Korkmaz (a martyr of the PKK/ARGK) training camp in the Lebanon. TREVOR RAYNE of Fight Racism! Fight imperialism! and member of the Kurdistan Solidarity Committee in London gives some impressions of his visit and selections from conversations with PKK General Secretary, Abdullah Ocalan (Apo).

High above the Bekaa Valley, deep in the embrace of the Kurdish Revolution. 11 o'clock at night and I am in a tent with the German delegation: the tent allocated to me is crammed with twenty women suckling their babies. A messenger arrives, Apo's speech is tonight.


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Kurdistan Freedom Party speaks on its role

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no. 103 - October/November 1991

Over 40 guerrillas from the newly-formed PAK (Kurdistan Freedom Party) were training with their PKK/ARGK comrades. A leading PAK member described how, in the 1980s, the KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) had prevented Kurds from south Kurdistan linking up with the PKK. However, Saddam's brutal repression undermined the credibility of Barzani's KDP and Talabani's PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) leadership.

PAK: 'Following Halabja in March 1988, which was a disaster for Kurdish liberated areas, developments in north west Kurdistan allowed people in south Kurdistan (Iraq) to form direct relations with the PKK. Many people began to join in the ranks of the PKK. Some came from east Kurdistan (Iran) and some from towns in south Kurdistan and Iraq proper.


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Visit to Kurdistan

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no. 103 - October/November 1991

FRFI supporter WILLIAM MARTIN recently visited Kurdistan and sent us this report of oppression and resistance.

The warmth, kindness and hospitality extended to me by the Kurds of the village of Yesilynva contrasted sharply with the realities of daily life in this part of north west Kurdistan. Close to the town of Uludere and hugging the mountains straddling the Turkish/Iraqi border, Yesilynva is literally in the front line of resistance to the Turkish state. In defiance of Turkicisation, the Kurdish population still call Uludere and Yesilynva by their Kurdish names of Qilaban and Rapin.


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Kurdistan: revolution at a crucial juncture


Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no. 114 - August/September 1993

Republished as Chapter 3.4 in The New Warlords: from the Gulf War to the recolonisation of the Middle East, ed. Eddie Abrahams, Larkin Publications, 1994.

Events during the past year: Syria's closure of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) bases in Lebanon, the joint Kurdish Democratic Party — Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (KDP-PUK) and Turkish army assaults on the PKK in South Kurdistan (northern Iraq), the PKK's unilateral ceasefire and resumption of hostilities in the face of Turkish state intransigence have brought the Kurdish revolution to a critical stage. TREVOR RAYNE reports.

Financial Times: Abdullah Ocalan has agreed to extend his ceasefire. Are you closer to a solution?

Suleyman Demirel: We never hear him, whatever he says. If you start hearing him, then he becomes a party to the problem . . . We should never deal with him. (Financial Times 7 May 1993)

On 17 March 1993 PKK General Secretary Abdullah Ocalan accompanied by Jalal Talabani, leader of the PUK from South Kurdistan declared a unilateral ceasefire in the Kurdish liberation struggle to run over the 21 March Newroz (New Year). The ceasefire was extended indefinitely on 16 April when Ocalan made the following demands: an end to the annihilation of Kurdish people and Turkey's military operations; a general amnesty; cultural rights such as Kurdish language radio and television stations, newspapers and books; the right to the unfettered use of the Kurdish language and the legalisation of Kurdish political organisations; the right for displaced persons to return to their homes and be compensated for damage to their houses and loss of livestock; abolition of the system of regional governors and the disarming of the village guards. Ocalan warned that if the Turkish Republic continued its operations then the ceasefire would be meaningless and the guerrilla war would have to be resumed. He appealed to the UN and to the European Parliament to send delegates to Kurdistan to observe the ceasefire.


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Kurdistan: an oppressed nation


Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no. 102 - August/September 1991

Republished as Chapter 3.2 in The New Warlords: from the Gulf War to the recolonisation of the Middle East, ed. Eddie Abrahams, Larkin Publications, 1994.

'We were witnesses that the Turkish state has officially declared war. Without any reason they keep shooting innocent people. Many people are dead or injured.' This was the message from Diyarbakir in North West Kurdistan (Turkey) from Popular Labour Party (HEP) MP Mahmut Alinak after the funeral of his comrade Vedat Aydin on 10 July. Vedat Aydin was chair of the Diyarbakir branch of HEP. He had been abducted by a unit of the Turkish state's Special Forces, tortured, his body riddled with bullets and dumped. The Kurdish people's response to this activity was massive and determined: 100,000 turned the burial into a proclamation that the Kurdish national liberation struggle will not be terrorised into submission.

The Turkish army responded with further terror. Commandos and tanks ringed Diyarbakir. Helicopters bombed coaches carrying mourners to the funeral. Counter-insurgency teams opened fire on the crowds who refused to disperse, chanted the illegal slogans of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and fought back with sticks and stones.

By 13 July reports indicated some 40 people killed, 208 injured and 1,000 missing. The Special Forces have been seen burying corpses at night. Hundreds of people have been arrested, including Turkish and foreign journalists.


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Turkish state commits mass murder in Cizre

The Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) has issued a statement saying that almost 60 civilians were killed in Cizre on 7 February 2016 by Turkish state forces. It is possible that chemical weapons were used. The 60 dead people were wounded, took refuge and were trapped in the basements of two buildings in Cizre. Turkish state forces would not allow medical staff, elected politicians or family access to them before they were finally killed. The hideous manner of their death is a deliberate warning to all Kurds not to resist Erdogan and the AKP government. Turkish state broadcaster, TRT, proclaimed ‘60 terrorists killed in Cizre’ and the Prime Minister Davutoglu said it was ‘A successful operation’ . On 10 February there are reports of some 25 more people in Cizre trapped in a third basement by Turkish armed forces and facing slaughter.

Cizre is a predominantly Kurdish city of approximately 115,000 people in south-east Turkey/North Kurdistan, close to the Syrian border. It was blockaded and placed under curfew by the Turkish forces on 12 December 2015 and has been attacked by tanks and heavy artillery since. Cizre is one of several Kurdish towns and cities in Turkey to have declared self-rule. It has been attacked by the Turkish state, defended itself and has been placed under curfew. Turkey’s President Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) government have unleashed a ferociously savage war against the Kurdish people in Turkey, with the acquiescence of the British government, the European Union and the US - this complicity in slaughter must be stopped.


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Kurds resist Turkish state onslaught

The Kurdish people are engaged in a battle for survival against the Turkish state. On 23 January 2016 the Kurdistan National Congress reported 56 curfews imposed on seven cities. The districts of Sur, Cizre and Silopi in south-east Turkey (North Kurdistan) have been under siege for over a month. In four months, state security forces have killed 268 civilians, 62 of whom were children. On 21 January Amnesty International issued a report – Turkey: end abusive operations under indefinite curfew. It describes Turkish forces preventing wounded people from receiving medical care, cuts to water and electricity supplies and access to food made dangerous. Tanks and heavy artillery, normally deployed in conventional warfare, are being used on densely populated communities, snipers are targeting children, houses are demolished at random, elected officials rounded up and imprisoned – and still the Kurdish people resist. Trevor Rayne reports.


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No unity in US-led coalition against IS

Sixty-two nations form the US-led coalition to destroy the Islamic State group (IS) in Syria and Iraq. The official motto of the coalition, ‘One mission, many nations’, hides the endless divisions between the countries apparently united under its banner. It has been bombing IS since June 2014 with Britain joining the attack on Syria in December 2015. Despite this grand coalition including many of the world’s most powerful militaries, IS still holds vast swathes of territory. There is abundant evidence that IS and other jihadist groups rely on countries within this coalition for their very existence. For many coalition partners, other objectives take priority over destroying IS.


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Israel’s war against the people - review

War against the people: Israel, the Palestinians and global pacification – Jeff Halper, Pluto Press, 2015.

How does Israel manage to get away with its brutal Occupation of the West Bank and its incessant war on Gaza? Why do imperialist powers continue to support it in its war on the Palestinians? These are the questions that Jeff Halper, the head of the activist NGO the Israeli Committee Against Housing Demolitions (ICAHD), sets out to answer in War against the people: Israel, the Palestinians and global pacification. Through a detailed examination of Israel’s international role in the development of military techniques, high tech weaponry, and security products, Halper exposes how Israel’s war against the Palestinians is a war against all oppressed people.


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Iran and Yemen - Dangerous manoeuvres in the Middle East

The Saudi-led coalition bombing of Yemen has driven 300,000 people from their homes

As the US grip on the Middle East weakens, so Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran are competing for positions. A Saudi-led coalition of 11 countries, backed by the US, Britain, France, Turkey and Belgium, began bombing Yemen on 26 March 2015. By mid-May, an estimated 1,500 people, mainly civilians, had been killed, 300,000 people had been driven from their homes and 700,000 were in dire need of food. Saudi Arabia says it wants to reinstall Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi as president of Yemen and to curb Iranian influence. Hadi was deposed by Houthi militia in September 2014 and fled Aden for Saudi Arabia on 25 March. Yemen’s people are victims of intensifying regional conflict. Israel sides with Saudi Arabia, but US and European imperialism are seeking to co-opt sections of the Iranian ruling class while maintaining their regional alliances. TREVOR RAYNE reports.


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Syria, Iraq and the Islamic State - the shifting balance of power in the Middle East

The Islamic State (IS) made international headlines in May with the capture of the important city of Ramadi in Iraq and the historical site of Palmyra in Syria. Despite a ten-month bombing campaign led by the US, the group now controls 50% of Syria, and 30% of Iraq. US imperialism has been unwilling to commit the resources - including ground troops - required to destroy IS. The military priorities of US imperialism are shifting to Russia and China. US imperialism cannot continue to play the role of an unchallenged superpower. Local powers are now taking centre stage in the war, with Saudi Arabia and Turkey on one side - in a tacit alliance with IS - and Syria, Iraq, Iran and Hezbollah on the other.


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Israel–US split grows as Palestinians suffer

Protest in Washington on 3 March as the Israeli Prime Minister address US Congress

The re-election of the racist war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu as the Israeli prime minister after his Likud party snatched victory from the jaws of defeat has created a political crisis. US President Obama clearly favoured the ‘change’ promised by the Zionist Union led by Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog, who looked to be winning the election, and was outraged at Netanyahu’s open racism and unrestrained rhetoric against Iran. At a time when US imperialism is building new alliances to refocus its strategy on controlling the Asia–Pacific region, Israel is in a difficult position. Special relationships don’t always remain special. The political landscape is shifting. But as ever, the unceasing US and EU-supported Zionist occupation means that the Palestinian people remain the real victims. The overwhelming majority of Palestinians are of course excluded from the ‘democratic’ process.


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Imperialism and the Islamic State

The Islamic State (IS) is inextricably tied to the actions of the imperialists. In FRFI 241 we argued that IS was formed as a legacy of imperialist intervention across the Middle East and beyond (see ‘Islamic State: imperialist terror’). The imperialists sponsored and funded jihadists to undermine communists, nationalists and secularists – the social and political forces which held back reactionary trends in political Islam. Countless recruits to jihadist organisations have joined to fight against brutal imperialist occupation, war and torture. It has now come to light that the IS leadership and ideology was largely forged in US prison camps in Iraq. Toby Harbertson reports.


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Victory in Kobane

After 135 days of heroic resistance the defenders of Kobane cleared the city of Islamic State (IS) forces on 26 January 2015. Representatives of the People’s Defence Units (YPG) and Women’s Defence Units (YPJ) said that they would proceed to clear the surrounding villages of IS. IS attacked Kobane on 15 September 2014. Over 200,000 people crossed the border into Turkey. Turkey’s President Erdogan said, ‘Kobane may fall very soon.’ The Kurdish fighters fought with determination, organisation and skill. They were joined by peshmerga from South Kurdistan (northern Iraq), volunteers from the Turkish Marxist Leninist Communist Party (MLKP), elements of the Free Syrian Army and others and they were helped by bomb attacks on IS positions by the US Air Force. The Turkish state obstructed volunteers from joining the defence of Kobane from North Kurdistan (Turkey). In the end, IS forces were reported fleeing into Turkey, to be escorted away from the border with Syria by Turkish troops.


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Israel, Hezbollah, and Al Qaeda: the war in the Golan Heights

The Zionist settler state of Israel has made clear that it intends to increase its military involvement in southern Syria, against the resistance axis of Hezbollah, the Syrian government, Iran and Palestinian militants, and in a tacit alliance with Al Qaeda’s Syrian branch, Jabhat Al Nusra (JN). Israeli drones launched an unprovoked drone strike on Hezbollah soldiers on 18 January near the Syrian town of Quneitra, killing eight, including an Iranian general. After further Israeli strikes on Syrian positions, Hezbollah retaliated, killing two Israeli soldiers. Following this, Israeli attacks on southern Lebanon killed a Spanish UN soldier. With the major imperialist powers taking steps to normalise relations with Iran, and giving qualified support to peace negotiations involving the Syrian government, Israel sees attacks on Syria and Hezbollah as the best way to reassert its own interests.


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Islamic State: Permanent war in the Middle East

The Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq presents a huge problem for the imperialists, right at the heart of one of the world’s most resource rich regions. Through decades of war and manipulation the US, Britain, France and other imperialist powers have created the social, economic and sectarian conditions for the rise of IS. Every state in the region has been shaped by its relationship to the imperialist system. But the crisis of the system is accelerating. Contradictions are throwing themselves up in the path of imperialist strategy. Reacting to new obstacles the imperialists are creating yet more problems – for their own interests and for the people of the region. Having let IS grow to challenge the Syrian government and Iran’s growing influence, NATO powers have created a fundamentalist monster they can neither control nor destroy. They were forced to take action when IS posed a threat to their oil interests in Iraq. Now they are left fighting an expensive and difficult war in Iraq and Syria, with a lack of commitment from regional allies and threats to their economic hegemony on the horizon. Toby Harbertson reports.


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Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! says Long Live Kurdistan! Biji Kurdistan!


Speech by Trevor Rayne from Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! to the demonstration to support the Kurdish resistance forces of the YPG and YPJ in Kobane called by the Kurdistan National Congress in Parliament Square, London on 11 October 2014.

Today, the struggle of the Kurdish people in Kobane is on the front line of the struggle for all of humanity. They are not just fighting the Islamic State they are fighting the forces of barbarism, of ignorance and intolerance, the forces of mass murder and those who, like the Turkish state, would excuse them and use them for their own short term and selfish ends.


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War on ‘IS’ targets Syria

The US and British imperialists have launched their third war on Iraq in 24 years. Along with other NATO powers and their regional clients, they again expect to remain openly engaged in the Middle East for years. Imperialist bombs are once again destroying countless lives for the bank accounts of the ruling classes. In whipping up an international military campaign against the jihadist Islamic State (IS) the imperialists have provided a cover for escalating their campaign to destroy the Syrian government. A bombing campaign against Syria was thwarted in September 2013. However, as the crisis of capitalism deepens, and rivals emerge, the need for strategic domination increases. This new war will only create more contradictions, more chaos and more resistance. Toby Harbertson reports.


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Islamic State, imperialist terror

Forces of the Islamic State (IS) now control around one third of the territory of both Iraq and Syria. The CIA suggests that they command around 30,000 armed militants. A fundamentalist, jihadist group, their attacks on religious and ethnic minorities, videos showing the beheading of US and British hostages, and reactionary practices towards women have all been well publicised by the ruling class media. The group is well armed, organised, and funded. They have been attracting recruits from all over the world. Fifteen years ago however, secular Ba’athist governments were in power in both Syria and Iraq, where the rights of religious minorities and women were safeguarded. These functioning states with modern infrastructure put neighbouring imperialist client states to shame. So how did a group like IS come to occupy such a strong position in the Middle East? Toby Harbertson looks at its roots.


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A critical time for the Kurdish struggle

By 23 September 2014 140,000 Kurdish people had left Kobane Canton in Rojava (West Kurdistan) in Syria for Turkey. Over one hundred villages were evacuated in the face of an Islamic State (IS) attack. IS was reported to have 40 tanks and 30 armoured personnel carriers 12 miles from Kobane city. Kurdish groups were amassing a large fighting force to resist the attack. Turkish police and soldiers forcibly prevented Kurds from crossing from Turkey to fight IS. There is evidence of Turkish state complicity in the IS operation. The Turkish government and other regional powers fear the democratic and revolutionary potential of Rojava and the liberation struggle of the Kurds in North Kurdistan (Turkey), led by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). While the US, Britain and NATO talk of defeating IS they have hesitated to help Rojava resist the attack. Trevor Rayne reports.


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